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The Doric Order

The doric order

The Doric order is an unique expression of a geometrically based Architecture relying on juxtaposition and stacking. Many archeologists believe the temples themselves are an evolution of wooden constructions, as proven by the presence of the triglyphs in the friezes, the regula- guttae and mutule-guttae, and the metope. In the wooden structures, the triglyphs were boards secured by the guttae, which at that time were wooden pegs. The spaces between the triglyphs were covered by wooden slabs, which in the Doric temples are known as metopes. The triglyph's primary function was to protect the roof beams from the weather while the metope acted as ventilation system that protected the wood from catching on fire. Other theories suggest that the wooden structure's triglyphs were merely decorative structures -- as they are in the Doric temples.

The order itself is traditionally linked to Dorian and Peloponesian spheres of influence. In the earlier periods, the construction of temples was made possible by the kings of such cities as Athens, Corinth, Syracuse, and Acraragas. These kings collected money from neighboring communities to finance their creations. As history continued, the Dorians proved themselves not only great builders, but also colonizers, constructing numerous temples in their homeland, Southern Italy, and Asia Minor.

The specific traits of the the Doric order are shown to the left. The simple shaft contains twenty channels, or flutes, with sharp decisions known as arrises. The capital is simple, consisting only of the echinus and topped by a block shaped slab, the abacus, which links the vertical and the horizontal elements to the upper entablature. The epistyle, which is formed of lines of blocks that extend from column to column, act as a support system for the great structures. These blocks are plain, except for a molding at the top, which is decorated at intervals with raised panels known as regulae and circular projections as guttae. The epistyle is the frieze, consisting grooved slabs known as triglyphs and separated by blank panels known as metopes. The metopes were often painted red or blue as to emphasize the sculptures and decorations with which they were adorned.

The painted mutules, triglyphs, regulae, and moldings added flavor to the structure by contrasting with the white marble. Above the frieze comes a horizontal segment, and above that, a double pitched roof with open triangular spaces and pediments. Sculptures were often placed on the pediments and were used to break up raindrops and lessen the ecological punishment to the structure.

Architectural devises such as brightly painted palmettes and lion-head waterspouts were often a part of the roof and channeled rainwater away from the structure. The undersurface of the geison, which is the horizontal element above the frieze, is ornamented with mutules guttae which are placed over each triglyph and every metope. Though the structure of the Doric is beautiful, the Greeks had a problem with the placement of the triglyph. Because it was impossible to place a triglyph over the exact center of each column and the space which followed, they saw the structure as awkward. Many archaeologists attribute the decline of the Doric order to this fact.


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