- 6-5 CENTURIES BC SAMOS (Sisam Island) AMPHORAS -

 
 
How lucky and fortunate was the cruel Samos Tyranny Polikrates.(532-522 BC.)He brought war and destruction everywhere he went.He was constantly gaining victory and was becoming more powerful day by day.
He had alreadyd conquered many islands and some quarters in Ion.He had a hundred war ships with 50 oars at each and he had a thousand bowmen.The treaty he had signed in the 6th century BC. with Amasis,the king of Egypt, and his already proven success were very famous in the Aegean and the Mediterrenean.After a victory,he captured Lesbos warriors who had helped Miletos and putting them in chains,he made them dig the deep ditches around the Samos castle.Amasis was aware of the success of Polikrates and he was suspicious as well.As the fortune was on tyranns side,Amasis wrote a letter and sent it to Samos.He made a warning in his letter.
 

 
He had written "it is a pleasure to learn the achievements of a friend,but I am not pleased with your great happiness,because I know the gods well and I know how jealous they are.If you believe my words,do what I will tell you.Choose one thing that is dear to you,that you will feel sad at its lost.Then send this thing away for the gods.." Reading these lines,Polikrates thought Amasis was right.He examined his treasure.
Then he noticed the sealed ring on his finger.With one of the red,fifty-oared ships,he sailed very far from the island and he threw his golden framed,emerald,sealed ring to the sea.4 or 5 days later,a fishermna caught a very nice fish and gave it to Polikratesas a present.Unbelieveably,the emerald ring was in the stomach of the fish.For the first time,Polikrates was scared from his luck and he thought it was gods who did this.He wrote all these on a papyrus and sent it to Egypt.Amasis read the letter and understood bad things wolud happen to Poliktrates because even the gods sent back the gift that had been presented to them.Amasis sent an ambassador to Samos and broke the treaty.Because he did not wanted to share the trouble if something bad would happen to Polikrates.
 

 
If you wish,let's imagine Polikrates in his palace,walking up and down in these distressing days and filling wine in his golden cup from our 323 inventory numbered amphora.

There has not been found an amphora furnace in Samos yet.But the amphora seal on a Samos coin and the sign "Sa" on this amphora seals supports the idea of experts that these amphoras belong to Samos.Where ever they belong to,the common form of these amphoras is quite characteristic.
Those common specifications are:
1-The neck part is short and it widens from bottom towards the top,
2-The lips of the opening part extend outwards.The fat body narrows towards the bottom.
3-The bottoms of the amphoras have the same hollow shape and inside hollow is round.

Now I feel some curious readers say "go on informing us about the amphoras but what happened to Polikrates in the end?" Please read Father Heredot's 3rd book, 120th part,page 188,the part titled "End of Polikrates."
 

 
This important historian mentions that this dictator was the first Greek intended to dominate the seas and during his 10 years of reign,he tried to domain the islands and Ion.This historian also points out that except for tyranny Syrakusa,no other Greek was so magnificient as to be compared with tyranny Polikrates.

And what I can point out is that the Samos people gained power and wealth at the 6th century,they improved and decorated their cities.On the other hand,the opponent exiles founded up new colonies.Also,around the same years,the famous mathematician Pisagor founded up a school in south Italy and started to teach.I can also mention that the three perfect examples of architecture and engineering were built in this island in the same ages.
 



 
Those perfect works of arts are:
1-The water tunnel of 1 km.length digged through the rocks on top of a mountain.
2-The Samos Harbour mole (350 metres long) at 35 metres depth.
3-The big temple built for the goddess,Hera.
 

 
The Samos people were also were skilled in building ships.They were also skilled weavers,skilled treaters of bronze.They sold their products through out a wide region from Egypt to Anatolia,from Black Sea to Italy and Spain.Most of their products were island's wine and olive oil.Especially olive oil was carried to far places with the amphoras you see in the pictures.As you know,Samos island is at the opposite of Kuşadası and Efes.It is a few miles from the Dilek peninsula. Samos Island is 472 squarekilometres.The amphora forms of the island are similar to the ones at the opposite Anatolian coasts.For example,451 and 488 inventory numbered amphoras you see in the picture are very similar to the Klazomenai amphoras.Those amphoras were produced in the 6th century.
These amphoras were added to my collection from Russia-Ukraine-Romania off-shore of the Black Sea.This proves that the Samos tradesmen had strong commercial relationswith the tradesmen in the northern countries.
     
     
     
     
     
     
   

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