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John Matthew Oksanish
Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC 27109-6000)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2013 – 7/31/2013

A New Assessment of the Roman architect Vitruvius, and his Treatise, on Architecture

My book project, Vitruvian Man, offers a new assessment of the Roman architect Vitruvius and his treatise, On Architecture. Once reviled by scholars as a half-witted proletarian, Vitruvius emerges as well-read and politically able when read alongside literary coevals (e.g., Horace) through an intertextual lens. No building of Vitruvius' name survives from antiquity, but his treatise remains a formidable literary construction that partakes of Rome's vibrant textual culture. Chapter 4 (the stipend project) explores Vitruvius' portrait of the ideal architect as an imposing "Vitruvian man" at the dawn of Augustus' empire. In direct dialogue with his republican model, Cicero's ideal orator, the architect embodies a distinctly imperial civic ethos in which technically skilled partisans supersede old elites as guarantors of Augustan authority. Vitruvius promises to shape not only the emperor's legacy with architecture, but also the notion of a Roman citizen through his ideal architect.