Situated in the Saronic Gulf 15 miles south of Athens, it is well known as the original home of the magnificent Doric architecture and sculpture of the Temple of Aphaia, and as the home of many of the patrons of Pindar and Bacchylides. The island and its inhabitants feature prominently in the narratives of Herodotus’. Throughout the fifth century, as both Herodotus and Thucydides reveal, the island was a constant challenge to Athens, and consequently was eventually transformed into an Athenian cleruchy at the start of the Peloponnesian War. The island also has a rich and complex archaeological heritage, with material finds dating back to the third millennium BC and sites that have revealed an extremely rich history of continuous occupation, with significant more extensive links across Greece.
Aegina is a volcanic island. It was mainly built by the Skotini volcano, which occupied the center and the south of this island, although dacitic volcanic rocks are also present in the north-east. During the Pliocene, this volcano produced volcaniclastics and acid lava flows of andesite and dacite.
According to the paleogeographical reconstruction of the coast, the ancient harbor installations stretch along 1600 m of coastline. The north harbor is bounded by the north breakwater, the riprap on the once extensive sandy coast, the detached west breakwater, and the uplift morphology of the west end of Kolona Hill.
On the south coast, the harbor installations comprise the fortified “closed harbor” with the ship sheds, the commercial harbor, which is entirely destroyed by the modern port, the anchorage area that is surrounded by the west breakwater and built of cone-shaped heaps of stones, the tops of which on one occasion projected above the sea level, and the south curved breakwater at its southernmost boundary.
Aegina is also familiar to scholars of archaic and classical economic history, as the ground for fertile debate on the nature of the relationship between commerce, land use, and social structure in the archaic and classical periods. The poetry associated with the island in the fifth century, by Pindar and Bacchylides, continues to impress with its glittering beauty, mythological inventiveness, complexity, and self-confidence.
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