What Type of Columns Did Ancient Greece Have?

Ancient Greece, known for its rich history and influential culture, also left behind an architectural legacy that continues to awe and inspire us today. One of the key elements of Greek architecture was the use of columns, which played a vital role in supporting structures and creating a sense of grandeur. Let’s explore the different types of columns found in ancient Greece.

Doric Columns

The Doric order is the oldest and simplest style of column used by the ancient Greeks. These columns are characterized by their sturdy and robust appearance. They have no base and stand directly on the stylobate, which is the top step of the temple platform.

One distinctive feature of Doric columns is their capital, which consists of a plain, circular cushion-like structure called an echinus topped with a square abacus. The shaft itself is fluted with vertical grooves that give it a sense of strength and solidity.

Ionic Columns

The Ionic order emerged later than the Doric order and is known for its more delicate and elegant appearance. These columns are taller and slimmer than Doric columns and often feature flutes that are more closely spaced.

Unlike the plain capital of the Doric order, Ionic columns have a more decorative capital featuring volutes – scroll-like ornaments resembling spiral curls on each side. The abacus in this order is typically curved rather than square.

Corinthian Columns

The Corinthian order is the most elaborate and ornate style among all Greek columns. It originated during the Hellenistic period in Ancient Greece but became more prominent during the Roman Empire.

Corinthian columns are slender like Ionic columns but are distinguished by their intricately designed capitals. The capital features acanthus leaves arranged in a decorative manner, often accompanied by small scrolls or volutes. This intricate design adds a touch of grandeur and sophistication to the column.


The ancient Greeks’ mastery of architectural principles is evident in their use of columns. Whether it’s the sturdy and robust Doric columns, the delicate and elegant Ionic columns, or the ornate Corinthian columns, each style contributes to the overall beauty and magnificence of Greek architecture.

By understanding the different types of columns used in ancient Greece, we can appreciate their significance in creating structures that have stood the test of time and continue to captivate us with their timeless beauty.