For the Greeks and Romans, the column, although obviously ornamental, was also structural, since it supported the roof. There are five types of classical columns, the earliest (dating to about 600 B.C.) was the Doric, followed by Ionic, Corinthian, Composite, and Tuscan (16th Century). The Greeks preferred the Doric and Ionic styles; the Romans, the more ornate Corinthian or the combination style known as Composite.
Columns could be made by stacking drums, but many of the Roman columns were made of single pieces with the fluting left off. If made of porphyry or other hard materials, these columns would be polished. The Romans also increased the height of the columns by mounting them on pedestals. Romans also used columns as buttresses.