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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.
- Perseus: Strabo, Geography
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.
- Perseus: Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary(1879)
- Perseus: Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary(1879)
- Perseus: Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary(1879)
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
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
- Perseus: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898)
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
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
- Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD)
Perseus Project index
Samos, Samian, Samians
- Samios: Perseus Lookup Tool, text search
- Samian: Perseus Lookup Tool, text search
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- Samos: Perseus Lookup Tool
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
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.
- The Catholic Encyclopedia (1908)
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