The Doric Order – 6th Century B.C.

The Doric Order, whose name is of Peloponnesian origin, is the style of many important Greek buildings. Even Vitruvius, the roman architect, wrote of it in “De Architectura“.

Photo of the Parthenon with blue, clear skies. Two people stand in the bottom left hand corner.
Parthenon – Atene, Greece, 447 BC

Image source: by Nataša Stuper

The Origin of the Doric Order

The Doric Order is recognized by its  circular capitals at the top of the columns and can be traced back to many important buildings in Ancient Greece. At that time, it became the primary architecture style because it conveyed strength and elegant minimalism. Later, this became really important all over Europe in the following centuries, alongside with Ionic and Corinthian orders.

Photo of an old, worn book opened to a page with text on the left and a photo of columns on the left. (De Architectura)
A 1521 Italian language edition of De Architectura, translated and illustrated by Cesare Cesariano.

Image source:

The Importance of Vitruvius

Vitruvius was a Roman architect and writer whose works survived until the Middle Ages. His handbook for Roman architects, De architectura,” was rediscovered in the 15th century, and is now hailed as a classic architecture authority. Many centuries later, it is possible to find traces of his ideas in many buildings all over the world. His books glorifies and offer details about three important styles born in Greece. In the Renaissance and Baroque periods, they developed an aesthetic canon that had two goals: recalling classical orders while improving them. The coding orders were deeply defined in the sixteenth century by Vignola, in his famous “Rules of Five Orders of Architecture.” It is not a way of returning to the past, but it is a way of dealing with its impact.

Drawn picture of Marcus Vitruvius Roman.
Marcus Vitruvius Roman.

Image source: by ubleipzig

Diffusion of the Doric Order

The Doric order was born in Peloponnese, but quickly developed in Greece and  become a very important style of architecture in the South Italy colonies. All surviving temples of Ancient Greece and some of the most important contemporary Greek buildings are in this order, including the Parthenon on the Athens Acropolis and the Temple of Zeus at Olympia. The Parthenon dominates the hill over Athens At the time, goddess Athena Parthenos, also known as “The Virgin,” inspired the structure. It is generally considered the most important example of the Doric order. In the same period, they built the Temple of Zeus in Olympia, which is another important celebration of this architectural style.

Photo of the Temple of Zeus.
Temple of Zeus – Olympia, Greece, 470-456 a.C.

Image source: by A.Savin (Wikimedia Commons · WikiPhotoSpace)

The Characteristics of the Order

The Doric Order can be recognized by the features that can be found in a Doric Temple, for example:

  • Euthynteria: the platform of the temple, laid on the foundation
  • Crepidoma: a platform on the basis of the temple, formed by steps leading to the temple
  • The shaft of the column put on crepidoma. It has grooves with a sharp edge and is tapered from the bottom to the top
  • The capital, which consists of two elements :
    • The echino, with a truncated cone shape.
    • The abacus, a simple marble slab.
  • Above the capital can be seen the entablature, that features a lintel on which the frieze lays directly
  • metopes: marble slabs decorated in bas-relief
  • triglyphs: rectangles vertically furrowed by three channels
Photo of temple shown from the bottom. Two columns and the roof of the temple can be seen with blue skies behind.
Doric Order- Kensal Green Cemetery in West London

Image source: by It’s No Game

Photo of tan colored drawing of the features of doric order. Including a column, capital, etc.
‘Doric-Order, Dossils, Double Fiche’

Image source: by Biblioteca Rector Machado y Nuñez

The Doric Style Today

Many architects, over the centuries, took inspiration from the Doric way of conceiving architecture, especially those in Italy. Palazzo Te, a building in Mantova, is a homage to Greek architecture of the Doric period. Federico II Gonzaga firmly wanted to build a palace with Doric features and commissioned Julio Roman to it.

Doric features found in this building:

– in the external facades, with smooth pilasters (pillars embedded in a wall).

– the inner courtyard is also a Doric Order feature. Here there are marble columns, left almost raw, and surmounted by a mighty Doric entablature.

Photo of the palazzo Te Mantova, which is a long building with many arches. Three arches occupy the center of the photo with a gravel path surrounded by grass leading up to it. Moreover, a blue sky occupies the background.
Palazzo Te Mantova

Image source: by Marcok

Info source:,_Olympia
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