Page:Vitruvius the Ten Books on Architecture.djvu/38

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

18

18


2. These variations in heat and the subsequent cooling off are harmful to the people living on such sites. The same conclusion may be reached in the case of inanimate things. For instance, no­body draws the light for covered wine rooms from the south or west, but rather from the north, since that quarter is never sub­ject to change but is always constant and unshifting. So it is with granaries: grain exposed to the sun's course soon loses its good quality, and provisions and fruit, unless stored in a place unex­posed to the sun's course, do not keep long.

3. For heat is a universal solvent, melting out of things their power of resistance, and sucking away and removing their natural strength with its fiery exhalations so that they grow soft, and hence weak, under its glow. We see this in the case of iron which, however hard it may naturally be, yet when heated thoroughly in a furnace fire can be easily worked into any kind of shape, and still, if cooled while it is soft and white hot, it hardens again with a mere dip into cold water and takes on its former quality.

4. We may also recognize the truth of this from the fact that in summer the heat makes everybody weak, not only in unhealthy but even in healthy places, and that in winter even the most un­healthy districts are much healthier because they are given a so­lidity by the cooling off. Similarly, persons removed from cold countries to hot cannot endure it but waste away; whereas those who pass from hot places to the cold regions of the north, not only do not suffer in health from the change of residence but even gain by it.

5. It appears, then, that in founding towns we must beware of districts from which hot winds can spread abroad over the inhab­itants. For while all bodies are composed of the four elements (in Greek στοιχεία), that is, of heat, moisture, the earthy, and air, yet there are mixtures according to natural temperament which make up the natures of all the different animals of the world, each after its kind.

6. Therefore, if one of these elements, heat, becomes predom­inant in any body whatsoever, it destroys and dissolves all the