AEGINA (introduction to the 3-volume history by Georgia Koulikourdi)

As is well-known, the island of Aegina has been an enduring historical presence in the Greek lands. This can be attributed both to the nature of its soils and to its geographical location. The composition of the soil, the climate, the water reserves, the configuration of the coastline, all create the conditions for support of a permanent population of between five and six thousand inhabitants. Its geographical position, virtually at the centre of the Saronic Gulf, makes possible a great increase in this demographic potential. As a result, Aegina, unlike the rest of islands of the Saronic Gulf, has been continuously inhabited since 3500 B.C. and so possesses important monuments from all historical periods. It could therefore be an ideal centre for studying Greek civilization as a whole. The mythical tradition of Aeacus and the Aeacidae reflects the political, economic and cultural significance of Aegina at its zenith. Particularly emphasized is the notion that the Aeginetans were descended from the island’s ants, making them a people indigenous to the island. In its long history, Aegina has gone through periods of great prosperity. Especially during the Archaic age (734 B.C. – 459 B.C.) it became an important naval and mercantile power … Continue reading