Greek life was dominated by religion and so it is not surprising that the temples of ancient Greece were the biggest and most beautiful.They also had a political purpose as they were often built to celebrate civic power and pride, or offer thanksgiving to the patron deity of a city for success in war.

The Greeks developed three architectural systems, called orders, each with their own distinctive proportions and detailing. The Greek orders are: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian.



Doric

The Doric style is rather sturdy and its top (the capital), is plain. This style was used in mainland Greece and the colonies in southern Italy and Sicily.

Ionic

The Ionic style is thinner and more elegant. Its capital is decorated with a scroll-like design (a volute). This style was found in eastern Greece and the islands.

Corinthian

The Corinthian style is seldom used in the Greek world, but often seen on Roman temples. Its capital is very elaborate and decorated with acanthus leaves.