Monday, August 4, 2008

Notes on Ancient Greek Architecture

By the end of the 7th century BC, two major architectural styles, or orders, emerged that dominated Greek architecture for centuries: Doric and Ionic. The Doric order developed on the Greek mainland and in southern Italy and Sicily, while the Ionic order developed a little later than the Doric order, in Ionia and on some of the Greek islands. In addition to Doric and Ionic, a third order, the Aeolic, developed in northwestern Asia Minor, but died out by the end of the Archaic period, and a fourth, the Corinthian, emerged late in the 5th century BC.

No matter what order it belonged to, a temple facade was made up of three main parts, the steps, the columns, and the entablature (the part that rested on the columns). Each of these parts also had three parts.  

There were three steps leading into the temple, the topmost of which was called the stylobate, and each column typically consisted of a base, shaft, and capital. The entablature consisted of an architrave (plain horizontal beam resting on the columns), a frieze, which corresponded to the beams supporting the ceiling, and a cornice, a set of decorative moldings that overhung the parts below.

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