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AEGAEUM MARE (τὸ Αἰγαῖον πέλαγος, Hdt. 4.85; Aesch. Agam. 659; Strab. passim; or simply τὸ Αἰγαῖον, Hdt. 7.55 ; Αἰγαῖος πέλαγος, Hdt. 2.97), the part of the Mediterranean now called the Archipelago, and by the Turks the White Sea, to distinguish it from the Black Sea. It was bounded on the N. by Macedonia and Thrace, on the W. by Greece and on the E. by Asia Minor. At its NE. corner it was connected with the Pro-pontis by the Hellespont. [HELLESPONTUS] Its extent was differently estimated by the ancient writers; but the name was generally applied to the whole sea as far S. as the islands of Crete and Rhodes. Its name was variously derived by the ancient grammarians, either from the town of Aegae in Euboea; or from Aegeus, the father of Theseus, who threw himself into it; or from Aegaea, the queen of the Amazons, who perished there; or from Aegaeon, who was represented as a marine god living in the sea; or, lastly, from αἰγίς, a squall, on account of its storms. Its real etymology is uncertain. Its navigation was dangerous to ancient navigators on account of its numerous islands and rocks, which occasion eddies of wind and a confused sea, and also on account of the Etesian or northerly winds, which blow with great fury, especially about the equinoxes. To the storms of the Aegaean the poets frequently allude. Thus Horace (Hor. Carm. 2.16): Otium dives rogat in patenti prensus Aegaeo; and Virgil (Aen. 12.365): Ac velut Edoni Boreae cum spirits alto insonat Aegaeo. The Aegaean contained numerous islands. Of these the most numerous were in the southern part of the sea; they were divided into two principal groups, the Cyclades, lying off the coasts of Attica and Peloponnesus, and the Sporades, lying along the coasts of Caria aud Ionia. [CYCLADES; SPORADES.] In the northern part of the sea were the larger islands of Euboea, Thasos and Samothrace, and off the coast of Asia those of Samos, Chios and Lesbos.

The Aegaean sea was divided into:

hide References (8 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (8):
    • Herodotus, Histories, 2.97
    • Herodotus, Histories, 4.85
    • Herodotus, Histories, 6.95
    • Herodotus, Histories, 7.176
    • Herodotus, Histories, 7.55
    • Homer, Iliad, 23.230
    • Homer, Iliad, 2.145
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 4.11
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