Learn more about Aegean Sea
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- For the ship Aegean Sea, see Aegean Sea (oil spill)
The Aegean Sea (Greek: Αιγαίο Πέλαγος, Aeyéo Pélagos; Turkish: Ege Denizi) is a sea arm of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey respectively. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus. 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 (Greek: Αρхιπέλαγος), the general sense of which has since changed to refer to the Aegean Islands and, generally, to any island group because the Aegean Sea is remarkable for its large number of islands.
In ancient times there were various explanations for the name Aegean. It was said to have been named after the town of Aegae, or Aegea, a queen of the Amazons who died in the sea, or Aigaion, the "sea goat", another name of Briareus, one of the archaic Hecatonchires, or, especially among the Athenians, Aegeus, the father of Theseus, who drowned himself in the sea when he thought his son had died.
A possible etymology is a derivation from the greek word αἶγες (aiges) "waves" (Hesychius; metaphorical use of αἴξ (aix) "goat"), hence "wavy sea", cf. also αἰγιαλός (aigialos) "coast".
In ancient times the sea was the birthplace of two ancient civilizations – the Minoans of Crete, and the Mycenean Civilization of the Peloponnese. Later arose the city-states of Athens and Sparta among many others that constituted the Hellenic Civilization. Plato described the Greeks living round the Aegean "like frogs around a pond". The Aegean Sea was later invaded by Persians and the Romans, and inhabited by the Byzantine Empire, the Venetians, the Seljuk Turks, and the Ottoman Empire. The Aegean was the site of the original democracies, and it allowed for contact between several diverse civilizations of the Eastern Mediterranean.
The Aegean Sea covers about 214 000 square kilometres in area, and 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 (generally from west to east): Kythera, Antikythera, Crete, Karpathos, and Rhodes.
The Aegean Islands can be simply divided into seven groups: the Northeastern Aegean Islands, Euboea, the Northern Sporades, the Cyclades, the Saronic Islands (or Argo-Saronic Islands), the Dodecanese (or Southern Sporades), and Crete. The word archipelago was originally applied specifically to the Aegean Sea and its islands. 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, and a third extends across the Peloponnese and Crete to Rhodes, dividing the Aegean from the Mediterranean. Many of the islands have safe harbours and bays, but navigation through the sea is generally difficult. Many of the islands are volcanic, and marble and iron are mined on other islands. The larger islands have some fertile valleys and plains. There are two islands of considerable size belonging to Turkey on the Aegean Sea: Bozcaada (Greek: Τένεδος Tenedos) and Gökçeada (Greek: Ίμβρος Imvros).
The bays in gulfs counterclockwise includes on Crete, the Mirabelli, Almyros, Souda and Chania bays or gulfs, on the mainland the Myrtoan Sea to the west, 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; Saros Gulf, Edremit Gulf, Dikili Gulf, Çandarlı Gulf, İzmir Gulf, Kuşadası Gulf, Gökova Gulf, Güllük Gulf.
 Port towns
The Aegean Sea has many ports around the sea in Greece and Turkey. These include:
- Aegean (Greek and Turkish) Islands
 See also
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|Chronology: Aegean civilization | Mycenaean civilization | Greek dark ages | Ancient Greece | Hellenistic Greece | Roman Greece|
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