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Ionic order

The Ionic Order was one of the three orders or organizational systems of Greek or classical architecture. The other two orders were the Doric and the Corinthian.

The Ionic order was developed in the mid-5th century B.C. in Ionia, the western coastlands of Asia Minor which had been settled by the Greeks.

Ionic columns are supported on a base which separates the shaft of the column from the stylobate or platform. The capital of the ionic column is characterized by a scrolling volute on four corners.

The most characteristic feature of the Ionic Order is the pictorial frieze, a horizontal band of usually narrative pictorial carving[?] that rests between the tops of the columns and the roof edge. In earlier Doric buildings this horizontal area had been left plain.

Renaissance and modern architectural theorists often interpret the Ionic Order as feminine in comparison to the Doric Order, and even like the scrolling volutes to the circular hair-styles of women in Ionia.

Because no treatises on classical architecture survive that are older than that of Vitruvius, who worked in the time of Augustus, identification of meaning in architectural elements in the 5th and 4th centuries B.C. is on shaky ground.

Vitruvius certainly reports (in book 4 of his De Architectura) that the Doric is based on sturdy male body proportions while Ionic is based on "more graceful" female body proportions, but he does not name his sources.

Parthenon, although conforms mainly to the Doric order, has also some Ionic elements.

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