DORIC COLUMNS: Temple of Apollo, Corinth 540 B.C.
The column is the basic element in Greek architecture. It is both structural and sculptural. There are three types or orders of column. The oldest, dating to about 600 B.C., is the Doric. Normally standing right on the floor, the shaft is made of a series of drums which are rounded, doweled together, tapered up--ward and fluted, usually twenty times. On top of the shaft sits a two part capital carved in a single block. The bottom is the cushion or echinus and the top is a flat square slab called the abacus. There is a natural ring where the capital and shaft meet and this is emphasized by the addition of several carved rings. The column height is four to six and one half times the diameter at the base of the shaft. These seven Doric columns, the oldest to survive intact, are from the temple of Apollo at Corinth. Each shaft, over twenty feet high, is cut from a solid limestone block which was surfaced with a stucco made of marble dust. While the columns seem simple and stumpy, the sharp ridged fluting is evidence of a high degree of mastery of stone carving. Further they are bellied slightly at the center which keeps them from seeming too dumpy. What isn't evident today as a result of the action of wind, rain, and man-made destruction is that these temples were generally brightly painted in white, gold, reds and blues.