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Author and Audience in Vitruvius' De architectura

$32.99 (C)

Part of Greek Culture in the Roman World

  • Date Published: December 2020
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108969253

$ 32.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Vitruvius' De architectura is the only extant classical text on architecture, and its impact on Renaissance masters including Leonardo da Vinci is well-known. But what was the text's purpose in its own time (ca. 20s BCE)? In this book, Marden Fitzpatrick Nichols reveals how Vitruvius pitched the Greek discipline of architecture to his Roman readers, most of whom were undoubtedly laymen. The inaccuracy of Vitruvius' architectural rules, when compared with surviving ancient buildings, has knocked Vitruvius off his pedestal. Nichols argues that the author never intended to provide an accurate view of contemporary buildings. Instead, Vitruvius crafted his authorial persona and remarks on architecture to appeal to elites (and would-be elites) eager to secure their positions within an expanding empire. In this major new analysis of De architectura from archaeological and literary perspectives, Vitruvius emerges as a knowing critic of a social landscape in which the house made the man.

    • Analyses Vitruvius' literary strategies in relation to those of other classical authors across a range of genres
    • Employs an interdisciplinary approach, integrating archaeological, art historical, literary, and cultural historical methods of investigation
    • Requires no prior knowledge of Vitruvius' work, and translates all Greek and Latin passages
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Nichols has produced an exceptional book that will inevitably shape the scholarly conversation about Vitruvius the author for some time to come. That it is a book of such high quality in so many respects - including production - is fortunate indeed.' John Matthew Oksanish, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2020
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108969253
    • length: 264 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.527kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Greek knowledge and the Roman world
    2. The self-fashioning of scribes
    3. House and man
    4. Art display and strategies of persuasion
    5. The vermilion walls of Faberius Scriba

  • Author

    Marden Fitzpatrick Nichols, Georgetown University, Washington DC
    Marden Fitzpatrick Nichols is Assistant Professor of Classics at Georgetown University, Washington, DC. She works primarily on the literature, art, and culture of Ancient Rome.

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