Roman Doric Order

In the Roman Doric we have an Order resembling the Greek Doric in a general way but having some very marked differences. Foremost among these are a general lightening of the proportions, the addition of a base to the column and an alteration of the mouldings of the capital. The Roman column has a necking and an astragal and the channels stop below the astragal. There are two distinct entablatures to this Order. One of them has the mutules similar to the Greek Doric while the other has, in place of the mutules, a series of small supporting blocks called dentils. The corner triglyph occurs over the center of the corner column and not at the corner of the frieze as in the Greek Order.

The best example of the Order is probably the theatre of Marcellus at Rome and it is from this that Vignola derives his Denticular Doric Order given on Plate 66. His Mutular Order, Plate 65, seems to have been inspired by that found at Albano near Rome. Another example, from the baths of Diocletian, is quite ornate and tends toward the Ionic in its detail.

Vignola's Mutular Doric Order


Vignola's Denticular Doric Order


Ionic Order

The Ionic Order, named from the Ionians of ancient Greece, is generally lighter in proportion than the Doric. It occurs in two distinct types, the Attic-Ionic and the Asiatic-Ionic, whose principal difference lies in the column base and the cornice. The base of the Attic-Ionic, Plate 69, consists of an upper torus, sometimes very large, below this a large scotia and at the bottom a smaller torus which in some instances is entirely omitted. The base of the Asiatic type consists of a torus resting upon a double scotia which is carried by a square plinth.

The column is from 8 to 10 diameters in height and is scored by 24 semicircular flutes separated by fillets.

The capital is the distinctive feature of the Order and there are several theories as to its origin. One of the best of these seems to be that it is the development of the conventionalized Egyptian lotus flower. In Assyria, tiles have been found on which are primitive Ionic forms; no remains of Ionic buildings have been found there however. The Ionic capital was eivdently not intended for use at the corner of a building as its sides are different from the front and back. To overcome this difficulty, the Greeks placed the volutes of the corner columns on both of the outside faces bringing the two corner volutes together on the diagonal, as in the temple on the Ilissus near Athens. See Plate 69. The pillowlike rolls on the sides of the capitals back of the volutes are called balusters and are sometimes ornamented by flutes or foliage. In some examples are found a necking and an astragal while in others the shaft terminates under an ovolo moulding just below the cushion of the volutes.

The architrave is either plain or divided into two or three plain surfaces each projecting slightly beyond the one below. Its crowning member is a cyma moulding and fillet. The frieze is a flat surface to receive sculpture. The corona is a plain undercut member supported by a cyma bed-mould in the Attic form and by a dentil course in the Asiatic. The cymatium and its supporting moulding are often elaborately ornamented.

Since the Ionic volute is rather difficult to draw, the method of laying it out is given in detail on Plate 68. For small scale drawings the construction may be simplified.

Roman Ionic

The Roman Ionic Order seems to have been borrowed from the Asiatic style. The Romans however lost the beauty of proportion and form that characterized the latter, and in its place overloaded the Order with bold ornament and made the entablature heavy and unpleasant. The cornice was usually large and supported by dentils. The mouldings were semicircular in section, lacking the refinement of those of the Greeks. The best example of this Order is that of the theatre of Marcellus at Rome, and it is from this that Vignola's Ionic, Plate 67, seems to have been derived. His base however is like that described by Vitruvius.

Roman Ionic 71


Vignola's Ionic Volute

PLATE 68. Vignola's ionic volute

Attic Ionic Order. Temple On The Ilissus Near Athens


Greek Corinthian

According to Vitruvius it was the Greek sculptor Callimachos (fifth century B.C.) who, upon seeing a basket grown about with acanthus leaves, conceived the idea of the Corinthian capital. From this was developed the Greek Corinthian Order which consists of this capital used together with certain members of the Greek Ionic. The sculptors of this nation employed the acanthus leaf in a highly conventionalized form in their Order while the Roman acanthus forms were more like the natural leaf. The body of the Corinthian capital is similar to an inverted bell over the top of which is a quadrilateral abacus. This abacus has a moulded edge which curves in on each side and is cut off at an angle of 45 degrees at the corners. The bell-shaped body is separated from the shaft of the column by a torus and conge. The leaves of the capital spring up from the torus as though coming from beneath the bell and are disposed in various ways around it.

Roman Corinthian

It was the Romans who fully developed the Corinthian Order and gave to us the typical capital. This capital contains two rows of acanthus leaves with eight leaves in either row from which spring the stems and tendrils which form the corner volutes. The lip of the bell in the Roman capital projects slightly beyond the abacus at its narrowest point while the Greek abacus entirely covers the bell. The Greek Corinthian and Ionic differ only in the capital, but the Roman Corinthian has a distinctive entablature as well. The corona is supported by a series of beam-like brackets called modillions which are ornamented with the acanthus leaf. The band from which the modillions project is in turn supported by a dentil course. The architrave is divided into several bands which are separated by small mouldings. The tendency in this Order as in the Roman Ionic was toward over-enrichment.

Vignola's Corinthian Order


Vignola's Corinthian Order


The Corinthian Order by Vignola is given on Plate 70. It was derived from various examples then existing and so no doubt is an average of the Classic Corinthian Orders.