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Listed 12 sub titles with search on: Information about the place for destination: "SAMOS Island NORTH AEGEAN".

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Names of the place

Parthenia, Anthemus, Melamphyllus, Samos

In earlier times, when it was inhabited by Carians, it was called Parthenia, then Anthemus, then Melamphyllus, and then Samos, whether after some native hero or after someone who colonized it from Ithaca and Cephallenia.

In the ancient bibliography the island is mentioned with names and/or adjectives such as Samus, Anthemis, Anthemous, Dorysa, Dryousa, Cyparissia, Macares Island, Melanymphus, Melanthemus, Parthenia, Parthenoarchousa, Hydrelis, Phyllis etc.

The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites


  One of the Sporades Islands, 2.35 km from the coast of Asia Minor, to which it is geographically and geologically linked. According to Strabo (14.637) the island's earliest inhabitants would have been Carians, who called it Parthenia, but Samos is also an Asian word. From the 3d millennium B.C. the island was inhabited by a population of Anatolian culture, until, at the beginning of the 1st millennium, it was occupied by Ionian colonists. It knew its maximum splendor during the reign of Polykrates (ca. 538 B.C.), to whom is owed a period of intensive building and a vast territorial expansion (Hdt. 34154ff). Samos participated in turn in the Persian wars and in the wars between Athens and Sparta, and in 365 B.C. it became an Athenian colony. After the battle of Magnesia in 190 B.C. Samos was ceded by the Romans to Eumenes II of Pergamon; from 129 B.C., when the reign of Pergamon fell, it became part of the Roman province in Asia. The first archaeological expedition to Samos was undertaken in 1764. Systematic excavation was initiated in 1910, and continues today.
  The ancient city occupied the site of the modern village of Tigani, and was enclosed together with the port by a 6th c. wall with a perimeter of 6.7 km, of square and polygonal masonry, provided with gates and with circular and rectangular towers. On the acropolis (Astypaleia) rose the fortified palace of Polykrates, of which no trace remains. The port was bound by two piers which enclosed military and commercial activities in a single basin. A part turned back towards land in such a way as to form a shelter for the ships, and probably reflects in its originality Polykrates' new ideas about naval engineering (Hdt. 3.45; Plin. HN 7.209). Water from the Agiades fountain reached the port by means of a tunnel 1 km long and 1.75 m high dug into the mountain, an admirable work of Eupalinos of Megara. Near the port was the Hellenistic agora, and on the slope of the hillside are the remains of a small theater. The Roman habitation site was to the SW, while on the castro of Tigani the prehistoric remains are overlapped by a Hellenistic-Roman villa where a statue of Trajan was found, and by an Early Christian basilica. The necropoleis were situated immediately adjacent to the walls.
  About 6 km W of the city, at the mouth of the Imbrasos river, was the Sanctuary of Hera. A very ancient cult place, it was probably originally dedicated to a local divinity, mother of nature, trees, and marshes. Greek mythology said that here, near a sacred bush, occurred the birth and matrimony of Hera. There, at the beginning of the 1st millennium, was miraculously found an aniconic wooden image of the goddess, which was still extant at the time of Pausanias in the 2d c. A.D. Every year a festival celebrated the sacred marriage there of Hera and Zeus (hieros gamos). One of the rites consisted in a purificatory bath of the cult effigy, which was then wound with foliage of the sacred lygos tree to restore to the deity her virginity until the day of the wedding. Subsequently she was redressed in a gown sewn every year by the women of Samos. There followed a procession of armed men that departed from the city. Polykrates and his brothers profited from the occasion by taking possession of the entire island.
  On the site of the Heraion the remains of prehistoric settlements from eight successive periods have been recognized. The earliest corresponds to the first Trojan age (2500 B.C.), while the most recent is of the Late Mycenaean and Geometric ages. These communities are characterized by houses with a megaron plan and encircling walls. Belonging to the last phase is a Mycenaean tumulus with a diameter of 6 m and four bothroi filled with fragments of pottery, figurines in terracotta and alabaster, Egyptian statuettes, and Oriental objects. Among the most precious finds is an ivory representing a kneeling youth from mid 7th c. B.C. The earliest architectural complex of the sanctuary dates from the 9th-8th c. B.C. and includes a paved square with traces of ashes, an altar, and a hekatompedon temple. It is ca. 33 x 6.50 m, divided into two aisles, with the entrance to the E. On a socle of small limestone blocks were placed walls of crude bricks. In the middle of the 8th c. the temple was surrounded by a colonnade of wooden pillars that supported the roof, and on the earlier foundations were constructed the walls of the cella. A century later, following a flood, this, the earliest example of a large peripteral temple in the Greek world, was replaced by an analogous temple, also peripteral with a single nave and a pronaos decorated by an incised and painted frieze of a procession of warriors. In the cella was kept the ancient aniconic image, which was later replaced by a statue by Skelmis or Smilis (the sources are not agreed on the name), whose image perhaps was reproduced on coins. Before the temple at the front was the altar. The earliest altar, from mid 10th c., was succeeded by seven more by the end of the 7th c., each overlying the preceding altar until a large rectangle was formed. For this reason the altars are exceptional with respect to the axis of the temple.
  To the S of the temple and contemporary with its 7th c. addition, is a portico with two aisles, 70 m long, and open to the E. This was built on the original bed of the river, whose course was changed at that time. Also nearby was the sacred pool, fed by the waters of the Imbrasos and connected with the sea, which was used for ritual baths of the goddess's image. Later other pools were added. At the end of the 7th c. an enclosing wall was built, opening to the N with a large gate, earlier considered a propylaeum. Naiskoi and votive statues, whose bases remain in place, lined the square and the sides of the sacred ways leading to the city and to the port. The most conspicuous is that bearing the signature of the sculptor Geneleos, on which there were six marble statues datable to the middle of the 6th c. Three of these are preserved in the museum at Vathy.
  A little before the middle of the 6th c. a period of intense building activity transformed the sanctuary. The construction of the new Temple of Hera was entrusted to Roikos and Theodoros, two names which tradition also links with the invention of sculpture by the lost wax process. It was a colossal building in poros, measuring 51 x 102 m, with a double colonnade of two rows of 8 columns each on the front, 21 on the long sides, and 10 on the back. On the interior two rows of columns, S in the pronaos and 10 m the cella, supported the roof. On the front the intercolumnal spaces appeared to vary from the center to the sides. The forest of columns that resulted have earned this temple the epithet of labyrinth. The columns had a characteristic type of Ionic capital, with lotus flowers around the collar, and without an abacus. Before the temple, and on an axis with it, rose a new altar measuring 36.57 x 16.58 m, preceded by a flight of stairs. This was also Ionic in type, the first in this style. In Roman times it was first restored and then replaced by a precise copy in marble in the 1st c. In place of the S portico Roikos constructed another structure, the so-called S building, provided with a peristyle and a row of columns on an axis with the cella. In this building has been recognized a Temple of Aphrodite and Hermes, two divinities honored in the sanctuary since the end of the Geometric period, as is known from the sources and from numerous inscriptions. Perhaps two other small temples were also dedicated to them. The temple of Roikos and Theodoros was soon destroyed by fire. According to Pausanias this would have happened at the time of the Persian conquest of the island in 530 B.C. Its reconstruction, initiated by Polykrates, was conceived on such a grandiose scale that it was never completed. The Ionic temple, measuring 52.40 x 108.70 m, rose on a high platform. It had a double colonnade of 24 columns on the sides, and three rows of columns on the ends (8 on the E and 9 on the W). The pronaos was divided into three aisles by two rows of 5 columns each. The columns differ in diameter and material (poros and marble) according to the period in which they were erected. They bear a capital characteristic of the Samos-Ionic style. The pronaos and the cella were decorated by a frieze in poros that was never finished. Construction continued until the Roman epoch, when the hope of ever completing such a gigantic work was abandoned.
  In the 2d c. A.D. two modest little temples rose beside the altar. An Ionic peripteral temple and other minor buildings belong to the age of Polykrates. Among the marvels of the Heraion Strabo (14.1-14) mentions an art gallery with works of Timantes, Parrhasios, and Apelles, and three statues by Miron representing Zeus, Athena, and Herakles, whose bases have been found. The Zeus statue was probably transported to the Campidoglio in Rome by Augustus. Besides the two little temples near the altar, other remains from the Roman epoch include other temples; naiskoi; votive offerings; an exedra; private houses, some with two stories from the 2d c. A.D.; an honorific monument of the family of Cicero; baths; a new network of canals; and a wide paved road toward the city from the 3d c. A.D. In 260 the sanctuary suffered violent destruction by the Herulians. Towards the end of the 5th c. there rose a basilica measuring 18 x 30 m, with three naves, testifying to a considerable Christian community.
  The material from the early explorations of the city and especially from the Heraion, which includes monumental sculpture, ceramics, and objects in bronze, wood, and ivory are preserved in various museums of the world, including those in Berlin, Paris, and Athens. Finds from more recent excavation are in the local museum at Vathy. These have permitted a reconstruction of the stylistic features of the Samos school, and give an idea of the ample communication network during the archaic period, linking the island to the great Mediterranean and Anatolian centers of Cyprus, Egypt, Assyria, Syria, and others. With the decline of political power at the end of the 7th c., the artistic activity of Samos also declined, and the importation of foreign goods ceased. Pythagoras, the last of the great sculptors originally from Samos, recorded by the sources, and active around the beginning of the 5th c., emigrated to Reggio in Magna Graecia.

L. Vlad Borrelli, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Nov 2002 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains 3 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities


   Now Samo, Turk. Susam Adassi; one of the principal islands of the Aegaean Sea, lying in that portion of it called the Icarian Sea, off the coast of Ionia, from which it is separated only by a narrow strait formed by the overlapping of its eastern promontory Posidium (now Cape Colonna) with the westernmost spur of Mount Mycale, Promontorium Trogilium (now Cape S. Maria). This strait, which is little more than three-fourths of a mile wide, was the scene of the battle of Mycale. The island is formed by a range of mountains extending from east to west, whence it derived its name; for Samos was an old Greek word signifying a mountain: and the same root is seen in Same, the old name of Cephallenia, and Samothrace--i. e. the Thracian Samos. The circumference of the island is about eighty miles. It was and is very fertile; and some of its products are indicated by its ancient names, Dryusa, Anthemura, Melamphyllus, and Cyparissia. According to the earliest traditions, it was a chief seat of the Carians and Leleges, and the residence of their first king, Ancaeus; and was afterwards colonized by Aeolians from Lesbos, and by Ionians from Epidaurus.
    In the earliest historical records, we find Samos decidedly Ionian, and a powerful member of the Ionic Confederacy. Thucydides tells us that the Samians were the first of the Greeks, after the Corinthians, who paid great attention to naval affairs. They early acquired such power at sea, that, besides obtaining possession of parts of the opposite coast of Asia, they founded many colonies, among which were Bisanthe and Perinthus, in Thrace; Celenderis and Nagidus, in Cilicia; Cydonia, in Crete; Dicaearchia (Puteoli), in Italy; and Zancle (Messana), in Sicily. After a transition from the state of a monarchy, through an aristocracy, to a democracy, the island became subject to the most famous of the so-called "tyrants," Polycrates (B.C. 532), under whom its power and splendour reached their highest pitch, and Samos would probably have become the mistress of the Aegaean but for the murder of Polycrates. At this period the Samians had extensive commercial relations with Egypt, and they obtained from Amasis the privilege of a separate temple at Naucratis. Their commerce extended into the interior of Africa, partly through their relations with Cyrene, and also by means of a settlement which they effected in one of the Oases, seven days' journey from Thebes. The Samians now became subject to the Persian Empire, under which they were governed by tyrants, with a brief interval at the time of the Ionian revolt, until the battle of Mycale, which made them independent, B.C. 479. They now joined the Athenian Confederacy, of which they continued independent members until B.C. 440, when an opportunity arose for reducing them to entire subjection and depriving them of their fleet, which was effected by Pericles after an obstinate resistance of nine months' duration. In the Peloponnesian War, Samos held firm to Athens to the last; and in the history of the latter part of that war, the island becomes extremely important as the headquarters of the exiled democratical party of the Athenians. Transferred to Sparta after the battle of Aegospotami (405), it was soon restored to Athens by that of Cnidus (394), but went over to Sparta again in 390. Soon after, it fell into the hands of the Persians, being conquered by the satrap Tigranes; but it was recovered by Timotheus for Athens. In the Social War, the Athenians successfully defended it against the attacks of the confederated Chians, Rhodians, and Byzantines, and placed in it a body of two thousand cleruchi (B.C. 352). After Alexander's death, it was taken from the Athenians by Perdiccas (323), but restored to them by Polysperchon (319). In the subsequent period, it seems to have been rather nominally than really a part of the Graeco-Syrian kingdom: we find it engaged in a long contest with Priene on a question of boundary, which was referred to Antiochus II., and afterwards to the Roman Senate. In the Macedonian War, Samos was taken by the Rhodians again, B.C. 200. In the Syrian War, the Samians took part with Antiochus the Great against Rome.
    Little further mention is made of Samos till the time of Mithridates, with whom it took part in his first war against Rome, on the conclusion of which it was finally united to the province of Asia, B.C. 84. Meanwhile it had greatly declined, and during the war it had been wasted by the incursions of pirates. Its prosperity was partially restored under the propraetorship of Q. Cicero, B.C. 62, but still more by the residence in it of Antony and Cleopatra (32), and afterwards of Octavianus, who made Samos a free State. It was favoured by Caligula, but was deprived of its freedom by Vespasian, and it sank into insignificance as early as the second century, although its departed glory is found still recorded, under the emperor Decius, by the inscription on its coins, Samion proton Ionias.
    Samos may be regarded as almost the chief centre of Ionian manners, energies, luxury, science, and art. In very early times there was a native school of statuary, at the head of which was Rhoecus, to whom tradition ascribed the invention of casting in metal. In the hands of the same school architecture flourished greatly; the Heraeum, one of the finest of Greek temples, was erected in a marsh, on the western side of the city of Samos; and the city itself, especially under the government of Polycrates, was furnished with other splendid works, among which was an aqueduct pierced through a mountain. Samain architects became famous also beyond their own island; as, for example, Mandrocles, who constructed Darius's bridge over the Bosporus. Samian pottery was well known, and was in vogue in Greece and Italy in the second century B.C., and was imitated by the potters of Gaul and Britain. It was of a reddish colour, with reliefs. The island was the birthplace of Pythagoras, and of several minor poets and historians.
    The capital of the island was the city Samos, on the southeastern coast. It had a magnificent harbour, and was adorned with many fine buildings, especially a temple of Here (Heraeum), which in the time of Herodotus was the largest temple in existence. It was of the Ionic order. Excavations made in 1880 show that its facade was one of some 150 feet.

This text is cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)


  Samos or Samus (Samos: Eth. and Adj. Samios, Samius, Samaios, Samiakos in Steph.: Samiotes in the language of the modern Greeks, who call the island Samo, Samo: the Turks call it Susam Adassi), a large island in that part of the Aegaean which is called the Icarian sea, and the most important of the Sporades next after Rhodes. The word denotes a height, especially by the sea-shore. (See Const. Porphyrog. de Them. 16. p. 41, ed. Bonn.) Hence Samtothracia, or the Thracian Samos, which is said by Pausanias (vii. 4. § 3) to have been colonised and named by certain fugitives from the Icarian Samos,- and Same one of the names of Cephalonia, which is inversely connected with it by one of Strabo's conjectures (x. p. 457). How applicable the idea of elevation is to the island before us may be seen in the narratives and views given by Dr. Clarke (Travels, vol. ii. p. 192, vol. iii. p. 366), who uses the strongest language in describing the conspicuous height of Samos above the surrounding islands.
  The following earlier names of Samos are mentioned by Pliny (v. 37) and other writers, - Parthenia, Anthemus, Melamphylus, Dryusa and Cyparissia. Some of these have evidently arisen from the physical characteristics of the island. Samos was, and is, well-wooded. It is intersected from E. to W. by a chain of mountains, which is in fact a continuation of the range of Mycale, being separated from it only by the narrow channel, hardly a mile in breadth, which the Turks call the Little Boghaz. Here was fought the decisive victory against the Persians, B.C. 479. The Great Boghaz, which is nearly 10 miles in breadth, separates the other extremity of Samos from the comparatively low island of Icaria. The length of Samos, from E. to W., is about 25 miles. Its breadth is very variable. Strabo reckons the circuit at 600 stadia, Pliny at 87 miles, though he says that Isidorus makes it 100. These differences may be readily accounted for by omitting or including Port Vathy, which is a wild-looking bay, though a very serviceable harbour, on the north. Here the modern capital is situated: but in ancient times the bay of Vathy seems to have been comparatively deserted-perhaps, as Tournefort suggests, because it was peculiarly exposed to pirates, who infested the straits and bays of an island which lay in the route of commerce between the Bosporus and Egypt. What Tournefort tells us of his travels through Samos gives us the idea of a very rugged, though picturesque and productive, island. (Possibly the Palinurus and Panormus of Samos, mentioned by Livy, xxxvii. 11, may have been in the bay of Vathy.) The highest point, Mount Kerkis, the ancient Cerceteus (Strab. x. p. 488), which is nearly always covered with snow, and reaches the height of 4725 English feet, is towards the west. A ridge, which branches off in a south-easterly direction from the main range, and ends in the promontory of Poseidium, opposite Mycale, was called Ampelus, which name seems also to have been given to the whole mountain-system (Strab. xiv. p. 637). The westernmost extremity of the island, opposite Icaria was anciently called Cantharium. Here the cliffs are very bare and lofty. A landslip, which has taken place in this part of the island, has probably given rise to the name by which it is now called (he kataibate).
  The position of Samos was nearly opposite the boundary-line of Caria and Ionia; and its early traditions connect it, first with Carians and Leleges, and then with Ionians. The first Ionian colony is said to have consisted of settlers from Epidaurus, who were expelled from thence by the Argives. However this may be, we find Samos at an early period in the position of a powerful member of the Ionic confederacy. At this time it was highly distinguished in maritime enterprise and the science of navigation. Thucydides tells us (i. 13) that the Samians were among the first to make advances in naval construction, and that for this purpose they availed themselves of the services of Ameinocles the Corinthian shipbuilder. The story of Pliny (vii. 57), that either they or Pericles the Athenian first constructed transports for the conveyance of horses, though less entitled to literal acceptance, is well worthy of mention; and Samos will always be famous for the voyage of her citizen Colaeus, who, not without divine direction (Herod. iv. 152), first penetrated through the Pillars of Hercules into the Ocean, and thus not only opened out new fields of commercial enterprise, but enlarged the geographical ideas of the Greeks by making them for the first time familiar with the phenomenon of the tides.
  Under the despot Polycrates, Samos was in fact the greatest Greek maritime power. This famous man, about ten years after the taking of Sardis by Cyrus, held Samos in a position of proud independence, when Lesbos and Chios had submitted to the Persians. He had 1000 bowmen in his pay; he possessed 100 ships of war, and made considerable conquests both among the islands and the mainland. He fought successfully against the Milesians and Lesbians, and made a treaty with Amasis, king of Egypt. Whether we are to take the story in the poetical form in which it is presented to us by Herodotus, or to attribute the change to the more probable motive of self-interest, this treaty was broken off for an alliance with Cambyses. In connection with this monarch's expedition to the Nile, some Samian malcontents were so treacherously treated by Polycrates, that they sought and obtained assistance from Greece. A joint force of Lacedaemonians and Corinthians besieged Polycrates in Samos for forty days: but in this struggle also he was successful. At last his own cupidity, acted on by the fraud of Oroetes, a neighbouring satrap, brought him to a wretched death on the mainland. The time which succeeded was full of crime and calamity for Samos. In the end, Syloson, the brother of Polycrates (whose association with Cambyses is the subject of another romantic story in Herodotus), landed with a Persian army on Samos, and became a tributary despot; but not till his native island had been so depopulated as to give rise to the proverb heketi Sulotontos euruchorie. It was at this period that Pythagoras, who was a native of Samos, left the island to travel in foreign countries, being partly urged to leave his home (according to Plutarch, Placit. i. 3) through discontent under the government of Polycrates, who, however, was a patron of literature, and had Anacreon many years at his court. For the chronology of this period see Clinton, Fast. Hell. vol. ii. note B. pp. 230-232.
  Samos was now Persian. It was from Samos that Datis sailed to Marathon, taking Naxos on his way. But the dominion of the Persians did not last long. When their fleet was gathered at Samos again, after the battle of Salamis, to the number of 400 sail, it was in a great measure the urgency of Samian envoys which induced the commanders of the Greek fleet at Delos to go across to the eastern side of the Aegaean. Then followed that battle in the strait, which completed the liberation of the Greeks.
   In the maritime confederacy which was organised soon afterwards under Athenian rule, Samos seems to have been the most powerful of the three islands which were exempted from paying tribute. It was at the instance of her citizens that the common treasure was removed from Delos to Athens. But this friendship with Athens was turned into bitter enmity in consequence of a conflict with Miletus about the territory of Priene. Samos openly revolted; and a large force was despatched from Athens against it under the command of ten generals, two of whom were Sophocles and Pericles. The latter pronounced in the Cerameicus the funeral oration over those who had fallen in the war which, after a resistance of nine months, reduced Samos to complete subjection.
  From 439 to 412 Samos remained without fortifications and without a fleet. But about this latter date it became the hinge upon which all the concluding events of the Peloponnesian War really turned. The first movements towards the establishment of an oligarchy at Athens began at Samos through the intrigues of Alcibiades; and yet this island was practically the home of the Athenian democracy during the struggle which ensued. It was at Samos that Alcibiades rejoined his fellow-citizens; and from Samos that he finally sailed for the Peiraeus in 407. Even till after the battle of Arginusae Samos was, more than any other place, the headquarters and base of operations for the Athenian fleet.
   Our notices of the island now become more fragmentary. After the death of Alexander the Great it was for a time subject to the kings of Egypt. (Polyb. v. 35.) Subsequently, it took the part of Antiochus the Great in his war with Rome. It also acted with Mithridates against Rome; but was finally united with the province of Asia B.C. 84. After the battle of Actium, Augustus passed the winter there. Under the Roman emperors it was on the whole a place of no great importance, though it had the honour of being a free state. (Plin. v. 37.) This privilege was taken away under Vespasian. (Suet. Vesp. 8.) In the division of the Empire contained in the Synecdemus we find it placed with Rhodes, Cos, Chios, &c., in the Province of the Islands. In the later division into themes, it seems to be again raised to a distinguished position. It gave its name to a separate theme, which included a large portion of the mainland, and was divided into the two turms of Ephesus and Adramyttium, the governor having his residence (praitorion) at Smyrna; and this arrangement is spoken of in such a way (Const. Porphyrog. de Them. l. c.) as distinctly to connect it with the ancient renown of Samos.
  It would be difficult to follow the fortunes of Samos through the middle ages. (See Finlay's History of the Byzantine and Greek Empires, vol. ii. p. 112.) There are some points of considerable interest in its modern history. In 1550, after being sacked by the Ottomans, it was given by Selim to the Capitan Pacha Ochiali, who introduced colonists from various other places; whence the names of some of the modern villages in the island, Metelinous, Albaniticori, and Vourlotes (Vourla giving the name to some islands at the entrance of the bay of Smyrna). Samos was much injured by the ravages of Morosini. In Tournefort's time the largest part of the island was the property of ecclesiastics; and the number of convents and nunneries was, considerable. He reckoned the population to be 12,000; now it is estimated at 50,000, nearly the whole being Christian. Samos performed a distinguished part in the War of Independence. The Turks often attempted to effect a landing: the defences constructed by the Samiotes are still visible on the shore; and the Greek fleet watched no point more carefully than this important island. On the 17th of August, 1824, a curious repetition of the battle of Mycale took place. Formidable preparations for a descent on the island were made by Tahir-Pacha, who had 20,000 land-troops encamped on the promontory of Mycale. Canaris set fire to a frigate near Cape Trogillium, and in the confusion which followed the troops fled, and Tahir-Pacha sailed away. At this time the Logothete Lycurgus was turannos of the island in the true classical sense of the word, as is observed by Ross, who describes the castle built by Lycurgus on the ruins of a mediaeval fort, adding that he was then (1841) residing with the rank of Colonel at Athens, and that he was well remembered and much regretted in Samos. This island was assigned to Turkey by the treaty which fixed the limits of modern Greece; but it continued to make struggles for its independence. Since 1835 it has formed a separate Beylick under a Phanariot Greek named Stephen Vogorides, who resides in Constantinople with the title of Prince of Samos, and sends a governor as his deputy. Besides other rights, the island has a separate flag exhibiting the white Greek cross on a blue ground, with a narrow red stripe to denote dependence on the Porte. It does not appear, however, that this government of Greeks by a Greek for the Sultan is conducive to contentment.
  The present inhabitants of this fruitful island are said to be more esteemed for their industry than their honesty. They export silk, wool, wine, oil, and fruits. If the word Sammet is derived from this place, it is probable that silk has been an object of its industry for a considerable time. Pliny (xiii. 34) mentions pomegranates among its fruits. At the present day the beans of the carob-tree are exported to Russia, where a cheap spirit for the common people is made from them. We might suppose from the name of Mount Ampelus, that the wine of the island was celebrated in the ancient world; but such a conclusion would be in direct contradiction to the words of Strabo, who notices it as a remarkable fact, that though the wine of the surrounding islands and of the neighbouring parts of the mainland was excellent, that of Samos was inferior. Its grapes, however, under the name of homomelides or hamamelides, are commended by Athenaeus (xiv. p. 653; see Poll. Onomast. vi. 11), and now they are one of the most valued parts of its produce. Ross saw these grapes (staphida) drying in large quantities in the sun; and other authorities speak highly of the Malmsey or sweet muscato wine exported in large quantities from Samos. Its marble is abundant; but it has a greater tendency to split into small fragments than that of Pentelicus or Paros. A stone found in the island is said by Pliny (xxxvi. 40) to have been used for polishing gold. He also mentions in several places (l. c., also xxviii. 53, 77, xxxi. 46, xxxv. 19, 53) the various medicinal properties of its earth. The Samian earthenware was in high repute at Rome ( Samia etiamnum in esculentis laudantur, Plin. xxxv. 46), and the name has been traditionally given by modern writers to the red lustrous pottery made by the Romans, themselves for domestic use. (See Marryatt's Pottery and Porcelain, London 1850, pp. 286, 290.) For the natural Flora and Fauna of the island we must be content to refer to Tournefort, who says, among other facts, that tigers sometimes swim across to it from Mycale, which Chandler describes as a mountain infested with wild beasts. The woody flanks of Mount Kerkis still supply materials for shipbuilding. It is said in Athenaeus (l. c.) that the roses and fruits of Samos came to perfection twice a year; and Strabo informs us that its general fruitfulness was such as to give rise to the proverb Pherei kai ornithon gala.
  The archaeological interest of Samos is almost entirely concentrated in that plain on the S., which contained the sanctuary of Hera at one extremity and the ancient city on the other. This plain is terminated at the SW. by a promontory, which from its white cliffs is called aspro kabo by the Greeks, but which received from the Genoese the name of Cape Colonna, in consequence of the single column of the Heraeum which remains: standing in its immediate neighbourhood. Virgil tells us (Aen. i. 16), that Samos was at least second in the affections of Juno; and her temple and worship contributed much to the fame and affluence of Samos for many centuries. Herodotus says that the temple was the largest he had seen. It was of the Ionic order; in form it was decastyle dipteral, in dimensions 346 feet by 189. (See Leake, Asia Minor, p. 348.) It was never entirely finished. At least, the fluting of the columns was left, like the foliage on parts of our cathedrals, incomplete. The original architect was Rhoecus, a Samian. The temple was burnt by the Persians. After its restoration it was plundered by pirates in the Mithridatic War, then by Verres, and then by M. Antony. He took to Rome three statues attributed to Myron: of these Augustus restored the Athene and Heracles, and retained the Zeus to decorate the Capitol. The image of the goddess was made of wood, and was supposed to be the work of Smilis, a contemporary of Daedalus. In Strabo's time the temple, with its chapels, was a complete picture gallery; and the hypaethral portion was full of statues. (See Orig. c. Cels. 4.) In the time of Tacitus, this sanctuary had the rights of asylum. (Ann. iv. 14.) When Pausanias was there,the people pointed out to him the shrub of Agnus Castus, under the shade of which, on the banks of the river Imbrasus, it was believed that Hera was born. (Paus. l. c.) Hence the river itself was called Parthenias, and the goddess Imbrasia. (Comp. Apoll. Rhod. i. 187, Imbrasies hedos Heres.) The anchorage in front of the sanctuary was called hormos Heraites. (Athen. xv. p. 672.) The temple was about 200 paces from the shore, according to Ross, who found its whole basement covered with a mass of small fragments of marble, among which are portions of the red tiles with which the temple was roofed. He discovered hardly anything of interest, except an inscription with the word naopoiai.
  The appearance of the watercourses of the Imbrasus shows that they are often swollen by rains, and thus harmonises with the natural derivation of the word. In the plain which extends along the base of the mountains eastwards towards the city, Ross says that there are traces of ancient channels made for the purpose of irrigation. He regards the marshy places near the temple to be the Kalamoi and the Helos mentioned by Athenaeus (xiii. p. 572) ill connection with the expedition of Pericles. (The former place is likewise referred to by Herodotus, ix. 96.) Across this plain, which is about two miles in length, there is no doubt that a Sacred Way extended from the sanctuary to the city, like that which connected Athens with Eleusis. Somewhere on this line (kata ten hodon ten eis to Heraion, Paus. vii. 5. § 6) was the tomb of Rhadine and Leontichus, where lovers used to make their vows; and traces of funeral monuments are still seen at the extremity of the line, close to the city-wall.
  The modern town of Chora, close to the pass leading through the mountains to Vathy, is near the place of the ancient city, which was situated partly in the plain and partly on the slope of the hill. The western wall runs in a straight line from the mountain towards the sea, with the exception of a bend inwards near the tombs just mentioned. Here is a brackish stream (he gluphada), which is the Chesius, the second of the three streams mentioned by Pliny. (See Etym. Magn. s. v. Astupalaia.) The southern wall does not touch the sea in all its length, and is strengthened by being raised on vaulted substructions. Here and elsewhere the ruins of Samos touch the question of the use of the arch among the Greeks. On the east side of the city the wails are very considerable, being 10 or 12 feet thick, and about 18 feet high. The masonry is partly quadrangular and partly polygonal; there are round towers at intervals on the outside of the wall, and in one place are traces of a gate. In the eastern part of the city was the steep citadel of Astypalaea, which was fortified by Polycrates (Polyaen. Strat. i. 23. § 2), and here probably was what Suetonius calls the palace of Polycrates. (Suet. Calig. 21.) In the higher part of the town the theatre is distinctly visible; the marble seats are removed; underneath is a large cistern. The general area is covered with small fragments, many of the best having furnished materials for the modern castle of Lycurgus near the shore on the SE.; and little more remains of a city which Herodotus says was, under Polycrates, the greatest of cities, Hellenic or Barbarian, and which, in the time of comparative decay, is still called by Horace Concinna Samos.
  Herodotus makes especial mention of the harbour and of an immense tunnel which formed an aqueduct for the city. The former of these works (to tigani, as it is now called, from being shaped like a frying-pan) is below Astypalaea; and, though it is now accessible only to small craft, its famous moles remain, one extending eastwards from the castle of Lycurgus, the other extending to meet it from the extremity of the east city-wall southwards. Here Ross saw subterranean passages hewn in the rock, one of which may possibly be the krupre diorux ek tes akropoleos pherousa epi thalassan (Herod. iii. 146), constructed by Maeandrius after the death of Polycrates. The tunnel has not been clearly identified; but, from what M. Musurus told Prof. Ross, it is probable that it is where Tournefort placed it, and that it penetrated the hill from Metelinous to Chora, and that thence the water was taken into the city by a covered channel, traces of which remain. It is clear that it cannot be in the quarry pointed out to Ross; both because the cleavage of the rock is in the wrong direction, and because water from such a height would fall like a cascade on the city.
  The authorities, to which reference has been made in this article, are, Tournefort (Voyage du Levant, 1717, pp. 404-436), who has given a very copious account of the island; and Ross (Reisen auf den Griechischen Inseln des Agaischer Meeres, vol. ii. 1843, pp. 139-155), who has examined the sites and remains of the ancient city and Heraeum more carefully than any one else. (See also Clarke, Travels, vol. ii. pp. 192-194, vol.iii. pp. 364-367.) Maps of the island will be found in Tournefort and Choiseul-Gouffier; but the best delineation of it is given in three of the English Admiralty charts. There is a small sketch of the neighbourhood of the city in Kiepert's Hellas (1841), and a larger one in Ross. In Kiepert's general map the rivers Imbrasus and Chesius are wrongly placed, and also (probably) the ridge of Ampelus. It is very questionable whether the point called Poseidion can be where it is (doubtfully) placed in Ross's plan: the position of the little island Narthecis in the strait seems to show that this promontory ought to be further to the east. (See Strab. xiv. p. 637.) A little volume was published in London, and dedicated to James Duke of York, in 1678, entitled A Description of the present State of Samos, Nicaria, Patmos, and Mount Athos, by Joseph Georgirenes (Georgeirenes), Archbishop of Samos, now living in London, translated by one that knew the author in Constantinople. From this book it appears that Dapper has taken much directly, and Tournefort indirectly. Panofka has written a book on Samos (Res Samiorum, Berlin, 1822): and more recently (1856) Guerin has published a work on this island and Patmos.

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited September 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

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Samos, Samian, Samians

The Catholic Encyclopedia


  Titular see, suffragan of Rhodes in the Cyclades. The island, called in Turkish Soussan-Adassi, is 181 sq. miles in area. Samos was first inhabited by the Leleges, Carians, and Ionians, the latter being very active and given to navigation.
  Its greatest prosperity was attained under the tyrant Polycrates (536-522 B.C.) at whose court the poet Anacreon lived. The philosopher Pythagoras seems to have lived at the same time; Aesop also stayed there for a long time. At the assassination of Polycrates Samos passed under Persian domination, and, about 439 B.C., participated in the Greek confederation especially with Athens. This city, under Pericles, took it by force. Henceforth it had various fortunes, until the Romans, after pillaging it, annexed it in A.D. 70. It was included in the Province of the Isles. Under the Byzantines Samos was at the head of a maritime theme or district. It was captured and occupied in turn by Arabian and Turkish adventurers, the Venetians, Pisans, Genoese, and Greeks, and the Turks in 1453. These various masters so depopulated it that in 1550 Sultan Soliman had transported thither Greek families, whence sprang the present population.
  From 1821 to 1824 Samos had a large share in the war of independence and won several victories over the Turks. At first a suffragan of Rhodes, Samos was an autocephalous archdiocese in 1730; in 1855 it was a metropolitan see, dependent on the Greek Patriarch of Constantinople.

S. Vailhe, ed.
Transcribed by: Vivek Gilbert John Fernandez
This extract is cited June 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

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