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Historical Background

Nor is Greece the original source of the classical orders, but rather the place in which they came first to maturity. Capitals of Doric form appear in earlier civilisations – the idea of spreading a beam load by a broad pad on top of a post must be almost as old as posts and beams themselves – and are practically universal in Cretan and Minoan work. Volutes and flower-decoration, the progenitors of the Ionic capital, are common in ancient architecture of the Near East, and fluting and moulded entablatures appear in Egypt. The Greeks brought together many strands of architectural thought and over a period from about  B.C. onwards evolved the orders, recognisable and classifiable in all their elements.