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Marcus Vitruvius Pollio

Roman architect and engineer of Augustus' time (active c. 25 BCE).

The only building known to be the work of Vitruvius is the basilica at Fano (Roman Fanum Fortunae) in North Italy, the scattered ruins of which have been excavated and may be seen today.

Vitruvius is most famous as the author of De Architecture Decem Libri ("Ten Books on Architecture", usually known as De Architectura), a monumental work which deals with every aspect of building, from choice of construction site to building materials to engineering techniques to city planning. Following the discovery of a manuscript in St. Gallen, Switzerland, in 1415, De Architectura became one of the most significant influences on the architecture of the Renaissance, inspiring the architects of the 15th and 16th centuries in their efforts to "recreate" the architectural principles of antiquity, particularly in matters of column lengths and proportions.

Vitruvius himself built upon Hellenistic architectural traditions, relying heavily upon literary references to Greek architecture. Architectural research has shown that his theories and ideals were not a true reflection of Greek architecture, nor did they enjoy currency in his own time.


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