What were some characteristics of Greek architecture and art? - Ancient Greek Architecture

GREEK ARCHITECTURE - Classic or columnar architecture is divided into the Greek and Roman styles, and each style comprises several orders of architecture; the Grecian orders are the Doric, the Ionic, and the Corinthian, and many examples of each of these orders are still extant in Greece and her colonies:—Asia Minor, Southern Italy, and Sicily. 

What were some characteristics of Greek architecture and art? - Ancient Greek Architecture

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Еxcerpt from the book: A Manual of HISTORIC ORNAMENT TREATING UPON THE EVOLUTION, TRADITION AND DEVELOPMENT OF ARCHITECTURE AND OTHER APPLIED ARTS. PREPARED FOR THE USE OF STUDENTS AND CRAFTSMEN.
BY RICHARD GLAZIER, Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects; Head Master of the Municipal School of Art, Manchester, LONDON: 1899

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From a comparison of these buildings certain constructive and decorative features are observed to be present, and thence they are considered as the characteristics of the style or order, which comprises the base, (except in the Grecian Doric, which has no base) column and capital, and the Entablature, which consists of the Architrave, Frieze, and Cornice. 

The proportions of these orders are generally determined by the lower diameter of the column which is divided into 2 modules or 60 parts; the height of the column always including the base and capital. 

The DORIC order was used for the early Greek temples from B.C. 600 and culminated in the Parthenon B.C. 438. The Columns in this order are 4½ to 6 diameters in height with 20 shallow flutings with intermediate sharp arrises; the Capital is half a diameter in height and is composed of an echinus or ovolo moulding with annulets or deep channellings below, and a large square abacus above. The Architrave is plain; the Frieze is enriched by rectangular blocks, with 3 vertical channellings in the face, termed triglyphs, alternately with square metopes which were frequently sculptured. The Cornice, composed of simple mouldings, and enriched with mutules over the centre of the triglyphs and metopes, projects considerably beyond the face of the frieze.

The IONIC order has columns of from 9 to 9½ diameters in height, with 24 flutings divided by narrow fillets; the base is half a diameter in height and composed of a plinth, torus, fillet, cavetto, fillet, torus, and fillet. The Capital is 7/10 of a diameter high and consists of a pair of double scrolls or volutes, supported by an echinus moulding enriched with the egg and tongue, with an astragal below.

The Entablature is ¼ the height of the columns, the Architrave of one or more fascias, the Frieze continuous and frequently enriched with sculpture in low relief; the Cornice has simple and compound mouldings supported by a dentil band. Caryatides were occasionally introduced into this order; they were female figures clad in drapery having vertical folds which re-echoed the flutings of the Ionic column. These caryatides supported the entablature in place of the columns; a beautiful example of this feature is the south portico of the Erechtheum at Athens.{10}


The CORINTHIAN order was not much used by the Greeks; the examples however show considerable refinement and delicacy of details. The Columns are 10 diameters in height with 24 flutings; the Base is ½ diameter high; the Capital is a little greater than a diameter in height and is enriched with acanthus foliations and spiral volutes. The Entablature is richer; and the Cornice deeper and more elaborate than those of the other orders.

A table is here given showing the relative height in parts (a part is 1/60 of the diameter) of the entablature in some typical Grecian examples.

  ArchitraveFriezeCorniceTotal Entablature
DoricParthenon434332118
Theseus504819107
IonicErechtheum434847140
Priene374947133
CorinthianLysicrates534149143
Jupiter Olympius402646112

The principal Doric buildings in Greece are:—The Temples at Corinth B.C. 650, Ægina B.C. 550, the Parthenon and the Theseum B.C. 438, the Temples of Jupiter at Olympia, Apollo Epicurius at Bassæ B.C. 436, Minerva at Sunium, and the Propylæa at Athens B.C. 431. The Parthenon is the only octastyle temple in Greece.

Ionic buildings in Greece are:—Temples at Ilyssus, Nike Apteros, and the Erectheum. In Asia Minor, the Temples at Samos, Priene, Teos, and of Diana at Ephesus, and of Apollo at Miletos.

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Corinthian buildings in Greece are:—Monument of Lysicrates, the Tower of Winds, and Jupiter Olympius, all in Athens.

During the 5th century B.C. the Doric order was extensively used in the Greek colonies of Sicily. At Acragas or Agrigentum the remains of 6 fine hexastyle and peripteral Doric Temples are found, of which the Temple of Zeus B.C. 450 is the largest, being 354 by 173 feet. In this temple were found the Telemones or Atlantes, male figures 25 feet in height, with their arms raised, probably supporting the roof of the temple.

At Selinus there are six large Doric temples, five being hexastyle and peripteral, the other octastyle and pseudo-dipteral, 372 by 175 feet. This temple has columns 57 feet in height with an entablature of 19 feet. At Egesta, there is a hexastyle, peripteral, Doric{11} temple with the columns not fluted, and at Pæstum in Southern Italy there are two Doric temples, the temple of Neptune, and the temple of Vesta, of the usual hexastyle and peripteral form, but the Basilica is pseudo-dipteral and is remarkable for its two porticos of nine columns each. All these buildings in Sicily and Pæstum date between B.C. 500 and 430.
Ancient Greek Architecture

Classification of Classic Temples:—

1st.The arrangements of the columns and walls
(a) When the side walls have no colonnadeApteral
(b) When there is a colonnade standing apart from the side walls   Peripteral
(c) When the colonnade is attached to the side of the side wallsPseudo-peripteral
(d) When there is a double colonnade standing from the wallDipteral

2nd.The relation of the ends of the temple
(a) When the columns do not project beyond the wallsIn Antis
(b) When a portico stood in front of the templeProstyle
(c) When there was a portico at each endAmphi-prostyle
(d) If the portico was one column in depthMono-prostyle
(e) If the portico was two columns in depthDi-prostyle

3rd.The number of columns in the portico
(a) If of 2 columnsDistyle
(b) If of 4 columnsTetrastyle
(c) If of 6 columnsHexastyle
(d) If of 8 columnsOctastyle

4th.The Intercolumniation
(a) If 1½ diameters apartPycnostyle
(b) If 2 diameters apartSystyle
(c) If 2¼ diameters apartEustyle
(d) If 3 diameters apartDiastyle
(e) If 4 diameters apartÆrostyle