Socle (architecture)

In architecture, a socle is a short plinth used to support a pedestal, sculpture, or column. In English, the term tends to be most used for the bases for rather small sculptures, with plinth or pedestal preferred for larger examples. This is not the case in French.

House of the Vetti interior wall sections
Bust on a round socle
Statue with inscription on what is called the socle in French; more likely the plinth in English.

In the field of archaeology this term refers to a wall base, frequently of stone, that supports the upper part of the wall, which is made of a different material – frequently mudbrick. This was a typical building practice in ancient Greece, resulting in the frequent preservation of the plans of ancient buildings only in their stone-built lower walls, as at the city of Olynthos.[1]

In Pompeian interior painting styles, the socle is the lowest zone of wall painting in all four style periods.[2]


  1. ^ Maher, Matthew P, The Fortifications of Arkadian City States in the Classical and Hellenistic Periods, p. 36, 2017, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0191090204, 9780191090202, google books
  2. ^ Clarke, John R., The Houses of Roman Italy, 100 B.C.-A.D. 250, Ritual, Space, and Decoration, University of California Press, 1991.
  • Merriam Webster Online Dictionary