Capital (architecture)

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Drawing of the Sarnath capital, India

capital (from the Latin caput, or "head"). The topmost part of a column. It mediates between the column and the load thrusting down upon it, broadening the area of the column's supporting surface.

From the highly visible position it occupies in all colonnaded monumental buildings, the capital is often selected for ornamentation; and is often the clearest indicator of the architectural style. The treatment of its detail may be an indication of the building's date.

Well-known capitals include:

Further reading