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A few words about Samos:
Samos (ΣΑΜΟΣ in Greek) is an island in southeastern Greece in the Aegean Sea,
near the coast of Turkey. It is located between the island of Chios to the
North and the Dodecanese Islands to the South. Products include tobacco, wine,
honey, olive oil, and citrus fruit. The Muscat grape is a main crop used for
wine production. With the neighbouring islands of Ikaria and Fourni, the
island of Samos is administered as part of Samos prefecture (nómos). Its
capital and main port is the city of Vathí, also called Samos; other ports are
Karlóvassi and Pythagóreion, formerly called Tigáni. The nearest airport is
In classical times the island was a center of Ionian culture and luxury, known
for its wines and its red pottery (called Samian ware by the Romans). Its most
famous building, for a brief time, was the archaic Ionic Temple of Hera
(Heraion), built by the architects Rhoikos and Theodoros c. 540 BC, which
stood opposite the cult altar of Hera in her sanctuary. It was a dipteral
temple, that is with a portico of columns two deep, which surrounded it
entirely (a peripteral temple). It had a deep square roofed pronaos in front
of a closed cella. Cella and pronaos were divided into three equal aisles by
two rows of columns that marched down the pronaos and through the temple. The
result was that Hera was worshipped in a temple fitted within a stylized grove
of columns, eight across and 21 deep. The columns stood on unusual bases that
were horizontally fluted.
The Heraion of Samos was the first of the gigantic Ionic temples.
Unfortunately it stood for only about a decade before it was destroyed,
probably by an earthquake. One of the giant statues from the Heraion survives
in the Samos Archaeological Museum.
In the 6th century BC Samos was ruled by the famous tyrant Polycrates.
During his reign, two working groups under the lead of the engineer Eupalinos
dug a tunnel through Mount
Kastro to build an aqueduct for supplying Tigáni (the capital of Samos) with
water, which was of utmost stragetic importance. It is not documented, which
method Eupalinos employed to make the two groups meet in the middle of the
mountain. With a length of 1036 meters, the tunnel today is known as one of
the masterpieces of ancient engineering.
Even so the island followed the fate of the Ionian cities, being subjugated to
the Persian empire. During the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC), Samos took the
side of Athens against Sparta, providing their port to the Athenian fleet.
Perhaps the most famous persons ever connected with classical Samos were
Pythagoras and a slave who belonged to Iadmon, whose name was Aesop (famous
for Aesop's Fables). In 1955 the town of Tigáni was renamed Pythagório to
honour the famous mathematician. Other notable personalities include the
philosopher Epicurus, who was born on the island. The astronomer Aristarchus,
whom history credits with the first recorded heliocentric model of the solar
system, lived on Samos. As did the great sculptor and inventor Theodorus.
Herodotus (known for his book The Histories of Herodotus) lived in Samos for a
Samos was part of the Roman Empire, Eastern Roman Empire, then Ottoman Empire
until 1832 when it became a semi-independent principality under a Christian
head of state, but still paying tribute to the Ottomans.
In 1913 it was included in Greece as a result of the Balkan Wars.
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