Professionalism is political. This book offers a new assessment of the Roman architect Vitruvius and his treatise, On Architecture, dedicated to Augustus in the 20s BCE. Once reviled by scholars, Vitruvius emerges as an imperial expert par excellence when read alongside literary coevals 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. The book 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.