The Fascinating History of the Aegean Sea

The Aegean Sea [Greek: Αιγαίο Πέλαγος] is part of the Mediterranean Sea located between Greece and Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). It covers about 214,000 sq. kilometers and its maximum depth is 3,543 meters, east of Crete.

The Aegean Sea was the home of the Minoan civilization which flourished in Crete from c. 2700 to c. 1450 BC. The Minoan civilization was the first well-known literate civilization in Europe and was preceded by the Mycenean one (c. 1600–1100 BC), which arose in the Peloponnese. Both of these civilizations are covered by the general term Aegean Civilization.

Aegean Sea in Ancient times

In ancient times, the Aegean Sea was known as the archipelago. According to Greek Mythology, it took its name after Aegeus or Aegeas, the father of Theseus, who threw himself and died in the sea because he thought that his son was dead. This is not the only explanation, though; it was also said to have been named after the town of Aegae or queen Aegea. Another possible explanation is that the etymology derives from the word aiges (waves).

Aegean Sea in the archaic era

During the archaic era (c. 750–480 BC), many Aegean islands were powerful and wealthy, with Naxos being the most prosperous among them. In the 5th century BC, however, they were dominated by the Athenian hegemony and turned into supply stations for the Athenian ships. This led to the islands becoming synonymous with weakness and poverty, even though their inhabitants weren’t probably poor.

In the following centuries, the Aegean Sea continued to help the Greek civilization flourish serving an important function in trade as well as in war.

Aegean Sea Today

Today, the Greek islands are divided into seven groups: Northeastern Aegean, Euboea, Sporades, Cyclades, Saronic (or Argo-Saronic) Islands, Dodecanese and Crete.

While each island is beautiful in its own way, the best-known island group in Greece is probably the cluster of Cyclades which lies in the heart of the Aegean Sea. Mykonos and Santorini, especially, have made Cyclades even more famous, having earned their spots among the top tourist destinations in the world! This comes as no surprise if you think of everything that makes these two islands so uniquely beautiful. Mykonos, on one hand, boasts some of the most gorgeous beaches you can enjoy in your life, thanks to their crystal clear turquoise waters but also to the many renowned beach bars. Santorini, on the other hand, offers you the almost mystical experience of watching the sunset while standing on the edge of a caldera. In the end, of course, both of them offer you a lot more. Picture-postcard places, delicious food and vibrant nightlife are sure to become memories that you’ll cherish forever.

So what are you waiting for? Book now one of our luxury villas in Mykonos to be your home base and start exploring the Aegean Sea: plan a fascinating visit to the island of Delos; charter a yacht and sail to Naxos and Paros; take a flight to Santorini…

No matter what destination you choose, it’s going to be an experience of a lifetime!

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