Samos Roman

Roman aqueducts: Samos - Roman aqueduct (Samos, Greece) Pythagorion - SAMOS Roman aqueduct
For the photo's, see below
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Little is known of the 8 - 15 km long Roman aqueduct which, in the era of Augustus, supplemented the Eupalinos aqueduct (see the separate entry at this website) to get fresh water to the ancient town of Samos (in former days Tigani, now called Pythagorion).

The source might have been in the Pyrgos- and / or Myli-area where remains of a (Roman) aqueduct have been found with a square channel. Via (C)hora the aqueduct entered the W side of Mount Kastro. In order to cross the streambed of St John in between Mount Kataruga and the Kastro hill an aqueduct bridge was built, remains of which are still present. After this crossing the duct followed the terrain contours, ran 400 m parallel to the last part of the Eupalinos aqueduct, just a few meters below, and continued right in front of a Hellenistic cistern with double chambers (see photos) 40 m below the Roman theater, till the Chesios valley was reached and from there presumably direction S into the harbor-area.

The most visible parts are the remains of the aqueduct bridge W of Mount Kastro and the channel annex to the cistern. For the latter, see above. For the bridge one takes the main road from Pythagorion to (C)hora. Some 250 m after the traffic lights there is a small bridge over the stream bed of St John. Turn right (by foot) just before the bridge and follow the dirt road along the stream bed. A few hundred meters behind the deserted military base there are the remains of the Roman aqueduct bridge [Continuing in the same direction, one enters the area of the N entrance of the Eupalinos tunnel]

Wilke D. Schram

New research: the Roman aqueduct of Samos

In recent years T.N. Dimitriou researched the course of the Roman aqueduct of Samos, which is about 15,5 km long and started west of Pythagorion, the ancient city of Samos. For the full text of his informative report, see below.
The research was not an easy task, for the aqueduct ran in a rough and difficult accessible terrain. After careful evaluation of the different candidates, Dimitriou found the Zastano spring, north of Myloi, the most plausible candidate as the prime water source; two other candidates could have been in use as a supplement, but than an extra bridge - of which no remains were found - would have been necessary.
The basis for this aqueduct was an open, free flow channel with a non-uniform gradient (0,3 - 6,4%) plus a series of substructions, small arcades plus at least 10 smaller and larger bridges. No traces of pipes have been found along the main line. The quality of the construction of the channel was moderate to poor; near its destination the quality improved (sic). On quite a few places clear signs of repairs, improvements an even a by-pass, were found. These could have been the result of the moderate construction work and / or seismic activities during the operational time of the aqueduct.

Some 1100 and 450 m before the last visible remains of the channel, branches were built to feed the large bath house and the agora of Samos respectively. Both branches were built with ceramic pipes, probably because of the extreme gradient of the terrain.
"The necessary building materials - mainly stone - were readily available in situ, ensuring a quick and above all economical construction", writes Dimitriou. Along the course of the aqueduct several lime kilns have been found. "No major sections of underground routing of the aqueduct were found. The sole exceptions may have been in the section that went through the settlement of Chora, and one more at location point Km8+750".

The dating of this Roman aqueduct is still a problem which only can be solved by additional and detailed archaeological research. Its 'raison d'etre' could have been a decreasing water supply by the Agiades spring house of the Eupalinos aqueduct and / or the increasing water demand of a growing population of Samos-town.

At the end of his article, Dimitriou makes several estimates of the water capacity of the Roman aqueduct: given its dimensions (0,5 x 0,5 m) the theoretical capacity could have been 9.000 m3/day, which is more than the sum of the water supply of the three most likely springs. After some secondary thoughts, Dimitriou estimates the real capacity to 2.000 m3/day, more or less in line with the estimated number of inhabitants.

Summary by Wilke D. Schram, based on:
T.N. Dimitriou: The Roman aqueduct of Samos, in: G.A. Aristodemou and T.P. Tassios (eds) Great Waterworks in Roman Greece, aqueduct and monumental fountains (2018) pag 131 - 146.
Top left: Small bridge with natural megalithics (Km 0+829) Top right: Relics of the bridge (Km 3+033)
Bottom left: First bridge of Nerotrouvia (Km 4+311) Bottom right: The spring of Zastano
Photo's: T.N. Dimitriou

Pythagorio - SAMOS

Item Info
Length 15,5 km
Cross-section 0,5 m x 0,5 m
Volume 2.000 m3 ?
Gradient 0,47% (0,3 - 6,4 %)
Period uncertain
  • (almost) complete open channel
  • at least 10 bridges
  • cistern annex

Recommended literature : T.N. Dimitriou (2018): The Roman aqueduct of Samos (in: G.A. Aristodemou (ed): Great waterworks in Roman Greece (2018) pag 131 - 146)
Recommended website : none
How to visit : see above

Waypoint Location Latitude Longitude
S13-014 Roman aqueduct bridge 26.919276 37.70027
S14-012 unknown manhole / reservoir
on the W-slope of Mt Kastro
26.920583 37.696835
S15-017 Roman aqueduct near
S-entrance Eupalinos
26.930503 37.69402
S16-011 Roman aqueduct E of S15-017 26.927173 37.69399
S17-016 Ancient cistern plus
Roman aqueduct
26.939728 37.693427
S18-006 Between ancient cisterne
and modern school
26.937933 37.693382
S19-020 Modern school; end of the
Roman aqueduct? Chesios valley
26.941494 37.693328
S20-003 Annex to the New Archaeological
Museum; ancient pipelines
26.941336 37.691708
S21-004 Roman bath W of ancient
Samos / Pythagorion
26.93214 37.690596

HOME More literature on more aqueducts Last modified: April, 2018 - Wilke D. Schram

Roman aqueduct bridge

West part

abutment and foot

Brick layers

View from the south

View from the north

Missing pier(s)

Roman substructure

Opus Signinum?

Close to the S entrance

Channel in poor condition

Two arches

One arch blocked

Channel near the cistern

Close up

Cistern with double chamber

Inside the cistern

Floor plan of the cistern


In an olive yard

Remains of the channel

At the school yard

Terracotta pipes

Roman bathhouse