Extract from THE TEN BOOKS ON ARCHITECTURE
by Vitruvius (1st Century BC, Harvard University Press, 1914)
“Writing on architecture is not like history or poetry. History is captivating to the reader from its very nature, for it holds out the hope of various novelties. Poetry, with its measures and metrical feet, its refinement in the arrangement of words, and the delivery in verse of sentiments expressed by several characters to one another, delights the feeling of the reader, and leads him smoothly on to the very end of the work.
But this cannot be the case with architectural treatises, because those terms which originate in the peculiar needs of the art, give rise to obscurity of ideas from the unusual nature of the language. Hence, while the things themselves are not well known, and their names not in common use, if besides this the principles are described in a very diffuse fashion without any attempt at conciseness and explanation in a few pellucid sentences, such fullness and amplitude of treatment will only be a hindrance, and will give the reader nothing but indefinite notions.
Therefore, when I mention obscure terms, and the symmetrical proportions of members of buildings I shall give brief explanations, so that they may be committed to memory, for thus expressed, the mind will be enabled to understand them more easily.”