Samos is a Greek island. In ancient times, it was a rich and powerful city-state. It was the birthplace of philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras, the philosopher Epicurus, and astronomer Aristarchus, the first person recorded as proposing that the Earth revolves around the sun. The island was a center of Ionian culture and luxury, renowned for its Samian wines and its red pottery. By the 7th century BC Samos was established as one of the leading commercial centers of Greece.
Samos’ most famous building was the Ionic order Temple of Hera, the Heraion. The goddess Hera annually bathed in the spring of Kanathos, close to Nauplia, to renew her virginity. These rites were not to be spoken of (hence the ‘mystery’). At Samos, the ritual bathing of the Goddess was represented by the archaic wooden cult image of Hera being taken out annually and ritually washed in the sea.