In architecture, a vertical element, usually a slender shaft, that provides structural support by carrying axial loads in compression; columns are also subject to buckling.
Columns may be exposed or hidden in walls; constructed of precast concrete, masonry, stone, or wood or of steel wide-flange, pipe, or tubular sections; they may be plain, fluted, or sculpted, with or without a capital and base. Columns may also be nonstructural, used for decorative or monumental purposes. See also intercolumniation , order .
Doric columns on the Greek temple at Segesta, Sicily, c . 424–416 BC
SCALA/Art Resource, NY