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The name Samos is said to supposedly originate from the area of Sami at Kefallonia from which it is believed that the first settler of the island Agkaios, who had taken part in the Argonautic campaign originates or from Samon the daughter of Agkaios. According to the geographer Meletios the name originates from the son of the God Ermis and Rinis, Sao. On the other hand the historical researcher Bochort supports that the name originates from the ancient nation Saious that settled on the island.

The researches of the eastern languages attribute the name to the Ionic dialect "sama" which means height because of the high mountains of the island. The name Samos was first mentioned in the hymn for Apollo in the Homeric verse number 41. Many people in ancient times named it Parthenia, from the river Partheno according to the mythology the Goddess Ira would bath in.

It was also named Melamfillos, Dirousa, Dorisa, Anthemis, Fillas, Kiparissia, Stafani and Imbrasia. Most of these surnames are related with the rich vegetation, which even today is spread throughout the entire island. It is not an accidental that the Turks name it "Sousan Anta".

History of the island

The truth about the beginning of life on the island does exists due to the many myths and the legends that cause even the most aspiring researchers to come to a dead-end. In any case most support that the first settlers of the island were the Naiads, the Maenads mythical monsters that caused earthquakes and geological realignments and based on the testimony of Iraklidis of the Pontikon their bones were spread throughout the whole island. At the paleontological museum Mitilinou Samos the exhibits of the remains of large sized animals show evidence of the existence of life millions of years ago. They are from "Pikarmiki fauna" period of the animal kingdom in the Hellenic area that is dated back 13 million years.

Small village
Ancient Samos was a splendid city with an excellent technical harbor, which was protected by a huge wave breaker, 370 meters in length and 35 meters of depth inside the sea. The ancient wave breaker is still preserved in its whole even to date, but due to the sinking of the ground it is found immersed at the bottom of the bay of Tigani.

The ancient city was built on the slopes of today's hill of the Virgin Mary of Spilianis and it was surrounded with walls 6,7 klms long with 31 small towers.

The first inhabitants of the island were the Saioi, who replaced the Pelasgoi. Works are improved the being of settlement by the Neolithic times about in 2000 and 2800 BC. This civilization is placed among the "Civilization of Salliagou" and paralleled like Macedonia, Thraki and Sterea Ellada, because of usual issues that represented to vessels and it is a lot senior from Cycladic Civilization. The next inhabitants were the Leleges and in continue are coming Kares.

According to Thoukididis the carriers of the Cyclade civilization were the Leleges and the Kares, who made their presence evident in Ikaria, Limno, and Troia. After the collapse of the Cyclade civilization from the Minoan, the dispute of the Mycenaeans and the Minoans followed, where the first ones are crowned winners.

The first Mycenaean settlers arrived around 1360 B.C., with king Agkaios after the instigation of God Apollo.


The colonization of the island from inhabitants of Lesvos around 1140 B.C is considered a historical fact with Kidrolaos the son of the king of Lesvos being in charge. Preserved on the island are monuments of an older period, the so-called Cyclopean walls, which their historic identity has not been verified. The colonization of the island from ancients is completed around 1350 b.c. and by Iones around 900 b.c.

Until the 7th century there is no evidence of population changes taking place on the island. During this period the island takes part in the Lilantio war and in the middle of the same century it takes part in the B΄Mycenaean war, with King of Amfikrati. During the second half of the same century, Samos created colonies in Samothraki, Amorgo, and in Tartisso, city of southeastern Spain. Newer colonies are consisted of Nagis and Kelenderis on the coasts of Kikilia, the colonies Perintho, Iraio Wall and Bisanthi, and the coast of Propondis. Also significant colonies were founded in Lower Italy, Sikelia and Egypt.

The island flourished during the period of the tyrant Polikratis around 550 b.c. According to Herodotus, Samos was appointed "fist amongst the first, Greeks and barbarians". Polikratis with the help of his two brothers succeeded in becoming a tyrant and later exterminated the brothers that had helped him. He managed to organize a powerful navy with which he dominated the Aegean and took hold of a large part of Asia Minor. At islands shipyards a new type of ship with the 50 oars, the famous Samaina was built.

After the defeat of Kroisos from the king of the Persians, Samos was also threatened. Polikratis succeeded in refuting the attack and then gathered all the mothers of the ones killed in battle and ordered the rich to support them on gratis. That is where the ancient parable "Polikratis distributes mothers " comes from. With intelligent strategies, expansions and victories the island flourished and unique technical structures began to be constructed. Constructions that included the Evpalinio Origma, in other words the ancient water-reservoir, the temple of Ira and the "sand in the sea", in other words the ancient harbor.

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