To what extent and in what ways were the Doric and Ionic orders combined in Greek architecture? What advantages did Greek architects gain from combining the orders?

The challenge of this title is to produce sufficient evidence of where such combinations exist and not to exaggerate the extent of what is really a limited phenomenon. 'Combination' can also be examined in two ways: within sanctuaries as a whole and on individual buildings.

Don't overlook the second part of the question!

Early in the essay, it would be a good idea to highlight the key differences between the two orders, without giving a really detailed description of each. The more slender Ionic columns and the more ornate style of that order could be seen as attractive in some situations; the greater number of flutes enhanced the slenderness of the columns.

Taking groups of buildings first i.e. sanctuaries, the situation at Olympia and Delphi is different from that of the Acropolis at Athens. The two pan Hellenic sites exhibit a combination primarily because of the representation of the wider Greek world amongst their buildings (give examples e.g. the Siphnian treasury (Ionic) and Athenain treasury (Doric) at Delphi; at Olympia there is very little the Ionic portico of the bouleuterion is from a later date). At Athens, the combining of the two orders within the Acropolis is closely linked to the development of a single building programme.

Therefore, the combination of buildings of different orders is to be seen principally at Athens. The Erechtheion and temple of Athena Nike can be seen as a reflection of the position of Athens as champion of the Ionian Greeks: the resources of the Ionian Greeks were diverted to Athens rather than assigned to their own building projects. Ionic architecture at Athens in this way had a political importance, in addition to providing variety.

Still with Athens, the more slender, graceful Ionic style was also more suited to a small temple like the Nike temple, which might have looked rather clumsy in the Doric order. The more decorative style of the Ionic order is also used to good effect in the Erechtheion e.g. the tall columns of the north porch, the 'Caryatid' south porch and the continuous frieze.

Moving to individual buildings, it is important to identify the key examples and suggest advantages from such a combination of styles. Beginning with the earliest building of Perikles' programme, the Parthenon has a continuous frieze running around the cella an Ionic feature What was gained from this feature? Scope for enhanced sculptural decoration was no doubt a factor the Parthenon was the most decorated temple, after all. The subject matter of the frieze is also significant: an Athenian theme, whether we take it to show the Panathenaia or the glorious dead of Marathon. Another Ionic feature of this building are the four slender Ionic columns in the rear room of the cella: these do not intrude into the space as much as Doric columns would have done (this part of the cella was used to store offerings).

Another structure where we find a combination of orders on the Acropolis is the Propylaia. Here, the effect is not as striking. The three Ionic columns on either side of the ramp might again be seen as in keeping with the politics of the time, but their more slender proportions contrast with the Doric features around them.

The conclusion should review the key points, especially the significance of the Acropolis. Another thought might be that combining the orders gave architects a rare opportunity for innovation.

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