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Desgodets, Antoine Babuty, 1653-1728 / Les edifices antiques de Rome
(1771)

Preface to this edition,   p. [iv]


Page [iv]

PR EFACE 
TO THIS EDITION. 
E S G O D E T Z is a name -too well known to the proteiors oi larc itectur
  ,, n ,,l 
reverenced by all lovers of the art, to require at this day either account
or encomium. 
Himfelf has afforded the one; his works have long precluded the other. Thefe
have 
almoft a century diffufed through Europe, and thence through the remoter
parts of the globe, thofe 
mftet--pieces which'fpoke Rome at the height of art, when of empire; and
denying their remains 
any farther decay, have faved them from the power of time, as models to all
future generations. 
But, though this colle&ion 'of ancient edifices be more complete and
more accurate than any 
offered before or fince to the world; it may feem extraordinary that, during
the laft fifty years, 
while genius and diligence have, conjun6tly or feverally, produce d  ore
publiLations of architelure 
than in any equal period, neither one nor the other fhould have attempted
to preferve 'the preferver 
of antiquity, who had alone compiled her moft perfe& models, and rendered
them the objeds of 
continued admiration, by reducing them to certain and eafy pradice. 
Indeed, the vafi expence of renewing by various hands,, and the danger of
thus renewing inac- 
curately, fo great and fo delicate a work; or the herculean labour fuch renewal
propofed to any 
fingle undertaker, who, if equal to the tafk, could generally employ himfelf
with much eafe to 
more immediate advantage; either fuffices to account for the fcarcity of
this book fo many years 
pafi, much more for its never appearing in our language; though conflantly
in requefL as the 
flandard of ancient and modern art. 
Aware of the danger, yet undeterred by the toil, the prefent editor was nine
years ago-'perfuaded 
fingly to undertake what could only be executed with propriety by a fingle
perfon. But, whereas 
Mr. Defgodetz himfelf meafured and defigned every part of each ftrudure,
and only fuperintended 
the engraving; the editor, depending on an exadnefs never contefted, has
inviolably preferved both 
meafures and defigns, here and there correding fuch little errors as the
author's revifal pointed out, 
or fuch as human accuracy had been infufficient to avoid; and has thus executed
almoft entirely 
with his own hand the engraver's part, which will perhaps be found even more
accurate than in 
the original publication. 
The defigns have not only been traced from the original, but every part examined
by the proper 
fcale ; and that the author's meafures might be exa&ly retained, the
editor has not deviated from 
the'Paris-foot, 'Whic'sto the englifh as.7   12.2.000, or exceeds it fomewhat
more than 
three fourths of an inch; according to the fcale on the firft plate, by which
the french is eafily 
reduced into britifh meafure. 
Not has labour alone been beftowed on this edition: nothing has been fpared
that could improve it. 
The defcriptionis, 'explanations, &c. are given as well in the author's
own words, as in an englifh 
tranflation, on oppofite pages for the better comparifon, and to accommodate
readers of every,, untry; 
to none of whom it can be the lefs pleating that, while the original text
has been facredly preferved, 
the ancient is changed into modern orthography. 
If, in fine, the plates and the letter-prefs, the french and the englifh,
the materials and execution 
of every part, fhall prove worthy the allowed excellence and utility of the
original; the editor will 
think his every'expence happily beflowed, and his utmoft ambition will be
crowned. 


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