The capital in architecture is the topmost member of a column and it mediates between the column and the load thrusting down upon it, broadening the area of the column's supporting surface. Capitals were used in the ancient architecture and they are used in the modern architecture, as well. In ancient greek architecture, three major orders of capitals were used - the Doric, the Ionic, and the Corinthian capital, from which are derived the capitals of Roman culture.
The Ionic order originated in the 6th century B.C.. The Ionic capital, is composed by spirally coiled volutes and the abacus. Unlike the Doric order the column does not rely on the pillar, but it has its own basis. The capital is thinner and below the volutes, the Ionic column may have a wide collar or banding separating the capital from the fluted shaft, that end up in-between the two volutes.
Ionic capitals anyone can see at the Archaeological Museum of Athens and at the Museum of Ancient Agora in the Stoa of Attalos in Athens.
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