The Significance of Cauliculi in Corinthian Architecture

What are cauliculi in the context of a Corinthian capital?

a. Decorative elements rising between the acanthus leaves

b. Stylized volutes atop the capital

c. Supporting elements beneath the abacus

d. Carved reliefs on the column shaft


a. Decorative elements rising between the acanthus leaves


The ornamental stalks that rise between the acanthus leaves of a Corinthian capital from which the volutes spring are known as cauliculi (plural form: caulicoles). The Corinthian capitals are highly decorated architectural elements that are distinctive for their stylized acanthus leaf decorations.

These capitals are known for their use in classical architecture, particularly favored by the Romans in structures such as the Pantheon in Rome and the Maison Carrée in Nîmes. Within the context of a Corinthian capital, the cauliculus serves as a supportive element that visually connects the acanthus leaves to the volutes above.

The broader architectural order is characterized by the elaborate design of the capitals and their slender columns, with the other elements like abacus, fluting, and coffers complementing the intricate design. This level of detail and ornamentation was achieved by skilled artisans, making the Corinthian order a testament to the artistry and craftsmanship of the era.

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