The ancient Greeks invented three types of columns. The Doric style is the most plain. DESCRIPTION: Of the three columns found in Greece,Doric columns are the simplest. They have a capital(the top, or crown) made of a circle topped by a square.The shaft (the tall part of the column) is plain and has20 sides. There is no base in the Doric order. The Doricorder is very plain, but powerful-looking in its design.Doric, like most Greek styles, works well horizontallyon buildings, thats why it was so good with the longrectangular buildings made by the Greeks. The areaabove the column, called the frieze [pronounced"freeze"], had simple patterns. Above the columns arethe metopes and triglyphs. The metope [pronounced"met-o-pee"] is a plain, smooth stone section betweentriglyphs. Sometimes the metopes had statues of heroesor gods on them. The triglyphs are a pattern of 3vertical lines between the metopes.
There are many examples of ancient Doric buildings.Perhaps the most famous one is the Parthenon in Athens,which is probably the most famous and most studiedbuilding on Earth. Buildings built even now borrow someparts of the Doric order.The Hephaisteion, in Athens, is another goodexample of the Doric order. In this picture, you canclearly see the parts of the Doric order describedabove and shown in the illustration to the left.
The Ionic design is famous for its scrolls. DESCRIPTION: Ionic shafts were taller than Doricones. This makes the columns look slender. Theyalso had flutes, which are lines carved into themfrom top to bottom. The shafts also had a specialcharacteristic: entasis, which is a little bulge in thecolumns make the columns look straight, even at adistance [because since you would see the buildingfrom eye level, the shafts would appear to getnarrower as they rise, so this bulge makes up forthat - so it looks straight to your eye but it reallyisnt !] . The frieze is plain. The bases were large andlooked like a set of stacked rings. Ionic capitalsconsist of a scrolls above the shaft. The Ionic style isa little more decorative than the Doric
The Temple of Athena Nike in Athens, shown above, isone of the most famous Ionic buildings in the world. It islocated on the Acropolis, very close to the Parthenon(shown in the Doric section above).
The Corinthian style is quite fancy.DESCRIPTION: The Corinthian order isthe most decorative and is usually the onemost modern people like best. Corinthianalso uses entasis to make the shafts lookstraight. The Corinthian capitals haveflowers and leaves below a small scroll.The shaft has flutes and the base is like theIonian. Unlike the Doric and Ioniancornices, which are at a slant, theCorinthian roofs are flat.
The Temple of the Sybil in Rome is agood example of the Corinthianorder. The Romans used theCorinthian order much more thandid the Greeks.This building is the Charlotte City Hall.City Hall has pairs of Corinthian columnsand the typical flat Corinthian roof. Thecoumns have entasis. If you go see City Hallin person, the shafts will look straight toyour eye, but they arent! Designs like this,which are inspired by ancient buildings, areknow as neoclassical.
If you had lived in any ancient Greek city-state,even in Sparta, you would have seen these 3designs all over town. Today, these column designs are used onbuildings all over the world Source:http://www.cmhpf.org/kids/dictionary/ClassicalOrders.html
The Parthenon, or the Temple ofAthena was built between 447 and438 BC in the Doric style under theleadership of Pericles. TheAcropolis had been the site of anolder temple and other monumentswhich had been destroyed by thePersians when the people ofAthens evacuated the city. Whenthe Persians were defeatedcolumns from the older buildingswere used in the construction ofthe Acropolis walls as a reminderof what Athens had suffered. TheParthenon was designed by thearchitects Ictinos and Callicrates,built of local marble from MountPendeli and build by a largenumber of sculpturers, masons,painters and other craftsmen.
The columns of the Parthenon supported a marble beam to whichwere attached the metopes, high relief sculptures of different subjectson each side. The eastern side of the building was a battle between theOlympian Gods and the giants. On the west are the Greeks battling theAmazons. On the north the scenes seem to be from the fall of Troy. Onthe south are battles between men and the centaurs. The trianglesections of the building were the pediments and contained about 50large statues which were carved and then hoisted up. According toPausanias, the east pediment showed the birth of Athena, the westshowed the contest between Athena and Poseidon over who wouldrule Athens and Attika. The statues were originally painted, but by thetime western Europeans had arrived the paint was long gone and formany years they believed that this was their normal state. In fact theidea of the Greeks having painted their statues seemed almost likesacrilege to the Europeans. The Parthenon frieze by Phideas wentaround the whole building was also carved in relief and is believed toshow the sacrifice of the daughters of Erechtheus, one of the foundingmyths of Athens and the subject of a lost play by Euripides. The mainfeature of the Parthenon was the giant statue of Athena which wasinside and has since disappeared. There were several other buildingson the Acropolis. The propylaea was the entranceway. To the rightwas the small temple of Athena Nike and to the left was theErechthion and the famous porch of the maidens.
The Parthenon and the other buildings of the Acropolis remained intact through the Romanconquests, when Athens was considered the cultural capital for the whole empire. The emperorAugustus built a small temple in front of the Parthenon and the Emperor Hadrian financed abuilding program said to be as ambitious as that of Pericles. When the Emperor Constantinedeclared Christianity as the official religion of the empire in the fourth century Athens wasconsidered pagan and in 529 the philosophy schools were closed, putting an end to the traditionsof classical Athens. When Alaric the Goth invaded the empire he spared Athens the plunderingand devastation that other cities in his path had experienced. According to the legend, he took thesun flashing on the bronze shield of the statue of Athena as a sign from God. In the 6th Centurythe Parthenon was converted to a Christian church and the east pediment torn down and many ofits sculptures defaced. When the crusaders who destroyed Constantinople occupied Athens theybegan a period of western rule and the Parthenon became the Roman Catholic Church of NotreDame. Finally during the Turkish occupation it was converted into a mosque and a minaret wasbuilt on the top. Except for the statue of Athena, the statues of the east pediment and the treasuresand statues in the interior, the building was still completely intact.
That changed on September 26 1687 when the Parthenon, which was being used by theTurks as a gunpowder magazine after the previous facility, the Propelea had beendestroyed when struck by lightning, was hit by a cannon from the Venetians who werelaying siege to the Acropolis. The whole building exploded, the roof blown off, sections ofcolumns blown down and many of the sculptures were destroyed. When the Turkssurrendered, the Venetian general Morosini decided to take back to Venice the survivingsculptures from the west pediment but in the effort the cables broke and they allshattered. He left on the Acropolis the ruins of the Parthenon with piles of marble fromthe statues and the building which were taken and used as building material or groundinto lime. After the Venetians left more of the Parthenon was torn town to be used asbuilding materials and even the lead core which held the columns together was extracted,melted down and used for bullets. By the eighteenth century travelers from westernEurope were buying sculpture which increased their value enough so they would not beused for lime. The Turks were happy to sell pieces of ancient buildings and statues thoughthey could not understand why anyone would want them. These pieces made their wayback to Europe. Most have disappeared but some of turned up in museums, privatecollections and in peoples gardens