15 May 2015

The “cup of Pythagoras” or “fair cup” or “cup of freedom” is perhaps the most famous “ceramic” of Samos, a clay cup, which empties in a “magical” way, when the one who is using it acts with greed and wants to drink more than he should…. Many names, a legend, a mystery…

According to the tradition, Pythagoras was the one who made himself the cup and he was using it offering wine to his disciples. So if someone was above measure, the cup emptied! However, beyond the myth there is always the reality and, of course, the interpretations of physics, which are solving the mystery.

In the cup there is a graven limit, a line. If the contained fluid doesn’t exceed this line, the drinker enjoys his wine/water. If, however, it goes beyond the line of the limit, then the cup empties and the wine flows from the base. The whole cup empties, not only the additional amount. How does this take place?

The construction of Pythagoras follows the theory, developed by Pascal some centuries later, concerning the communicating vessels. In the center of the cup there is a column situated directly on a pipe, which leads to the bottom of the cup. While the cup is filled, the fluid level rises even in this inner central column, following the law of Pascal. As the level of the fluid does not exceed the engraved line inside the cup, there is no problem. As soon as the liquid exceeds the line, then it begins to flow through the inner tube from the bottom of the cup.

Samos has a lot of traditional potteries, which you definitely have to visit! In addition to the traditional fair cup of Pythagoras, you will find a huge variety of beautiful handmade traditional pottery! You will find potteries in the villages Mavratzei, Myloi and Koumaradaioi.