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Ancient Columns - The Doric Order

By Edited May 22, 2015 0 0

Doric order is one of the organizational systems of Greek architectural culture envisioned in the construction of ancient columns. Unlike columns constructed in accordance with other four styles, the Doric column is well-known for its uncomplicated structure and neat appearance. Many historians attribute its severe and somewhat simplified look to the culture of ancient invaders; it sort of lacks the elegance and the attention to details Ionic columns displayed. Columns, as architectural designs, were used in the construction of temples, official buildings, and houses of prominent community members. While all these columns were widely used for ornamental purposes, they also had their pragmatic value in supporting buildings' roofs.

The Structure of Doric Columns
The upper part of a column is called capital, the lower part is called base, and the area supported by them is called entablature. The Doric order includes the so-called metopes featuring illustrations of battles and other important events. The triglyphs separating subsequent metopes were quite unique and featured by columns exclusively of the Doric style. Some historical scenes might be depicted in the area of the pediment, too. Doric columns are, probably, the simplest in decorative terms. Their top, the so-called capital, is plain while the base is multiple including several layers or levels. This design was quite commonly used in mainland Greece.

Examples of Doric Columns
Many architectural examples of the Doric style survived till the present day. While most of them might be partially destroyed or, literally, in debris - many Doric columns preserved their original forms. The temple of Athena Parthenos, the "Parthenon" built in the 5th century BC, is now on the Acropolis in Athens. One of the largest temples dedicated to Apollo, "the Temple of the Delians", is situated on the island of Delos. Other examples include the biggest Doric column in the world - Lord Hill's Column in Shrewsbury, England.

The Aftermath
Greek revival was a part of Neoclassicism that spread its popularity across Europe and, even more significantly, America. Columns typical for the Greek Revival Style were used in the design of the United States Capitol and the Bank of Pennsylvania – to name just a few. Greek revival style became popular at the beginning of 19th century and was widely used in public institutions signifying solid service, moral conduct of highest standards, and reliability. From this moment on, the Doric columns themselves serve no practical purposes but, rather, fulfill decorative and conceptual functions.

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