SAMOS



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Samos - ANCIENT SAMOS - The Temple of Hera - Votive structures

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Votive structures

One thing that impressed Herodotus about this sanctuary was the wealth and variety of its votive dedications. He mentions one piece in particular (Hist. IV.152): a bronze vessel, surrounded by ‘‘¦griffin’s heads at the rim, and supported by three kneeling figures in bronze, eleven and a half feet high’. This piece was made from the proceeds of a tithe on the profits of a trading mission undertaken by the Samian mariner, Colaios, and was dedicated by him in gratitude to Hera. Colaios’s journey was remarkable in that it had penetrated, in the early 7th century bc, into the Atlantic Ocean beyond the Straits of Gibraltar, and had reached as far as Tartessus, the area west of Seville—if not substantially further. He returned safely to Samos with a cargo, the profit on which alone was valued at 60 talents. His journey is symbolic of the marine skills, courage and commercial spirit of the 7th and 6th century bc Greeks. A series of stone bases found about 20m east of the south stoa, and directly south of the great altar, has generally been interpreted as the support for the votive dedication of a boat (a phenomenon encountered elsewhere, e.g on Delos and on Samothrace). Whether the boat were that of Colaios or not, is impossible to verify.

   The only other dedication in this southern area stands on its own, just 10m south of the Early Christian basilica, and is semi-circular in form. It supported the honorific monument erected, around 58 bc to the Cicero brothers—in gratitude to the great orator, Marcus Tullius Cicero, who had famously prosecuted Verres (the distinguished art-collector and thief, whose covetous attentions Samos had not escaped) and to his brother Quintus, who was an able and beneficent Governor of Asia from 61 to 58 bc

   . Most of the votive monuments, in the form of small temples, treasuries or shrines, however, occupied the northeastern area of the sanctuary. The lay-out of this area is revealing in the way in which the buildings fill the space randomly and are set at different angles to one an other, with constantly varying orientations. A sanctuary which develops ‘organically’ over time cannot necessarily have a master-plan: but the situation here seems to defy even the loosest concept of orderliness.

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Samos Island is part of the Northern Aegean Island Group, Greece.


access

Samos Island, Greece.

By air: Domestic flights are frequent from Athens – four to five times daily with Olympic Air and twice a day in summer with Aegean Airlines.
There also direct flights by charter from destinations outside Greece.
By boat: Sea access to Samos is also plentiful, but a little confusing because it is split between three separate ports: Karlóvasi and Vathy, on the north coast, for the larger ferries plying the northern and western routes to Piraeus, Chios, Lesbos, Ikaria, Thessaloniki etc;
and Pythagóreio, on the south coast, for the Dodecanese and southern routes,
i.e. the F/B Nisos Kalymnos (4 days per week)
and hydrofoils (daily in summer) to Patmos, Lipsi, Leros, Kalymnos, Kos, and on to Rhodes , with the Nisos Kalymnos stopping at Agathonisi and Arki in addition, before calling at Patmos.
The summer hydrofoil service to Fourni and Ikaria (4 times weekly) also leaves from Pythagóreio. Crossings to Turkey (Kus¸adasi) run daily from Vathy, during the summer season only (Easter to mid October); thereafter more infrequently.

Samos Travel Guide

eating

Samos Island, Greece.

In Vathy, Christos (two blocks in from the water-front, and north of the main square) serves Asia Minor specialties, interesting salads, and good, fragrant wine.
The village of Vourliotes has several tavernas offering good mountain food in its picturesque plateia: less contrived, and more popular with islanders, is Pera Vrysi, at the entrance to the village. On the shore below, at Avlákia, the Mezedopoleío "Doña Rosa" has a pleasing touch of eccentricity, but nonetheless prepares excellent Greek dishes with localredients and good presentation.
Further west at Palaio Karlóvasi, the Oinomageireío "Dryousa", in the plateia where the paved road ends, is family run, providing fresh, home cooking.
The last true tavernas in Pythagóreio closed some time ago; the best remaining eatery there, with a pleasant view from its position at the beginning of the harbour mole, is Varka. For sunset views, however, few can match Balkoni tou Aigaiou at the south end of Spatherei;
while the taverna at Koutsi, up and west from Pyrgos, though not remarkable for food, is an unforgettable and cool refuge on a hot day, beside a spring below plane trees in the hills of central Samos .
Pure comb honey of high quality can be found at Melissa – a small supply-shop, a few metres up the main street of Pythagóreio from the harbour.

Samos Travel Guide

further reading

Samos Island, Greece.

Graham Shipley, A History of Samos 800-188 BC (Oxford University Press, 1987); Hermann Kienast, The Aqueduct of Eupalinos (Greek Ministry of Culture, Athens, 2005).

Samos Travel Guide

practical info

Samos Island, Greece.

831 00 Samos & 832 00 (Karlóvasi): area 477 sq. km; perimeter 163 km; resident population 33,999; maximum altitude 1,434 m. Port Authority: T. 22730 27890, 27318 (Vathy); T. 22730 61225 (Pythagóreio); T. 22730 32343, 30888 (Karlóvasi). Travel and in formation: www.samos.gr ; By Ship Travel, T. 22730 25065 (Vathy), 61061 (Pythagoreio), 92341 (Kok- kari), 37100 (Marathókambos) & 35252 (Karlóvasi).
Samos Travel Guide

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