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Elements of Ancient Greek Architecture

Updated on June 23, 2012

1500-350 BC

During the period of ancient Greece, some consider their architecture as the highest possible art. This time existed when democracy and law were highly established and used. The buildings were of simple construction, timber, horizontal, etc. Their homes existed in a mountain landscape and this is how they created the views history remembers them for; scholars, educators, thinkers, strong, spirited, traders, etc.

Column Entasis

Entasis is the way that columns are swollen so they appear to be straight with the right perspective. It is a technical way of making sure others think what you have done is correct. Buildings also look bigger when these are used. It is a form of impressing those around the structure.


These are structured panels, also known as metopes. They have triglyphs, vertical panels. They are usually divided into three by two v-shaped channels. Normally, the structured panels have battle scenes. There are gladiators, animals, people, daily acts, etc. They can tell stories around a building or just show what daily life was like in Ancient Greece. Or they could tell of successful battles, beheading prisoners, and generals giving orders for war.


There are three types of orders in ancient Greek architecture. These are decorations on the top of columns which provide detail in supporting structures.

  • Doric order - This is the oldest of the orders. These ruled the design of columns mainly, especially in the capitals. Early columns were slender and easy walk-ways. They soon morphed into strong, plain and masculine. There are two simple elements at the top instead of plenty of decorations.
  • Ionic order - These are characterized by decorations with volutes and/or spirals on both sides of the column. They remind viewers of an open scroll reminding others of Greek intelligence.
  • Corinthian order - These first appeared as a more decorative version of the Ionic order in the 5th century BC. They have leaves and plants going upward and out from the columns. It is said to be based on a basket of acanthus leaves.

Sculpted Frieze in Pediment

Pediments were openings in buildings, basically a platform for displays of sculpture. Most of the scupltures glorify war. They hold beautiful works of art that force a visitor to look up. This way they must admire the building. The detail, the story, the reason, etc.


These are sacred maidens that are in the place of columns. They stand at building enterences. Strong and powerful, they support the building on their heads.


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      huge 5 years ago

      wow way worst then mines art lol jk love it and i live learning

    • fjohn profile image

      fjohn 5 years ago from india

      good hub