Doric Figuration

Mark Wilson Jones

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section


This elaborates on the proposal that the tripod was the model for the triglyph (see article in the American Journal of Archaeology, 2002) expanding on the consequences in relation to the semantic qualities of architectural ornament. The discussion takes as its primary source material the treatise of the Roman architect-writer Vitruvius, which is also our best insight into Greek architectural thinking. It is explained how the Doric frieze conveyed an intelligible and appropriate message to the Greeks that explains two important and longstanding puzzles: why it was that the triglyph frieze suddenly became so widely diffused, and why its appearance changed less over time than any other aspect of architectural design in antiquity. The appeal of the Doric frieze lay in the importance of the tripod, and in its multiple resonances, for at one and the same time it stood for competition, excellence and victory, while carrying virile associations compatible with the masculine character of the Doric order. The tripod imagery also reminded the Greek audience that their temples, like their tripods, were prestigious and costly dedications to the gods.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBody and Building: Essays on the Changing Relation of Body and Architecture
EditorsR Tavernor, G Dodds
Place of PublicationCambridge, Mass.
PublisherMIT Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)0262041952
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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