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belief of the report, that the Introduction is from the pen of another person, whose pursuits have been directed to subjects of antiquarian research. The concealment is, however, obviously studied, and we shall therefore leave it to our readers to form their own conjectures.
In this essay an attempt is made to trace the history of architecture from the earliest ages of Egypt to the period of the Roman conquest of Greece. Vitruvius is silent upon the subject of the obligations due from the Greeks to the architecture of that country. He never mentions the temples of Egypt excepting to notice their situation on the banks of the Nile, in corroboration of his dictates as to appropriate situations for sacred edifices. From his writings, indeed, (unless his silence arose from the omission of his guides and instructors,) the inference to be deduced is, that Greece was in no wise indebted to Egypt for her knowledge of that science for which she was so celebrated: all its peculiarities and characteristics are derived from the early buildings in wood of Greece and her Asiatic settlers. One thing, however, is certain, that whatever is different in character, or in mode of construction, may be fairly set down to the invention of the Greeks. In Egypt, where professions were hereditary, and where the sacred ministry descended from father to son, through successive generations, the same line of policy was applicable to the priests and the temples in which they officiated. In these we find no variation of principle nor of con. stituent parts, except that which greater or less magnificence and extent rendered indispensable, in an interval of more than thirteen hundred years. The zodiac, in a temple of the ancient Latopolis, has at least this priority of execution above that at Tentyra ; and whilst these demonstrate the distant periods in which they were constructed, the buildings themselves prove that no advances had been made in the science of architecture.
It appears somewhat extraordinary,' says the writer of the Introduction, that the Greeks, who carried the practice of many sciences and arts to a degree of perfection which has since been: unattainable, should have been so little solicitous to examine the causes of this rise amongst them, or with any care to trace their progress.' (p. 15.) We can hardly expect that this supineness should be conquered by those who were not professed writers of history, and therefore must not be surprized that the Greek architects, whose works were known to Vitruvius, should have omitted all reference to a subject to which their own historians had afforded no clue. The poems of Homer present a singular picture of knowledge and ignorance.—The early advances in the art of design by the natives on the coasts of Syria and Egypt are obvious from many passages of the poem:-- every object of beauty or elegance is described as the production of Sidonian workmen, whilst the wealth and splendour of the Egyptians are not less unequivocally portrayed. Egypt at this period was the seat of learning and the sciences. Diodorus entertained an opinion that Homer had visited Egypt, from the variety of its notions introduced in his poetry : with its customs he certainly displays an intimate acquaintance. Herodotus says, that he introduced into Greece the religion of Egypt, being led to this conclusion by the knowledge of its rites and traditions exhibited in his poems, which were not openly promulgated. It seems strange therefore, with all this development of their mysteries, that he should not have expatiated upon subjects less difficult of access; and have betrayed so great an ignorance of their architecture as is exemplified in the Iliad. In this poem there is no indication of any thing like architectural embellishment. Nor can it be said in explanation, that in thus abstaining from any notice of an art which as yet had made no progress in Greece, he offers to our view a faithful picture of the age he is describing. In this case it would have been sufficient to withhold all details of the art from the account of the palaces of the Greeks and Trojans; but no such attention to synchronism would have been necessary in the ideal mansions of these countries, which he paints as possessing a knowledge of the arts and sciences beyond that of the Greeks. A fair opportunity presented itself in the description of the palace of Alcinoüs, where sculpture is exaggerated far beyond its powers, and where the costliness of the materials of the edifice is merely imaginary. The palaces of Jupiter and Neptune too would have afforded ample scope for the display of architectural knowledge, had the author possessed any beyond what might be gained from the edifices of his own country.
The identity of the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey is a subject which has engaged the attention of many learned writers. 'Those who contend for the earlier age of the former, support their hypothesis by remarking the more advanced state of the arts as they are described throughout the Odyssey. The learned author of the
Prolegomena ad Homerum' contrasts the different state of society and the more recent inventions, with the ruder efforts and less civilized order of things portrayed in the Iliad. In the work before us that contrast is extended to the architecture; and the arguments, which are extremely ingenious, tend to the same conclusion.
In proceeding to notice the introduction of the orders of architecture, as related by Vitruvius, Mr. Wilkins prepares us for the fables connected with the subject by the character which he previously draws of the writer.
• Vitruvius,' he says, brought to the composition of his work the possession of much of the learning of that period so much indeed
VOL. XXI. NO. XLI.
as probably to embrace the extensive range of acquirements which he has himself laid down as necessary for the architect. To this he added a mind replete with notions in a high degree fanciful and visionary, and influenced by a strong bias to metaphysical distinction and refinement. Hence arose the laboured dissertations on the unintelligible connexion of architecture and music, and the institution of that scale of harmonic proportions which has esercised the ingenuity of the learned to little purpose down to the present day. Hence arose too his perceptions of the analogy which he supposed to exist between the members of architecture and those of the human frame, a notion which he has pursued to a great extent.-P. xvii.
This character, excepting in the opinion of more extensive learning, accords pretty nearly with the view which we have taken of the qualifications of Vitruvius, and demonstrates the absolute necessity of receiving with caution those precepts which are accompanied by an affected display of great and various reading. Many of the refinements suggested as indispensable in practice are not sanctioned by the authority of the Greeks, nor do they appear to have been adopted at Rome. The historical sketch which follows, and traces the progress of architecture down to the period of the Macedonian conquest, embraces a field which has not before been occupied; it is both concise and perspicuous, and well deserves the attention of the historian and the antiquary. At this period an innovation occurred which certainly marks an important era in the annals of architectural knowledge-we mean the invention of the arch geometrically constructed. Many writers have attempted to prove the familiar use of the arch by the early artists of Greece and Rome; the work before us denies this knowledge, and demonstrates that the descriptions afforded by ancient writers are applicable to a mode of building far less artificial.
We have lately seen in the British Museum the geometrical drawings of the treasury of Atreus at Mycenæ, one of the buildings in which it was thought the principles of a dome have been observed. The description of this building afforded by ancient authors, and another of similar construction at Orchomenus erected at the same period, have been selected as offering a complete proof of the existence of an arched or vaulted roof, so early as the thirteenth century before the Christian era. These accurate drawings are evidences of a mode of construction which has nothing in common with the principles of an arch. The plan of the building is circular and its section is a parabola ; it is formed with blocks laid in horizontal beds, that is, with their upper and lower surfaces in planes parallel to the horizon, and projecting one before the other, from the bottom to the top, where they nearly meet. The interior surface was covered with plates of brass; the nails by
which they were fastened to the wall were visible throughout. The earth was heaped around and upon the exterior, so that it resembled one of the tumuli of antiquity, a circumstance which led to the supposition of its having formerly been the tomb of Agamemnon, said by Pausanias to be situated in the neighbourhood of the treasury of Atreus. We have dwelt thus much upon this structure, because upon its description, and that of the building resembling it, the advocates for the early introduction of the arch have founded their theories, which are thus left without authority.*
Until it can be proved that the Cloaca Maxima at Roine was vaulted, by access to such parts of it as are remote from the mouth where it discharged itself into the Tiber, and where, by exposure to floods, repair and even restoration may have been frequently necessary, it will be impossible to decide upon the claims made in behalf of the artificers employed by Tarquin to the merit of this invention of the arch or dome, which is thought to be established by the mode of construction employed in this magnificent work. The three rows of arches, one above the other, discovered in the Forum Romanum, a considerable depth below the accumulated soil of inodern Rome, are conjectured, with what probability we will not say, to have formed part of it. The result of an inquiry to this end would, in all probability, prove that the mode of construction is similar to that of the Cloaca at Agrigentum.—The beds of the stones forming it are parallel, each row overhanging that below it until the sides at length meet in the centre. The passage in Plato, alluding to the Paris, clearly describes a similar mode of building, with the overhanging stones having parallel beds, as prevalent in the age of the writer.
The Introduction closes with some observations tending to prove that the arch, geometrically constructed, was unknown until the date of the Macedonian conquest, and about a hundred and fifty years before the time of Vitruvius. It might we think be brought down to a later period. The mention of the fornir: occurs very rarely in Vitruvius, and always accompanied with an explanation, which shows that its use was not familiar— Et cuveorum divisionibus, coagmentis ad centrum respondentibus, fornices concluduntur.' -vi. il.
Dutens sur l'Usage des Voûtes chez les Auciens. There can be little doubt that the tholus of Pausanias was a building of this description, and appropriated to the same, purpose. If we suppose a portico to have existed before the door-way of the treasury of Airens, we shall have the prototype of the Pantheon at Rome; and that the trcasuries of the Greeks, particularly those at Olympia, were so constructed we know from the relation of Pausanias. The interior of the Pantheon, like that of the treasuries, was formerly coated with plates of brass.
+ θήκην δε υπό γής αυτούς ειργασμένην είναι αψίδα προμήκη λίθων προτίμων και αγήρων έχoυσαν κλίνας παραλλήλας λιθίνας κειμένας.-Leg. xii. p. 189.
We now proceed to notice the translation, and the illustrations of the text of the original. Here we are compelled to acknowledge that we experience considerable difficulty. Of the excellence of a translation from a work of science, abounding in technical expressions, many of which are become alınost obsolete, it is impossible for any but those well skilled in that science to speak with decision. Having, however, augmented our little store by turning over the valuable works on Grecian architecture published by Stuart and the Society of Dilettanti, we enter upou our task with somewhat more confidence; but even thus we must found our criticism almost exclusively upon the illustrations given at the end of the several sections.
The books which the translator has selected for remark are four, They severally relate, Ist. To the order of architecture termed Ionic, and to the various kinds of temples in which this order, and occasionally the Corinthian, were employed. 2d. To the Doric order, and the edifices in which it might be with propriety adopted. To the Corinthian order, where it differs from the Ionic, and those edifices in which its use is indispensable; namely, circular buildings. 3d. To the public buildings of the ancients, such as basilicæ, theatres and gymnasia. 4th. To the private dwellings of the Greeks and Romans.
In the first section we meet with several instances of that theoretical refinement which Vitruvius thought necessary to the perfection of Grecian architecture. One of them proceeds upon the principle, that the apparent magnitude of objects is measured by the angles which the objects subtend at the eye of the spectator, a doctrine inadmissible in the present stage of optical knowledge. Another has drawu all the commentators, from Jocundus to the present time, into long and unprotitable discussions. Baldus has made it the subject of a separate essay. We allude to the scamilli impares, which were rendered necessary from the adoption of an expedient our author thought essential in correcting a supposed error of sight or vision. What they were, has, we think, been satisfactorily explained in the present work, althongh perhaps the principle, or inode of reasoning used by Vitruvius may not be correctly stated. The question has been clothed with unmerited importance, and the solution held out as a matter of insuperable difficulty; so that we were not prepared for so simple an explanation as is here offered.
The parallel between the Grecian example of the Ionic order and structures reared from the instructions of Vitruvius exhibits a remarkable coincidence, and proves the necessity, if other arguments were wanting, of restoring the text, which editors and translators have altered to accommodate their own notions.