A Solomonic column, also known as a barley-sugar column or a spiral column, is a column with a twisting or spiraling shaft.
Features of a Solomonic Column:
- Shaft of the column is turned in a twisting, corkscrew pattern
- Capital (top) of the column can take many shapes, including the Classical Ionic and Corinthian forms
The spiral shape, common in nature, has adorned buildings since the dawn of recorded history. According to legend, spiral columns ornamented the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. However, if Solomon's Temple existed, it was destroyed more than 500 years BC. In 333 AD, Constantine, the first Christian emperor, used spiral columns in a basilica dedicated to St. Peter. Could these columns have been relics from the Temple of Solomon? No one knows.
A new St. Peter's, constructed in the 16th century, incorporated spiral columns. Over the centuries, the spiral Solomonic column shape became became incorporated into many styles, including:
To explore the history of architectural Solomonic columns, see:
- Spiral Columns in Salisbury Cathedral, an article by Richard Durman in ECCLESIOLOGY TODAY, Journal of the Ecclesiological Society, Issue 29, September 2002 (Link opens a PDF file)
- Spiral Columns, essay posted by Norwich Cathedral(link opens a PDF file)
Also Known As: Barley-sugar column, barleysugar column, spiral column, torso column, twisted column, turned column, curly column, corkscrew column
Common Misspellings: solmic, salamic, salomonic, solomic
Examples: Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem