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In architecture the capital (from the Latin caput, or "head") or chapiter forms the topmost member of a column (or a pilaster). It mediates between the column and the load thrusting down upon it, broadening the area of the column's supporting surface. The capital, projecting on each side as it rises to support the abacus, joins the usually square abacus and the usually circular shaft of the column. The capital may be convex, as in the Doric order; concave, as in the inverted bell of the Corinthian order; or scrolling out, as in the Ionic order. These form the three principal types on which all capitals in the classical tradition are based. The Composite order (illustration, right), established in the 16th century on a hint from the Arch of Titus, adds Ionic volutes to Corinthian acanthus leaves.
Architecture is both the process and the product of planning, designing, and constructing buildings or any other structures. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural symbols and as works of art. Historical civilizations are often identified with their surviving architectural achievements.
Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.
A column or pillar in architecture and structural engineering is a structural element that transmits, through compression, the weight of the structure above to other structural elements below. In other words, a column is a compression member. The term column applies especially to a large round support with a capital and a base or pedestal which is made of stone, or appearing to be so. A small wooden or metal support is typically called a post, and supports with a rectangular or other non-round section are usually called piers. For the purpose of wind or earthquake engineering, columns may be designed to resist lateral forces. Other compression members are often termed "columns" because of the similar stress conditions. Columns are frequently used to support beams or arches on which the upper parts of walls or ceilings rest. In architecture, "column" refers to such a structural element that also has certain proportional and decorative features. A column might also be a decorative element not needed for structural purposes; many columns are "engaged", that is to say form part of a wall.
From the highly visible position it occupies in all colonnaded monumental buildings, the capital is often selected for ornamentation; and is often the clearest indicator of the architectural order. The treatment of its detail may be an indication of the building's date.
In classical architecture, a colonnade is a long sequence of columns joined by their entablature, often free-standing, or part of a building. Paired or multiple pairs of columns are normally employed in a colonnade which can be straight or curved. The space enclosed may be covered or open. In St. Peter's Square in Rome, Bernini's great colonnade encloses a vast open elliptical space.
The two earliest Egyptian capitals of importance are those based on the lotus and papyrus plants respectively, and these, with the palm tree capital, were the chief types employed by the Egyptians, until under the Ptolemies in the 3rd to 1st centuries BC, various other river plants were also employed, and the conventional lotus capital went through various modifications.
Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in the place that is now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under Menes. The history of ancient Egypt occurred as a series of stable kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods: the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age.
Papyrus is a material similar to thick paper that was used in ancient times as a writing surface. It was made from the pith of the papyrus plant, Cyperus papyrus, a wetland sedge. Papyrus can also refer to a document written on sheets of such material, joined together side by side and rolled up into a scroll, an early form of a book.
The Ptolemaic dynasty, sometimes also known as the Lagids or Lagidae, was a Macedonian Greek royal family, which ruled the Ptolemaic Kingdom in Egypt during the Hellenistic period. Their rule lasted for 275 years, from 305 to 30 BC. They were the last dynasty of ancient Egypt.
Many motifs of Egyptian ornamentation are symbolic, such as the scarab, or sacred beetle, the solar disk, and the vulture. Other common motifs include palm leaves, the papyrus plant, and the buds and flowers of the lotus.
A symbol is a mark, sign or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, object, or relationship. Symbols allow people to go beyond what is known or seen by creating linkages between otherwise very different concepts and experiences. All communication is achieved through the use of symbols. Symbols take the form of words, sounds, gestures, ideas or visual images and are used to convey other ideas and beliefs. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a blue line might represent a river. Numerals are symbols for numbers. Alphabetic letters may be symbols for sounds. Personal names are symbols representing individuals. A red rose may symbolize love and compassion. The variable 'x', in a mathematical equation, may symbolize the position of a particle in space.
A vulture is a scavenging bird of prey. The two types of vultures are the New World vultures, including the Californian and Andean condors, and the Old World vultures, including the birds that are seen scavenging on carcasses of dead animals on African plains. Some traditional Old World vultures are not closely related to the others, which is why the vultures are to be subdivided into three taxa rather than two. New World vultures are found in North and South America; Old World vultures are found in Europe, Africa, and Asia, meaning that between the two groups, vultures are found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica.
Nymphaea caerulea, known primarily as blue lotus, but also blue water lily, and sacred blue lily, is a water lily in the genus Nymphaea. Like other species in the genus, the plant contains the psychoactive alkaloid aporphine. It was known to the Ancient Egyptian civilization.
Some of the most popular types of capitals were the Hathor, lotus, papyrus and Egyptian composite. Most of the types are based on vegetal motifs. Capitals of some columns were painted in bright colors.
Hathor was a major goddess in ancient Egyptian religion who played a wide variety of roles. As a sky deity, she was the mother or consort of the sky god Horus and the sun god Ra, both of whom were connected with kingship, and thus she was the symbolic mother of their earthly representatives, the pharaohs. She was one of several goddesses who acted as the Eye of Ra, Ra's feminine counterpart, and in this form she had a vengeful aspect that protected him from his enemies. Her beneficent side represented music, dance, joy, love, sexuality and maternal care, and she acted as the consort of several male deities and the mother of their sons. These two aspects of the goddess exemplified the Egyptian conception of femininity. Hathor crossed boundaries between worlds, helping deceased souls in the transition to the afterlife.
Isis was a major goddess in ancient Egyptian religion whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. Isis was first mentioned in the Old Kingdom as one of the main characters of the Osiris myth, in which she resurrects her slain husband, the divine king Osiris, and produces and protects his heir, Horus. She was believed to help the dead enter the afterlife as she had helped Osiris, and she was considered the divine mother of the pharaoh, who was likened to Horus. Her maternal aid was invoked in healing spells to benefit ordinary people. Originally, she played a limited role in royal rituals and temple rites, although she was more prominent in funerary practices and magical texts. She was usually portrayed in art as a human woman wearing a throne-like hieroglyph on her head. During the New Kingdom, as she took on traits that originally belonged to Hathor, the preeminent goddess of earlier times, Isis came to be portrayed wearing Hathor's headdress: a sun disk between the horns of a cow.
Philae is an island in the reservoir of the Aswan Low Dam, downstream of the Aswan Dam and Lake Nasser, Egypt. Philae was originally located near the expansive First Cataract of the Nile in Upper Egypt and was the site of an Egyptian temple complex. These rapids and the surrounding area have been variously flooded since the initial construction of the Aswan Low Dam in 1902. The temple complex was dismantled and moved to nearby Agilkia Island as part of the UNESCO Nubia Campaign project, protecting this and other complexes before the 1970 completion of the Aswan High Dam. The hieroglyphic reliefs of the temple complex are being studied and published by the Philae Temple Text Project of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna.
Luxor Temple is a large Ancient Egyptian temple complex located on the east bank of the Nile River in the city today known as Luxor and was constructed approximately 1400 BCE. In the Egyptian language it is known as ipet resyt, "the southern sanctuary". In Luxor there are several great temples on the east and west banks. Four of the major mortuary temples visited by early travelers and tourists include the Temple of Seti I at Gurnah, the Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahri, the Temple of Ramesses II, and the Temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu; and the two primary cults temples on the east bank are known as the Karnak and Luxor. Unlike the other temples in Thebes, Luxor temple is not dedicated to a cult god or a deified version of the king in death. Instead Luxor temple is dedicated to the rejuvenation of kingship; it may have been where many of the kings of Egypt were crowned in reality or conceptually
Some kind of volute capital is shown in the Assyrian bas-reliefs, but no Assyrian capital has ever been found; the enriched bases exhibited in the British Museum were initially misinterpreted as capitals.
In the Achaemenid Persian capital the brackets are carved with two heavily decorated back-to-back animals projecting right and left to support the architrave; on their backs they carry other brackets at right angles to support the cross timbers. The bull is the most common, but there are also lions and griffins. The capital extends below for further than in most other styles, with decoration drawn from the many cultures that the Persian Empire conquered including Egypt, Babylon, and Lydia. There are double volutes at the top and, inverted, bottom of a long plain fluted section which is square, although the shaft of the column is round, and also fluted.
The earliest Aegean capital is that shown in the frescoes at Knossos in Crete (1600 BC); it was of the convex type, probably moulded in stucco. Capitals of the second, concave type, include the richly carved examples of the columns flanking the Tomb of Agamemnon in Mycenae (c. 1100 BC): they are carved with a chevron device, and with a concave apophyge on which the buds of some flowers are sculpted.
The orders, structural systems for organising component parts, played a crucial role in the Greeks' search for perfection of ratio and proportion.
The Doric capital is the simplest of the five Classical orders: it consists of the abacus above an ovolo molding, with an astragal collar set below. It was developed in the lands occupied by the Dorians, one of the two principal divisions of the Greek race. It became the preferred style of the Greek mianland and the western colonies (southern Italy and Sicily). In the Temple of Apollo, Syracuse (c. 700 BC), the echinus moulding has become a more definite form: this in the Parthenon reaches its culmination, where the convexity is at the top and bottom with a delicate uniting curve. The sloping side of the echinus becomes flatter in the later examples, and in the Colosseum at Rome forms a quarter round (see Doric order). In versions where the frieze and other elements are simpler the same form of capital is described as being in the Tuscan order. Doric reached its peak in the mid-5th century BC, and was one of the orders accepted by the Romans. Its characteristics are masculinity, strength and solidity.
The Doric capital consists of a cushion-like convex moulding known as an echinus, and a square slab termed an abacus.
In the Ionic capital, spirally coiled volutes are inserted between the abacus and the ovolo. This order appears to have been developed contemporaneously with the Doric, though it did not come into common usage and take its final shape until the mid-5th century BC. The style prevailed in Ionian lands, centred on the coast of Asia Minor and Aegean islands. The order's form was far less set than the Doric, with local variations persisting for many decades. In the Ionic capitals of the archaic Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (560 BC) the width of the abacus is twice that of its depth, consequently the earliest Ionic capital known was virtually a bracket capital. A century later, in the temple on the Ilissus, the abacus has become square (See the more complete discussion at Ionic order). Acording to the Roman architect Vitruvius, the Ionic order's main characteristics were beauty, femininity, and slenderness, derived from its basis on the proportion of a woman.
The volutes of an Ionic capital rest on an echinus, almost invariably carved with egg-and-dart. Above the scrolls was an abacus, more shallow than that in Doric examples, and again ornamented with egg-and-dart.
It has been suggested that the foliage of the Greek Corinthian capital was based on the Acanthus spinosus, that of the Roman on the Acanthus mollis . Not all architectural foliage is as realistic as Isaac Ware's (illustration, right) however. The leaves are generally carved in two "ranks" or bands, like one leafy cup set within another. One of the most beautiful Corinthian capitals is that from the Tholos of Epidaurus (400 BC); it illustrates the transition between the earlier Greek capital, as at Bassae, and the Roman version that Renaissance and modern architects inherited and refined (See the more complete discussion at Corinthian order).
In Roman architectural practice, capitals are briefly treated in their proper context among the detailing proper to each of the "Orders", in the only complete architectural textbook to have survived from classical times, the Ten Books on Architecture , by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, better known just as Vitruvius, dedicated to the emperor Augustus. The various orders are discussed in Vitruvius' books iii and iv. Vitruvius describes Roman practice in a practical fashion. He gives some tales about the invention of each of the Orders, but he does not give a hard and fast set of canonical rules for the execution of capitals.
Two further, specifically Roman orders of architecture have their characteristic capitals, the sturdy and primitive Tuscan capitals, typically used in military buildings, similar to Greek Doric, but with fewer small moldings in its profile, and the invented Composite capitals not even mentioned by Vitruvius, which combined Ionic volutes and Corinthian acanthus capitals, in an order that was otherwise quite similar in proportions to the Corinthian, itself an order that Romans employed much more often than Greeks.
The increasing adoption of composite capitals signalled a trend towards freer, more inventive (and often more coarsely carved) capitals in Late Antiquity.
The anta capital is not a capital which is set on top of column, but rather on top of an anta, a structural post integrated to the frontal end of a wall, such as the front of the side wall of a temple.
The top of an anta is often highly decorated, usually with bands of floral motifs. The designs often respond to an order of columns, but usually with a different set of design principles.In order not to protrude excessively from the wall surface, these structures tend to have a rather flat surface, forming brick-shaped capitals, called "anta capitals". Anta capitals are known from the time of the Doric order.
An anta capital can sometimes be qualified as a "sofa" capital or a "sofa anta capital" when the sides of the capital broaden upward, in a shape reminiscent of a couch or sofa.
Anta capitals are sometimes hard to distinguish from pilaster capitals, which are rather decorative, and do not have the same structural role as anta capitals.
The origins of the Tuscan order lie with the Etruscans and are found on their tombs. Although the Romans perceived it as especially Italianate, the Tuscan order found on Roman monuments is in fact closer to the Greek Doric order than to Etruscan examples, its capital being nearby identical with the Doric.
The Romans invented the Composite order by uniting the Corinthian order with the Ionic capital, possibly as early as Augustus's reign. In many versions the composite order volutes are larger, however, and there is generally some ornament placed centrally between the volutes. Despite this origin, very many Composite capitals in fact treat the two volutes as different elements, each springing from one side of their leafy base. In this, and in having a separate ornament between them, they resemble the Archaic Greek Aeolic order, though this seems not to have been the route of their development in early Imperial Rome. Equally, where the Greek Ionic volute is usually shown from the side as a single unit of unchanged width between the front and back of the column, the Composite volutes are normally treated as four different thinner units, one at each corner of the capital, projecting at some 45° to the facade.
Some capitals with strong Greek and Persian influence have been found in northeastern India in the Maurya Empire palace of Pataliputra, dating to the 4th–3rd century BC. Examples such as the Pataliputra capital belong to the Ionic order rather than the later Corinthian order. They are witness to relations between India and the West from that early time.
Indo-Corinthian capitals correspond to the much more abundant Corinthian-style capitals crowning columns or pilasters, which can be found in the northwestern Indian subcontinent, particularly in Gandhara, and usually combine Hellenistic and Indian elements. These capitals are typically dated to the first century BC, and constitute important elements of Greco-Buddhist art.
The Classical design was often adapted, usually taking a more elongated form, and sometimes being combined with scrolls, generally within the context of Buddhist stupas and temples. Indo-Corinthian capitals also incorporated figures of the Buddha or Bodhisattvas, usually as central figures surrounded by, and often under the shade of, the luxurious foliage of Corinthian designs.
The Pataliputra capital is a monumental rectangular capital with volutes and Classical Greek designs, that was discovered in the palace ruins of the ancient Mauryan Empire capital city of Pataliputra (modern Patna, northeastern India). It is dated to the 3rd century BC. The top is made of a band of rosettes, eleven in total for the fronts and four for the sides. Below that is a band of bead and reel pattern, then under it a band of waves, generally right-to-left, except for the back where they are left-to-right. Further below is a band of egg-and-dart pattern, with eleven "tongues" or "eggs" on the front, and only seven on the back. Below appears the main motif, a flame palmette, growing among pebbles.
The Lion Capital of Ashoka is an iconic capital which consists of four Asiatic lions standing back to back, on an elaborate base that includes other animals. A graphic representation of it was adopted as the official Emblem of India in 1950.This powerfully carved lion capital from Sarnath stood a top a pillar bearing the edicts of the emperor Ashoka. Like most of Ashoka's capitals, it is brilliantly polished. Located at the site of Buddha's first sermon and the formation of the Buddhist order, it carried imperial and Buddhist symbols, reflecting the universal authority of both the emperor's and the Buddha's words. The capital today serves as the emblem of the Republic of India. Minus the inverted bell-shaped lotus flower, this has been adopted as the National Emblem of India, seen from another angle, showing the horse on the left and the bull on the right of the Ashoka Chakra in the circular base on which the four Indian lions are standing back to back. On the side shown here there are the bull and elephant; a lion occupies the other place. The wheel "Ashoka Chakra" from its base has been placed onto the centre of the National Flag of India
Byzantine capitals are very varied, mostly developing from the classical Corinthian, but tending to have an even surface level, with the ornamention undercut with drills. The block of stone was left rough as it came from the quarry, and the sculptor evolved new designs to his own fancy, so that one rarely meets with many repetitions of the same design. One of the most remarkable designs features leaves carved as if blown by the wind; the finest example being at the 8th-century Hagia Sophia (Thessaloniki). Those in the Cathedral of Saint Mark, Venice (1071) specially attracted John Ruskin's fancy. Others appear in Sant'Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna (549).
The capital in San Vitale, Ravenna (547) shows above it the dosseret required to carry the arch, the springing of which was much wider than the abacus of the capital. On eastern capitals the eagle, the lion and the lamb are occasionally carved, but treated conventionally.
There are two types of capitals used at Hagia Sofia: composite and ionic. The composite capital that emerged during the Late Byzantine Empire, mainly in Rome, combines the Corinthian with the Ionic. Composite capitals line the principal space of the nave. Ionic capitals are used behind them in the side spaces, in a mirror position relative to the Corinthian or composite orders (as was their fate well into the 19th century, when buildings were designed for the first time with a monumental Ionic order). At Hagia Sofia, though, these are not the standard imperial statements. The capitals are filled with foliage in all sorts of variations. In some, the small, lush leaves appear to be caught up in the spinning of the scrolls – clearly, a different, nonclassical sensibility has taken over the design.
The capitals at Basilica of Saint Vitale in Ravenna (Italy) show wavy and delicate floral patterns similar to decorations found on belt buckles and dagger blades. Their inverted pyramidal form has the look of a basket.
In both periods small columns are often used close together in groups, often around a pier that is in effect a single larger column, or running along a wall surface. The structural importance of the individual column is thereby greatly reduced. In both periods, though there are common types, the sense of a strict order with rules was not maintained, and when the budget allowed, carvers were able to indulge their inventiveness. Capitals were sometimes used to hold depictions of figures and narrative scenes, especially in the Romanesque.
In Romanesque architecture and Gothic architecture capitals throughout western Europe present as much variety as in the East, and for the same reason, that the sculptor evolved his design in accordance with the block he was carving, but in the west variety goes further, because of the clustering of columns and piers.
The earliest type of capital in Lombardy and Germany is known as the cushion-cap, in which the lower portion of the cube block has been cut away to meet the circular shaft. These types were generally painted at first with geometrical designs, afterwards carved.
The finest carving comes from France, especially from the area around Paris. The most varied were carved in 1130–1170.
In Britain and France the figures introduced into the capitals are sometimes full of character. These capitals, however, are not equal to those of the Early English Gothic, in which foliage is treated as if copied from metalwork, and is of infinite variety, being found in small village churches as well as in cathedrals.
In the Renaissance period the feature became of the greatest importance and its variety almost as great as in the Romanesque and Gothic styles. The flat pilaster, which was employed extensively in this period, called for a planar rendition of the capital, executed in high relief. This affected the designs of capitals. A traditional 15th-century variant of the Composite capital turns the volutes inwards above stiffened leaf carving. In new Renaissance combinations in capital designs most of the ornament can be traced to Classical Roman sources.
The 'Renaissance' was as much a reinterpretation as a revival of Classical norms. For example, the volutes of ancient Greek and Roman Ionic capitals had lain in the same plane as the architrave above them. This had created an awkward transition at the corner – where, for example, the designer of the temple of Athena Nike on the Acropolis in Athens had brought the outside volute of the end capitals forward at a 45-degree angle. This problem was more satisfactorily solved by the 16th-century architect Sebastiano Serlio, who angled outwards all volutes of his Ionic capitals. Since then use of antique Ionic capitals, instead of Serlio's version, has lent an archaic air to the entire context, as in Greek Revival.
There are numerous newly-invented orders, sometimes called nonce orders, where a different ornamentation of the capital is typically a key feature. Within the bounds of decorum, a certain amount of inventive play has always been acceptable within the classical tradition. These became increasingly common after the Renaissance. When Benjamin Latrobe redesigned the Senate Vestibule in the United States Capitol in 1807, he introduced six columns that he "Americanized" with ears of corn (maize) substituting for the European acanthus leaves. As Latrobe reported to Thomas Jefferson in August 1809,
Another example is the Delhi Order invented by the British architect Edwin Lutyens for New Delhi's central palace, Viceroy's House, now the Presidential residence Rashtrapati Bhavan, using elements of Indian architecture,Here the capital had a band of vertical ridges, with bells hanging at each corner as a replacement for volutes. The Delhi Order reappears in some later Lutyens buildings including Campion Hall, Oxford.
An order in architecture is a certain assemblage of parts subject to uniform established proportions, regulated by the office that each part has to perform. Coming down to the present from Ancient Greek and Ancient Roman civilization, the architectural orders are the styles of classical architecture, each distinguished by its proportions and characteristic profiles and details, and most readily recognizable by the type of column employed. The three orders of architecture—the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian—originated in Greece. To these the Romans added, in practice if not in name, the Tuscan, which they made simpler than Doric, and the Composite, which was more ornamental than the Corinthian. The architectural order of a classical building is akin to the mode or key of classical music; the grammar or rhetoric of a written composition. It is established by certain modules like the intervals of music, and it raises certain expectations in an audience attuned to its language.
The Corinthian order is the last developed of the three principal classical orders of ancient Greek and Roman architecture. The other two are the Doric order which was the earliest, followed by the Ionic order. When classical architecture was revived during the Renaissance, two more orders were added to the canon, the Tuscan order and the Composite order. The Corinthian, with its offshoot the Composite, is the most ornate of the orders. This architectural style is characterized by slender fluted columns and elaborate capitals decorated with acanthus leaves and scrolls. There are many variations.
The architecture of ancient Greece is the architecture produced by the Greek-speaking people whose culture flourished on the Greek mainland, the Peloponnese, the Aegean Islands, and in colonies in Anatolia and Italy for a period from about 900 BC until the 1st century AD, with the earliest remaining architectural works dating from around 600 BC.
The Doric order was one of the three orders of ancient Greek and later Roman architecture; the other two canonical orders were the Ionic and the Corinthian. The Doric is most easily recognized by the simple circular capitals at the top of columns. Originating in the western Dorian region of Greece, it is the earliest and in its essence the simplest of the orders, though still with complex details in the entablature above.
The Ionic order forms one of the three classical orders of classical architecture, the other two canonic orders being the Doric and the Corinthian. There are two lesser orders: the Tuscan, and the rich variant of Corinthian called the composite order, both added by 16th-century Italian architectural writers, based on Roman practice. Of the three canonic orders, the Ionic order has the narrowest columns.
A volute is a spiral, scroll-like ornament that forms the basis of the Ionic order, found in the capital of the Ionic column. It was later incorporated into Corinthian order and Composite column capitals. Four are normally to be found on an Ionic capital, eight on Composite capitals and smaller versions on the Corinthian capital.
In architecture, an abacus is a flat slab forming the uppermost member or division of the capital of a column, above the bell. Its chief function is to provide a large supporting surface, tending to be wider than the capital, as an abutment to receive the weight of the arch or the architrave above. The diminutive of abacus, abaculus, is used to describe small mosaic tiles, also called abaciscus or tessera, used to create ornamental floors with detailed patterns of chequers or squares in a tessellated pavement.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to classical architecture:
Greek temples were structures built to house deity statues within Greek sanctuaries in ancient Greek religion. The temple interiors did not serve as meeting places, since the sacrifices and rituals dedicated to the respective deity took place outside them, within the wider precinct of the sanctuary, which might be large. Temples were frequently used to store votive offerings. They are the most important and most widespread building type in Greek architecture. In the Hellenistic kingdoms of Southwest Asia and of North Africa, buildings erected to fulfill the functions of a temple often continued to follow the local traditions. Even where a Greek influence is visible, such structures are not normally considered as Greek temples. This applies, for example, to the Graeco-Parthian and Bactrian temples, or to the Ptolemaic examples, which follow Egyptian tradition. Most Greek temples were oriented astronomically.
The Tuscan order is in effect a simplified Doric order, with un-fluted columns and a simpler entablature with no triglyphs or guttae. While relatively simple columns with round capitals had been part of the vernacular architecture of Italy and much of Europe since at least Etruscan architecture, the Romans did not consider this style to be a distinct architectural order. Instead the Tuscan order, presented as a standardized formal order, is an invention of Italian Renaissance writers largely motivated by nationalism.
The composite order is a mixed order, combining the volutes of the Ionic order capital with the acanthus leaves of the Corinthian order. In many versions the composite order volutes are larger, however, and there is generally some ornament placed centrally between the volutes. The column of the composite order is typically ten diameters high, though as with all the orders these details may be adjusted by the architect for particular buildings. The Composite order is essentially treated as Corinthian except for the capital, with no consistent differences to that above or below the capital. The composite order is not found in ancient Greek architecture and until the Renaissance was not ranked as a separate order. Instead it was considered as an imperial Roman form of the Corinthian order. Though the Arch of Titus, in the forum in Rome and built in 82 AD, is sometimes cited as the first prominent surviving example of a composite order, the order was probably invented "a little before Augustus's reign, and certainly well-developed before his death, the very time when the Roman version of Corinthian was being established."
This page is a glossary of architecture.
The acanthus is one of the most common plant forms to make foliage ornament and decoration.
Cymatium molding appears at the top of the cornice in the classical order, and made of the s-shaped cyma molding, combining a concave cavetto with a convex ovolo. It is characteristic of Ionic columns and can appear as part of the entablature, the epistylium, and the capital. Often decorated with a palmette or egg-and-dart ornament on the surface of the molding.
The Aeolic order or Aeolian order was an early order of Classical architecture. It has a strong similarity to the better known Ionic order, but differs in the capital, where a palmette rises between the two outer volutes, rather than them being linked horizontally by a form at the top of the capital. Many examples also show simplified details compared to the Ionic.
Fluting in architecture consists of shallow grooves running along a surface.
The Five Orders of Architecture is a book on classical architecture by Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola from 1562, and is considered "one of the most successful architectural textbooks ever written", despite having no text apart from the notes and the introduction. Originally published in Italian as Regola delli cinque ordini d'architettura, it has been fully or partially translated in English with different titles, including Canon of the Five Orders of Architecture; Rules of the Five Orders of Architecture; Vignola: an elementary treatise on architecture comprising the complete study of the five orders, with indication of their shadows and the first principles of construction; The Five Orders of Architecture according to Giacomo Barozzio of Vignola, to Which are Added the Greek Orders; and The five orders of architecture, the casting of shadows and the first principles of construction based on the system of Vignola.
The Pataliputra capital is a monumental rectangular capital with volutes and Classical Greek designs, that was discovered in the palace ruins of the ancient Mauryan Empire capital city of Pataliputra. It is dated to the 3rd century BCE.
An Anta capital is the crowning portion of an anta, the front edge of a supporting wall in Greek temple architecture. The anta is generally crowned by a stone block designed to spread the load from superstructure (entablature) it supports, called an "anta capitals" when it is structural, or sometimes "pilaster capital" if it is only decorative as often during the Roman period.
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