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The Greeks invented three kinds of column for holding up roofs, or four if you count the caryatids. These related to the three orders, Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. The Doric column is simple, the style used for the Parthenon. It has no base as such. Ionic columns have curls on the capitals, known as volutes. The Corinthian style, developed later, used acanthus leaf shapes on the capitals.

This diagram shows the three main orders.

These are good examples of the three types of column:

Doric Ionic Corinthian

The Romans later created new columns - one was a mix of Ionic and Corinthian we call Composite. Another was the Tuscan, which is like Doric but with no fluting, and a slightly different capital.

Composite column

Tuscan column