The Corinthian Order, named so after the city of Corinth, was infrequently utilized by the Greeks in comparison to their Doric & Ionic orders, and its origin is vague simply because elements of the Corinthian Order were scattered throughout designs from a plethora of buildings.
A myth of the order’s origin is described by Vitruvius about the Athenian sculptor, Callimachus. It is said that as Callimachus walked by the grave of a young Corinthian girl, he noticed a possession-filled basket placed atop the grave directly above the root of an acanthus plant. The leaves grew to surround the basket, which was topped off with a flat, square tile that protected the goods inside. This event is mythically said to have been the inspiration for Callimachus’ invention of the Corinthian capital, and interpretations of the capital have been sketched to show what Callimachus saw.
The establishment of the Corinthian Order did not distinguish itself, immediately, as it was first incorporated within the Ionic Order capitals. The first noted example, at the Temple of Apollo at Bassae, appeared centrally among a troupe of Ionic columns, and this specific Corinthian-esque column holds much significance because the acanthus decoration was often linked with Grecian funeral celebrations; and the column may have been built to portray one of the many characteristics of Apollo, which was Sudden Death.
Although the Greeks did not use the Corinthian Order as much as the Doric or Ionic, one of their earlier examples of Corinthian influence was at the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens; and arguably the most recognized model of the Greek Corinthian Order is at the Tower of the Winds. Because of the capital’s unconventional layering of acanthus leaves in only one row with only one row of water leaf designs above that, the Tower of the Winds capital distinguished itself from the Roman version of the order and, in turn, has become synonymous with the Greek Corinthian Order as a whole. The two are often interchanged in dialogue
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