Together with the other Greek islands, Samos attracts the attention of scholars and geographers in the early 15th century, as it appears in “Liber Insularum Archipelagi”, the pioneering cartographic manuscript by Cr. Buondelmondi. Buondelmonti’s work became a model for the isolaria that followed, such as those by B. dalli Sonneti (1485), who couples his maps with sonnets on each island and B. Bordone (1547), whose texts provide information on the myths and history of the island.
In the late 16th century Samos appears in G. Fr. Camocio’s isolario, a groundbreaking work for its era, which influenced later works such asG. Rosaccio's (1598). Like all similar works, the isolario of Antonio Millo (1582-91) is enriched by engravings already published in contemporary editions. Antonio marks perillous waters on the maps of his isolaria, and uses the place names found in contemporary portolani. In Μ. Boschini’s edition, a small beautiful sample of Venetian engraving of the mid-17th century, the map of Samos is accompanied by an explanatory text with historical and geographical information.
The work by J. Lauremberg (1660) includes excellent engravings of maps of ancient Greece. The maps are accompanied by historical and geographical explanatory texts, which testify to the author's deep erudition.
G. Wheler's chronicle, in reality a mediocre copy of Spon's work, but highly succesful nevertheless, includes a depiction of a coin from Samos. An interesting map and a table of ancient coins of Samos are included in Ol. Dapper’s edition (1688), a work with highly elaborate engravings which was based mainly on ancient Greek and Latin sources, portolani, isolaria, contemporary travel accounts and reliable maps. The isolario of Fr. Piacenza (1688) includes superbly engraved maps and a wealth of material on the Aegean islands, Cyprus and the Peloponnese. The editions by J. Peeters in the late 17th century exalt the victories of the Holy League in the Ottoman-Venetian wars. The 1686 edition includes plates which show cities, ports and other locations in Austria, southeastern Europe, the eastern Mediterranean and places in Asia as faraway as Saudi Arabia. A later edition (J. Peeters, 1690) how cities, ports and other locations from the Adriatic all the way to India.
J. Seller was the creator of the first detailed mapping of the Mediterranean coast, titled “English Pilot...” . First published in the 17th century, it was repeatedly reissued and continued to be used down to the 19th century (here in the 1771 edition). Seller's works established the use of the English language in maritime charts and greatly influenced later cartographic editions. It includes maps of the local shores.
J. Pitton de Tournefort' s account of his journey to the Aegean islands (1717) contained a wealth of information and became thenceforth an indispensable guide to all travellers to the Archipelago. Aside from the map, Tournefort shows female costumes from Samos, details of antiquities and local birds.
R. Pococke's chronicle (1745), rich in images and information, appealed even to the most demanding readers. It includes first-time plans of monuments, architectural details and a map of the ancient city. In his highly popular paintings (1810), L. Mayer did not limit himself to depicting ancient monuments; he added several picturesque details from people's everyday lives as well. Griechenland (1825c) was one of several early 19th-century editions on customs, traditions, costumes and monuments of Greece. The illustrations consisted of plates already published in popular travel accounts of the previous decades. Thus, the “Port of Pythagoreion on Samos island” is a copy of a plate by L. Mayer, newly engraved.
The monumental work of M.G.F.A. Choiseul-Gouffier expressed the love of antiquity and the philhellenism of its era in new and original fashion, establishing at the same time (around the late 18th and early 19th centuries) the primacy of image, or graphic representation, in travel chronicles. Choiseul-Gouffier also publishes details of ancient ruins, a map of Samos and the splendid view of the ancient column at the Heraion. As with his other works, in “Journal of a tour in Asia Minor”, the British topographer W.M. Leake (1824) provides systematic and detailed archaeological observations.
The same view of the ancient site with the column reappears in the 1835 edition by F.C.H.L. Pouqueville, (who in another of his works composed one of the most systematic texts on geomorphology of Continental Greece), as well as in the richly illustrated edition which describes J.H. Allan's tour of the Mediterranean in the mid-19th century. Also impressive is the view of the port in L. Mayers's coloured engraving, published in a recent album (Piraeus and Ports, 2000).
Harmonious with his text, the drawings by French traveller A.L. Castellan accompany his gentle discourse. Published in an elegant, small-format editon which came out in multiple volumes, they convey a unique perspective and present rare and original subjects (1812). Castellan's small format edition includes a female costume of Samos among its exquisite coloured engraving. The same costume is found in an annotated edition on traditional dress (Ph. Argenti, 1953).
In 1814, Ed.D. Clarke published the chronicle of his journey, one of the most important tours of Greece in the years preceding the Revolution, authored by a very observant and insightful traveller. Of special interest is the view of the mountain outlines as seen from aboard. The port of Samos and its waters are charted in a significant port index (J. Roux in 1804).
From the second half of the 19th century onwards, the modalities of subjective, partial representation of space are subverted by the appearance of photography. A series of engravings and watercolours of landscapes, details of space and human types are included in the work of P. Jeancard (1919); they were based on the author's own drawings, and are reminiscent of photographic shots. The photography becomes the most powerful means of representation, albeit always bearing the seal of the individual photographer. F.F. Boissonnas' work constituted a landmark in the history of this art. The famous photographer focuses on the magnificent archaic findings of the Heraion of Samos with great passion and sensitivity (1919).
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou