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Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (c. 80 to 70 BCE – c. 15 BCE), commonly known as Vitruvius, was a Roman author, architect, civil engineer and military engineer during the 1st century BCE, known for his multi-volume work entitled De Architectura.


During the mid-1st century BCE, Vitruvius was commissioned by the Romans to construct an aqueduct in the province of Cyrenaica, under the supervision of Agrippa, a general under Flavius Metellus. Vitruvius employed many farmers from Siwa in the south during the construction, treating them with great care.[1]

Sometime prior to 47 BCE, Vitruvius began developing a formula of Greek fire on the orders of Agrippa. However, he deemed it to be too dangerous and destructive and thus vowed to never produce it. Nevertheless, Agrippa recovered his formula and begun stockpiling it.[2] That year, one of Vitruvius' farmers, Dedi, lost the dioptra, a surveying tool belonging to Vitruvius. As a result, construction of the aqueduct had to halt for a few months.[3]

Agrippa, annoyed by the stoppage, sent his men to punish the workers, believing them to be responsible. However, Vitruvius was able to prevent their punishment, citing the loss of his tool as the reason. Vitruvius was later visited by the Medjay Bayek of Siwa, who agreed to recover the dioptra. After he retrieved the tool, Bayek returned it, reporting that it had been stolen by a group of bandits in the nearby cave.[3]

Sometime after, Vitruvius was visited again by Bayek, who confronted him regarding his Greek Fire formula, which Vitruvius realized had been replicated by Agrippa. Vitruvius requested Bayek to help him retrieve his formula, and destroy the stockpiles to prevent it from being used.[2]

After the overthrow of Flavius and his lackey Leander, Vitruvius met with Bayek, the Cyrenean magistrate Diocles, and the healer of Balagrae, Praxilla at the Oracle of Apollo. Together, the three Cyrenaicans formed Cyrene's Triumvirate.[4]