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From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS
IX. CLASSICAL CIVILIZATION
» Contents of this ChapterPage 28
CHARACTERISTICS OF GREEK ARCHITECTURE
The existing monuments of Greek architecture—chiefly ruined temples-- afford some idea of its leading characteristics. The building materials were limestone and white marble. The blocks of stone were not bound together by cement, but by metal clamps which held them in a firm grip. It was usual to color the ornamental parts of a temple and the open spaces that served as a background for sculpture. The Greeks did not employ the principle of the arch, in order to cover large spaces with a vaulted ceiling. Their temples and other public buildings had only flat ceilings, resting on long rows of columns. The column probably developed from the wooden post or tree trunk used in timber construction. The capital at the top of the column originated in the square wooden slab which supported the heavy beam of the roof.
THE DORIC COLUMN
The two Greek orders of architecture, Doric and Ionic,  are distinguished mainly by differences in the treatment of the column. The Doric column has no base of its own. The sturdy shaft is grooved lengthwise with some twenty flutings. The capital is a circular band of stone capped by a square block, all without decoration. The mainland of Greece was the especial home of the Doric order. This was also the characteristic style of southern Italy and Sicily.
 The so-called Corinthian order differs from the Ionic only in its capital.
Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy