1. L. VITRUVIUS L. L. CERDO ARCHITECTUS is an inscription twice repeated on the arch of the Gavii at Verona. (Gruter, p. clxxxvi.; Orelli, Inscr. Lat. Sel.
The genuineness of these inscriptions, which has been questioned, is successfully defended by Maffei (Veron. Illust.
pt. ii. p. 20, pt. iii. p. 90, Art. Crit. Lapid.
There is no precise indication of the time at which Vitruvius Cerdo lived ; but it is most probable that he was much subsequent to the celebrated writer on architecture, Vitruvius Pollio. We mention him, however, first, in order to dispose at once of the question as to the identity of these two architects, which was raised by Andreas Alciatus, who attempted to support his belief in their identity by changing Pollio,
which is the name of Vitruvius in all the MSS., into Pellio,
which he explained, not as a cognomen,
but as a designation, synonymous with Cerdo.
It really seems almost superfluous to refute an opinion which rests on such an argument alone; but, to remove all doubt, it may suffice to remark, firstly, that the praenomina,
as well as the cognomina,
of the two artists are different, the one being Lucius,
and the other Marcus,
by the unanimous consent of the MSS.; secondly, that, whereas Vitruvius Cerdo was a freedman, as we learn from the inscription (L. L. = Lucii Libertus
), Vitruvius Pollio was a man of free birth and liberal education, as we are informed by himself; and, thirdly, that the arch erected by Vitruvins Cerdo exhibits an arrangement which is strongly condemned by Vitruvius Pollio, namely, the placing of dentils under modillions.
This arrangement belongs to the period when the Roman architects had given themselves up to that tendency, of which Vitruvius complains, to neglect altogether the more minute precepts of the Greeks.
It is seen in the triumphal arches of Titus, Nerva, and Constantine, in the portico of Nerva, and in the baths of Diocletian.
The inscription also refutes the opinion which has been thrown out, evidently as a mere guess, that Vitruvius Cerdo was the freedman of Vitruvius Pollio, for then, of course, we should have had M. L. instead of L. L.