Robert K. Stephen
With so many sights to see and beaches to visit it might require just a bit more effort to visit a museum. But Samos, Greece is home to rich archeological sights particularly the excavations at Heraion.
The Vathy Archeological Museum was founded in 1906 to be a library, archive and museum. The excavations at Heraion necessitated the construction of a second building which was funded by Volkswagen and opened in 1987.
The old building is devoted to objects of minor art. The newer building houses sculptures.
Many artifacts are from the sanctuary of Hera which Herodotus noted “contained the largest of temples of which we know.” The cult in the Heraion of a mother goddess was later identified with Hera dates from at least the second half of the 2nd millennium B.C. To honour her pious pilgrims from the end of the earth offered their dedications.
Samos once was a great sea power which resulted in many artifacts being transported into Samos from other civilizations particularly figurines and pottery. It is as if you are being treated to a buffet of archeological gems from Cyprus, Egypt, Syria, Macedonia, Rhodes, Assyria, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor Palestine, Phoenicia and the Roman Empire. When you are looking at artifacts from the 13 th Century B.C. you realize how young Canada is.
We learn that Samos‘ greatest period was in 600 B.C.. In 439 B.C it was captured by the Athenians and in 365 B.C. most of its citizens were banished to Attica and in 322 B.C. many started to return to Samos. The Spartans even fasted for a day and gave the money they would have spend on food to the Samians to help fund their return. In the first century B.C. Samos suffered from plundering pirates and it fell into Roman hands in 80 A.D.
Robert K. Stephen