Difference Between Doric Order and Ionic Order

Greek architecture was fundamentally characterized by the search for beauty and harmony. Architectural works were considered more a work of art than a structure, so they sought harmony, balance, symmetry, proportion and perfection through their designs.

In the same way, they believed in the existence of certain rules equivalent to natural laws to adapt their buildings to them and that would result in works of perfect proportions in harmony with nature. Therefore, they developed structural systems to organize the architectural parts or components. These systems, also known as orders, characterized the different stages that Greek architecture went through.

Then, three orders are distinguished namely: the Doric, the Ionic and the Corinthian. In this article we will point out the characteristics of the Doric and Ionic orders and then point out their most relevant differences.

doric order

The Doric order was the first to be used, it had as its fundamental characteristic simplicity, sobriety and robustness typical of the Dorians (one of the main ancient Greek tribes, from which its name also comes), so it was related to masculinity.

This type of architecture predominated in the interior of the Balkan peninsula and in the western colonies and its heyday lasted until about the middle of the 5th century BC.

As for the basic structures (stylobate, column, capital and entablature) it was characterized by:

  • The stylobate (tiered platform on which the structure rests) which consisted of three simple steps to enhance the structure on the ground.
  • The column does not have a base, it rests directly on the stylobate.
  • The capital rests on the collar and is made up of equinus and abacus, on which the entablature is placed, which is made up of a smooth architrave and a frieze that alternates triglyphs and metopes that were decorated with sculptures and carved reliefs.
  • Its capital is short, thick and simple and consists of a ring throat (small molding that separates it from the shaft).

For example: The Parthenon in Athens is the most representative work of the Doric order.

Ionian Order

The Ionian order arises in the Aegean islands and in Asia Minor. It was characterized by being lighter, graceful, stylized, slender and elegant. It was a style originating in Ionia (Greek province) that was associated with femininity for its style that represented thinness and beauty. This type of architecture emerged simultaneously with the Doric style but became popular shortly after, so it is considered post-Doric.

Regarding the basic structures (stylobate, column, capital and entablature) the following was observed:

  • The column has a base formed by two moldings called torus, separated from each other by another called scotia.
  • The shaft or column is more slender, with 8 to 10 modules, it also has grooves like the Doric style but they are more numerous (approximately 24), deeper and separated from each other by a fillet.
  • The capital is also richer, it is characterized by two volutes or lateral snails.
  • The entablature loses the severity of the Doric style and is subdivided into three planes with a slight overhang.
  • The frieze is a continuous ornament, with human figures or carved floral arabesques.
  • Its capital is adorned with scrolls (spiral-shaped decorations) of great beauty and elegance.

For example: The temple of Nike Áptera in the Acropolis of Athens is a representative work of the Ionian order.

As can be seen, the basic differences between the Doric order and the Ionic order are:

doric order Ionian Order
It is associated with masculinity due to robustness, simplicity and sobriety. It is associated with femininity for its elegance, slenderness and beauty.
The columns did not have a base, they rested directly on the stylobate. The columns have bases formed by moldings.
The column shows few striae. The column has more fluting than the Doric style.
The capital is short, thick and simple. The capital is adorned with scrolls (spiral-shaped decorations).

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