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.