Art of the Ancient World, C. 5000 B.c.e.–400 C.E.

Ancient Greek Art

What is the Doric order?

The Doric Order was the earliest order to develop and did so towards the end of the seventh century B.C.E. It features a baseless column that supports a horizontal entablature. A Doric column is approximately five times as tall as it is wide, a ratio of 5:1. The shaft of the column is fluted, which means it is decorated in shallow, vertical grooves. A Doric entablature rests atop the column, and features a decorative band called a frieze, which is decorated with alternating triglyphs and metopes.

The Parthenon is an example of a building constructed according to the Doric Order. The Parthenon, built of marble, is dedicated to Athena, the patron goddess of the city of Athens. It sits atop the Acropolis, a prominent hill in the center of the city, which also includes other architecturally significant structures. Built under the direction of the famous statesman Pericles in the fourth century B.C.E., the Parthenon was designed to represent Athens’ self-proclaimed status as an enlightened and civilized center of the world, and celebrated the democratic Greek’s recent defeat of the Persian Empire. The exterior of the Parthenon was masterfully decorated with architectural sculpture on all sides, and a forty-foot, gold-covered sculpture of Athena was erected on a pedestal in the center of the temple.


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