The first defined set of architectural norms was introduced in Ancient Greek architecture, which went on to influence Roman architecture and, as a result, architecture to this day. The Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian architectural orders emerged in ancient Greece at the beginning of what is now known as the Classical period.
The Greeks were excellent architects. They invented three distinct types of columns, and their designs are still employed by artists today because they are so beautiful. Even in ancient Sparta, you might see these stunning columns. Greek columns supported the roofs, temples, and buildings of ancient Greece.
Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian were the three main architectural styles used by the Greeks to build their temples and administrative structures. Style (also known as “orders”) were shown in the columns they employed. Fluting was a term used to describe the grooves on the sides of most of the columns. This added depth and proportion to the columns.
Doric – An important phase in Mediterranean architecture occurred when monumental construction switched from temporary materials—like wood—to permanent ones—namely stone—with the Doric order. The Doric order is known for its plain, unadorned column capitals and columns that rest directly on the temple’s stylobate without the need for a base. Trigylphi and metopes adorn the frieze of the Doric entablature, which is made up of a series of vertical plaques divided into three sections. Despite their size, the columns have a sturdiness and elegance to them.
Ionic – In contrast to Doric columns, Ionic columns were shorter and featured a base at the base. Each side of the capital was adorned with scrolls. A number of ancient Greek villages were located in the Ionian region of central Anatolia, where the Ionic order arose. In contrast to the Doric order, the Ionic capital has a base that supports the column and is decorated with volutes, scroll-like embellishments. At some point in the sixth century BCE, Ionian culture spread to mainland Greece, where the Ionic order took hold. The engraved votive column from Naxos, which dates back to the seventh century BCE, is one of the earliest specimens of the Ionic capital.
Corinthian- The Corinthian was the most visually appealing of the three orders. scrolls and the acanthus plant’s leaves adorned the capital. During the later stages of the Greek civilization, the Corinthian order became prominent and was greatly imitated by the Romans. With its ornate, carved capital that combines even more vegetal elements than the Ionic order does, the Corinthian order stands out. Capital is surrounded by the stylised, carved leaves of an acanthus plant, with the abacus at its base. The Corinthian order was preferred by the Romans, presumably because of its thin characteristics.
The construction process in ancient Greece was quite meticulous. So, there were a lot of regulations in place to ensure that the structures were identical. Additionally, these guidelines served to ensure that the buildings were secure and robust. There are hundreds of well-preserved Greek buildings still standing, despite their age of thousands of years.
According to the standards that Greek architects followed, the columns might be as wide as they were tall and as many as there were structures. There were a variety of orders, each with a distinct architectural style, that arose over time.
The Different Types of Greek Structures
In ancient Greece, temples were the most popular type of public construction. A temple’s primary function was to house a religious artifact. Depending on the size of the statue and the number of visitors, temples could be huge or small.
Stoas resembled temples in many ways, but they were much longer and often had two or three levels. Vast meeting spots like market areas and public offices were the reason these buildings were so large. People could roam around and meet new people in these places.
Theaters were a vital part of Greek society, therefore they had a big impact on the cities they were located in. To allow spectators to enjoy the action, many of these venues were carved into hillside terrain. Some theaters in major cities can hold up to tens of thousands of people at a time.
A smaller version of a theater, an assembly hall served the same purpose. There were crucial town meetings held here.
Schools still have gymnasiums, which were first built by the Greeks. Wrestling arenas and running tracks may be found in the ancient Greek gymnasia, both of which were open to the public. The gymnasia also included lecture halls and other training areas for Greek athletes and warriors.
Greek Architectural Structures with Columns
1. The Parthenon
The Parthenon, erected in the 5th century BCE to honor the Greek goddess Athena, is the most famous example of Doric columns. The Parthenon is a peripheral Doric temple since it has columns on both sides of the construction, not just at the front of the building. The exterior Doric columns of the Parthenon measure 6.2 feet in diameter and 34.1 feet high, with a total square footage of 228 x 101.4 feet.
2. The Temple of Hephaestus
In 449 to 415 BCE, the Doric columns of the Temple of Hephaestus were made almost entirely out of marble.
3. The Temple of the Delians
It is located on the island of Delos and is an incomplete temple. This building’s columns are not fluted and sit on the ground without a base, making it unique.
4. The Heraion of Samos
The Heraion of Samos was a colossal temple built by the architect Rhoikos between 570 and 560 BCE to honor the goddess Hera. It was one of the first great Ionic buildings to be devastated by an earthquake, leaving only one Ionic column intact.
5. The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
Temple of Artemis at Ephesus was an Ionic structure, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. One of the largest temples ever built, known as Artemesium, the temple was also noted for its amazing artworks that adorned it. By the time the Goths invaded in 262 CE, the temple had been destroyed.
6. The Temple of Olympian Zeus
For ages, the Temple of Olympian Zeus was referred to as Olympian, and it was finally completed by the Roman Emperor Hadrian during his reign (131 CE). The temple was one of the largest ever built in the ancient world because of its extraordinarily tall columns and ambitious layout. For the temple, the Corinthian columns were 17.25 meters high, with each one having 20 flutes that were 1.7 meters in diameter. Corinthian caps crafted from two enormous pieces of marble topped each of the 104 original columns.
7. The Temple of Athena Nike
The Athena Nike Temple in Athens was built in 420 BC. A wooden statue of Athena Nike, a wingless Greek goddess of wisdom and protection, was crafted for the purpose of housing it. The east side has four ionic columns, while the west side has four.