Greek Architectural Orders

Architectural order describes the style of building. In Classical architecture, each order is identifiable by means of its proportions and profiles as well as by various aesthetic details. The style of column employed serves as a useful index of the style itself, so identifying the order of the column will then, in turn, situate the order employed in the structure as a whole.

The Parthenon of Athens

The Parthenon, 447-432 BC, Athens

There are three distinct orders in Ancient Greek architecture: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. These three were later adopted by the Romans, who modified their capitals. The Roman adoption of the Greek orders took place in the 1st century BC. The three Ancient Greek orders have since been consistently used in neo-classical European architecture.

Sometimes the Doric order is considered the earliest order, but there is no evidence to support this. Rather, the Doric and Ionic orders seem to have appeared at around the same time, the Ionic in eastern Greece and the Doric in the west and mainland. Both the Doric and the Ionic order appear to have originated in wood. The Temple of Hera in Olympia is the oldest well-preserved temple of Doric architecture. It was built just after 600 BC. The Doric order later spread across Greece and into Sicily where it was the chief order for monumental architecture for 800 years.

Anatomy of a Column

Doric order

The Doric order originated on the mainland and western Greece. It is the simplest of the orders, characterized by short, faceted, heavy columns with plain, round capitals and no base. With a height that is only four to eight times its diameter, the columns are the most squat of all orders. The shaft of the Doric order is channeled with 20 flutes. The capital consists of a necking which is of a simple form. The echinus is convex and the abacus is square.

Above the capital is a square abacus connecting the capital to the entablature. The entablature is divided into three horizontal registers, the lower part of which is either smooth or divided by horizontal lines. The upper half is distinctive for the Doric order. The frieze of the Doric entablature is divided into triglyphs and metopes. A triglyph is a unit consisting of three vertical bands which are separated by grooves. Metopes are the plain or carved reliefs between two triglyphs.

The Greek forms of the Doric order come without an individual base. They instead are placed directly on the stylobate. Later forms, however, came with the conventional base consisting of a plinth and a torus. The Roman versions of the Doric order have smaller proportions. As a result, they appear lighter than the Greek orders.

Ionic order

The Ionic order came from eastern Greece, where its origins are entwined with the similar but little known Aeolic order. It is distinguished by slender, fluted pillars with a large base and two opposed volutes (also called scrolls) in the echinus of the capital. The echinus itself is decorated with an egg-and-dart motif. The Ionic shaft comes with four more flutes than the Doric counterpart (totalling 24). The Ionic base has two convex moldings called tori which are separated by a scotia.

The Ionic order is also marked by an entasis, a curved tapering in the column shaft. A column of the ionic order is nine times its lower diameter. The shaft itself is eight diameters high. The architrave of the entablature commonly consists of three stepped bands (fasciae). The frieze comes without the Doric triglyph and metope. The frieze sometimes comes with a continuous ornament such as carved figures instead.

Corinthian order

The Corinthian order is the most ornate of the Greek orders, characterized by a slender fluted column having an ornate capital decorated with two rows of acanthus leaves and four scrolls. It is commonly regarded as the most elegant of the three orders. The shaft of the Corinthian order has 24 flutes. The column is commonly ten diameters high.

The Roman writer Vitruvius credited the invention of the Corinthian order to Callimachus, a Greek sculptor of the 5th century BC. The oldest known building built according to this order is the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens, constructed from 335 to 334 BC. The Corinthian order was raised to rank by the writings of Vitruvius in the 1st century BC.

Choragic-Monument-of-Lysicrates

Choragic Monument of Lysicrates, Athens (335-334 BC)

Sounio

Southernmost Cape of Attica

Sounio is the southernmost headland of Attica, 38 km from Athens, where on the formed hill of 60 meters which was formed by the leveling of the area the Temple of Poseidon was placed with (6) six columns on its short sides and (13) on its long sides from which (15) Doric Columns remain that is why in later times it took the name “Cape of Columns” (Κάβο κολώνες ή Καβοκολώνες).

The best place to view a sunset in Greece!

Of course this was a geo-strategic area from where the Athenians supervised the movement of ships entering the Saronic Gulf and guarded the precious minerals of Lavrion and finally controlled the sea routes to Euboea which the Athenians of the 5th Century had conquered and had placed there 4,000 colonists from Attica and from which – because of the fertility of the island – took the plant and animal products of the earth, but also supervised the movement to the Cyclades which participated in the Athenian Alliance seated in Delos, where the alliance protected around 400 CITY- STATES against the Persian state.

Based on this logic Sounion became a powerful fortress of Attica at the time of the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC) where in 413 B.C. a strong 3.00 meters thick wall was built with (11) towers, a permanent garrison was stationed and civilian housing was built within the walls, while in the northwest corner of the cape a space was formed for the accommodation of ships in readiness.

Temple of Poseidon’s incredible landscape

Logically therefore, in the area the temple of the sea god Poseidon was built in 449 B.C. by Pericles on the site of an earlier one. That too was Doric and built two years before the Parthenon without relief decoration on the pediments but on the outer frieze were sculpted scenes from the Gigantomachy, the Centauromachy and the feats of Theseus.

The building was abandoned in the 1st AD century and gradually ruined. Roman sightseers since Roman times carved countless inscriptions on the north side of the temple, on can even read to this time the signature of the philhellene poet Lord Byron.

God of Atlantis

ROUTE INFORMATION – T.B.D. : Spring 2019

Central Greece

Historic Landmarks

  • Acropolis of Athens
  • Sounio
  • Brauron

4/5 Culture Shock

Total Length 150 km

1 Riding Days

Intermediate Skills Level

25% Offroad

Hotels and (1) Camping

National Forest of TBD

Middle May – Middle October

FAQ

Packing List

Lodging

Rent A Ride

Service

Brochure (coming soon)

Before we reach Brauron, I would like to narrate about some places that I see from the top of Mountain Hymettus, since I will be sitting here with my friend the Owl to gaze Attica, which we can see at a distance of 50 km from here because of the great clarity of the sky.

On my right side, I can see the Bay of Palaio Faliro where the port of Attica used to be, the only port of Athens in the Saronic Gulf. From this port Theseus, the son of Aethra and Aegeus, was sent by the Athenians to Crete along with seven young men and seven young women as a human sacrifice to Minotaur. According to the myth, after Theseus killed Minotaur, he forgot to put the white sails to his ship while returning home and his father, waiting at Cape Sounio, saw the black sails instead and thinking that his son was killed, jumped into the sea and drowned.

Sounio, the place where king Aegeus died, is located  in a strait line 38 km from the top of Mountain Hymettus, southeast of Attica. It is the exact place where an arrow from God Apollo killed the captain of Menelaus ship (the husband of Helen of Troy), on their way back to Sparta from the Trojan War. On the leveled top of Cape Sounio is located the Temple of Poseidon, constructed by Pericles in 444 BC, in the exact place of an older Peripteron temple destroyed by Persian king Xerxes in 490 BC.

Sounio

Southernmost Cape of Attica

Southernmost Cape of Attica

The Temple of Poseidon is a Doric Peripteral style temple with (6) columns at the facades and (13) columns on the longer sides, so (6×13) that has a “code” based on the columns K(6)(1)(3)(4)(10), where (6) refers to HARMONY. It is said that the temple is aligned with the exact location of Atlantis where there was placed a bigger altar. Plato was often talking about this lost island and since then everybody was trying to find it. I know a lyric about Atlas, the son of Poseidon and Kleito.

“And the high columns on which the Earth
he is holding,
At the starry dome they end and the spheres they brace
And the spheres they brace”

On the smaller hill northeast of Temple of Poseidon, lay the ruins of the Temple of Athena Souniada that was worshiped since the very early years as protector of the City of Athens. In this exact place Menelaus conducted a ceremony for the Captain of his ship, Fronti.

Further north from Cape Sounio are located the rocky mountain Merenta (614 m), mountain Olympus (487 m) and mountain Panio (648 m) and among them Lavrio with it’s rich soil that brought great prosperity to the city of Athens, through the extraction of silver and lead, and allowed Themistocles and the Athenians to create a powerful fleet.

Going back to the the Bay of Palaio Faliro, we can see place where Menestheus started with his fleet the voyage towards the Trojan War, and at this place the Long Walls of Athens used to end. Further down from Faliro we can see the area of Ammos where Thucydides, the great historian from the 5th century BC. was coming from. Every year the women of that township were celebrating Thesmophoria, a mystical fest about Euphoria and Vegetation.

Continuing my visual journey from the western seaside of Attica to the south, I can see the area of Agios Kosmas, across the old airport of Athens, where were discovered the ruins of the Cycladic citadel from the Copper Age (around 2.300BC.). During the historical years it is said that the wind brought here, from Salamina, the wrecks from Xerxe’s fleet. Further down the road, where it branches towards the region of Vari, excavations brought in the light the remains of the Ancient municipality of Aixoni.

On the way to Vouliagmeni, we cross Cape Zoster (or Laimos Vouliagmenis). There we find the Temple of Apollo Zoster, Artemis and Leto. According to the myth, in that area Leto felt that the time of her childbirth was approaching and unbound her belt, despite the fact that that goddess Hera was hunting her and had forbidden any kind of help towards Leto. Hera convinced the dragon Python (the earth-dragon of Delphi) that the child to be born would deprive the Oracle of Delphi from him and for this reason he had to kill Leto. On our way to Varkiza we pass through Vouliagmeni Lake with it’s sulfurous water that is suitable for skin diseases and rheumatic conditions. Further down, in Varkiza Bay, we can see the three little islands of Apollo, Artemis and Leto on which exist corresponding Altars.

On the north side of Vari, just after the town’s cemetery, there is the Cave of Archedemos (Nympholyptos Cave). Nympholepsy was the belief of the ancient Greeks that individuals could be possessed by the Nymphs. Individuals who considered themselves nympholepts would display a great religious devotion to the nymphs. It is a unique landmark with carved statues from sculptor Archedemos of Thira, where in the 5th century BC, he transformed the cave to a place of worship of the Nymphs, Apollo and Pan.

Further down the road south, we come across the region of Anavyssos where Kroisos Kouros, an interesting marble Kouros (Ancient Greek: κοῦρος) statue was found. He functioned as a grave marker for a fallen young warrior named Kroîsos (Κροῖσος). The free-standing sculpture strides forward with the “archaic smile” playing slightly on his face. The sculpture is dated to c. 540–515 BC and stands 1.95 meters high. The inscription on the base of the statue reads: “Stop and show pity beside the marker of Kroisos, dead, whom, when he was in the front ranks, raging Ares destroyed”. The statue it is now situated in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

From Anavyssos we proceed to the National Park of Sounion, established in 1979. This is a very interesting historical area of 35.000 acres with Geological and Paleontological foundings. From there we reach Sounio and after that Lavrio as we have mentioned above.

North of Lavrio exists the ancient municipality of Thoricus, one of the 12 municipalities of Attica, that was the Industrial Centre of Lavrio mineral mines of and on this area there have been discovered two vaulted tombs of the Mycenaean Age. Continuing our way north, we cross the area of Keratea where, on the southwest side of Mount Panio is located the Cave of Pan, with stalactites and stalagmites and a beautiful lake about 950 square meters for a visitor to sightsee.

Brauron

Athena’s Children Boarding School for Girls

Athena’s Children Boarding School for Girls

The port of Prasia (Porto Rafti) is next to Keratea and it was of great importance for the city of Athens, because it connected them with Cyclades islands. From this port begun all the celebration ceremonies of Apollo at Delos. At that point we are next to the Archeological area of Brauron.

Ancient Greek Architecture

One of the Architectural problems of the Ancient world, that concerned me as a student of Architecture in Rome, was the Arc. Namely this Architectural solution, that for my professors was a Roman invention, unknown in the Ancient Greek World.

Colosseum-of-Rome

Colosseum of Rome, completed in the 1st century CE

The same view prevails today, after 35 years. I noticed that in one of my last trip to southern Italy, where the tour guide of Taormina (Tavroménio) repeated just the same, namely that the Arc was a Roman invention. So I decided to get involved with it, to ascertain the fact, since, from the first moment, I felt that something should be happening in this ancient world, all of whose achievements we see with our own logic, without following it’s own mentality.

Turning, then, to the inquiry procedure with the eyes of the Ancients, I met unknown places and secret cults, playing a key role in shaping the architecture and formed a cosmic standard, with axes and shapes, through which the ancient satisfy their religious Needs. At the same time, they were trying to convert Theory into Action, with structures and symbols, placing the Sacred Temples in specific points, with axial relations between them. Here I met a world where Art was a component of a Global Logic, they should be working together as a whole. So insinuated that behind wars and conflicts, there was a Structured Authority, he had the wit to impose it’s will through advising, having Religion as instrument.

To solve the problem of the Ancient’s Logic only with the use of the findings and unilaterally, without putting your imagination to work and without entering into their shoes, it’s like using on a modern PC only as a calculator! This, however, increases the success of amateurs versus professionals, as is the Schliemann case.

Seeing, then, the fantastic effort of the volume “History of the Greek Nation” I felt – in the past – much more Confident. But today, after all my researches, I found that there are some key differences in the results and come to the conclusion that something is amiss. This I realized when I noticed that sixteen volumes, about 10,000 pages, are based on 159 collaborators archaeologists, historians, philologists, etc. and only report an architect and a mathematical, and none of the other professionals, for a period of 101.941 years.
But we know at least 754 Ancient Scientists (G. Georgakopoulos “Ancient Greek Scientists”), of whom 117 were architects and for a period of 1.200 years they were basically structurally implementing the theories of the Ancient Greeks. Furthermore, we must bear in mind that the architect of the time was a painter, sculptor, engineer, etc. But we know also that the architect of today has the most comprehensive training and profound knowledge of the Past through the History of Art, the Present constructing Buildings and the Future by processing future proposals. And all this implies: Building Design, Static Knowledge, Functional Needs Design, Interior Design, in deapth knowledge of the materials, Topography, Mathematics, Prospectively, Construction Details, social Structures knowledge a thousand of other things, resulting in a Global Knowledge.
So when this Professional is Absent, all individual analysis of Archaeological findings, of Historical facts, or of Philosophical thinking may be possible, but the system does not work Spherically (as a whole) – especially when other professions are missing in the process of analysis.

The result of all the above is that the prevailing opinion around the world is that the architecture of the Greeks is only the Linear Surface with Rhythms: Doric – Ionic – Corinthian and Formulas: Prostyle Amphiprostyle – Pavilion – Dipteral etc. I felt, therefore, the professional curiosity to study the subject of Construction Knowledge of the Ancient Greeks, and based on ideology tireless researchers, covering the Gaps which exist in the area of Greek knowledge, while I took into account tall the views of colleagues and professionals in other scientific areas.

The_Odeon_of_Herodes_Atticus

Odeon of Herodes Atticcus, Athens

As, however, i went on in my investigations, construction-wise, I kept falling on puzzles and riddles, that opened access to other spaces; thus, I walked into a Labyrinth of Knowledge, whose road was not closed in front of me and that I followed; and without much effort, when I looked into the problems with eye of the Ancient entering in their mentality, I saw solutions. As one good God is in front of me that opened me the way; perhaps it was Apollo, maybe it was Dionysus, who knows? Using Pythagoras as a Key to open latched doors and understand the symbolism on the Sacred Temples until the Labyrinth lead me to a circular space; there, on one hand, as Petal Inclined I see seated people dressed as Greeks, watching in agony there in front of me, the Goathorned.
I bit my lips, because I realized that the Goathorned actor was playing Dionysus Revelation.

The researcher – G. Baltoyannis