Samos (Greek: Σάμος) is a Greek island in the North Aegean sea, south of Chios, north of Patmos and the Dodecanese, and off the coast of Asia Minor.
The area of the island is 478 km2 (184.6 sq mi), 43 km (27 mi) long and 13 km (8 mi) wide. It is separated from Anatolia, by the approximately 1 mile (1.6 km)-wide Mycale Strait. While largely mountainous, Samos has several relatively large and fertile plains.
A great portion of the island is covered with vineyards, from which wine is made, including that from the Vathy grapes. The most important plains are that of Pythagorio, in the southeast, Karlovasi in the northwest, and Marathokampos in the southwest. The island's population is 33,814, which is the 9th most populous of the Greek islands. The Samian climate is typically Mediterranean, with mild rainy winters, and warm rainless summers.
The largest mountain is the Ampelos massif, which occupies the center of the island and rises to 1,095 metres (3,590 ft). The island's highest point is the summit of the Kerkis range, at 1,434 metres (4,700 ft). The mountains are a continuation of the Mycale range on the Anatolian mainland.
According to Strabo, the name Samos is from Phoenician meaning "rise by the shore.
Icaria, also spelled Ikaria (Greek: Ικαρία), locally Nikaria or Nicaria (Νικαριά), ancient name: Doliche (Δολίχη), is a Greek island 10 nautical miles (19 km) southwest of Samos. It derived its name from Icarus, the son of Daedalus in Greek mythology, who fell into the sea nearby.
Icaria has been inhabited since at least 7000 B.C. when it was populated by the Neolithic pre-Hellenic people that Greeks called Pelasgians.
Around 750 B.C., Greeks from Miletus colonized Icaria establishing a settlement in the area of present day Campos, which they called Oenoe for its wine.
Icaria was absorbed by Samos and became part of Polycrates' sea empire. At this time the temple of Artemis at Nas, on the northeast corner of the island, was built.
Nas was a sacred spot to the pre-Greek inhabitants of the Aegean, and an important port of the island in antiquity, the last stop before testing the dangerous seas around Icaria. It was an appropriate place for sailors to make sacrifices to Artemis, who, among other functions, was a patron of seafarers.