Monthly Archives: August 2014

Hellenistic and Roman Villa and Late Antique Basilica, Pythagorio

These ruins of Hellenistic and Roman villa is situated on the western hill of Pithagorio, near the church of Metamorphosis and the castle of Logothetis.

Ancient Villa, Pythagorio

Ancient Villa, Pythagorio

The villa was first constructed in the second century BCE, and renovated during the imperial period.

Ancient Villa, Pythagorio

Ancient Villa, Pythagorio

The remains of the villa is not much, only the foundations and some columns. Some of the features, however, remind us how gorgeous it was.

Ancient villa, Pythagorio

Ancient villa, Pythagorio

Column in red stone

Column in red stone

Sculpted stone

Sculpted stone

In late antiquity (fifth century), one part of the villa was converted in to a Christian basilica and a small chapel, as you see in this photo.

Late Roman basilica

Late Roman basilica

The photo below shows a relief with Christian symbols.

Relief with Christian symbols

Relief with Christian symbols

At the centre is the Chi-Rho sign (a kind of cross made of two Greek alphabets, x (chi) and r (rho), two first letters of Christ), and in the same circle, alpha and omega, representing the beginning and the end, and on two sides there are two doves.

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Church of Metamorphosis, Pithagorio

The Church of Metamorphosis is situated on the hill to the west of the harbour.

Church of Metamorfosis, Pythagorio

Church of Metamorfosis, Pythagorio

It was constructed in 1833. During the War of Independence, in 1824, the leader of the Greeks in Samos, Lykoúrgos Logothétis, defeated the Turks on the day of the Metamorphosis (6 August). The chapel in the fortification was enlarged and dedicated to the Metamorphosis.

The wall on the right side of the road seems to be part of an ancient wall.

Celebration of Metamorphosis

Celebration of Metamorphosis

I was at this place on 6 August, the Day of Metamorphosis, in 2002. On the day, the local priests, notables, and solidiers make a procession to the church. As I wrote before, the feast of Metamorphosis of 1824 is the day in which the Samians succeeded in defending the island from the Turks. It is why the heavy military presence at this festival.

Parade at the festival

Parade at the festival

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Castle of Logothetis, Pythagorio, Samos

The castle of Logothetis (the construction is quite extensive as you see in the photo below) is situated on the western cliff of Pithagorio. Constructed in 1824, according to Barber’s guidebook (the bibliography below).

Castle of Logothetis

Castle of Logothetis in Pythagorio, Samos

The construction date seems, however, dubious. If this was really constructed in 1824, it was when Lykoúrgos Logothétis defended Samos during the war of Independence (Samos joined the War of Independence in 1821). The building seems too solid to have been constructed during such a period of confusion. 

Castle of Logothetis

Castle of Logothetis, seen from behind

Castle of Logothetis

The stairs leading to the castle

View toward Potokaki

View from the cliff near the Castle of Logothetis

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Pythagorio, Samos

Pithagorio is situated at the site of ancient capital of Samos.

View of Pythagorio

View of the seaside of Pythagorio

The town was used to be called Tigáni, but was renamed Pithagorio in 1955 in honour of the famous mathematician who was born in this island. The present Pithagorio is a touristic centre with small port.

Ancient Column

Ancient Column

The small archaeological museum of Pithagorio is nothing more than a large room. The photo above is one of the capitals arranged in front of the museum (it was prohibited to take pictures inside). A new and probably larger museum is planned in another place. In and arount the town, there are several archaeologica excavations, like Roman villa and paleochristian basilica, Roman bath with paleochristian baptismal fountain, temples, etc.

Near Pithagorio is also the Tunnel of Eupalinos, completed in 524 BCE under the tyrant Polykrates.

The speed boats to Patmos, Lipsi, Leros, Kalymnos and Kos leave from Pythagorio and not from Vathy.

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Archaeological Museum of Vathy, Samos

The Archaeological Museum of Vathý houses many precious findings from Samos, including sculptures, ceramics, inscriptions and so on. Especially important are the sculptures from the Heraion.

This museum has two separate buildings. Although the more important is the first building (that you cannot miss, as there is ticket office here), don’t forget to visit the second.

Colossal Kouros of Samos

Colossal Kouros from Heraion

The gigantic kouros (youth) statue is almost as tall as 5 metres. The material is white marble with grey vein from Samos. The body and the head were found respectively in 1980 and 1984 in the Heraion. It stood probably on a side of the sacred road.

The inscription on one of the thighs says “Isches anetheken o Resios”, meaning Isches the Resian put (this). “Resios (Resian)” can indicate his place of origin, or his tribe.

The statue was probably made between 580 and 560 BCE. Gigantic kouroi were made only in the earlier period, and later ones are of life-size or slightly larger.

Statue group from Heraion

Statue group from Heraion

These archaic sculptures from the Heraion are called “Geneleos Group”, from the name of the sculptor. They were made between ca. 560 and 540 BCE, slightly later than the gigantic Kouros above. The group was originally composed of five female (korai) and one male figure, of which two female and one male figures are in the Samos Archaeological Museum, and one female, called Ornithé, is in the Antikemuseen of Berlin.

Statues

Statues in the second bulidng

These are the statues housed in the second building. The collection of the museum covers up to the early Byzantine period.

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