The Aegean Sea (Greek: Αιγαίο Πέλαγος (Aigaío Pélagos); Turkish: Ege Denizi, Adalar Denizi) is one elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea and vital natural function of the Mediterranean region.

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The Aegean is located between the southerly Balkan and the Anatolian peninsulas, in between the mainlands that Greece and also Turkey, respectively. In the north, the is associated to the Marmara Sea and also the black Sea by the Dardanelles and also the Bosporus. The island the Crete is generally considered as marking its southerly boundary. About 380 mile (612 km) long and also 186 miles (299 km) wide, the sea has a complete area of virtually 83,000 square mile (215,000 square km).

Approximately 1,400 islands and also islets dot the Aegean—generally arranged into seven primary groups—the majority of which autumn into the jurisdiction that Greece, when the remainder belong come Turkey. The Aegean Sea was recognized in ancient Greece as Archipelago, definition "chief sea." The multitude islands of the sea ended up being its description, and the native archipelago pertained to mean a huge group or chain that islands.

The early Aegean civilizations of Crete and Greece, from which much of modern-day Western society is derived, space a component of the Aegean legacy.


In old times there were various explanations for the name Aegean. It was stated to have actually been called after the Greek town of Aegae, or after ~ Aegea, a queen of the Amazons who died in the sea, or Aigaion, the "sea goat," another name the Briareus, among the archaic Hecatonchires, or, especially amongst the Athenians, Aegeus, the father of Theseus, who drowned himself in the sea as soon as he believed his son had died.

A feasible etymology is a derivation from the Greek word αἶγες—aiges = "waves" (Hesychius that Alexandria; metaphorical use of αἴξ (aix) "goat"), therefore "wavy sea," cf. Additionally αἰγιαλός (aigialos) "coast."

In the Bulgarian language the sea is also known as White sea (Бяло море). Follow to legend, Bulgarian sailors and merchants in the center Ages found it a hospitable and timid sea come travel and called the "White sea" in contrast to the hostile and also dangerous black color Sea.

Physiographic Setting

The Aegean Sea covers approximately 214,000 sq km (82,625.86 sq mi) in area, and also measures around 610 kilometers (379 mi) longitudinally and 300 kilometers (186.4 mi) latitudinally. The sea"s best depth is 3,543 meter (11,624 ft), eastern of Crete.

Mainland greek is top top the west and also north and also Turkey to the eastern of the Sea, while the island that Crete delimits the sea to the south. The old name of the Aegean Sea, Archipelago, was later applied to the archipelago it contains and is now used much more generally, come refer to any type of island group.

The bays and gulfs of the Aegean beginning and also the South and also moving clockwise incorporate on Crete, the Mirabelli, Almyros, Souda and Chania bays or gulfs, ~ above the mainland the Myrtoan Sea come the west, the Saronic Gulf northwestward, the Petalies Gulf which connects with the south Euboic Sea, the Pagasetic Gulf i beg your pardon connects through the phibìc Euboic Sea, the Thermian Gulf northwestward, the Chalkidiki Peninsula consisting of the Cassandra and the Singitic Gulfs, northward the Strymonian Gulf and the Gulf of Kavala and also the remainder are in Turkey; Saros Gulf, Edremit Gulf, Dikili Gulf, Çandarlı Gulf, İzmir Gulf, Kuşadası Gulf, Gulf of Gökova, and Güllük Gulf.


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Many the the island chains in the Aegean Sea are expansions of the hills on the mainland

Aegean Sea Islands map mirroring island groups.

The Aegean archipelago are discovered within the waters, with the complying with islands delimiting the sea top top the southern (generally indigenous west come east): Kythera, Antikythera, Crete, Kasos, Karpathos, and Rhodes.

The indigenous archipelago was originally used specifically come the Aegean Sea and its islands. Numerous of the Aegean Islands, or chain of islands, are actually expansions of the mountains on the mainland. One chain extends across the sea come Chios, an additional extends throughout Euboea come Samos, and a third extends across the Peloponnese and also Crete come Rhodes, dividing the Aegean indigenous the Mediterranean.

The Aegean Sea has around 1,415 islands and also islets, the majority of which politics belong come Greece. Turkish possessions encompass Imbros (Gökçeada), Tenedos (Bozcaada), and also eight much more islets turn off Turkey"s western coast.

The Greek Aegean archipelago traditionally subdivided into seven groups, from north to south:

Northeastern Aegean IslandsSporadesEuboeaArgo-Saronic IslandsCycladesDodecanese (Southern Sporades)Crete

Many of the islands space volcanic, rocky, and quite barren. Marble and also iron space mined on some islands. The larger islands have actually some abundant valleys and also plains which develop figs, honey, mastic, minerals, oil, raisins, vegetables, wheat, and wine. Fishing is also important. Monuments of old civilizations that prospered in the area attract tourists.

Hydrographic and also hydrochemical setting


Aegean surface water circulates in a counter-clockwise gyre, with hypersaline Mediterranean water relocating northward along the west coastline of Turkey, prior to being displaced through less dense Black Sea outflow. The thick Mediterranean water sinks below the black color Sea inflow come a depth the 23-30m, then flows v the Dardanelles Strait and into the Marmara Sea at velocities the 5-15 cm/s. The black color Sea outflow move westward along the north Aegean Sea, then flows southwards follow me the east coast of Greece.<1>

The physical oceanography the the Aegean Sea is controlled mainly through the local climate, the new water discharge from significant rivers draining southeastern Europe, and also the seasonal variations in the black color Sea surface ar water outflow through the Dardanelles Strait.

Analysis of the Aegean throughout 1991 and 1992<2> revealed three distinctive water masses:

Aegean Sea surface ar Water—40-50 m thick veneer, with summer temperature of 21-26°C and also winter temperatures ranging from 10°C in the north to 16°C in the south.Aegean Sea intermediate Water—Aegean Sea intermediate Water extends native 40-50 m come 200-300 m through temperatures ranging from 11-18°C.Aegean Sea Bottom Water—occurring at depths listed below 200-300 m through a very uniform temperature (13-14°C) and also salinity (39.1-39.2 percent).



"Aegean civilization" is a basic term for the bronze Age people that emerged in Greece and also the container of the Aegean sea between 3000-1200 B.C.E. While old Greek authors recounted story of heroes, little was actually known around the Aegean world until the so late nineteenth century.

In ancient times the sea to be the birthplace the two old civilizations—the Minoans of Crete and also the Mycenean world of the Peloponnese.<3> Later developed the city-states that Athens and Sparta among many rather that made up the Athenian Empire and also Hellenic Civilization. In other words, there were three distinct regions covered by the term, Aegean Civilization: Crete, the Cyclades, and the Greek mainland. Crete is linked with the Minoan people from the beforehand Bronze Age, while the Cyclades and also the mainland have distinct cultures. The Cyclades converged v the mainland throughout the beforehand Helladic ("Minyan") period and with Crete in the middle Minoan period. From around 1450, the Greek Mycenaean world spread come Crete. Crete may have actually acted together a cultural bridge, due to the fact that the culture and civilizations that developed there show up to have involved in business with a number of different centers, together as ancient Egypt and also the center East.

The Aegean an ar was later got into by the Persians and also the Romans, and inhabited by the oriental Empire, the Venetians, the Seljuk Turks, and also the footrest Empire. The Aegean to be the website of the original democracies, and also its seaways were the way of contact among several diverse people of the east Mediterranean.


Commonly described as "the Aegean dispute" space a set of interrelated controversial issues between Greece and also Turkey end sovereignty and related rights in the area the the Aegean Sea. The current conflict surrounding the Aegean has actually deep-seated historical roots that are tied to concerns of ar sovereignty. Previous conflicts in between Greece and Turkey, exemplified by the war dealt with from 1920 to 1922, have created high levels of distrust between the two nations.

This set of conflicts has had actually a large effect on the relations in between the two countries because the 1970s. Double this led to dilemmas coming close to the outbreak of army hostilities, in 1987 and in at an early stage 1996. The issues in the Aegean autumn into numerous categories:

The delimitation of the ar watersThe delimitation the the national airspaceThe delimitation of flight Information regions (FIR), and their significance for the regulate of military trip activityThe problem of the demilitarized standing assigned to several of the Greek islands in the area

Since 1998, the two countries have to be coming closer to get over the tensions through a series of diplomatic measures, an especially with a see to easing Turkey"s ascede to the europe Union. However, distinctions over suitable diplomatic paths to a an extensive solution stay unresolved.



Kormondy, Edward John. Readings in Ecology. Prentice-Hall biological science series. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1965.Miller, Helen Hill. Leg to Asia; the Greeks in the eastern Mediterranean. New York: Scribner, 1967.United States. Aegean Sea Region. Washington, DC: central Intelligence Agency, 2006.

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