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The Aegean Sea

The Aegean Sea

Where is the Aegean Sea?

The Aegean Sea (eh-GEE-un) is a small ocean between Greece and Turkey, full of little islands. It is in the north-east corner of the Mediterranean Sea.

More about the Mediterranean Sea
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When did people start sailing there?

People have been sailing on the Aegean Sea since at least 5000 BC, when people began to trade in obsidian from the island of Melos. It was pretty easy to sail in the Aegean because you could go from island to island without being out of sight of land most of the time.

What is obsidian?
History of sailing
The Greek Stone Age

Video of the Aegean Sea

The Aegean in the Bronze Age

Many important historical events happened on the Aegean Sea. To begin with, there’s the eruption of the great Thera volcano that buried the city of Akrotiri on the island of Santorini. And then there’s the story of the Trojan War and Odysseus‘ difficult trip home after the war.

Fresco paintings from Thera
The Trojan War
The Odyssey

The Aegean in Classical Greece

Then there’s the Persian Wars, with the Ionian Revolt, the Battle of Marathon, and the Battle of Salamis. After the Persian Wars, there’s the Athenian Empire, and then the Peloponnesian War, with the Athenian massacre at Melos.

What’s the Ionian Revolt? 
The Battle of Marathon
The Battle of Salamis
Killing the men on Melos

The Aegean in the Roman Empire

Many years later, as the Romans took over the Mediterranean Sea, there was the Battle of Actium. Long years after that, Constantine founded the new Roman capital city of Constantinople.  A thousand years after that, the Ottoman Empire conquered  Constantinople and made it into their capital, calling it Istanbul. All of that happened in the Aegean Sea.

Learn by doing: check out some obsidian in a rock shop
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Or check out the Aegean Sea article in the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Bibliography and further reading about the Aegean Sea:

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