Three distinct orders prevailed in ancient Greece architecture. The Doric, the Ionic and the Corinthian were unique styles invented by the ancient Greeks. These orders were later adopted by the Romans. All these three orders had three separate parts of the base, shaft and the capital. However, the Doric Ancient Greek Columns had no base. The shaft is composed of several pieces unlike that capital and the base which are one whole piece.

Ancient Greek Columns

The Doric style was the simplest and the oldest among the three. It was developed by one of the Greek races, the Dorians. The Doric columns had a crown or capital made of a circle topped by a square.

The shaft had twenty sides. Working well horizontally on buildings, they were powerful and masculine looking. the echinus is convex and the abacus is square. The height of the column is known to be approximately five and one half the width of the column.

Ancient Greek Columns

Doric Pillars

The Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens is the most famous from the Doric order. Doric order was used in the mainland and western Greece. Vitruvius, a practicing architect of the ancient times, reports that the Doric has a basis of sturdy male body proportions while Ionic depends on “more graceful” female body proportions.

The Temple of Hera in Olympia, built after 600 BC is the oldest well-preserved temple of Doric architecture. Hephaisteion, in Athens, is another good example of the Doric order.

Ancient Greek Columns

Ionic Pillars

The ionic style was known for its elegance. The shafts were taller than the Doric ones. It originated in Ionia in 6th century BC. More artistic and feminine in nature, they are characterized by the scroll pattern of their capital and the base that separates the shaft from the ground.

These Ancient Greek Columns are slender and the shafts are fluted. A column of the Ionic order is nine or lower diameters. The shaft itself is eight diameters high. the major features of the Ionic order are the volumes of its capital. The temple of Hera on Samos was a good model of iconic figures.

Ancient Greek Columns

Types of Roman Columns: Corinthian columns

Corinthian was more a fancy style. This style was largely visible among the Romans. Decorated with acanthus leaves, the Corinthian was the most elegant and elaborate of the three orders. This style of an architectural column was adapted in the middle of the fourth century BC.

The floral leaf design at the top made it easier to identify the Corinthian types. The name “Corinthian” is derived from the Greek city of Corinth. It also had an entasis, a curve tapering in the column shaft.

The entasis gives the illusion to the human eye that the column is straight which it actually is not. The Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens built in 335 to 334 BC is the oldest known building from the Corinthian order. The temple of Olympian Zeus from Athens is another good work.