CHAP. 49.—WALLS OF BRICK. THE METHOD OF MAKING BRICKS.
Earth for making bricks should never be extracted from a
sandy or gravelly soil, and still less from one that is stony;
but from a stratum that is white and cretaceous, or else impregnated
with red earth.1
If a sandy soil must be employed
for the purpose, it should at least be male2
sand, and no other.
The spring is the best season for making bricks, as at midsummer
they are very apt to crack. For building, bricks two
years old are the only ones that are approved of; and the
wrought material of them should be well macerated before
they are made.
There are three different kinds of bricks; the Lydian, which
is in use with us, a foot-and-a-half in length by a foot in
breadth; the tetradoron; and the pentadoron; the word "doron"
being used by the ancient Greeks to signify the palm3
too, their word "doron" meaning a gift, because it is the
hand that gives.—These last two kinds, therefore, are named
respectively from their being four and five palms in length,
the breadth being the same. The smaller kind is used in
Greece for private buildings, the larger for the construction of
public edifices. At Pitane,4
in Asia, and in the cities of Maxilua
and Calentum in Farther Spain, there are bricks5
which float in water, when dry; the material being a sort of
pumice-earth, extremely good for the purpose when it can be
made to unite. The Greeks have always preferred walls of
brick, except in those cases where they could find silicious
stone for the purposes of building: for walls of this nature
will last for ever, if they are only built on the perpendicular.
Hence it is, that the Greeks have built their public edifices and
the palaces of their kings of brick; the wall at Athens, for
example, which faces Mount Hymettus; the Temples of
Jupiter and Hercules at Patræ,6
although the columns and
architraves in the interior are of stone; the palace of King
Attalus at Tralles; the palace of Crœsus at Sardes, now converted
into an asylum7
for aged persons; and that of King
Mausolus at Halicarnassus; edifices, all of them, still in existence.
Muræna and Varro, in their ædileship, had a fine fresco painting,
on the plaster of a wall at Lacedæmon, cut away from
the bricks, and transported in wooden frames to Rome, for the
purpose of adorning the Comitium. Admirable as the work
was of itself, it was still more admired after being thus transferred.
In Italy also there are walls of brick, at Arretium
At Rome, there are no buildings of this description,
because a wall only a foot-and-a-half in thickness
would not support more than a single story; and by public
ordinance it has been enacted that no partition should exceed
that thickness; nor, indeed, does the peculiar construction of
our party-walls admit of it.