Doric Order

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Doric Order. Classical Order of architecture found in distinct Greek and Roman varieties, probably evolved from timber prototypes before C6 bc, as suggested by the frieze with its triglyphs perhaps representing beam-ends, guttae the constructional dowels, and metopes the spaces between beams, but this interpretation is by no means accepted as gospel. Ancient Egyptian columns, especially those at the Beni-Hasan rock-cut tombs (c.1900 bc) and the sixteen-sided columns at the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, Deïr-el-Bahari (c.1480–c.1458 bc), also have been seen as prototypes of the Doric column. The Greek Doric Order comprises a baseless shaft (normally cut with flutes separated by arrises, but occasionally unfluted, as in the temple of Apollo, Delos (c.325–300 bc)), rising directly from the stylobate, diminishing in diameter from bottom to top (diminution) in a delicate outward curve called entasis (very pronounced in the Orders used at Paestum (c.565–c.450 bc)), terminating in the trachelion (part of the shaft between the horizontal grooves circumscribing the shaft (hypotrachelion) and the annulets); a capital consisting of 3–5 annulets (rings) that stop the shaft and its flutes and form the base of the cushion-like echinus (often very pronounced in the Paestum temples) supporting the unornamented square abacus; and an entablature, approximately a quarter the height of the entire Order, consisting of a flat architrave (lintel) carrying the frieze and crowning cornice. Immediately over the architrave is a plain band or taenia under which, lining up with the triglyphs above, is a series of narrow bands (regulae) with 6 guttae or cone-like drops hanging beneath them. Over the taenia is the frieze, consisting of a series of alternating triglyphs (flat upright slabs, incised with two vertical V-shaped glyphs (channels) and a half-glyph on each side, at the top of which is a plain projecting band) and approximately square metopes set back from the face of the triglyphs and often embellished with sculpture in relief (earlier with painted terracotta panels). Triglyphs are normally set over the centre-line of each column and over the centre-line of each intercolumniation in Hellenic buildings (where one triglyph only is set between each column centre-line), but in Hellenistic buildings the intercolumniation is usually wider, so two or more triglyphs occurred. However, the Athenian propylaea (C5 bc) had two triglyphs over the centre intercolumniation. In Greek Doric the triglyphs invariably terminate a frieze, so touch at the angle of a building: as a column set on the centre-line of the triglyph would have an unacceptably clumsy projection at a corner it is therefore set back, and the centre-line rule is broken at the angle, resulting in narrower intercolumniations between the corner-columns and their immediate neighbours. Set over the frieze is the cornice with inclined projecting mutules on the soffit placed over the triglyphs and centre-lines of the metopes, so there is insufficient space for ornamentation of the soffit except for the guttae on the undersides of the mutules and (sometimes) an anthemion or other enrichment at the corner of the soffit, where there are no mutules. The paradigm of Greek Doric is held by some to be the Athenian Parthenon (447–438 BC), although the type is established by the temple of Aphaia at Aegina (c.495 bc).

In the Roman version of Doric, there may be a rudimentary base, but the shaft is generally more slenderly proportioned, and the entablature is only an eighth the height of the Order (as at the prostyle tetrastyle temple at Cori in Latium (C1 bc) ), giving a somewhat feeble effect. Under the Roman Empire Doric really ceased to be used, and what we call Roman Doric is really a variety of Tuscan Order to which triglyphs and other embellishments were added. This so-called Doric was codified and developed during the Renaissance, and consists of a base, a shaft (fluted or unfluted) more slenderly proportioned than in Greek Doric, and a capital consisting of an astragal (sometimes ornamented with bead-and-reel) joined to the shaft by an apophyge, a frieze-like hypotrachelium (often ornamented), an echinus (sometimes enriched with egg-and-dart), and a square abacus with a crowning moulding. Architraves are sometimes plain, but usually have two fasciae separated by mouldings, and the frieze has triglyphs that do not occur off-centre in relation to columns because they do not touch at the angles. There is instead a demi-metope at the corner, a solution proposed by Vitruvius, who probably got it from a Hellenistic theorist: Roman Doric columns are therefore always equidistant, with identical intercolumniations, even at the corners, though the spacing is invariably wide, with two or more triglyphs over each intercolumniation although there are some exceptions, such as Hawksmoor's Mausoleum at Castle Howard, Yorks. (1729–36), where the intercolumniation is deliberately narrow, to add to the gravitas of the architecture. Metopes are often ornamented with bucrania and other devices derived from Hellenistic models, especially from Asia Minor. Mutules are usually set over the triglyphs only, giving scope for additional inventive ornamentation on the soffit, and have a slight slope and very modest projection (usually only the guttae) below the cornice. The powerful Mutule Order of Vignola has horizontal mutules that do project, giving a highly modelled soffit additionally ornamented with lozenges and thunderbolts. Scamozzi and Vignola both used dentils associated with the bed-mouldings of their versions, clearly derived from the Antique Order of the thermae of Diocletian, Rome (AD 306), which has a continuous band of fret-like ornament suggesting dentils.


J. Curl (2001);
Dinsmoor (1950);
Hersey (1988);
C. Normand (1852);
Onians (1988)

Doric order

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Doric order One of the five orders of architecture