Pythagoreion and Heraion of Samos
Pythagoreion And Heraion Of Samos
Cultural Greece Europe And North America Prefecture Of Samos, Region Of The North Aegean

Samos was the leading maritime and mercantile power in the Greek world in the 6th century BC, and this importance is reflected in the extent and richness of the archaeological remains, which are largely untouched by subsequent developmentThe site is an area on the north-east coast of the island that is clearly defined by the surrounding mountains. It consists of the ancient city (Pythagoreion) and the classical Temple of Hera (Heraion). Pythagoreion is a classic site from the period of Greek colonization, situated round a good natural harbour on a peninsula that is protected by steep mountains behind it. It also had the advantage of being very close to the mainland of Asia Minor. The earliest finds are pre-classical;dating back to the 4th or 3rd millennium BC, but the main settlement began in the 16th century BC, when it was colonized by Minoans from Crete, later to be supplanted by Mycenaeans.

The ancestors of the classical Samians arrived from the Epidauros region in the 11th century BC, following the turmoil of the Trojan War. By the 6th century BC, Samos had become a major nautical power in the eastern Mediterranean, with close trade links with Asia Minor and the Greek mainland. It was strong enough to establish trading colonies on the coast of Ionia, in Thrace, and even in the western Mediterranean. Samian political influence waned after the island was conquered by the Persians at the end of the 6th century BC, but it continued to be an important mercantile city throughout the Hellenistic and Roman periods. The city was sacked by Germanic peoples in the 3rd century AD and never properly recovered thereafter. Samos alternated between Byzantine, Turkish, and Venetian rule for many centuries, not being fully united with Greece until 1910.

The fortifications round the ancient town date back to the classical period, with Hellenistic additions. Excavations over many years have revealed a great deal of the street plan of the ancient city, together with its aqueduct, sewage system, public buildings, sanctuaries and temples, agora, public baths (Roman), stadium and town houses (Roman and Hellenistic). One of the most famous features is the Eupalineio, a tunnel running for 1,040 m through the mountainside to bring water to the city, the work of Eupalinos of Megara in the 6th century BC.

The great Temple of Hera (Heraion) had its origins in the 8th century BC, when it was the first Greek temple to be surrounded by a peristyle of columns;its 7th-century successor was also innovatory in that it was the first temple to have a double row of columns across the front. These were both surpassed by the temple begun around 570 BC by Rhoecus and Theodorus, who built a colossal structure measuring some 45 m by 80 m, the earliest in the new Ionic order. It was supported by at least 100 columns, whose moulded bases were turned on a lathe designed by Theodorus. Thirty years later this temple was destroyed in a Persian raid and a replacement was planned on an even vaster scale, but it was never to be completed. The complex around the Heraion includes altars, smaller temples, stoas, and statue bases, all located inside the sanctuary, along with the remains of a 5th-century Christian basilica. The temple is fundamental to an understanding of classical architecture. The stylistic and structural innovations in each of its successive phases strongly influenced the design of temples and public buildings throughout the Greek world. The technological mastery of the Eupalineio similarly served as a model for engineering and public works.