This section is from the book "Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry, And Building", by James C. et al. Also available from Amazon: Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry And Building.
Refinement in Detail. We have already remarked that with the progress of architecture the column takes proportions more elegant, and the entablature diminishes in height. We shall also find that at the same time the echinus of the capital-flattened in the old temples and compressed under the weight of the entablature-is straightened and supports with more firmness the abacus. The mouldings become less brutal; the column at the angle receives a diameter a little larger than belongs to the other columns; the rectangular shape which has been taken as the form of the edifice becomes delicately pyramidal, until we arrive at such admirable ex-examples as the Temple of AEgina, the Propylaea, the Theseum, and the Parthenon.
Fig. 35. Sections Through the Colonnade of a Greek Doric Order.
Fig. 36. Plan of Frieze of Greek Doric Order.
Fig. 37. Plan of Six-Columned Greek Doric Porch.
The Greek Doric Capital. The echinus moulding is considered as the most distinctive of all the sections invented by the Greeks; and, as used in the Doric capital, it received a character that does not pertain to it when used in any other position. In the earlier examples its outlines will be found more rounding in section than in the later ones where it attains to a beautifully studied eccentric curve, neither flat enough to be hard, nor full enough to be weak in effect, until in the Parthenon and Tholos of Epidauros it is refined to an almost straight line. The compared sections of capitals from Corinth, Paestum, the Temple of Concord at Agrigentum, and the Parthenon at Athens, (shown in Fig. 38), illustrate this progress. The various sections of this cap moulding, from the early, fuller, rounder examples where it spreads out far beyond the shaft, along with the different ways of expressing the variously termed annulets or fillets that separate this moulding from the fluted necking below, show how carefully the Greek sculptors experimented in order to obtain just the effect that they desired. In the later periods of Greek architecture the outline of this echinus moulding is as simple, delicate, and beautiful as any detail that the Greeks have made; and in the best examples it may be considered typical of the refinement and proportions of their architecture. The character of this section,showing the echinus moulding itself in proportion to the abacus, the character of the fillets that divide it from the fluted necking, and the various sections of the recesses taking the place of an astragal that separate it from the shaft, are shown more fully in Figs. 39, 40, 41, 42, 43 and 44. These same illustrations will indicate the relations of the column diameter at the neck and base. But, while interesting in tracing the development of the column, none of the examples are so perfect or so well worthy of reproduction as that used in the Parthenon, shown at a larger size in Plate XXXVII. It is also generally conceded that the individual parts of Greek architecture appear to best advantage when the general form of the building itself is Greek. Indeed, the beautiful flat curves and mouldings of this style are quite at variance with anything else than the low pediment, flat roof, and general proportions of the old Greek temple buildings.
Greek Doric Capital. From the Parthenon at Athens.
Inclination of the Roof in Greek and Roman Temples. The very form of roof used on these Greek temples, giving a gable or pediment at each end, enclosing a tympanum which was generally decorated with sculpture, is in its slope, simplicity and proportions characteristic of their architectural practice. The inclination of these roofs is very slight. In the Temple of the Erechtheum it is fifteen and one-half degrees; in the Temple of Theseus (Fig. 51) it is fifteen degrees; in the Parthenon (Fig. 45), it is sixteen degrees; while the pediment of the Propylaea (Fig. 88) has an inclination of fourteen and one-half degrees. It may be interesting to mention, in this connection, that in Roman examples this inclination is steeper. Thus, in the pediment of Septimus Severus it is twenty-two degrees; in the Temple of Concord and MarsUltor, twenty-three and one-half degrees; and in the Temple of Fortuna Virilis, and Antoninus and Faustina, twenty-four degrees
Corinth Paestum Concord at Agrigentum Parthenon. Fig. 38. Comparison of Greek Doric Capital Sections.
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The Value of the "Order." The "Order" may be used as the most tangible means of getting at the essential parts of the Greek style, and a study of its forms cannot fail to help towards the appreciation of the beauty of Greek architecture as a whole.
It is also necessary to realize that the Order is not the most important part of the study of Greek architecture. The Greek building, in all its beauty of proportion, existed long before the Order was developed to the point where we study it to-day. The form of roof used on the Greek temples performs, as we have already seen, a much more important part in producing their general effect; and a thorough knowledge of these forms accustoms the eye to refinements which might otherwise not be apprehended. Especially is this so of the ancient Greek structures.
The Orders, as we have them to-day, are derived from the measurements of existing remains of Classic Greek and Roman monuments. Aside from purposes of actual reproduction and their whole or partial use on modern buildings, they are most valuable as ideal types from which the proportions of old and new work may be studied and estimated.
Modern practice and theory do not give to the Orders the importance which they have heretofore generally received. Yet these forms have come down to us with more authority than any other single units employed in architectural practice. To comprehend thoroughly the Orders, their purposes and adaptability to modern work, it is important to know the conditions under which they were first developed, so that we must study their use in old and Classic work-where they were a much more important factor in the direct evolution of architecture than now in our climate, and under the social conditions of to-day. It is therefore necessary that the derivation and historical growth of the Orders should be understood, and their use should not be attempted until their forms and proportions have been thoroughly studied. Then, when intelligently used, they may indeed become a vital and consistent part of our modern architecture and life.
In reproducing any of the Greek Orders the old examples should be followed as closely as possible, as their proportions have been so well defined by time and precedent that at this day these forms should be considered as definite. This stricture is emphasized by the fact that, since the Roman Orders were defined, the Greek style of architecture has been but little used, and no further developed; and in the few instances where it has been revived it was apparently recognized that any use of the details or parts of Greek architecture should be modeled as exactly as possible on the actual precedents furnished by old Greek work.
THE PARTHENON AT ATHENS Fig. 45.
Restored Model of Corner of Parthenon at Athens. Showing use of Greek Doric Order and tho relation pf its various parts.