For the exercises of „Friends with an old Book“ I am concerned with the book named „La Nouvelle Maniere de Fortifier les Places“ written by François Blondel. So it is quite obvious that I first searched for the word fortification in the Xenotheka library. I became aware of a book called „Architectura militaris nova et aucta“ written by Adam Freytag. Another word I was looking up was empire. In the GTA course I already learned, that Vitruvius wrote in the first and the sixth book about the connection between architecture and empire.
In Book 1, chapter 3 and Book 6, chapter 1, Vitruvius writes about how important architecture is for an empire. He dedicates his writings to Augustus. In a very similar way the writings of François Blondel are structured. He dedicated his texts to the French king.
Vitruvius is convinced that architecture can be used as an instrument of power. It goes even further. Architecture is one of the building block of an empire an it’s as important as an army. If these two aspects come together, an empire can be protected in the present and preserved for the future. Vitruvius’ thoughts are reference very often by François Blondel. He makes suggestions how to build machines and buildings, protecting the empire (France).
The Prussian engineer and mathematician Adam Freytag was specialized in building war structures. His work „Architectura militaris nova et aucta“ is called the first compilation of characteristics of the dutch Manier construction. I think, Freytag’s work can be very good compared to François Blondel’s books. They lived at the same time and worked at almost identical projects. Side by side, Freytag’s and Blondel’s drawings look very similar. The only difference between the tow is, that Freytag worked for de dutch empire and Blondel for the French. It’s quite interesting comparing this two engineers’ approaches on war constructions during the 17th century.
Adam Freytag’s wall construction (top) compared to François Blondel’s approach (bottom)