Column Types and Styles at Ephesus

Column Types and Styles at Ephesus


A Doric column is much plainer than the later Ionic and Corinthiancolumn styles. A Doric column is also thicker and heavier than an Ionic or Corinthian column. For this reason, the Doric column is sometimes associated with strength and masculinity. Believing that Doric columns could bear the most weight, ancient builders often used them for the lowest level of mufti-story buildings, reserving the more slender Ionic and Corinthian columns for the upper levels.

Features of a Doric Column:

• Originally placed directly on the ground without a pedestal or base

• Shaft is wider at the bottom

• Shaft is fluted (grooved)

• Smooth, round capitals (tops)

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• No carvings or other ornaments


Ionic is one of three column styles developed in ancient Greece. More slender and more ornate than the earlier Doric style, an Ionic column has scroll-shaped ornaments on the capital, or top.

Features of an Ionic Column:

• Stands on a base of stacked disks

• Shafts are usually fluted, but can be plain

• A pair of volutes (scroll-shaped ornaments) decorates the capital


The word Corinthian describes a column style developed in ancient Greece and set down in the Classical Orders for Architecture. The Corinthian style is more complex and elaborate than the earlierDoric and Ionic styles. The capital, or top, of a Corinthian column has lavish ornaments carved to resemble leaves and flowers.

Features of a Corinthian Column:

• Fluted (grooved) shaft

• Capital decorated with scrolls, acanthus leaves, and flowers

• Ornaments on the capital flare outwards, suggesting a sense of height


In Classical architecture, a Composite column is a column style that combines the Ionic and the Corinthian orders of architecture.

Developed by the Romans in about the first century BC, composite columns have highly decorated capitals (tops). The leaf decorations of the Corinthian style combine with the scroll designs that characterize the Ionic style.

In contemporary architecture, the term composite column can be used to describe any style column molded from a man-made composite material such as fiberglass or a polymer resin.

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