By Vitruvius

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Hence the states of Greece appear to have divided the drachma, like the cubit, that is into six parts, which were small equal sized pieces of brass, similar to the asses, which they called oboli; and, in imitation of the twenty-four digits, they divided the obolus into four parts, which some call dichalca, others trichalca. 8. Our ancestors, however, were better pleased with the number ten, and hence made the denarius to consist of ten brass asses, and the money to this day retains the name of denarius.

Within the line dropt from the angle of the abacus , at the distance of one and a half of the parts last found, let fall another vertical line, and so divide it that four parts and a half being left under the abacus, the point which divides them from the remaining three and a half, may be the centre of the eye of the volute; from which, with a radius equal to one half of one of the parts, if a circle be described, it will be the sixth of the eye of the volute. Through its centre let an horizontal line be drawn, and beginning from the upper part of the vertical diameter of the eye as a centre, let a quadrant be described whose upper part shall touch the under side of the abacus ; ten changing the centre, with a radius less than the last by half the width of the diameter of the eye, proceed with other quadrants, so that the last will fall into the eye itself, which happen in the vertical line, at a point perpendicularly under that of setting out.

6. For the perfection of all works depends on their fitness to answer the end proposed, and on principles resulting from a consideration of Nature herself, and they approved those only which, by strict analogy, were borne out by the appearance of utility. Their principles were thus established, and they have left us the symmetry and proportion of each order. Following their steps, I have already spoken of the Ionic and Corinthian orders: I shall now proceed to give a succinct account of the Doric order, and its most approved proportion.

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De Architectura by Vitruvius


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