In today’s society, we take architecture for granted. It is everywhere today, but in ancient Greece, it was far rarer. Churches, cathedrals, temples, statues, and big hotels are all examples of modern architecture. Similarly, in ancient Greece there were temples, amphitheaters, and sports arenas; however, they weren’t everywhere like they are today. Today there isn’t one architectural element that every building has in common; though, there was in ancient Greece. Columns were a defining part of Greek architecture and used in the building of their temples, a central structure of their society.
Ancient Greek architects created three different orders of classical architecture, which are primarily recognized by the style of columns they used. An order is a combination of a specific style of column with its base and the entablature it supports. The first order created was the Doric order. It has fluted, tapered columns, with no base and a simple capital at the top. One example of the Doric order is the famous Parthenon, which housed the statue of Athena.
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The second order the Greeks developed was the Ionic Order. These columns are slimmer and straighter with a base at the bottom and a capital that is decorated with scrolls. The Temple of Artemis, which has been named one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, is an example of the Ionic Order. The third and last order developed was the Corinthian Order. It was similar to the Ionic but had additional acanthus and fern leaves next to the scrolls on its capital. An impressive example of this is the Temple of Olympian Zeus. Columns are used frequently throughout Ancient Greek architecture but are most commonly seen in the structure of their temples.
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