An island in the Aegean Sea near the W coast of Asia Minor. Paul apparently stopped briefly at Samos on the return from his third missionary tour.—Acts 20:15.
This island is separated by a one-mile (1.6 kilometer) strait from the Asian promontory named Trogyllium. Samos was SW of Ephesus and NW of Miletus. (See map on page 685.) It is about twenty-seven miles (43 kilometers) in length and fourteen miles (23 kilometers) in width. Though very mountainous, it is remarkably fertile. Over the years it came under the domination of Persia, Athens, Pergamum and Rome. At the time of Paul’s missionary journeys it was a free state. Its major city and port was also named Samos. The island was celebrated for the cult of Hera (Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage and childbirth) and had a temple to her which vied in splendor and celebrity with the temple of Artemis at Ephesus.
According to the Scriptural account, the ship Paul was on when returning to Jerusalem stopped at Chios, sailed some sixty-five miles (104 kilometers) down the coast of Asia Minor and ‘touched at Samos, and on the following day arrived at Miletus.’ (Acts 20:15) Certain manuscripts add an expression that leads to the rendering “we touched at Samos and, after stopping at Trogyllium, made Miletus the next day.” (JB) This has been understood to mean that the ship did not remain in port at Samos, but, instead, crossed the strait and anchored in the protection of the high promontory. But the oldest and most reliable manuscripts omit the expression about Trogyllium, and it was rejected by Westcott and Hort in preparing their master text. The ship Paul was on evidently docked briefly at Samos and then traveled on to Miletus.