Aegean Sea

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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)
Location of Aegean Sea

Aegean Sea (Hindi:एजियन सागर, Greek: Αιγαίο Πέλαγος, Turkish: Ege Denizi) 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.

Variants of name


In ancient times, there were various explanations for the name Aegean.

  • Aegae town: It was said to have been named after the Greek town of Aegae. Arrian[1] writes... Having settled these affairs, he (Alexander) returned into Macedonia. He then offered to the Olympian Zeus the sacrifice which had been instituted by Archelaus, and had been customary up to that time; and he celebrated the public contest of the Olympic games at Aegae. Archelaus was king of Macedonia from B.C. 413-399. He improved the internal arrangements of his kingdom, and patronised art and literature. He induced the tragic poets, Euripides and Agathon, as well as the epic poet Choerilus, to visit him; and treated Euripides especially with favour. He also invited Socrates, who declined the invitation. Aegae, or Edessa, was the earlier capital of Macedonia, and the burial place of its kings. Philip was murdered here, B.C. 336.
  • Aegea, a queen of the Amazons who died in the sea,
  • 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.
  • Aiges: A possible etymology is a derivation from the Greek word αἶγες – aiges = "waves" (Hesychius of Alexandria; metaphorical use of αἴξ (aix) "goat"), hence "wavy sea", cf. also αἰγιαλός (aigialos = aiges (waves) + hals (sea)),[2] hence meaning "sea-shore".
  • Aegean: In some South Slavic languages the Aegean is often called White Sea (Belo more/Бело море in Serbo-Croatian and Macedonian; Бяло море Byalo more in Bulgarian).[3]


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, Kasos, Karpathos and Rhodes.

The Aegean Islands, which almost all belong to Greece, can be divided into seven groups:

Jat Gotras Namesake

Mention by Panini

Ayas (अयस) is a term mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi. [5]

Ayas (अयस्) is name of a place mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi under Krishashvadi (कृशाश्वादि) ( group. [6]


The current coastline dates back to about 4000 BC. Before that time, at the peak of the last ice age (c. 16,000 BC) 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 present-day 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.[7]

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 Myceneans of the Peloponnese.[8]

Later 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".[9]

The Aegean Sea was later invaded by the Persians and the Romans, and inhabited by the Eastern Romans (Byzantine-Greeks), the Bulgarians, the Venetians, the Genoese, the Seljuq Turks, and the Ottomans. The Aegean was the site of the original democracies, and its seaways were the means of contact among several diverse civilizations of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Jat History

ठाकुर देशराज[10] लिखते हैं कि समोस द्वीप : यह द्वीप एजियन सागर में है। एशियाई रोम के ठीक पच्छिमी किनारे पर बसा हुआ है। यहां जो जाट समूह गया था, वह क्षौथी (Xuthi) कहलाता था। क्रुक साहब ने ‘ट्राइब्स एन्ड कास्टस आफ दी नार्थ वेस्टर्न प्राविन्शेज एन्ड अवध’ नामक पुस्तक में लिखा है -

"Their course from the Oxus to Indus may, perhaps, be dimly traced in the Xuthi of, Dianosius of Samos and the Xuthi of Ptolemy who occupied the Karmanian desert on the frontier of Drangiana."

इसी बात को जनरल कनिंघम साहब ने अपनी तवारीख में इस भांति लिखा है -

"Xuthi of Dianosius of Samos were Jatii or Jats, who are coupled with the Ariene and in the Xuthi of Ptolemy, who occupied the Karmanian desert on the frontier of Drangiana. (Cunningham Vol.II P.55)

अर्थात् - सामोस के डाईनीसीअस के क्षूति जटी या जाट थे जो ऐर्रानी से टोलेमी के जूथी में मिल गए, जिन्होंने ड्रेनजिआना के सीमांत के करमानिया के ऊपर अधिकार कर लिया।

Ch 3.2 Foundation of Alexandria — Events in the Aegean

Arrian[11] writes....The following story is told, which seems to me not worthy of belief[1]:—that Alexander himself wished to leave behind for the builders the marks for the boundaries of the fortification, but that there was nothing at hand with which to make a furrow in the ground. One of the builders[2] hit upon the plan of collecting in vessels the barley which the soldiers were carrying, and throwing it upon the ground where the king led the way; and thus the circle of the fortification which he was making[3] for the city was completely marked out. The soothsayers, and especially Aristander the Telmissian, who was said already to have given many other true predictions, pondering this, told Alexander that the city would become prosperous in every respect, but especially in regard to the fruits of the earth.

At this time Hegelochus[4] sailed to Egypt and informed Alexander that the Tenedians had revolted from the Persians and attached themselves to him; because they had gone over to the Persians against their own wish. He also said that the democracy of Chios were introducing Alexander's adherents in spite of those who held the city, being established in it by Autophradates and Pharnabazus. The latter commander had been caught there and kept as a prisoner, as was also the despot Aristonicus, a Methymnaean,[5] who sailed into the harbour of Chios with five piratical vessels, fitted with one and a half banks of oars, not knowing that the harbour was in the hands of Alexander's adherents, but being misled by those who kept the bars of the harbour, because forsooth the fleet of Pharnabazus was moored in it. All the pirates were there massacred by the Chians; and Hegelochus brought to Alexander, as prisoners Aristonicus, Apollonides the Chian, Phisinus, Megareus, and all the others who had taken part in the revolt of Chios to the Persians, and who at that time were holding the government of the island by force. He also announced that he had deprived Chares[6] of the possession of Mitylene, that he had brought over the other cities in Lesbos by a voluntary agreement, and that he had sent Amphoterus to Cos with sixty ships, for the Coans themselves invited him to their island. He said that he himself had sailed to Cos and found it already in the hands of Amphoterus. Hegelochus brought all the prisoners with him except Pharnabazus, who had eluded his guards at Cos and got away by stealth. Alexander sent the despots who had been brought from the cities back to their fellow-citizens, to be treated as they pleased; but Apollonides and his Chian partisans he sent under a strict guard to Elephantinē, an Egyptian city.[7]

1. Cf. Strabo (xvii. 1); Plutarch (Alex., 26); Diodorus (xvii. 52); Curtius (iv. 33); Ammianus (xxii. 16). 2. We find from Valerius Maximus (i. 4) and Ammianus, I.c., that his name was Dinocrates.

3.Krüger substitutes ὲπενόει for ὲποίει, comparing iv. 1, 3, and 4, 1 infra.

4. See Arrian, ii. 2 supra.

5. Methymna was, next to Mitylene, the most important city in Lesbos.

6. Chares was an Athenian who had been one of the generals at the fatal battle of Chaeronea. Curtius (iv. 24) says that he consented to evacuate Mitylene with his force of 2,000 men on condition of a free departure.

7. On an island in the Nile, of the same name, opposite Syene. It served as the southern frontier garrison station.



  1. The Anabasis of Alexander/1a, Ch.11
  2. Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, s.v. "αἰγιαλός"
  3. Zbornik Matice srpske za društvene nauke: (1961), Volumes 28-31, p.74 (in Serbian)
  4. "Aegean Sea | Mediterranean Sea". Encyclopedia Britannica.
  5. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p. 231,
  6. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.503
  7. Tjeerd H. van Andel; Judith C. Shackleton (Winter 1982). Late Paleolithic and Mesolithic Coastlines of Greece and the Aegean. 9,. Journal of Field Archaeology. pp. 445–454.
  8. Tracey Cullen, Aegean Prehistory: A Review (American Journal of Archaeology. Supplement, 1); Oliver Dickinson, The Aegean Bronze Age (Cambridge World Archaeology).
  9. John F. Cherry; Despina Margomenou; Lauren E. Talalay. The familiar phrase giving rise to the title Prehistorians Round the Pond: Reflections on Aegean Prehistory as a Discipline.
  10. Jat History Thakur Deshraj/Chapter VI, p.193-194
  11. Arrian:The Anabasis of Alexander/3a, Ch.2