What 3 Types of Columns Were Used in Ancient Greece?

In ancient Greece, columns were an essential architectural element used in the construction of temples, public buildings, and even private homes. The Greeks developed three distinct styles of columns, each with its own unique characteristics and proportions. These styles are known as Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian.

Doric Columns:
The Doric column is the oldest and simplest of the three styles. It has a sturdy and robust appearance that reflects the Greek’s emphasis on strength and simplicity.

The columns are typically fluted with 20 vertical grooves that run from top to bottom. The top of the column is known as the capital and is plain with a square abacus that supports the weight of the entablature above it. The entablature consists of three parts: the architrave (the lowest part), the frieze (a decorative band), and the cornice (the uppermost part).


The Characteristics of Doric Columns

  • Simplest style
  • Robust appearance
  • Fluted with 20 vertical grooves
  • Plain capital with a square abacus
  • Entablature consists of architrave, frieze, and cornice

Ionic Columns:
The Ionic column is more slender than the Doric style but still maintains its strength. It has a base that sits on a platform or step rather than directly on the ground.

The columns are taller than their Doric counterparts and have more delicate fluting with 24 grooves. The capital is decorated with volutes (scroll-like shapes) on either side that are said to represent either ram’s horns or women’s hair.


The Characteristics of Ionic Columns

  • Slender appearance
  • Taller than Doric columns
  • Base sits on a platform or step
  • 24 delicate flutes
  • Capital decorated with volutes

Corinthian Columns:
The Corinthian column is the most ornate of the three styles and was developed later than the Doric and Ionic columns. It has a slender, fluted shaft and a highly decorated capital that features acanthus leaves and scrolls. The Corinthian style was often used for more decorative purposes, such as in the interiors of buildings or as part of a composite order (a combination of all three styles).


The Characteristics of Corinthian Columns

  • The most ornate style
  • Developed later than Doric and Ionic columns
  • Slender, fluted shaft
  • Highly decorated capital with acanthus leaves and scrolls
  • Often used for decorative purposes or as part of a composite order

In conclusion, the three types of columns used in ancient Greece – Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian – each have their unique characteristics that reflect the Greek’s emphasis on strength, simplicity, and decorative beauty. These styles have influenced architecture throughout history, and their legacy can still be seen in modern buildings today.