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Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)

Samos

  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. 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. ยง 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.

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


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