Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the 88th largest island in the world and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica. Crete and a number of surrounding islands and islets constitute the region of Crete, one of the 13 top-level administrative units of Greece; the capital and the largest city is Heraklion. As of 2011, the region had a population of 623,065. Crete forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece, while retaining its own local cultural traits, it was once the centre of the Minoan civilisation, the earliest known civilisation in Europe. The palace of Knossos lies in Crete; the island is first referred to as Kaptara in texts from the Syrian city of Mari dating from the 18th century BC, repeated in Neo-Assyrian records and the Bible. It was known in ancient Egyptian as Keftiu suggesting a similar Minoan name for the island; the current name of Crete is thought to be first attested in Mycenaean Greek texts written in Linear B, through the words ke-re-te, ke-re-si-jo, "Cretan".
In Ancient Greek, the name Crete first appears in Homer's Odyssey. Its etymology is unknown. One proposal derives it from a hypothetical Luwian word, *kursatta. In Latin, it became Creta; the original Arabic name of Crete was Iqrīṭiš, but after the Emirate of Crete's establishment of its new capital at ربض الخندق Rabḍ al-Ḫandaq, both the city and the island became known as Χάνδαξ or Χάνδακας, which gave Latin and Venetian Candia, from which were derived French Candie and English Candy or Candia. Under Ottoman rule, in Ottoman Turkish, Crete was called Girit. Crete is the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, it is located in the southern part of the Aegean Sea separating the Aegean from the Libyan Sea. The island has an elongated shape: it spans 260 km from east to west, is 60 km at its widest point, narrows to as little as 12 km. Crete covers an area of 8,336 km2, with a coastline of 1,046 km, it lies 160 km south of the Greek mainland. Crete is mountainous, its character is defined by a high mountain range crossing from west to east, formed by three different groups of mountains: The White Mountains or Lefka Ori 2,454 m The Idi Range (Psiloritis 35.18°N 24.82°E / 35.18.
The island has a number of gorges, such as the Samariá Gorge, Imbros Gorge, Kourtaliotiko Gorge, Ha Gorge, Platania Gorge, the Gorge of the Dead and Richtis Gorge and waterfall at Exo Mouliana in Sitia. The rivers of Crete include the Ieropotamos River, the Koiliaris, the Anapodiaris, the Almiros, the Giofyros, Megas Potamos. There are only two freshwater lakes in Crete: Lake Kournas and Lake Agia, which are both in Chania regional unit. Lake Voulismeni at the coast, at Aghios Nikolaos, was a freshwater lake but is now connected to the sea, in Lasithi. Lakes that were created by dams exist in Crete. There are three: the lake of Aposelemis Dam, the lake of Potamos Dam, the lake of Mpramiana Dam. A large number of islands and rocks hug the coast of Crete. Many are visited by tourists, some are only visited by biologists; some are environmentally protected. A small sample of the islands includes: Gramvousa the pirate island opposite the Balo lagoon Elafonisi, which commemorates a shipwreck and an Ottoman massacre Chrysi island, which hosts the largest natural Lebanon cedar forest in Europe Paximadia island where the god Apollo and the goddess Artemis were born The Venetian fort and leper colony at Spinalonga opposite the beach and shallow waters of Elounda Dionysades islands which are in an environmentally protected region together the Palm Beach Forest of Vai in the municipality of Sitia, LasithiOff the south coast, the island of Gavdos is located 26 nautical miles south of Hora Sfakion and is the southernmost point of Europe.
Crete straddles two climatic zones, the Mediterranean and the North African falling within the former. As such, the climate in Crete is Mediterranean; the atmosphere can be quite humid, depending on the proximity to the sea, while winter is mild. Snowfall is rare in the low-lying areas. While some mountain tops are snow-capped for most of the year, near the coast snow only stays on the ground for a few minutes or hours. However, a exceptional cold snap swept the island in February 2004, during which period the whole island was blanketed with snow. During the Cretan summer, average temperatures reach the high 20s-low 30s Celsius, with maxima touching the upper 30s-mid 40s; the south coast, including the Mesara Pla
The Regia Marina was the navy of the Kingdom of Italy from 1861 to 1946. In 1946, with the birth of the Italian Republic, the Regia Marina changed its name to Marina Militare; the Regia Marina was established on 17 March 1861 following the proclamation of the formation of the Kingdom of Italy. Just as the Kingdom was a unification of various states in the Italian peninsula, so the Regia Marina was formed from the navies of those states, though the main constituents were the navies of the former kingdoms of Sardinia and Naples; the new Navy inherited a substantial number of ships, both sail- and steam-powered, the long naval traditions of its constituents those of Sardinia and Naples, but suffered from some major handicaps. Firstly, it suffered from a lack of cohesion; these problems were compounded by the continuation of separate officer schools at Genoa and Naples, were not addressed until the opening of a unified Naval Academy at Livorno in 1881. Secondly, unification occurred during a period of rapid advances in naval technology and tactics, as typified by the launch of Gloire by France in 1858, by the appearance of, battle between, USS Monitor and CSS Virginia in 1862.
These innovations made older warships obsolete. Italy did not possess the shipyards or infrastructure to build the modern ships required, but the Minister for the Navy, Admiral Carlo di Persano, launched a substantial programme to purchase warships from foreign yards; the new navy's baptism of fire came on 20 July 1866 at the Battle of Lissa during the Third Italian War of Independence. The battle was fought against the Austrian Empire and occurred near the island of Vis in the Adriatic sea; this was one of the few fleet actions of the nineteenth century, as a major sea battle that involved ramming, it had a profound, though with hindsight a detrimental, effect on warship design and tactics. The Italian fleet, commanded by Admiral Persano, mustered 12 ironclad and 17 wooden-hulled ships, though only one, was of the most modern turret ship design. Despite a marked disadvantage in numbers and equipment, superior handling by the Austrians under Admiral Wilhelm von Tegetthoff resulted in a severe defeat for Italy, which lost two armoured ships and 640 men.
After the war, the Regia Marina passed through some difficult years as the naval budget was reduced, thus impairing the fleet's efficiency and the pace of new construction. In 1881, the battleship Caio Duilio was commissioned, followed in 1882 by the battleship Enrico Dandolo. In 1896 the corvette Magenta completed a circumnavigation of the world; the following year the Regia Marina conducted experiments with Guglielmo Marconi in the use of radio communications. 1909 saw the first use of aircraft with the fleet. An Italian naval officer, Vittorio Cuniberti, was the first in 1903 to envision in a published article the all-big gun battleship design, which would be come to be known as dreadnought. In 1911 and 1912, the Regia Marina was involved in the Italo-Turkish War against forces of the Ottoman Empire; as the majority of the Ottoman fleet stayed behind the relative safety of the Dardanelles, the Italians dominated the Mediterranean during the conflict winning victories against Ottoman light units at the battles of Preveza and Beirut.
In the Red Sea the Italian forces were vastly superior to those of the Ottomans who only possessed a squadron of gunboats there. These were destroyed while attempting to withdraw into the Mediterranean at the Battle of Kunfuda Bay. Before 1914, the Kingdom of Italy built six dreadnought battleships:, but they did not participate in major naval actions in World War I, as they were positioned to intercept a major sortie of the Austro-Hungarian Navy which never came. During the war, the Regia Marina spent its major efforts in the Adriatic Sea, fighting the Austro-Hungarian Navy; the resulting Adriatic Campaign of World War I consisted of Austro-Hungarian coastal bombardments of Italy's Adriatic coast, wider-ranging German/Austro-Hungarian submarine warfare into the Mediterranean. Allied forces limited themselves to blockading the German/Austro-Hungarian navies in the Adriatic, successful in regards to surface units, but failed for the submarines, which found safe harbours and easy passage into and out of the area for the whole of the war.
Considered a minor part of the naval warfare of World War I, it nonetheless tied down significant forces. For most of the war the Italian and Austro-Hungarian navies each kept a passive watch over their adversaries; the Italian fleet lost the pre-dreadnought battleship Benedetto Brin at Brindisi and the dreadnought Leonardo da Vinci at Taranto due to a magazine explosion. In the last part of the war, the Regia Marina developed new weapons: the MAS boats, that sank the Austro-Hungarian battleship SMS Szent István in the Adriatic Sea on 10 June 1918.
Kingdom of Greece
The Kingdom of Greece was a state established in 1832 at the Convention of London by the Great Powers. It was internationally recognised by the Treaty of Constantinople, where it secured full independence from the Ottoman Empire; this event marked the birth of the first independent Greek state since the fall of the Byzantine Empire to the Ottomans in the mid-15th century. The Kingdom succeeded from the Greek provisional governments after the Greek War of Independence, lasted until 1924. In 1924 the monarchy was abolished, the Second Hellenic Republic was established, after Greece's defeat by Turkey in the Asia Minor Campaign, it lasted until 1935. The restored Kingdom of Greece lasted from 1935 to 1973; the Kingdom was again dissolved in the aftermath of the seven-year military dictatorship, the Third Republic, the current Greek state, came to be, after a popular referendum. Most of Greece became part of the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century; the Eastern Roman, the direct continuation to the ancient Roman Empire who ruled most of the Greek-speaking world for over 1100 years, had been fatally weakened since the sacking of Constantinople by the Latin Crusaders in 1204.
The Ottoman advance into Greece was preceded by a victory over the Serbs to its north. First, the Ottomans won at 1371 on the Maritsa River – where the Serb forces were led by the King Vukašin of Serbia, the father of Prince Marko and the co-ruler of the last emperor from the Serbian Nemanjic dynasty; this was followed by a draw in the 1389 Battle of Kosovo. With no further threat by the Serbs and the subsequent Byzantine civil wars, the Ottomans captured Constantinople in 1453 and advanced southwards into Greece, capturing Athens in 1458; the Greeks held out in the Peloponnese until 1460, the Venetians and Genoese clung to some of the islands, but by 1500 most of the plains and islands of Greece were in Ottoman hands. The mountains of Greece were untouched, were a refuge for Greeks to flee foreign rule and engage in guerrilla warfare. Cyprus fell in 1571, the Venetians retained Crete until 1670; the Ionian Islands were only ruled by the Ottomans, remained under the rule of Venice. In the context of ardent desire for independence from Turkish occupation, with the explicit influence of similar secret societies elsewhere in Europe, three Greeks came together in 1814 in Odessa to decide the constitution for a secret organization in freemasonic fashion.
Its purpose was to unite all Greeks in an armed organization to overthrow Turkish rule. The three founders were Nikolaos Skoufas from the Arta province, Emmanuil Xanthos from Patmos and Athanasios Tsakalov from Ioannina. Soon after they initiated a fourth member, Panagiotis Anagnostopoulos from Andritsaina. Lots of revolts were planned across the Greek region and the first of them was launched on 6 March 1821, in the Danubian principalities, it was put down by the Ottomans, but the torch had been lit and by the end of the same month the Peloponnese was in open revolt. In 1821, the Greeks rose up against the Ottoman Empire. Following a protracted struggle, the autonomy of Greece was first recognized by the Great Powers in 1828. Count Ioannis Kapodistrias became Governor of Greece in 1827, but was assassinated in 1831. At the insistence of the Powers, the 1832 Treaty of London made Greece a monarchy. Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was the first candidate for the Greek throne. Otto of Wittelsbach, Prince of Bavaria was chosen as its first King.
Otto arrived at Nafplion, in 1833 aboard a British warship. Otto's reign would prove troubled, but managed to last for 30 years before he and his wife, Queen Amalia, left the way they came, aboard a British warship. During the early years of his reign, a group of Bavarian Regents ruled in his name and made themselves unpopular by trying to impose German ideas of rigid hierarchical government on the Greeks, while keeping most significant state offices away from them, they laid the foundations of a Greek administration, justice system and education system. Otto was sincere in his desire to give Greece good government, but he suffered from two great handicaps, his Roman Catholic faith, the fact that his marriage to Queen Amalia remained childless. Furthermore, the new Kingdom tried to eliminate the traditional banditry, something that in many cases meant conflict with some old revolutionary fighters who continued to exercise this practice; the Bavarian Regents ruled until 1837, when at the insistence of Britain and France, they were recalled, Otto after that appointed Greek ministers, although Bavarian officials still ran most of the administration and the army.
But Greece still had no constitution. Greek discontent grew until a revolt broke out in Athens in September 1843. Otto agreed to grant a constitution, convened a National Assembly which met in November; the new constitution created a bicameral parliament, consisting of a Senate. Power passed into the hands of a group of politicians, most of whom had been commanders in the War of Independence against the Ottomans. Greek politics in the 19th century was dominated by the national question. Greeks dreamed of liberating them all and reconstituting a state embracing all the Greek lands, with Constantinople as its capital; this was called the Great Idea, it was sustained by cont
Italian battleship Regina Elena
Regina Elena was the lead ship of her class built for the Italian Regia Marina. The ship was built by the La Spezia shipyard between 1901 and 1907, was armed with a main battery of two 12 in guns and twelve 8 in guns, she was quite fast for the period, with a top speed of nearly 21 knots. Regina Elena was active in both the Italo-Turkish War with the Ottoman Empire in 1911–1912, where she participated in the Italian conquest of Cyrenaica, World War I in 1915–1918, where she saw no action due to the threat of submarines in the narrow confines of the Adriatic Sea, she was retained for a few years after the war, but was stricken in February 1923 and broken up for scrap. Regina Elena had a beam of 22.4 m and a maximum draft of 8.58 m. She displaced 13,807 long tons at full combat load, her propulsion system consisted of two vertical triple expansion engines. Steam for the engines was provided by twenty-eight coal-fired Belleville boilers; the ship's propulsion system provided a top speed of 20.8 knots and a range of 10,000 nautical miles at 10 knots.
Regina Elena enlisted men. As built, the ship was armed with two 12 in 40-caliber guns placed in two single gun turrets, one forward and one aft; the ship was equipped with twelve 8 in 45-cal. Guns in six twin turrets amidships. Close-range defense against torpedo boats was provided by a battery of sixteen 3 in 40-cal. Guns. Regina Elena was equipped with two 17.7 in torpedo tubes placed in the hull below the waterline. Regina Elena was protected with Krupp steel manufactured in Terni; the main belt was 9.8 in thick, the deck was 1.5 in thick. The conning tower was protected by 10 in of armor plating; the main battery guns had 8 in thick plating, the 8-inch gun turrets had 6 in thick sides. Regina Elena was laid down at the La Spezia shipyard on 27 March 1901, was launched on 19 June 1904. After fitting-out work was completed, she was commissioned into the Italian fleet on 11 September 1907, she thereafter served in the Mediterranean Squadron, was ready for the annual maneuvers in late September and early October, under the command of Vice Admiral Alfonso di Brocchetti.
In April 1908, Regina Elena participated in a naval demonstration off Asia Minor in protest of the Ottoman decision to prohibit Italian post offices in Ottoman territory. The ship was at that time commanded by Duke of the Abruzzi; the ship went to Messina in the aftermath of the 1908 Messina earthquake. Regina Elena remained in the active duty squadron through 1910, by which time her three sisters had been completed, bringing the total number of front-line battleships to six, including the two Regina Margherita-class battleships. On 29 September 1911, Italy declared war on the Ottoman Empire. For the duration of the conflict, Regina Elena was assigned to the 1st Division of the 1st Squadron along with her three sisters, under the command of Vice Admiral Augusto Aubry, she joined the squadron late, on 5 October. On 18 October, Regina Elena and her three sisters, along with three cruisers and several destroyers and torpedo boats escorted a convoy that carried half of the 2nd Infantry Division to Benghazi.
When the Ottomans refused to surrender the city before the amphibious assault, the Italian fleet opened fire on the Turkish defenders at 08:00, while landing parties from the ships and the Army infantry went ashore. The Italians forced the Ottomans to withdraw into the city by evening. After a short siege, the Ottoman forces withdrew on 29 October. By December, Regina Elena and the other ships of the 1st Squadron were dispersed in the ports of Cyrenaica. Regina Elena and the armored cruiser San Marco were stationed in Benghazi, with Regina Elena arriving from Tobruk. While there, they supported the Italian Army as it occupied the city and surrounding area by contributing landing parties and providing fire support to the ground troops; the gunfire support supplied by Regina Elena contributed to the defeat of a major attack on the city by an Ottoman army on 14–15 December. In early 1912, most of the fleet had withdrawn to Italy for repairs and refit, leaving only a small force of cruisers and light craft to patrol the North African coast.
In March 1914, Regina Elena was involved in experiments with wireless telegraphy in Syracuse, Sicily. The tests were supervised by the Duke of the Abruzzi. Italy declared neutrality after the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, but by July 1915, the Triple Entente had convinced the Italians to enter the war against the Central Powers; the primary naval opponent for the duration of the war was the Austro-Hungarian Navy. He therefore planned a distant blockade with the battle fleet, while smaller vessels, such as the MAS boats conducted raids; the heavy ships of the Italian fleet would be preserved for a potential major battle in the event that the Austro-Hungarian fleet should emerge from its bases. As a result, the ship's career during the war was limited. During the war, Regina Elena and her three sisters were assigned to the 2nd Division, they spent much of the war rotating between the bases at Taranto and Valona, but did not see combat. On 14–15 May 1917, three light cruisers of the Austro-Hungarian Navy raided the Otranto Barrage.
The Italo-Turkish or Turco-Italian War was fought between the Kingdom of Italy and the Ottoman Empire from September 29, 1911, to October 18, 1912. As a result of this conflict, Italy captured the Ottoman Tripolitania Vilayet, of which the main sub-provinces were Fezzan and Tripoli itself; these territories together formed. During the conflict, Italian forces occupied the Dodecanese islands in the Aegean Sea. Italy had agreed to return the Dodecanese to the Ottoman Empire in the Treaty of Ouchy in 1912. However, the vagueness of the text allowed a provisional Italian administration of the islands, Turkey renounced all claims on these islands in Article 15 of the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. Although minor, the war was a significant precursor of the First World War as it sparked nationalism in the Balkan states. Seeing how the Italians had defeated the weakened Ottomans, the members of the Balkan League attacked the Ottoman Empire starting the First Balkan War before the war with Italy had ended; the Italo-Turkish War saw numerous technological changes, notably the airplane.
On October 23, 1911, an Italian pilot, Captain Carlo Piazza, flew over Turkish lines on the world's first aerial reconnaissance mission, on November 1, the first aerial bomb was dropped by Sottotenente Giulio Gavotti, on Turkish troops in Libya, from an early model of Etrich Taube aircraft. The Turks, lacking anti-aircraft weapons, were the first to shoot down an aeroplane by rifle fire; the claims of Italy over Libya dated back to Turkey's defeat by Russia in the war of 1877–1878 and subsequent discussions after the Congress of Berlin in 1878, in which France and Great Britain had agreed to the occupation of Tunisia and Cyprus both parts of the declining Ottoman Empire. When Italian diplomats hinted about possible opposition by their government, the French replied that Tripoli would have been a counterpart for Italy. Italy made a secret agreement with Great Britain in February 1887 by an exchange of notes, it provided that Italy would support Great Britain and its role in Egypt while the Italians would receive British support in Libya.
In 1902, Italy and France had signed a secret treaty which accorded freedom of intervention in Tripolitania and Morocco. The agreement negotiated by Italian foreign minister Giulio Prinetti and French ambassador Camille Barrère was an endpoint in the historical rivalry between the two nations for control of northern Africa. In 1902, Great Britain promised that "any alteration in the status of Libya would be in conformity with Italian interests." These measures were intended to loosen Italian commitment to the Triple Alliance, thereby weaken Germany, which France and Britain viewed as their main rival on the continent. Following the Anglo-Russian Convention and the establishment of the Triple Entente, Tsar Nicholas II and King Victor Emmanuel III made the 1909 Racconigi Bargain in which Russia acknowledged Italy's interest in Tripoli and Cyrenaica in return for Italian support for Russian control of the Bosphorus. However, the Italian government did little to realize the opportunity and knowledge of Libyan territory and resources remained scarce in the following years.
The removal of diplomatic obstacles coincided with increasing colonial fervor. In 1908, the Italian Colonial Office was upgraded to a Central Directorate of Colonial Affairs. Nationalist Enrico Corradini led the public call for action in Libya, joined by the nationalist newspaper L'Idea Nazionale in 1911, demanded an invasion; the Italian press began a large-scale lobbying campaign in favour of an invasion of Libya at the end of March 1911. It was fancifully depicted as rich in minerals, well-watered, defended by only 4,000 Ottoman troops; the population was described as hostile to the Ottoman Empire and friendly to the Italians: the future invasion was going to be little more than a "military walk", according to them. Italy's government remained committed into 1911 to the maintenance of the Ottoman Empire, a close friend of their German ally. Prime Minister Giovanni Giolitti rejected nationalist calls for conflict over Ottoman Albania, seen as a possible colonial project, as late as the summer of 1911.
However, the Agadir Crisis, in which French military action in Morocco in April 1911 would lead to the establishment of a French protectorate, changed the political calculations. At this point, the Italian leadership decided that it could safely accede to public demands for a colonial project; the Triple Entente powers were supportive. British foreign secretary Edward Grey stated to the Italian ambassador on 28 July that they would support Italy and would not support the Turks. Meanwhile, the Russian government urged Italy to act in a "prompt and resolute manner." In contrast to their engagement with the Entente powers, Italy ignored its military allies in the Triple Alliance. Giolitti and foreign minister Antonino Paternò Castello agreed on 14 September to launch a military campaign "before the Austrian and German governments of it." At the time, Germany was attempting to mediate between Rome and Constantinople, while Austrian foreign minister Alois Lexa von Aehrenthal warned Italy that military action in Libya would threaten the integrity of the Ottoman Empire and create a crisis in the Eastern Question, thereby destabilizing the Balkan peninsula and the continent's balance of power.
Italy foresaw this result: Paternò Castello, in a July report to
The Aegean Sea is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the Greek and Anatolian peninsulas i.e. between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, the Aegean is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosphorus; the Aegean Islands are within the sea and some bound it on its southern periphery, including Crete and Rhodes. The sea was traditionally known as the Archipelago, but in English the meaning of Archipelago has changed to refer to the Aegean Islands and to any island group. In ancient times, there were various explanations for the name Aegean, it was said to have been named after the Greek town of Aegae. A possible etymology is a derivation from the Greek word αἶγες – aiges = "waves", hence "wavy sea", cf. αἰγιαλός, hence meaning "sea-shore". The Venetians, who ruled many Greek islands in the High and Late Middle Ages, popularized the name Archipelago, a name that held on in many European countries until the early modern period.
In some South Slavic languages the Aegean is called White Sea. The Aegean Sea covers about 214,000 square kilometres in area, measures about 610 kilometres longitudinally and 300 kilometres latitudinally; the sea's maximum depth is 3,543 metres, east of Crete. The Aegean Islands are found within its waters, with the following islands delimiting the sea on the south: Kythera, Crete, Kasos and Rhodes; the Aegean Islands, which all belong to Greece, can be divided into seven groups: Northeastern Aegean Islands East Aegean Islands Northern Sporades Cyclades Saronic Islands Dodecanese CreteThe word archipelago was applied to the Aegean Sea and its islands. Many of the Aegean Islands, or chains of islands, are extensions of the mountains on the mainland. One chain extends across the sea to Chios, another extends across Euboea to Samos, a third extends across the Peloponnese and Crete to Rhodes, dividing the Aegean from the Mediterranean; the bays and gulfs of the Aegean beginning at the South and moving clockwise include on Crete, the Mirabello, Almyros and Chania bays or gulfs, on the mainland the Myrtoan Sea to the west with the Argolic Gulf, the Saronic Gulf northwestward, the Petalies Gulf which connects with the South Euboic Sea, the Pagasetic Gulf which connects with the North Euboic Sea, the Thermian Gulf northwestward, the Chalkidiki Peninsula including the Cassandra and the Singitic Gulfs, northward the Strymonian Gulf and the Gulf of Kavala and the rest are in Turkey.
The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Aegean Sea as follows: On the South. A line running from Cape Aspro in Asia Minor, to Cum Burnù the Northeast extreme of the Island of Rhodes, through the island to Cape Prasonisi, the Southwest point thereof, on to Vrontos Point in Skarpanto, through this island to Castello Point, the South extreme thereof, across to Cape Plaka, through Crete to Agria Grabusa, the Northwest extreme thereof, thence to Cape Apolitares in Antikithera Island, through the island to Psira Rock and across to Cape Trakhili in Kithera Island, through Kithera to the Northwest point and thence to Cape Santa Maria in the Morea. In the Dardanelles. A line joining Kum Kale and Cape Helles. Aegean surface water circulates in a counterclockwise gyre, with hypersaline Mediterranean water moving northward along the west coast of Turkey, before being displaced by less dense Black Sea outflow; the dense Mediterranean water sinks below the Black Sea inflow to a depth of 23–30 metres flows through the Dardanelles Strait and into the Sea of Marmara at velocities of 5–15 cm/s.
The Black Sea outflow moves westward along the northern Aegean Sea flows southwards along the east coast of Greece. The physical oceanography of the Aegean Sea is controlled by the regional climate, the fresh water discharge from major rivers draining southeastern Europe, the seasonal variations in the Black Sea surface water outflow through the Dardanelles Strait. Analysis of the Aegean during 1991 and 1992 revealed three distinct water masses: Aegean Sea Surface Water – 40–50 metres thick veneer, with summer temperatures of 21–26 °C and winter temperatures ranging from 10 °C in the north to 16 °C in the south. Aegean Sea Intermediate Water – Aegean Sea Intermediate Water extends from 40–50 m to 200–300 metres with temperatures ranging from 11–18 °C. Aegean Sea Bottom Water – occurring at depths below 500–1000 m with a uniform temperature and salinity; the current coastline dates back to about 4000 BC. Before that time, at the peak of the last ice age sea levels everywhere were 130 metres lower, there were large well-watered
The Dodecanese are a group of 15 larger plus 150 smaller Greek islands in the southeastern Aegean Sea, off the coast of Asia Minor, of which 26 are inhabited. Τhis island group defines the eastern limit of the Sea of Crete. They belong to the wider Southern Sporades island group; the most important and well-known island, has been the area's dominant island since antiquity. Of the others and Patmos are the more important. Other islands in the chain include Alimia, Chalki, Gyali, Levitha, Nimos, Saria, Strongyli and Telendos; the name "Dodecanese", meaning "The Twelve Islands", denotes today an island group in the southeastern Aegean Sea, comprising fifteen major islands and 93 smaller islets. Since Antiquity, these islands formed part of the group known as the "Southern Sporades"; the name Dōdekanēsos first appears in Byzantine sources in the 8th century, as a naval command under a droungarios, encompassing the southern Aegean Sea, which evolved into the Theme of Samos. However it was not applied to the current island group, but to the twelve Cyclades islands clustered around Delos.
The name may indeed be of far earlier date, modern historians suggest that a list of 12 islands given by Strabo was the origin of the term. The term remained in use throughout the medieval period and was still used for the Cyclades in both colloquial usage and scholarly Greek-language literature until the 18th century; the transfer of the name to the present-day Dodecanese has its roots in the Ottoman period. Following the Ottoman conquest in 1522, the two larger islands and Kos, came under direct Ottoman rule, while the others, of which the twelve main islands were named, enjoyed extensive privileges pertaining to taxation and self-government. Concerted attempts to abolish these privileges were made after 1869, as the Ottoman Empire attempted to modernize and centralize its administrative structure, the last vestiges of the old privileges were abolished after the Young Turks took power in 1908, it was at that time that the press in the independent Kingdom of Greece began referring to the twelve privileged islands in the context of their attempts to preserve their privileges, collectively as the "Dodecanese".
Shortly after, in 1912, most of the Southern Sporades were captured by the Italians in the Italo-Turkish War, except for Ikaria, which joined Greece in 1912 during the First Balkan War, Kastellorizo, which came under Italian rule only in 1921. The place of the latter two was taken by Kos and Rhodes, bringing the number of the major islands under Italian rule back to twelve. Thus, when the Greek press began agitating for the cession of the islands to Greece in 1913, the term used was still the "Dodecanese"; the Italian occupation authorities helped to establish the term when they named the islands under their control "Rhodes and the Dodecanese", adding Leipsoi to the list of the major islands to make up for considering Rhodes separately. By 1920, the name had become established for the entire island group, a fact acknowledged by the Italian government when it appointed the islands' first civilian governor, Count Carlo Senni, as "Viceroy of the Dodecanese"; as the name was associated with Greek irredentism, from 1924 Mussolini's Fascist regime tried to abolish its use by referring to them as the "Italian Islands of the Aegean", but this name never acquired any wider currency outside Italian administrative usage.
The islands joined Greece in 1947 following as the "Governorate-General of the Dodecanese", since 1955 the "Dodecanese Prefecture". The Dodecanese have been inhabited since prehistoric times. In the Neopalatial period on Crete, the islands were Minoanized. Following the downfall of the Minoans, the islands were ruled by the Mycenaean Greeks from circa 1400 BC, until the arrival of the Dorians circa 1100 BC, it is in the Dorian period that they began to prosper as an independent entity, developing a thriving economy and culture through the following centuries. By the early Archaic period Rhodes and Kos emerged as the major islands in the group, in the 6th century BC the Dorians founded three major cities on Rhodes. Together with the island of Kos and the cities of Knidos and Halicarnassos on the mainland of Asia Minor, these made up the Dorian Hexapolis; this development was interrupted around 499 BC by the Persian Wars, during which the islands were captured by the Persians for a brief period.
Following the defeat of the Persians by the Athenians in 478 BC, the cities joined the Athenian-dominated Delian League. When the Peloponnesian War broke out in 431 BC, they remained neutral although they were still members of the League. By the time the Peloponnesian War ended in 404 BC, the Dodecanese were removed from the larger Aegean conflicts, had begun a period of relative quiet and prosperity. In 408 BC, the three cities of Rhodes had united to form one state, which built a new capital on the northern end of the island named Rhodes.