COLLOQUIUM: Bettina Reitz-Joosse, UPENN, "The City and the Text in Vitruvius’ De Architectura"

Thursday, January 15, 2015 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm

Consistently at the beginning and end of major sections of De Architectura, Vitruvius reflects on the order in which he presents his material. He frequently stresses that the design of his treatise follows a particular ordo, but never makes explicit what this ordo actually is. This paper will discuss the underlying structuring principle of the treatise, arguing that in composing the De Architectura, Vitruvius constructs, step by step, an ideal city. This interpretation of the macrostructure of Vitruvius’ work affects our understanding of the treatise’s literary design, its architectural theory, and its place in the literary and political culture of early Augustan Rome.