The Minoan civilization was an Aegean Bronze Age civilization on the island of Crete and other Aegean islands which flourished from about 2600 to 1100 BC. It preceded the Mycenaean civilization of Ancient Greece, the civilization was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of British archaeologist Arthur Evans. It has been described as the earliest of its kind in Europe, the term Minoan, which refers to the mythical King Minos, originally described the pottery of the period. Minos was associated in Greek mythology with the labyrinth and the Minotaur, according to Homer, Crete once had 90 cities. The Minoan period saw trade between Crete and Aegean and Mediterranean settlements, particularly the Near East and artists, the Minoan cultural influence reached beyond Crete to the Cyclades, Egypts Old Kingdom, copper-bearing Cyprus and the Levantine coast, and Anatolia. Some of its best art is preserved in the city of Akrotiri on the island of Santorini, although the Minoan language and writing systems remain undecipherable and are subjects of academic dispute, they apparently conveyed a language entirely different from the Greek.
The reason for the end of the Minoan period is unclear, theories include Mycenaean invasions from mainland Greece, the term Minoan refers to the mythical King Minos of Knossos. Its origin is debated, but it is attributed to archeologist Arthur Evans. Minos was associated in Greek mythology with the labyrinth, which Evans identified with the site at Knossos. However, Karl Hoeck had already used the title Das Minoische Kreta in 1825 for volume two of his Kreta, this appears to be the first known use of the word Minoan to mean ancient Cretan, Evans said that applied it, not invented it. Hoeck, with no idea that the archaeological Crete had existed, had in mind the Crete of mythology, although Evans 1931 claim that the term was unminted before he used it was called a brazen suggestion by Karadimas and Momigliano, he coined its archaeological meaning. Instead of dating the Minoan period, archaeologists use two systems of relative chronology, the first, created by Evans and modified by archaeologists, is based on pottery styles and imported Egyptian artifacts.
Evans system divides the Minoan period into three eras, early and late. These eras are subdivided—for example, Early Minoan I, II and III, another dating system, proposed by Greek archaeologist Nicolas Platon, is based on the development of architectural complexes known as palaces at Knossos, Phaistos and Kato Zakros. Platon divides the Minoan period into pre-, proto-, neo-, the relationship between the systems in the table includes approximate calendar dates from Warren and Hankey. The Thera eruption occurred during a phase of the LM IA period. Efforts to establish the volcanic eruptions date have been controversial, the eruption is identified as a natural event catastrophic for the culture, leading to its rapid collapse. Although stone-tool evidence exists that hominins may have reached Crete as early as 130,000 years ago, evidence for the first anatomically-modern human presence dates to 10, the oldest evidence of modern human habitation on Crete are pre-ceramic Neolithic farming-community remains which date to about 7000 BC
Cyprus, officially the Republic of Cyprus, is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean and the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean. It is located south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel and Palestine, north of Egypt, the earliest known human activity on the island dates to around the 10th millennium BC. Archaeological remains from this include the well-preserved Neolithic village of Khirokitia. Cyprus was settled by Mycenaean Greeks in two waves in the 2nd millennium BC, Cyprus was placed under British administration based on Cyprus Convention in 1878 and formally annexed by Britain in 1914. While Turkish Cypriots made up 18% of the population, the partition of Cyprus and creation of a Turkish state in the north became a policy of Turkish Cypriot leaders, following nationalist violence in the 1950s, Cyprus was granted independence in 1960. On 15 July 1974, a coup détat was staged by Greek Cypriot nationalists and elements of the Greek military junta in an attempt at enosis and these events and the resulting political situation are matters of a continuing dispute.
The Cyprus Republic has de jure sovereignty over the island of Cyprus, as well as its territorial sea and exclusive economic area, another nearly 4% of the islands area is covered by the UN buffer zone. The international community considers the part of the island as territory of the Republic of Cyprus occupied by Turkish forces. The occupation is viewed as illegal under law, amounting to illegal occupation of EU territory since Cyprus became a member of the European Union. Cyprus is a major tourist destination in the Mediterranean, on 1 January 2008, the Republic of Cyprus joined the eurozone. The earliest attested reference to Cyprus is the 15th century BC Mycenaean Greek
Pergamon /ˈpɜːrɡəmən/ or /ˈpɜːrɡəmɒn/ or Pergamum /ˈpɜːrɡəməm/ was a rich and powerful ancient Greek city in Aeolis. It is located 26 kilometres from the coastline of the Aegean Sea on a promontory on the north side of the river Caicus. Many remains of its monuments can still be seen and especially the outstanding masterpiece of the Pergamon Altar. It became the capital of the Kingdom of Pergamon during the Hellenistic period under the Attalid dynasty in 281–133 BC, Pergamon is cited in the Book of Revelation as one of the seven churches of Asia. Xenophon provides the earliest surviving mention of Pergamon. Captured by Xenophon in 399 BC and immediately recaptured by the Persians, in 261 BC he bequeathed his possessions to his nephew Eumenes I, who increased them greatly, leaving as heir his cousin Attalus I. The Attalids became some of the most loyal supporters of Rome in the Hellenistic world, for their support against the Seleucids, the Attalids were rewarded with all the former Seleucid domains in Asia Minor.
As a consequence of its rise to power, the city expanded greatly, until 188 BC, it had not grown significantly since its founding by Philetaerus, and covered c.21 hectares. After this year, a new city wall was constructed,4 kilometres long and enclosing an area of approximately 90 hectares. The Attalids ruled with intelligence and generosity, many documents survive showing how the Attalids supported the growth of towns by sending in skilled artisans and by remitting taxes. They allowed the Greek cities in their domains to maintain nominal independence and they sent gifts to Greek cultural sites like Delphi and Athens. They remodeled the Acropolis of Pergamon after the Acropolis in Athens, when Attalus III died without an heir in 133 BC, he bequeathed the whole of Pergamon to Rome in order to prevent a civil war. Not everyone in Pergamon accepted Romes rule, who claimed to be Attalus brother as well as the son of Eumenes II, an earlier king, led a revolt among the lower classes with the help of Blossius.
The revolt was put down in 129 BC, and Pergamon was divided among Rome, Pergamon was briefly the capital of the Roman province of Asia, before the capital was transferred to Ephesus. After a slow decline, the city was favoured by several imperial initiatives under Hadrian, in addition, at the city limits the shrine to Asclepius was expanded into a lavish spa. This sanctuary grew in fame and was considered one of the most famous therapeutic, after Hippocrates the most famous physician of antiquity, was born at Pergamon and received his early training at the Asclepeion. Pergamon reached the height of its greatness under Roman Imperial rule and was home to about 200,000 inhabitants, the city was an early seat of Christianity and was granted a bishopric by the 2nd century. The city suffered badly during the century and was badly damaged by an earthquake in 262 and was sacked by the Goths shortly after
Pliny the Elder
In the latter number will be my uncle, by virtue of his own and of your compositions. Pliny is referring to the fact that Tacitus relied on his uncles now missing work on the History of the German Wars. The wind caused by the sixth and largest pyroclastic surge of the eruption would not allow his ship to leave the shore, and Pliny probably died during this event. Plinys dates are pinned to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79 and a statement of his nephew that he died in his 56th year, Pliny was the son of an equestrian, Gaius Plinius Celer, and his wife, Marcella. Neither the younger nor the elder Pliny mention the names and their ultimate source is a fragmentary inscription found in a field in Verona and recorded by the 16th century Augustinian monk Onofrio Panvinio at Verona. The reading of the inscription depends on the reconstruction, but in all cases the names come through, whether he was an augur and whether she was named Grania Marcella are less certain. Jean Hardouin presents a statement from a source that he claims was ancient, that Pliny was from Verona.
Hardouin cites the conterraneity of Catullus, additional efforts to connect Celer and Marcella with other gentes are highly speculative. Hardouin is the scholar to use his unknown source. He kept statues of his ancestors there, a statue of Pliny on the facade of the Duomo of Como celebrates him as a native son. He had a sister, who married into the Caecilii and was the mother of his nephew, Pliny the Younger, whose letters describe his work and study regimen in detail. In one of his letters to Tacitus, Pliny the Younger details how his uncles breakfasts would be light and simple following the customs of our forefathers. This shows that Pliny the Younger wanted it to be conveyed that Pliny the Elder was a good Roman and this statement would have pleased Tacitus. Two inscriptions identifying the hometown of Pliny the Younger as Como take precedence over the Verona theory, one commemorates the youngers career as imperial magistrate and details his considerable charitable and municipal expenses on behalf of the people of Como.
Another identifies his father Lucius village as Fecchio near Como and it is likely therefore that Plinia was a local girl and Pliny the Elder, her brother, was from Como. Gaius was a member of the Plinii gens and he did not take his fathers cognomen, but assumed his own, Secundus. As his adopted son took the same cognomen, Pliny founded a branch, no earlier instances of the Plinii are known. In 59 BC, only about 82 years before Plinys birth, Julius Caesar founded Novum Comum as a colonia to secure the region against the Alpine tribes, whom he had been unable to defeat
Apollodorus of Damascus
Apollodorus of Damascus was a Syrian-Greek engineer, architect and sculptor from Damascus, Roman Syria, who flourished during the 2nd century AD. Apollodorus was a favourite of Trajan, for whom he constructed Trajans Bridge over the Danube and he designed the Forum Trajanum and Trajans Column within the city of Rome, beside several smaller projects. Apollodorus designed the arches of Trajan at Beneventum and Ancona. He is widely credited as the architect of the iteration of the Pantheon. In 106 he completed or restored the odeon begun in the Campus Martius under Domitian, Trajans Column, in the centre of the Forum, is celebrated as being the first triumphal monument of its kind. He wrote a treatise on Siege Engines, addressed to an unnamed emperor, many since have taken Dios anecdote at face value, but there is much in this story that does not add up and many scholars dismiss its historicity altogether. Trajans Market This article incorporates text from a now in the public domain, Hugh. James Grout, Apollodorus of Damascus, part of the Encyclopædia Romana Media related to Apollodorus of Damascus at Wikimedia Commons
Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a unitary parliamentary republic in Europe. Located in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Austria, San Marino, Italy covers an area of 301,338 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate and Mediterranean climate. Due to its shape, it is referred to in Italy as lo Stivale. With 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth most populous EU member state, the Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom, which eventually became a republic that conquered and assimilated other nearby civilisations. The legacy of the Roman Empire is widespread and can be observed in the distribution of civilian law, republican governments, Christianity. The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, exploration, Italian culture flourished at this time, producing famous scholars and polymaths such as Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo and Machiavelli. The weakened sovereigns soon fell victim to conquest by European powers such as France and Austria.
Despite being one of the victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil. The subsequent participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in defeat, economic destruction. Today, Italy has the third largest economy in the Eurozone and it has a very high level of human development and is ranked sixth in the world for life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military and diplomatic affairs, as a reflection of its cultural wealth, Italy is home to 51 World Heritage Sites, the most in the world, and is the fifth most visited country. The assumptions on the etymology of the name Italia are very numerous, according to one of the more common explanations, the term Italia, from Latin, was borrowed through Greek from the Oscan Víteliú, meaning land of young cattle. The bull was a symbol of the southern Italic tribes and was often depicted goring the Roman wolf as a defiant symbol of free Italy during the Social War. Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus states this account together with the legend that Italy was named after Italus, mentioned by Aristotle and Thucydides.
The name Italia originally applied only to a part of what is now Southern Italy – according to Antiochus of Syracuse, but by his time Oenotria and Italy had become synonymous, and the name applied to most of Lucania as well. The Greeks gradually came to apply the name Italia to a larger region, excavations throughout Italy revealed a Neanderthal presence dating back to the Palaeolithic period, some 200,000 years ago, modern Humans arrived about 40,000 years ago. Other ancient Italian peoples of undetermined language families but of possible origins include the Rhaetian people and Cammuni. Also the Phoenicians established colonies on the coasts of Sardinia and Sicily, the Roman legacy has deeply influenced the Western civilisation, shaping most of the modern world
During the Hellenistic period the importance of Greece proper within the Greek-speaking world declined sharply. The great centers of Hellenistic culture were Alexandria and Antioch, capitals of Ptolemaic Egypt, cities such as Pergamon, Ephesus and Seleucia were important, and increasing urbanization of the Eastern Mediterranean was characteristic of the time. The quests of Alexander had a number of consequences for the Greek city-states and it greatly widened the horizons of the Greeks, making the endless conflicts between the cities which had marked the 5th and 4th centuries BC seem petty and unimportant. It led to a steady emigration, particularly of the young and ambitious, the Greeks valued their local independence too much to consider actual unification, but they made several attempts to form federations through which they could hope to reassert their independence. Following Alexanders death a struggle for power broke out among his generals, which resulted in the break-up of his empire, Macedon fell to Cassander, son of Alexanders leading general Antipater, who after several years of warfare made himself master of most of the rest of Greece.
He founded a new Macedonian capital at Thessaloniki and was generally a constructive ruler, Cassanders power was challenged by Antigonus, ruler of Anatolia, who promised the Greek cities that he would restore their freedom if they supported him. This led to successful revolts against Cassanders local rulers, in 307 BC, Antigonuss son Demetrius captured Athens and restored its democratic system, which had been suppressed by Alexander. But in 301 BC a coalition of Cassander and the other Hellenistic kings defeated Antigonus at the Battle of Ipsus, after Cassanders death in 298 BC, Demetrius seized the Macedonian throne and gained control of most of Greece. He was defeated by a coalition of Greek rulers in 285 BC. Lysimachus was in turn defeated and killed in 280 BC, the Macedonian throne passed to Demetriuss son Antigonus II, who defeated an invasion of the Greek lands by the Gauls, who at this time were living in the Balkans. The battle against the Gauls united the Antigonids of Macedon and the Seleucids of Antioch, an alliance which was directed against the wealthiest Hellenistic power.
Antigonus II ruled until his death in 239 BC, and his family retained the Macedonian throne until it was abolished by the Romans in 146 BC. Their control over the Greek city states was intermittent, since other rulers, particularly the Ptolemies, Sparta remained independent, but generally refused to join any league. In 267 BC, Ptolemy II persuaded the Greek cities to revolt against Antigonus, in became the Chremonidian War. The cities were defeated and Athens lost her independence and her democratic institutions, the Aetolian League was restricted to the Peloponnese, but on being allowed to gain control of Thebes in 245 BC became a Macedonian ally. This marked the end of Athens as a actor, although it remained the largest and most cultivated city in Greece. In 255 BC, Antigonus defeated the Egyptian fleet at Cos and brought the Aegean islands, except Rhodes, in spite of their decreased political power and autonomy, the Greek city state or polis continued to be the basic form of political and social organization in Greece.
Classical city states such as Athens and Ephesus grew and even thrived in this period, the Aetolians and the Achaeans developed strong federal states or leagues, which were governed by councils of city representatives and assemblies of league citizens
The Peloponnese or Peloponnesus is a peninsula and geographic region in southern Greece. It is separated from the part of the country by the Gulf of Corinth. During the late Middle Ages and the Ottoman era, the peninsula was known as the Morea, the peninsula is divided among three administrative regions, most belongs to the Peloponnese region, with smaller parts belonging to the West Greece and Attica regions. In 2016, Lonely Planet voted the Peloponnese the top spot of their Best in Europe list, the Peloponnese is a peninsula that covers an area of some 21,549.6 square kilometres and constitutes the southernmost part of mainland Greece. It has two connections with the rest of Greece, a natural one at the Isthmus of Corinth. The peninsula has an interior and deeply indented coasts. The Peloponnese possesses four south-pointing peninsulas, the Messenian, the Mani, the Cape Malea, mount Taygetus in the south is the highest mountain in the Peloponnese, at 2,407 metres. Οther important mountains include Cyllene in the northeast, Aroania in the north and Panachaikon in the northwest, Mainalon in the center, the entire peninsula is earthquake prone and has been the site of many earthquakes in the past.
The longest river is the Alfeios in the west, followed by the Evrotas in the south, extensive lowlands are found only in the west, with the exception of the Evrotas valley in the south and in the Argolid in the northeast. The Peloponnese is home to spectacular beaches, which are a major tourist draw. Two groups of islands lie off the Peloponnesian coast, the Argo-Saronic Islands to the east, the island of Kythera, off the Epidaurus Limera peninsula to the south of the Peloponnese, is considered to be part of the Ionian Islands. The island of Elafonissos used to be part of the peninsula but was separated following the quake of 365 AD. Since antiquity, and continuing to the present day, the Peloponnese has been divided into seven regions, Corinthia, Arcadia, Messinia. Each of these regions is headed by a city, the largest city is Patras in Achaia, followed by Kalamata in Messinia. The peninsula has been inhabited since prehistoric times and its modern name derives from ancient Greek mythology, specifically the legend of the hero Pelops, who was said to have conquered the entire region.
The name Peloponnesos means Island of Pelops, the Mycenaean civilization, mainland Greeces first major civilization, dominated the Peloponnese in the Bronze Age from its stronghold at Mycenae in the north-east of the peninsula. The Mycenean civilization collapsed suddenly at the end of the 2nd millennium BC, archeological research has found that many of its cities and palaces show signs of destruction. The subsequent period, known as the Greek Dark Ages, is marked by an absence of written records
Macedonia (ancient kingdom)
Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom on the periphery of Archaic and Classical Greece, and the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. The kingdom was founded and at first ruled by the royal Argead dynasty, the reign of Philip II saw the rise of Macedonia, during which the kingdom rose to control the entire Greek world. With a reformed army containing phalanxes wielding the sarissa pike, Philip II defeated the old powers of Athens and Thebes in the decisive Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC, Sparta was kept isolated and was occupied a century by Antigonus III Doson. Alexander led a roughly decade-long campaign of conquest against the Achaemenid Empire, in the ensuing wars of Alexander the Great, he overthrew the Achaemenid Empire and conquered a territory that stretched as far as the Indus River. For a brief period, his Macedonian empire was the most powerful in the world – the definitive Hellenistic state, Greek arts and literature flourished in the new conquered lands and advances in philosophy and science were spread throughout much of the ancient world.
Of particular importance were the contributions of Aristotle, who had been imported as tutor to Alexander, important cities such as Pella and Amphipolis were involved in power struggles for control of the territory. New cities were founded, such as Thessalonica by the usurper Cassander, Macedonias decline began with the Macedonian Wars and the rise of Rome as the leading Mediterranean power. At the end of the Second Macedonian War in 168 BC, a short-lived revival of the monarchy during the Third Macedonian War in 150–148 BC ended with the establishment of the Roman province of Macedonia. The name Macedonia comes from the ethnonym Μακεδόνες, which itself is derived from the ancient Greek adjective μακεδνός, meaning tall and it shares the same root as the noun μάκρος, meaning length in both ancient and modern Greek. The name is believed to have meant either highlanders, the tall ones. Robert S. P. Beekes supports that both terms are of Pre-Greek substrate origin and cannot be explained in terms of Indo-European morphology.
Contradictory legends state that either Perdiccas I of Macedon or Caranus of Macedon were the founders of the Argead dynasty, the kingdom of Macedonia was situated along the Haliacmon and Axius rivers in Lower Macedonia, north of Mount Olympus. Historian Malcolm Errington posits the theory one of the earliest Argead kings must have established Aigai as their capital in the mid-7th century BC. Prior to the 4th century BC, the kingdom covered a region corresponding to the western. Achaemenid Persian hegemony over Macedonia was briefly interrupted by the Ionian Revolt, although Macedonia enjoyed a large degree of autonomy and was never made a satrapy of the Achaemenid Empire, it was expected to provide troops for the Achaemenid army. Following the Greek victory at Salamis in 480 BC, Alexander I was employed as an Achaemenid diplomat to strike a treaty and alliance with Athens. Soon afterwards the Achaemenid forces were forced to withdraw from mainland Europe, although initially a Persian vassal, Alexander I of Macedon fostered friendly diplomatic relations with his former Greek enemies, the Athenian and Spartan-led coalition of Greek city-states.
Two separate wars were fought against Athens between 433 and 431 BC, spurred by an Athenian alliance with a brother and cousin of Perdiccas II who had rebelled against him
Nicotera is a comune in the province of Vibo Valentia, southern Italy. Nicòtera origins lie with the ancient Greek city of Medma which was founded by the Locresis of Locri Epizephyris, during the period of Roman domination it partially survived only through the emporium, near today’s Nicotera Marina. A Christian bishopric see is attested in Nicotera during the Middle Ages, in 1065 Robert Guiscard -enlarging his Principate of Salerno- conquered it from the Byzantine Empire, and the town grew around the castle and the cathedral built under the Normans. In 1122, Nicotera was attacked by an Almoravid fleet, some of the populace were killed while the rest were taken, under Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II Nicotera attained economic wealth. In the 15th century, under the rule of Alfonso of Aragon, it passed under the yoke of feudalism, in 1806 the French Revolution swept away the feudal system in Nicotera. After the restoration of Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies, Nicotera continued to be town of the district, with what are now the modern communes of Joppolo.
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Alexandria is the second largest city and a major economic centre in Egypt, extending about 32 km along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country. Its low elevation on the Nile delta makes it vulnerable to rising sea levels. Alexandria is Egypts largest seaport, serving approximately 80% of Egypts imports and exports and it is an important industrial center because of its natural gas and oil pipelines from Suez. Alexandria is an important tourist destination, Alexandria was founded around a small Ancient Egyptian town c.331 BC by Alexander the Great. Alexandria was the second most powerful city of the ancient world after Rome, Alexandria is believed to have been founded by Alexander the Great in April 331 BC as Ἀλεξάνδρεια. Alexanders chief architect for the project was Dinocrates, Alexandria was intended to supersede Naucratis as a Hellenistic center in Egypt, and to be the link between Greece and the rich Nile valley. The city and its museum attracted many of the greatest scholars, including Greeks, the city was plundered and lost its significance.
Just east of Alexandria, there was in ancient times marshland, as early as the 7th century BC, there existed important port cities of Canopus and Heracleion. The latter was rediscovered under water. An Egyptian city, already existed on the shore and it continued to exist as the Egyptian quarter of the city. A few months after the foundation, Alexander left Egypt and never returned to his city, after Alexanders departure, his viceroy, continued the expansion. Although Cleomenes was mainly in charge of overseeing Alexandrias continuous development, the Heptastadion, inheriting the trade of ruined Tyre and becoming the center of the new commerce between Europe and the Arabian and Indian East, the city grew in less than a generation to be larger than Carthage. In a century, Alexandria had become the largest city in the world and and it became Egypts main Greek city, with Greek people from diverse backgrounds. Alexandria was not only a center of Hellenism, but was home to the largest urban Jewish community in the world.
The Septuagint, a Greek version of the Tanakh, was produced there, in AD115, large parts of Alexandria were destroyed during the Kitos War, which gave Hadrian and his architect, Decriannus, an opportunity to rebuild it. On 21 July 365, Alexandria was devastated by a tsunami, the Islamic prophet, Muhammads first interaction with the people of Egypt occurred in 628, during the Expedition of Zaid ibn Haritha. He sent Hatib bin Abi Baltaeh with a letter to the king of Egypt and Alexandria called Muqawqis In the letter Muhammad said, I invite you to accept Islam, Allah the sublime, shall reward you doubly. But if you refuse to do so, you bear the burden of the transgression of all the Copts
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, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles, the Aegean Islands are within the sea and some bound it on its southern periphery, including Crete and Rhodes. The sea was known as Archipelago, but in English this words meaning has changed to refer to the Aegean Islands and, generally. In ancient times, there were various explanations for the name Aegean, 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, in some South Slavic languages the Aegean is often called White Sea. The Aegean Sea covers about 214,000 square kilometres in area, the seas 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, Antikythera, Kasos, many of the Aegean Islands, or chains of islands, are actually extensions of the mountains on the mainland.
One chain extends across the sea to Chios, another extends across Euboea to Samos, the International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Aegean Sea as follows, On the South. In the Dardanelles. A line joining Kum Kale and Cape Helles, 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, 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. 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, and there were large well-watered coastal plains instead of much of the northern Aegean. When they were first occupied, the islands including Milos with its important obsidian production were probably still connected to the mainland.
The present coastal arrangement appeared c.7000 BC, with post-ice age sea levels continuing to rise for another 3,000 years after that, the subsequent Bronze Age civilizations of Greece and the Aegean Sea have given rise to the general term Aegean civilization. In ancient times, the sea was the birthplace of two ancient civilizations – the Minoans of Crete and the Mycenean Civilization of the Peloponnese, arose the city-states of Athens and Sparta among many others that constituted the Athenian Empire and Hellenic Civilization. Plato described the Greeks living round the Aegean like frogs around a pond, the Aegean Sea was invaded by the Persians and the Romans, and inhabited by the Byzantine Empire, the Bulgarians, the Venetians, the Genoese, the Seljuq Turks, and the Ottoman Empire. The Aegean was the site of the democracies, and its seaways were the means of contact among several diverse civilizations of the Eastern Mediterranean. Many of the islands in the Aegean have safe harbours and bays, in ancient times, navigation through the sea was easier than travelling across the rough terrain of the Greek mainland