Stoa (11)

by Anandi Salinas
6 years ago

ca. 300-250 B.C.
Dolomitic limestone, basalt, plaster
ca. 104 x 13.40 m

The Stoa was built in the mid-third century B.C. and functioned in close relationship to the Theater, Nike Monument, and the dining facilities in the western area of the Sanctuary.  It consists of a single chamber facing east, with a Doric prostyle façade of 35 Doric columns, and an internal central colonnade of 16 Ionic columns terminating in engaged Ionic half-columns.   Set along the upper plateau of the Western Hill, it frames the western limit of the temenos. Its imposing position offered an ideal vantage point for visitors to look out over the cult buildings to the east, and it provided shelter for the many visitors to the Sanctuary, presumably not only initiates but also those attending the annual festival.  Its extraordinary length, ca. 104 m from north to south, makes it the largest structure in the Sanctuary and one of the longest in the northeastern Aegean.  To accommodate a building of this length, the natural terrace had to be significantly modified by leveling the region to the south and artificially extending the plateau 25 m to the north.  By virtue of its length and position, the Stoa gave monumental architectural definition to the western area of the Sanctuary.


The Stoa is significant not only for its placement and size but also for certain key features of its design.  These include the use of corner Doric pilasters on the exterior, engaged Ionic half-columns that complete the internal colonnade, the extensive evidence for plaster interior walls painted in imitation of drafted margin masonry, and the well preserved sima tiles.


The combination of architectural orders in the same structure, in this case the use of both the Doric and Ionic columns, is in keeping with Samothracian architectural trends.  The use of painted plaster in imitation of masonry to articulate the interior spaces is a feature that the Stoa shares with other buildings in the Sanctuary, most notably the Fieldstone Building, the Hieron, and the Neorion (Ship Monument). The painted plaster walls bear graffiti that appear to record the names of initiates.


The terrace east of the Stoa, which connects to the Nike Precinct and Theater, also served as an excellent place for the dedication of commemorative and votive monuments.  Foundations for seven major built monuments have been identified. Among the most impressive is the column monument of Philip V, dedicated by the Macedonians to the Great Gods around 200 B.C. Several of the drums as well as the combined capital and statue base survive.  In addition, Orthostate Monument VI is the best preserved of its kind in the Sanctuary.


Ortho Monument VI front1Bibliography:

Conze, A., A. Hauser and G. Niemann. 1875.  Archäologische Untersuchungen auf Samothrake.  Vienna.

Lehmann, K. 1998.  Samothrace: A Guide to the Excavations and the Museum. 6th ed. Revised by J.R. McCredie. Thessaloniki, pp. 104-107.

McCredie, J.R. 1965. “Samothrace: Preliminary Report on the Campaigns of 1962-1964,” Hesperia 34, pp. 100-124.

McCredie, J.R. 1968. “Preliminary Report on the Campaigns of 1965-67,”Hesperia 37, pp. 200-134.