Vitruvius, Marcus Vitruvius Pollio

, was a celebrated Roman architect, of whom however nothing is known but what is to be collected from his ten books “Do Ardiitectura,” still extant. In the preface to the sixth book he informs us that he was carefully educated by his parents, and instructed in the whole circle of arts and sciences; a circumstance which he speaks of with much gratitude, laying it down as certain, that no man can be a complete arr chitect, without some knowledge and skill in everyone of" them. And in the preface to the first book he informs us that he was known to Julius Cicsar that he was afterwards recommended by Octavia to her brother Augustus Cæsar, and that he was so favoured and provided for by this emperor, as to be out of all fear of poverty as long as he might live.

It is supposed that Vitruvius was born either at Rome or Verona; but it is not known which. His books of architecture are addressed to Augustus Csesar, and not only shew consummate skill in that particular science, but also very uncommon genius and natural abilities. Cardan, in his 16th book “De Subtilitate,” ranks Vitruvius as one of the twelve persons, whom he supposes to have excelled all men in the force of genius and invention; and would not have scrupled to have given him the first place, if it could be imagined that he had delivered nothing but his own discoveries. These twelve persons were, Euclid, Archimedes, Apollonius Pergaeus, Aristotle, Archytas of Tarentum, Vitruvius, Achindus, Mahomet Ibn Moses the inventor or improver of Algebra, Duns Scotus, John Suisset surnamed the Calculator, Galen, and Heber of Spain.

The Architecture of Vitruvius has been often printed: first at Rome, about 1486. There is a very excellent edition of Amsterdam in 1649, and of late there have been two very fine ones, that by Augustus Rode, Berlin, 1800, 4to, and 'that by Schneider, at Leipsic, 1808, 4 vols. 8vo. The finest manuscript of Vitruvius is in the library at Franeker. Perrault also, the celebrated French architect, gave an excellent French translation of the same, and added notes and figures: the first edition of which was published at Paris in 1673, and the second, much improved, in 1684. There are also various Italian translations. Mr. | William Newton, an ingenious architect, and late surveyor to the works at Greenwich hospital, published in 1780 1791, 2 vols. fol. curious commentaries on Vitruvius, illustrated with figures; to which is added a description, with figures, of the military machines used by the ancients. 1