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By Vitruvius

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The thickness of the steps should not, I think, be more than ten inches, nor less than nine, which will give an easy ascent. The treads not less than one foot and a half, nor more than two feet; and if the steps are to go all round the temple, they are to be formed in the same manner. 5. But if there is to be a podium on three sides of the temple, the plinths, bases of the columns, columns, coronæ, and cymatium, may accord with the stylobata , under the bases of the columns. The stylobata should be so adjusted, that, by means of small steps or stools, it may be highest in the middle.

The mathematicians, on the other hand, contend for the perfection of the number six, because, according to their reasoning, its divisors equal its number: for a sixth part is one, a third two, a half three, two-thirds four, which they call divmoiroV; the fifth in order, which they call pentavmoiroV, five, and then the perfect number six. When it advances beyond that, a sixth being added, which is called e[fektoV, we have the number seven. Eight are formed by adding a third, called triens, and by the Greeks, ejpivtritoV.

2. If the attic base be used, it must be so subdivided that the upper part be one-third of the thickness of the column, and that the remainder be assigned for the height of the plinth. Excluding the plinth, divide the height into four parts, one of which is to be given to the upper torus; then divide the remaining three parts into two equal parts, one will be the height of the lower torus, and the other the height of the scotia, with its fillets, which the Greeks call trovciloV (trochilus). 3. If Ionic, they are to be set out so that the base may each way be equal to the thickness and three eighths of the column.

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De Architectura by Vitruvius


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