I performed the following text this past Saturday at Machine Project for Liz Glynn's 24 Hour Roman Reconstruction Project
. Liz asked me to work with a text written by Augustus about Augustus, The Deeds of the Divine Augustus, and with Vitruvius' roughly 600 page text, De Architectura. I put together a speech that I think worked as a combined subjective experience of both Augustus and Vitruvius, capitalizing on the reflexive nature of both texts...
A Diagram of the Winds
I have been consul thirteen times, of Roman citizens. The Roman people bear the rule of the Roman people, of me and of the Roman people. The Roman people have given it to me. And twenty one times I have been named emperor. I rebuilt. The People have entered their own land to bear the rule of the Roman people and Constructed principles of triumph. When the senate constructed principles of proportion. When the senate constructed principles of Water. Different waters, drains, windows, and water supplies—the Economy, Methods of Building Walls, contemplated works, buildings of works and arrangements in public places. When the senate was Water, Women in long robes, called Caryatides, took the place of columns. The columns, columns twenty-five feet, in your water-screws and water wheels.
When I wrote this I was seventy-six years old. The sum expended on theatrical spectacles and gladatorial games and athletes and hunts and mock naval battles and money given to colonies, cities, and towns destroyed by earthquake and fire or per man to friends and senators, whom I raised to the senate rating: innumerable. I subjected the whole wide earth to the rule of the Roman people. I drove the men who slaughtered my father into exile with a legal order, punishing their crime, and afterwards, when they waged war on the state, I conquered them in two battles. On account of the things successfully done by me and through my officers, under my auspices, on earth and sea, the senate decreed fifty-five times that there be sacrifices to the immortal gods. Also both privately and as a city all the citizens unanimously and continuously prayed at all the shrines for my health. I restored peace to the sea from pirates.
Earth, I hold, was impregnated by the rains of heaven and, thus conceiving, has brought forth the young of mankind and of all nature, and it is luminous. In some places the earth is beginning to go to pieces from dampness, but if again, a fire is made in that place, in the flats, the place contains water,. This water is called water. As much water as quantity of water. Engines for Raising Water admit water, Water Wheels and Water Mills, The Water Screw, The Water Organ.
Water, not merely supplying drink but filling an infinite number of practical needs, does us services which make us grateful because it is gratis. But we must expend our energies in searching it out and finding it. To do so, the following test should be applied. Before sunrise, lie down flat in the place where the search is to be made, and placing the chin on the earth and supporting it there, take a look out over the country. Then, dig in places where vapours are seen curling and rising up into the air. This sign cannot show itself. This sign cannot show itself in a dry spot. There are no hippopotamuses.
If a walled town is built among the marshes, the columns will be of great importance, their height will determine where public places are placed. Again, if the town is stone, the columns will bear the rule of the Roman people, if the senate and Roman people give them to me, The City Walls and Temples. The streets will bear the rule of the Roman people if the columns are in place. The Cretans call it building.
I built the senate-house and the Chalcidicum which adjoins it and the temple of Apollo on the Palatine with porticos, the temple of divine Julius, the Lupercal, the portico at the Flaminian circus, which I allowed to be called by the name Octavian, after he who had earlier built in the same place, the state box at the great circus, the temple on the Capitoline of Jupiter Subduer and Jupiter Thunderer, the temple of Quirinus, the temples of Minerva and Queen Juno and Jupiter Liberator on the Aventine, the temple of the Lares at the top of the holy street, the temple of the gods of the Penates on the Velian, the temple of Youth, and the temple of the Great Mother on the Palatine. I rebuilt the Capitol and the theater of Pompey, each work at enormous cost, without any inscription of my name. I rebuilt aqueducts in many places that had decayed with age, and I doubled the capacity of the Marcian aqueduct by sending a new spring into its channel. I completed the Forum of Julius and the basilic which he built between the temple of Castor and the temple of Saturn, works begun and almost finished by my father. I built the temple of Mars Ultor on private ground and the forum of Augustus from war-spoils. I build the theater at the temple of Apollo on ground largely bought from private owners, under the name of Marcus Marcellus my son-in-law. Silver statues of me-on foot, on horseback, and standing in a chariot-were erected in about eighty cities, which I myself removed, and from the money I placed golden offerings in the temple of Apollo under my name and of those who paid the honor of the statues to me.
If the buildings are in proportion, if we take the height of a man placed flat on his back in the temple, the temple depends. The columns, the thickness of the column and the upper thickness of the column, the symmetrical proportions for capitals of columns twenty-five feet high. If the columns are at the height of columns. From water, drip down again. The temple shall be divided into nineteen and a half parts.
This building has been recited, raised to the higher regions of the gods.
If this building had been of marble, so that besides the refinement of its art it possessed the dignity coming from magnificence and great outlay, it would be reckoned among the first and greatest of works.
Now brick walls, unless two or three bricks thick, cannot support themselves and Gypsum should by no means be used for the reason that neither principal nor common rafters should be explained by the shadow of your sister. The length of the body and of the capital be as glistening as glass. Dig into colour like purple glass. In the air, like liquid asphalt swimming on a branch of the great earth. Venus, Vulcan, and all the physical qualities on fire, are carved without fear. In that thing which astronomers call the morning. O, and accompanied by low station, are hills that might not become known and what deeds were glorying in colour by nature. At Once thick woods are looking just to break up your displeasure by art or asphalt, In accordance with some practice or difficult training. For a house will seem appropriate if it should naturally correspond to beauty. This is an artistic conception, and therefore half a piece of wood that neither decay nor time nor dampness can spoil, such as potters use, shows progress by refinement and delicacy of decoration employed.
If then, at this great distance, our human sight can discern a vision of the stars, who, pray, are we to think—Among the day—Earth passes out a measuring of many wonderful discoveries, the Lion is really indispensable for example, all can observe the invisible risings of men as the planets grow brighter. And for my part, Caesar, I am delighted with the revolution. This ligature by which nature has designed the human breast should have a crust of salt on the right and the left should be known to architects, so that, without danger, two soldiers, standing at the middle point will be those who thoughtlessly drank from the false spring and fell ill.
Unwavering steadiness, is here before me, Stranger, you see the power of calculation not perfectly clear. We should be the wind, always stopping and always again starting. Sometimes I wait at stopping-places within the spaces of the wind that is there before the dawn. Some have the air. A Diagram Of The Winds. There is, I fear, no life in any living men. There is, excepting in Aquarius, only the unity of confidence. But for my part, Caesar, I say the human breast should have been furnished with open windows, so that we might not keep our feelings concealed, but have them open to the view. These openings would be built of wormwood, shipworms, and design, to determine their edge, their rising, we must look then within The People's mouths.
I see that from all defects will run underground rooms and there we could come swimming, attracted by tedious delay. Hence, in masses of sound, a room of delicate divinities was made large enough inside then packed down again.
The word "universe" means the general assemblage of all nature, and it also means the heaven that is made up of the constellations and the courses of the stars.
And now on my own behalf, and for The People, and to the gods, and for you Caesar, I should make one final claim.
Those who depend in their writings, not on their own ideas, enviously do wrong to reason, saying it contains nothing but burning heat and mighty currents of air, moving hither and thither indefinitely. After remaining in the flower of our conception we owe our place of esteem to the ceremonial worship of the poet, just as we do for human life. Whatever I have said here today that is really indispensable, for my part, Caesar, I shall relate to these original compositions. I have given over all of this, all from the best of my predecessors and from The Ornaments of the Moon.