Definition of the Orders
Types of Orders
The Greeks utilized three distinct forms: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. The Romans developed their own versions of each and added two additional orders, the Tuscan order and the Composite order, which gave them a total of five orders.
Distinguishing the Types
Although the entablature is also distinctive, the column, especially its capital, is the most recognizable guide to distinguishing the orders.
Columns vary in proportion, with the Doric column being the thickest and the Corinthian the most slender.
The shaft rests directly on the floor without a base. (The Roman version has a base.)
The Doric order is considered to be the oldest of the orders.
Because the Romans preferred the more ornamental orders, free-standing Doric columns were uncommon in Roman architecture.
Because the scrolls of Ionic capitals create distinct frontal and side facings, it is necessary to make adjustments to the corner columns so that adjacent facings match.
The Greeks invented a second solution in the fourth century BC in which the scrolls radiated out from the center, giving the capital four matching facings. This was adopted by the Romans, who also used radiating volutes when they developed the Composite order.
The flutes are narrower, usually 24 per column, and the channels do not touch.
Unlike the Doric order, the columns of the Ionic order rest on bases made up of circular moldings resting on a low square plinth. Their round over square forms make a visual transition from the cylindrical shaft to the flat floor. Variations of this form were used for the other orders as well.
The frieze is a continuous band that may be plain or carved.
The shaft may be fluted or unfluted.
The entablature is similar to that of the Ionic order, and the frieze may be decorated or plain.
The Corinthian order was the last of the Greek orders to be developed. The earliest known example of its exterior use is the Monument of Lysicrates in Athens, which dates to 334 BC.
The Corinthian order was widely used in Roman architecture.
The Tuscan Order was developed by the Etruscans, an ancient people who flourished in Italy before the rise of Roman civilization. (The name "Tuscan" is derived from Tuscany, the Italian region around Florence, Siena, and Pisa.)
Comparison with the Doric Order
This order is similar to the Doric but simpler in lacking fluting, triglyphs, and metopes. It also has a base. Among the Roman orders, Tuscan columns have the greatest entasis.
The Composite order unites the prominent volutes of the Ionic order with the two rows of acanthus leaves of the Corinthian.
Its entablature follows that of the Corinthian order.