See caption
Peristyle surrounding the Roman Baths in Bath, Somerset
Wikimedia Commons

A peristyle is a range of columns surrounding a building, courtyard or other architectural feature.[1] The term is a borrowing from the French péristyle, itself derived from the Latin peristylum, referring to the colonnade surrounding the interior court of a building;[2] the court itself is known as the peristylium.[3]

The peristyle was an important feature of Greek and Roman architecture.[4] In the Christian ecclesiastical architecture that developed from the Roman basilica, a courtyard peristyle and its central space came to be known as a cloisterCovered walkway usually set out in the form of a square..[5]



Burkhard, Emme. Peristyle. Online, Blackwell Publishing, 2013.
Clarke, Michael. “Presbytery.” Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms, Online, Oxford University Press, 2010,
Curl, James Stevens. “Peristyle.” Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, 3rd ed., Oxford University Press, 2006,
Curl, James Stevens, and Susan Wilson. “Basilica.” Oxford Dictionary of Architecture, Online, Oxford University Press,
OED. “Peristyle, n.” Oxford English Dictionary, Online, Oxford  University Press, 2022,