Aegina is one of the Saronic Islands
Saronic Islands
The Saronic Islands or Argo-Saronic Islands is an archipelago in Greece, named after the Saronic Gulf in which they are located, just off the Greek mainland. The main inhabited islands of this group are Salamis , Aegina, Angistri, and Poros...

 of Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 in the Saronic Gulf
Saronic Gulf
The Saronic Gulf or Gulf of Aegina in Greece forms part of the Aegean Sea and defines the eastern side of the isthmus of Corinth. It is the eastern terminus of the Corinth Canal, which cuts across the isthmus.-Geography:The gulf includes the islands of; Aegina, Salamis, and Poros along with...

, 17 miles (27.4 km) from Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

. Tradition
A tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes , but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings...

 derives the name from Aegina, the mother of Aeacus
Aeacus was a mythological king of the island of Aegina in the Saronic Gulf.He was son of Zeus and Aegina, a daughter of the river-god Asopus. He was born on the island of Oenone or Oenopia, to which Aegina had been carried by Zeus to secure her from the anger of her parents, and whence this...

, who was born in and ruled the island. During ancient times, Aegina was a rival to Athens, the great sea power of the era.


The municipality Aegina consists of the island Aegina and a few offshore islets. It is part of the Islands regional unit, Attica region. The municipality is subdivided into the following five communities (population in 2001 in brackets):
  • Aegina (7783)
  • Kypseli (1949)
  • Mesagros (1603)
  • Perdika (743)
  • Vathy (1474)

The capital is the town of Aegina, situated at the northwestern end of the island. Due to its proximity to Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

, it is a popular quick getaway during the summer months, with quite a few Athenians owning second houses on the island.


Aegina is roughly triangular in shape, approximately 15 km (9.3 mi) from east to west and 10 km (6.2 mi) from north to south, with an area of about 87 km² (33.6 sq mi).

An extinct volcano
2. Bedrock3. Conduit 4. Base5. Sill6. Dike7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano8. Flank| 9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano10. Throat11. Parasitic cone12. Lava flow13. Vent14. Crater15...

 constitutes two thirds of Aegina. The northern and western side consist of stony but fertile plains
Plains is the plural of plain, a geographical feature. It is a big flat area of a land. Plains or The Plains may also refer to:-Locations:Canada*Three Mile Plains, Nova Scotia*Five Mile Plains, Nova ScotiaUnited States*Great Plains...

, which are well cultivated and produce luxuriant crops of grain
GRAIN is a small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems. Our support takes the form of independent research and analysis, networking at local, regional and...

, with some cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

, vine
A vine in the narrowest sense is the grapevine , but more generally it can refer to any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent, that is to say climbing, stems or runners...

s, almond
The almond , is a species of tree native to the Middle East and South Asia. Almond is also the name of the edible and widely cultivated seed of this tree...

s, olive
The olive , Olea europaea), is a species of a small tree in the family Oleaceae, native to the coastal areas of the eastern Mediterranean Basin as well as northern Iran at the south end of the Caspian Sea.Its fruit, also called the olive, is of major agricultural importance in the...

s and fig
Ficus is a genus of about 850 species of woody trees, shrubs, vines, epiphytes, and hemiepiphyte in the family Moraceae. Collectively known as fig trees or figs, they are native throughout the tropics with a few species extending into the semi-warm temperate zone. The Common Fig Ficus is a genus of...

s, but the most characteristic crop of Aegina today (2000s) is pistachio
The pistachio, Pistacia vera in the Anacardiaceae family, is a small tree originally from Persia , which now can also be found in regions of Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Sicily and possibly Afghanistan , as well as in the United States,...

. Economically, the sponge
Sea sponge
Sponges are animals of the phylum Porifera . Their bodies consist of jelly-like mesohyl sandwiched between two thin layers of cells. While all animals have unspecialized cells that can transform into specialized cells, sponges are unique in having some specialized cells, but can also have...

 fisheries are of notable importance. The southern volcanic part of the island is rugged and mountainous, and largely barren. Its highest rise is the conical Mount Oros (531 m) in the south, and the Panhellenian ridge stretches northward with narrow fertile valleys on either side.

The beaches are also a popular tourist attraction. Hydrofoil
A hydrofoil is a foil which operates in water. They are similar in appearance and purpose to airfoils.Hydrofoils can be artificial, such as the rudder or keel on a boat, the diving planes on a submarine, a surfboard fin, or occur naturally, as with fish fins, the flippers of aquatic mammals, the...

 ferries from Piraeus
Piraeus is a city in the region of Attica, Greece. Piraeus is located within the Athens Urban Area, 12 km southwest from its city center , and lies along the east coast of the Saronic Gulf....

 take only forty minutes to reach Aegina; the regular ferry takes about an hour, with ticket prices for adults within the 4-15 euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

 range. There are regular bus services from Aegina town to destinations throughout the island such as Agia Marina
Agia Marina
Agia Marina may refer to several locations:In Greece:* Agia Marina, Crete, near Chania, Crete* Agia Marina, Elis, in Elis Prefecture* Agia Marina, Kavala, in Kavala Prefecture* Agia Marina, Leros, in Leros, Dodecanese PrefectureIn Cyprus:...

. Portes is a fishing village on the east coast.


Prehistoric archaeological findings of settlements with obsidian
Obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic glass formed as an extrusive igneous rock.It is produced when felsic lava extruded from a volcano cools rapidly with minimum crystal growth...

 tools points to an early habitation of the island.

Earliest history (20th–7th centuries BC)

Aegina, according to Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

, was a colony
In politics and history, a colony is a territory under the immediate political control of a state. For colonies in antiquity, city-states would often found their own colonies. Some colonies were historically countries, while others were territories without definite statehood from their inception....

 of Epidaurus
Epidaurus was a small city in ancient Greece, at the Saronic Gulf. Two modern towns bear the name Epidavros : Palaia Epidavros and Nea Epidavros. Since 2010 they belong to the new municipality of Epidavros, part of the peripheral unit of Argolis...

, to which state it was originally subject. Its placement between Attica
Attica is a historical region of Greece, containing Athens, the current capital of Greece. The historical region is centered on the Attic peninsula, which projects into the Aegean Sea...

 and the Peloponnesus made it a center of trade even earlier, and its earliest inhabitant came from Asia Minor. Minoan
Minoan civilization
The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that arose on the island of Crete and flourished from approximately the 27th century BC to the 15th century BC. It was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of the British archaeologist Arthur Evans...

 ceramics have been found in contexts of ca. 2000 BC. The discovery in the island of a number of gold ornaments belonging to the latest period of Mycenaean
Mycenaean Greece
Mycenaean Greece was a cultural period of Bronze Age Greece taking its name from the archaeological site of Mycenae in northeastern Argolis, in the Peloponnese of southern Greece. Athens, Pylos, Thebes, and Tiryns are also important Mycenaean sites...

 art suggests the inference that the Mycenaean culture held its own in Aegina for some generations after the Dorian conquest of Argos
Argos is a city and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. It is 11 kilometres from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour...

 and Lacedaemon. It is probable that the island was not doricized before the 9th century BC.

One of the earliest historical facts is its membership in the League of Calauria (Calaurian Amphictyony, ca. 8th century BC), which included, besides Aegina, Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

, the Minyan
According to Greek mythology and legendary prehistory of the Aegean region, the Minyans were an autochthonous group inhabiting the Aegean region...

 (Boeotian) Orchomenus, Troezen
Troezen is a small town and a former municipality in the northeastern Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Troizinia, of which it is a municipal unit....

, Hermione
Hermione may refer to:* Hermione , a female given name* Hermione Granger, a main character in the Harry Potter novels and films, seven ships of the Royal Navy...

, Nauplia and Prasiae, and was probably an organization of city-states that were still Mycenaean, for the purpose of suppressing piracy
Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence at sea. The term can include acts committed on land, in the air, or in other major bodies of water or on a shore. It does not normally include crimes committed against persons traveling on the same vessel as the perpetrator...

 in the Aegean that arose as a result of the decay of the naval supremacy of the Mycenaean princes.

Aegina appears to have belonged to the Eretrian league during the Lelantine War
Lelantine War
The Lelantine War was a long-remembered military conflict between the two ancient Greek city states Chalkis and Eretria in Euboea which took place in the early Archaic period, at some time between ca 710 and 650 BC. The reason for war was, according to tradition, the struggle for the fertile...

; hence, perhaps, we may explain the war with Samos
Samos Island
Samos is a Greek island in the eastern Aegean Sea, south of Chios, north of Patmos and the Dodecanese, and off the coast of Asia Minor, from which it is separated by the -wide Mycale Strait. It is also a separate regional unit of the North Aegean region, and the only municipality of the regional...

, a leading member of the rival Chalcidian league in the reign of King Amphicrates
-Naval battle and other events, of bearing upon the king Amphicrates:Whilst king he did develop naval strength for an attack against Aegina, this having occurred about the year 670 B.C. Due to his tyranny, there was an uprising of slaves, these having moved to Mount Karvouni from here launching...

 (Herod. iii. 59), i.e. not later than the earlier half of the 7th century BC.

Rise as a sea power (6th–5th centuries BC)

It follows, therefore, that the maritime importance of the island dates back to pre-Dorian times. It is usually stated on the authority of Ephorus
Ephorus or Ephoros , of Cyme in Aeolia, in Asia Minor, was an ancient Greek historian. Information on his biography is limited; he was the father of Demophilus, who followed in his footsteps as a historian, and to Plutarch's claim that Ephorus declined Alexander the Great's offer to join him on his...

, that Pheidon
Pheidon was a king of Argos, Greece in the 7th century BC. At that time, the monarch was purely a traditional figurehead with almost no genuine power. Pheidon seized the throne from the reigning aristocracy...

 of Argos established a mint in Aegina. For example, Kydonia on Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

 began minting coins by over-striking Aeginetan specimens. Thus it was the Aeginetans who, within 30 or 40 years of the invention of coinage in Asia Minor by the Ionian Greeks or the Lydians
The Lydians were the inhabitants of Lydia, a region in western Anatolia, who spoke the distinctive Lydian language, an Indo-European language of the Anatolian group....

 (c. 630 BC), introduced coinage to the Western world. The fact that the Aeginetan standard of weights and measures (developed in the mid-7th century) was one of the two standards in general use in the Greek world (the other being the Euboic-Attic) is sufficient evidence of the early commercial importance of the island.

During the naval expansion of Aegina during the Archaic Period
Archaic period in Greece
The Archaic period in Greece was a period of ancient Greek history that followed the Greek Dark Ages. This period saw the rise of the polis and the founding of colonies, as well as the first inklings of classical philosophy, theatre in the form of tragedies performed during Dionysia, and written...

, Kydonia was an ideal maritime stop for Aegina's fleet on its way to other Mediterranean ports controlled by the emerging sea-power Aegina. During the next century Aegina is one of the three principal states trading at the emporium
A marketplace is the space, actual, virtual or metaphorical, in which a market operates. The term is also used in a trademark law context to denote the actual consumer environment, ie. the 'real world' in which products and services are provided and consumed.-Marketplaces and street markets:A...

 of Naucratis
Naucratis or Naukratis, , loosely translated as " power over ships" , was a city of Ancient Egypt, on the Canopic branch of the Nile river, 45 mi SE of the open sea and the later capital of Ptolemaic Egypt, Alexandria...

, and it is the only state of European Greece that has a share in this factory. At the beginning of the 5th century it seems to have been an entrepôt of the Pontic
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 grain trade, at a later date an Athenian monopoly.

Unlike the other commercial states of the 7th and 6th centuries BC, such as Corinth
Ancient Corinth
Corinth, or Korinth was a city-state on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnesus to the mainland of Greece, roughly halfway between Athens and Sparta. The modern town of Corinth is located approximately northeast of the ancient ruins...

, Chalcis
Chalcis or Chalkida , the chief town of the island of Euboea in Greece, is situated on the strait of the Evripos at its narrowest point. The name is preserved from antiquity and is derived from the Greek χαλκός , though there is no trace of any mines in the area...

, Eretria
Erétria was a polis in Ancient Greece, located on the western coast of the island of Euboea, south of Chalcis, facing the coast of Attica across the narrow Euboean Gulf. Eretria was an important Greek polis in the 6th/5th century BC. However, it lost its importance already in antiquity...

 and Miletus
Miletus was an ancient Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia , near the mouth of the Maeander River in ancient Caria...

, Aegina founded no colonies. The settlements to which Strabo refers (viii. 376) cannot be regarded as any real exceptions to this statement.

Rivalry with Athens (5th century BC)

The history of Aegina, as it has come down to us, is almost exclusively a history of its relations with the neighbouring state of Athens, which began to compete with the thalassocracy
The term thalassocracy refers to a state with primarily maritime realms—an empire at sea, such as Athens or the Phoenician network of merchant cities...

 of Aegina at the beginning of the sixth century. Solon
Solon was an Athenian statesman, lawmaker, and poet. He is remembered particularly for his efforts to legislate against political, economic and moral decline in archaic Athens...

 passed laws limiting Aeginetan commerce in Attica. The legendary history of these relations, as recorded by Herodotus (v. 79-89; vi. 49-51, 73, 85-94), involves critical problems of some difficulty and interest. He traces back the hostility of the two states to a dispute about the images of the goddesses Damia
Damia may refer to:* Damia, a place in Jordan; see City of Adam and Damia Bridge*Damia , a Greek deity similar to Demeter and the Roman Bona Dea...

 and Auxesia, which the Aeginetes had carried off from Epidauros
Epidaurus was a small city in ancient Greece, at the Saronic Gulf. Two modern towns bear the name Epidavros : Palaia Epidavros and Nea Epidavros. Since 2010 they belong to the new municipality of Epidavros, part of the peripheral unit of Argolis...

, their parent state.

The Epidaurians had been accustomed to make annual offerings to the Athenian deities Athena
In Greek mythology, Athena, Athenê, or Athene , also referred to as Pallas Athena/Athene , is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, warfare, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, justice, and skill. Minerva, Athena's Roman incarnation, embodies similar attributes. Athena is...

 and Erechtheus
Erechtheus in Greek mythology was the name of an archaic king of Athens, the re-founder of the polis and a double at Athens for Poseidon, as "Poseidon Erechtheus"...

 in payment for the Athenian olive-wood of which the statues were made. Upon the refusal of the Aeginetes to continue these offerings, the Athenians endeavoured to carry away the images. Their design was miraculously frustrated – according to the Aeginetan version, the statues fell upon their knees – and only a single survivor returned to Athens, there to fall a victim to the fury of his comrades' widows, who pierced him with their brooch-pins. No date is assigned by Herodotus for this old feud; recent writers, e.g. J. B. Bury
J. B. Bury
John Bagnell Bury , known as J. B. Bury, was an Irish historian, classical scholar, Byzantinist and philologist.-Biography:...

 and R. W. Macan, suggest the period between Solon and Peisistratus, circa 570 BC. It may be questioned, however, whether the whole episode is not mythical. A critical analysis of the narrative seems to reveal little else than a series of aetiological traditions (explanatory of cults and customs, e.g. of the kneeling posture of the images of Damia and Auxesia, of the use of native ware instead of Athenian in their worship, and of the change in women's dress at Athens from the Dorian to the Ionia
Ionia is an ancient region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which was historically Smyrna. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greek settlements...

n style.
The account which Herodotus gives of the hostilities between the two states in the early years of the 5th century BC is to the following effect. Thebes
Ancient Thebes (Boeotia)
See Thebes, Greece for the modern city built on the ancient ruins.Ancient Thebes was a Boeotian city-state , situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain...

, after the defeat by Athens about 507 BC, appealed to Aegina for assistance. The Aeginetans at first contented themselves with sending the images of the Aeacidae
Aeacidae refers to the descendants of Aeacus, most notably Peleus, son of Aeacus, and Achilles, grandson of Aeacus. Neoptolemus was the son of Achilles and the princess Deidamea. The kings of Epirus and Olympias, mother to Alexander the Great, claimed to be members of this lineage.Aeacus of Greek...

, the tutelary heroes of their island. Subsequently, however, they entered into an alliance, and ravaged the seaboard of Attica. The Athenians were preparing to make reprisals, in spite of the advice of the Delphic oracle that they should desist from attacking Aegina for thirty years, and content themselves meanwhile with dedicating a precinct to Aeacus
Aeacus was a mythological king of the island of Aegina in the Saronic Gulf.He was son of Zeus and Aegina, a daughter of the river-god Asopus. He was born on the island of Oenone or Oenopia, to which Aegina had been carried by Zeus to secure her from the anger of her parents, and whence this...

, when their projects were interrupted by the Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

n intrigues for the restoration of Hippias
Hippias of Elis was a Greek Sophist, and a contemporary of Socrates. With an assurance characteristic of the later sophists, he claimed to be regarded as an authority on all subjects, and lectured on poetry, grammar, history, politics, mathematics, and much else...


In 491 BC Aegina was one of the states which gave the symbols of submission (earth and water) to Achaemenid Persia. Athens at once appealed to Sparta to punish this act of medism
Medism can refer to:* In ancient Greece, imitating or having sympathies or siding with the Persians . It was considered a crime in many ancient Greek states. Themistocles the Athenian was ostracized for Medism...

, and Cleomenes I
Cleomenes I
Cleomenes or Kleomenes was an Agiad King of Sparta in the late 6th and early 5th centuries BC. During his reign, which started around 520 BC, he pursued an adventurous and at times unscrupulous foreign policy aimed at crushing Argos and extending Sparta's influence both inside and outside the...

, one of the Spartan kings, crossed over to the island, to arrest those who were responsible for it. His attempt was at first unsuccessful; but, after the deposition of Demaratus
Demaratus was a king of Sparta from 515 until 491 BC, of the Eurypontid line, successor to his father Ariston. As king, he is known chiefly for his opposition to the other, co-ruling Spartan king, Cleomenes I.-Biography:...

, he visited the island a second time, accompanied by his new colleague Leotychides, seized ten of the leading citizens and deposited them at Athens as hostages.

After the death of Cleomenes and the refusal of the Athenians to restore the hostages to Leotychides, the Aeginetans retaliated by seizing a number of Athenians at a festival at Sunium. Thereupon the Athenians concerted a plot with Nicodromus, the leader of the democratic party in the island, for the betrayal of Aegina. He was to seize the old city, and they were to come to his aid on the same day with seventy vessels. The plot failed owing to the late arrival of the Athenian force, when Nicodromus had already fled the island. An engagement followed in which the Aeginetans were defeated. Subsequently, however, they succeeded in winning a victory over the Athenian fleet.

All the incidents subsequent to the appeal of Athens to Sparta are expressly referred by Herodotus to the interval between the sending of the heralds in 491 BC and the invasion of Datis
For other uses of the word Dati, see Dati .Datis or Datus was a Median admiral who served the Persian Empire, under Darius the Great...

 and Artaphernes
Artaphernes , was the brother of the king of Persia, Darius I of Persia, and satrap of Sardis.In 497 BC, Artaphernes received an embassy from Athens, probably sent by Cleisthenes, and subsequently advised the Athenians that they should receive back the tyrant Hippias.Subsequently he took an...

 in 490 BC (cf. Herod. vi. 49 with 94).

There are difficulties in this story, of which the following are the principal elements: –
  • (i.) Herodotus nowhere states or implies that peace was concluded between the two states before 481 BC, nor does he distinguish between different wars during this period. Hence it would follow that the war lasted from shortly after 507 BC down to the congress at the Isthmus of Corinth
    Isthmus of Corinth
    The Isthmus of Corinth is the narrow land bridge which connects the Peloponnese peninsula with the rest of the mainland of Greece, near the city of Corinth. The word "isthmus" comes from the Ancient Greek word for "neck" and refers to the narrowness of the land. The Isthmus was known in the ancient...

     in 481 BC
  • (ii.) It is only for two years (490 and 491) out of the twenty-five that any details are given. It is the more remarkable that no incidents are recorded in the period between Marathon
    Battle of Marathon
    The Battle of Marathon took place in 490 BC, during the first Persian invasion of Greece. It was fought between the citizens of Athens, aided by Plataea, and a Persian force commanded by Datis and Artaphernes. It was the culmination of the first attempt by Persia, under King Darius I, to subjugate...

     and Salamis
    Battle of Salamis
    The Battle of Salamis was fought between an Alliance of Greek city-states and the Persian Empire in September 480 BCE, in the straits between the mainland and Salamis, an island in the Saronic Gulf near Athens...

    , since at the time of the Isthmian Congress the war is described as the most important one then being waged in Greece (Herod. vii. 145).
  • (iii.) It is improbable that Athens would have sent twenty vessels to the aid of the Ionians in 499 BC if at the time she was at war with Aegina. (iv.) There is an incidental indication of time, which points to the period after Marathon as the true date for the events which are referred by Herodotus to the year before Marathon, viz. the thirty years that were to elapse between the dedication of the precinct to Aeacus and the final victory of Athens (Herod. v. 89).

As the final victory of Athens over Aegina was in 458 B.C., the thirty years of the oracle would carry us back to the year 488 BC as the date of the dedication of the precinct and the outbreak of hostilities. This inference is supported by the date of the building of the 200 triremes for the war against Aegina on the advice of Themistocles
Themistocles ; c. 524–459 BC, was an Athenian politician and a general. He was one of a new breed of politicians who rose to prominence in the early years of the Athenian democracy, along with his great rival Aristides...

, which is given in the Constitution of Athens as 483-482 BC (Herod. vii. 144; Ath. Pol. r2. 7). It is probable, therefore, that Herodotus is in error both in tracing back the beginning of hostilities to an alliance between Thebes and Aegina (c. 507 BC) and in putting the episode of Nicodromus before Marathon.

Overtures were unquestionably made by Thebes for an alliance with Aegina c. 507 BC, but they came to nothing. The refusal of Aegina was veiled under the diplomatic form of sending the Aeacidae. The real occasion of the outbreak of the war was the refusal of Athens to restore the hostages some twenty years later. There was but one war, and it lasted from 488 to 481. That Athens had the worst of it in this war is certain.

Herodotus had no Athenian victories to record after the initial success, and the fact that Themistocles was able to carry his proposal to devote the surplus funds of the state to the building of so large a fleet seems to imply that the Athenians were themselves convinced that a supreme effort was necessary.

It may be noted, in confirmation of this view, that the naval supremacy of Aegina is assigned by the ancient writers on chronology to precisely this period, i.e. the years 490-480 (Eusebius
Eusebius of Caesarea
Eusebius of Caesarea also called Eusebius Pamphili, was a Roman historian, exegete and Christian polemicist. He became the Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine about the year 314. Together with Pamphilus, he was a scholar of the Biblical canon...

, Chron. Can. p. 337).


In the repulse of Xerxes I it is possible that the Aeginetans played a larger part than is conceded to them by Herodotus. The Athenian tradition, which he follows in the main, would naturally seek to obscure their services. It was to Aegina rather than Athens that the prize of valour at Salamis was awarded, and the destruction of the Persian fleet appears to have been as much the work of the Aeginetan contingent as of the Athenian (Herod. viii. 91). There are other indications, too, of the importance of the Aeginetan fleet in the Greek scheme of defence. In view of these considerations it becomes difficult to credit the number of the vessels that is assigned to them by Herodotus (30 as against 180 Athenian vessels, cf. Greek History, sect. Authorities). During the next twenty years the Philo-Laconian policy of Cimon secured Aegina, as a member of the Spartan league, from attack. The change in Athenian foreign policy, which was consequent upon the ostracism of Cimon in 461, led to what is sometimes called the First Peloponnesian War, in which the brunt of the fighting fell upon Corinth and Aegina. The latter state was forced to surrender to Athens after a siege, and to accept the position of a subject-ally (c. 456 BC). The tribute was fixed at 30 talents.

By the terms of the Thirty Years' Peace
Thirty Years' Peace
The Thirty Years' Peace was a treaty, signed between the ancient Greek city-states Athens and Sparta, in the year 446/445 BC. The treaty brought an end to the conflict commonly known as the First Peloponnesian War, which had been raging since c.460 BC....

 (445 BC) Athens covenanted to restore to Aegina her autonomy, but the clause remained a dead letter. In the first winter of the Peloponnesian War
Peloponnesian War
The Peloponnesian War, 431 to 404 BC, was an ancient Greek war fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases...

 (431 BC) Athens expelled the Aeginetans and established a cleruchy
A cleruchy in Hellenic Greece, was a specialized type of colony established by Athens. The term comes from the Greek word , klērouchos, literally "lot-holder"....

 in their island. The exiles were settled by Sparta in Thyreatis, on the frontiers of Laconia and Argolis. Even in their new home they were not safe from Athenian rancour. A force landed under Nicias
Nicias or Nikias was an Athenian politician and general during the period of the Peloponnesian War. Nicias was a member of the Athenian aristocracy because he had inherited a large fortune from his father, which was invested into the silver mines around Attica's Mt. Laurium...

 in 424, and put most of them to the sword. At the end of the Peloponnesian War Lysander
Lysander was a Spartan general who commanded the Spartan fleet in the Hellespont which defeated the Athenians at Aegospotami in 405 BC...

 restored the scattered remnants of the old inhabitants to the island, which was used by the Spartans as a base for operations against Athens in the Corinthian War
Corinthian War
The Corinthian War was an ancient Greek conflict lasting from 395 BC until 387 BC, pitting Sparta against a coalition of four allied states; Thebes, Athens, Corinth, and Argos; which were initially backed by Persia. The immediate cause of the war was a local conflict in northwest Greece in which...

. Its greatness, however, was at an end. The part which it plays henceforward is insignificant.

It would be a mistake to attribute the fall of Aegina solely to the development of the Athenian navy. It is probable that the power of Aegina had steadily declined during the twenty years after Salamis, and that it had declined absolutely, as well as relatively, to that of Athens. Commerce was the source of Aegina's greatness, and her trade, which appears to have been principally with the Levant, must have suffered seriously from the war with Persia. Her medism in 491 is to be explained by her commercial relations with the Persian Empire. She was forced into patriotism in spite of herself, and the glory won by Salamis
Battle of Salamis
The Battle of Salamis was fought between an Alliance of Greek city-states and the Persian Empire in September 480 BCE, in the straits between the mainland and Salamis, an island in the Saronic Gulf near Athens...

 was paid for by the loss of her trade and the decay of her marine. The completeness of the ruin of so powerful a state finds an explanation in the economic conditions of the island, the prosperity of which rested upon a basis of slave-labour. It is impossible, indeed, to accept Aristotle's (cf. Athenaeus vi. 272) estimate of 470,000 as the number of the slave-population; it is clear, however, that the number must have been out of all proportion to that of the free inhabitants. In this respect the history of Aegina does but anticipate the history of Greece as a whole. The constitutional history of Aegina is unusually simple. So long as the island retained its independence the government was an oligarchy
Oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with an elite class distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, commercial, and/or military legitimacy...

. There is no trace of the heroic monarchy and no tradition of a tyranny. The story of Nicodromus, while it proves the existence of a democratic party, suggests, at the same time, that it could count upon little support.

Hellenistic period and Roman rule

Aegina passed with the rest of Greece under the successive domination of Macedon
Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom, centered in the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, the region of Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south....

, the Aetolians
Aetolian League
The Aetolian League was a confederation of tribal communities and cities in ancient Greece centered on Aetolia in central Greece. It was established, probably during the early Hellenistic era, in opposition to Macedon and the Achaean League. Two annual meetings were held in Thermika and Panaetolika...

, Attalus of Pergamum
Attalus I
Attalus I , surnamed Soter ruled Pergamon, an Ionian Greek polis , first as dynast, later as king, from 241 BC to 197 BC. He was the second cousin and the adoptive son of Eumenes I, whom he succeeded, and was the first of the Attalid dynasty to assume the title of king in 238 BC...

 and Rome
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

. A Jewish community is believed to have been established in Aegina "at the end of the second and during the third century AD" by Jews fleeing the Barbarian Invasions of the time in Greece.

Byzantine period

Aegina belonged of the East Roman (Byzantine) Empire after the division of the Roman Empire in 395. It remained in Byzantine hands during the period of crisis in the 7th–8th centuries, when most of the Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

 and the Greek mainland were overrun by Slavic invasions. Indeed, according to the Chronicle of Monemvasia
Chronicle of Monemvasia
The Chronicle of Monemvasia is a medieval text of which four versions, all written in medieval Greek, are extant. The author of the account is currently unknown...

, the island served as a refuge for the Corinthians fleeing these incursions. The island flourished in the early 9th century, as evidenced by church construction activity, but suffered greatly from Arab raids originating from Crete
Emirate of Crete
The Emirate of Crete was a Muslim state that existed on the Mediterranean island of Crete from the late 820s to the Byzantine reconquest of the island in 961....

. During that time, the population sought refuge in the island's interior, establishing the settlement of Palaia Chora.

According to the 12th-century bishop of Athens, Michael Choniates
Michael Choniates
Michael Choniates , Byzantine writer and ecclesiastic, was born at Chonae . At an early age he studied at Constantinople and was the pupil of Eustathius of Thessalonica. Around 1175 he was appointed archbishop of Athens...

, the island had become a base for pirates. This is corroborated by Benedict of Peterborough's graphic account of Greece, as it was in 1191, where he states that many of the islands were uninhabited from fear of pirates and that Aegina, along with Salamis and Makronesos were their strongholds.

Frankish rule after 1204

After the dissolution and partition of the Byzantine Empire by the Fourth Crusade
Fourth Crusade
The Fourth Crusade was originally intended to conquer Muslim-controlled Jerusalem by means of an invasion through Egypt. Instead, in April 1204, the Crusaders of Western Europe invaded and conquered the Christian city of Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire...

 in 1204, Aegina was accorded to the Republic of Venice
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

. In the event, it came under the control of the Duchy of Athens
Duchy of Athens
The Duchy of Athens was one of the Crusader States set up in Greece after the conquest of the Byzantine Empire during the Fourth Crusade, encompassing the regions of Attica and Boeotia, and surviving until its conquest by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century....

. The Catalan Company
Catalan Company
The Catalan Company of the East , officially the Magnas Societas Catalanorum, sometimes called the Grand Company and widely known as the Catalan Company, was a free company of mercenaries founded by Roger de Flor in the early 14th-century...

 seized control of Athens, and with it Aegina, in 1317, and in 1425 the island came under Venetian control, when Alioto Caopena, at that time ruler of Aegina, placed himself with treaty under the Republic's protection in order to escape the danger of a Turkish raid. The island must then have been fruitful, for one of the conditions under which Venice accorded him her protection, was that he should supply grain to her colonies. He agreed to surrender the island to Venice if his family became extinct. Antonio II Acciaioli
Antonio II Acciaioli
Antonio II Acciaioli was the Duke of Athens from 1439 to 1445.He was a son of Francesco and Margareta Malpigli and grew up in Florence until 1413, when his uncle Antonio I called he and his brother Nerio II to Greece to live at his court. When the elder Antonio died in January 1435, he left the...

 was against the treaty for one of his adopted daughters had married the future lord of Aegina, Antonello Caopena.

Venetians in Aegina (1451–1537)

In 1451, Aegina became Venetian. The islanders welcomed the Venetian rule; the claims of Antonello’ s uncle Arnà, who had lands in Argolis
Argolis is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Peloponnese. It is situated in the eastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula.-Geography:...

, were satisfied by a pension. A Venetian governor (rettore) was appointed, who was dependent on the authorities of Nauplia. After Arnà's death, his son Alioto renewed his claim to the island but was told that the republic was firmly resolved to keep it. He and his family were pensioned and one of them aided in the defence of Aegina against the Turks, in 1537, was captured with his family and died in a Turkish dungeon.

Ιn 1463 came the Turco-Venetian war
Ottoman–Venetian War (1463–1479)
The First Ottoman–Venetian War was fought between the Republic of Venice and her allies and the Ottoman Empire from 1463 to 1479. Fought shortly after the capture of Constantinople and the remnants of the Byzantine Empire by the Ottomans, it resulted in the loss of several Venetian holdings in...

, which was destined to cost the Venetians Negroponte
Negroponte can refer to:*the Greek island of Euboea, called Negroponte in Italian**Chalkis, the island's capital, named Negroponte during the Middle Ages...

, most of the Cyclades
The Cyclades is a Greek island group in the Aegean Sea, south-east of the mainland of Greece; and a former administrative prefecture of Greece. They are one of the island groups which constitute the Aegean archipelago. The name refers to the islands around the sacred island of Delos...

 and their colonies in the Morea
The Morea was the name of the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. It also referred to a Byzantine province in the region, known as the Despotate of Morea.-Origins of the name:...

. Peace was concluded in 1479. Venice still retained Aegina, Lepanto, Nauplia, Monemvasia
Monemvasia is a town and a municipality in Laconia, Greece. The town is located on a small peninsula off the east coast of the Peloponnese. The peninsula is linked to the mainland by a short causeway 200m in length. Its area consists mostly of a large plateau some 100 metres above sea level, up to...

, Coron
Coron can refer to the following things:* Coron, Palawan, a municipality in Palawan in the Philippines* Coron Island, under the jurisdiction of the municipality, Philippines* Coron, Maine-et-Loire, a commune in the Maine-et-Loire département in France...

, Modon
frame|Established : 2001 Type : [[Public]]Category : [[Industrial district|Industrial cities]]Head Office : [[Riyadh]]Country : [[Saudi Arabia]]Website :...

, Navarino
Navarino or Navarin may refer to:*Pylos , a Greek town, on the Ionian Sea**Battle of Navarino, 1827 naval battle off Navarino*Navarino, Wisconsin, a town, United States...

, Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

, Mykonos
Mykonos is a Greek island, part of the Cyclades, lying between Tinos, Syros, Paros and Naxos. The island spans an area of and rises to an elevation of at its highest point. There are 9,320 inhabitants most of whom live in the largest town, Mykonos, which lies on the west coast. The town is also...

 and Tinos
Tinos is a Greek island situated in the Aegean Sea. It is located in the Cyclades archipelago. In antiquity, Tinos was also known as Ophiussa and Hydroessa . The closest islands are Andros, Delos, and Mykonos...

. Aegina remained subject of Nauplia.


Aegina obtained money for her defences by the unwilling sacrifice of her cherished relic, the head of St. George, which had been carried there from Livadia by the Catalans. In 1462, the Venetian Senate ordered the relic to be removed to St. Giorgio Maggiore in Venice. On 12 November, it was transported from Aegina, by Vettore Cappello, the famous Venetian commander. The Senate gave the Aeginetans 100 ducat
The ducat is a gold coin that was used as a trade coin throughout Europe before World War I. Its weight is 3.4909 grams of .986 gold, which is 0.1107 troy ounce, actual gold weight...

s apiece towards fortifying the island.

In 1519, the government was reformed. The system of having two rectors was found to lead in frequent quarrels and the republic thenceforth sent out a single official styled Bailie and Captain, assisted by two councilors, who performed the duties of camerlengo
The Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church The Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church (pl. Camerlenghi) The Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church (pl. Camerlenghi) (Italian for "Chamberlain", when referred to the Holy See; when referred to secular courts the word is "Ciambellano", pl...

 by turns. The Bailie’ s authority extended over the rector of Aegina, whereas Kastri
Kastri , older form Kastrion may refer to several places in Greece:*Kastri, Evrymenes, a village in the Ioannina prefecture, also known as Kastri Vassilopoulou*Kastri, Thesprotia, a village in the Thesprotia prefecture...

 (opposite Hydra
Hydra, Saronic Islands
Hydra is one of the Saronic Islands of Greece, located in the Aegean Sea between the Saronic Gulf and the Argolic Gulf. It is separated from the Peloponnese by narrow strip of water...

) had been granted to two families, the Palaiologoi and the Alberti
-Places:* Alberti Partido, a partido of Buenos Aires Province, Argentina* Alberti, Buenos Aires, the main town of the partido-Other:*Alberti bass, a musical accompaniment figuration, usually in the left hand on a keyboard instrument...


A democratic wave passed over the colony. Society at Nauplia was divided into 3 classes: nobles, citizens and plebeians; and it had been the ancient usage that the nobles alone should hold the much-coveted local offices, such as the judge of the inferior court ad inspector of weights and measures. The populace now demanded its share and the Home Government ordered that at least one of the 3 inspectors should be a man of the people.

Aegina had always been exposed to the raids of the corsairs and was cursed with oppressive governors during these last 30 years of Venetian rule. Venetian nobles weren't willing to go to this island. In 1533, three rectors of Aegina were punished for their acts of injustice and we have a graphic account of the reception given by the Aeginetans to the captain of Nauplia, who came to hold and enquiry into the administration of these delinquents. [Vid. Inscription over the entrance of St. George the Catholic in Paliachora.] The rectors had spurned their ancient right to elect islander to keep one key of the money-chest. They had also threatened to leave the island in a body with the commissioner, unless the captain avenged their wrongs.
In order to spare the pockets of the community, it was ordered that appeals from the governor’ s decision should lie to Crete, instead of Venice. The republic should pay a bakshish to the Turkish governor of the Morea and to the Voevode who was stationed at the frontier of Thermisi (opposite Hydra). The fortifications too, were allowed to fall into despair and were inadequately guarded.

16th century

After the fall of the Duchy of Athens and the principality of Achaia, the only Latin possessions left on the mainland of Greece were the papal city of Monemvasia, the fortress of Vonitsa
Vonitsa is a town in the northwestern part of Aetolia-Acarnania in Greece, seat of the municipality of Aktio-Vonitsa. Population 4,081 . The town is situated in the bay overlooking the Ambracian Gulf and has a small forested peninsula, the peninsula and its narrow strait is in the northwest of...

, the Messenian stations Coron and Modon, Navarino, the castles of Argos and Nauplia, to which the island of Aegina was subordinate, Lepanto and Pteleon.

In 1502/03, the new peace left Venice with nothing but Cephalonia, Monemvasia and Nauplia, with their appurtenances in the Morea. And against the sack of Megara, she had to set the temporary capture of the castle of Aegina by Kemal Reis
Kemal Reis
Kemal Reis was a Turkish privateer and admiral of the Ottoman Empire. He was also the paternal uncle of the famous Ottoman admiral and cartographer Piri Reis who accompanied him in most of his important naval expeditions....

 and the carrying off of 2000 Aeginetans. This treaty was renewed in 1513 and 1521. All the supplies of grain of Nauplia and Monemvasia had now to be imported from the Turkish possessions, while corsairs rendered dangerous all traffic by sea.

In 1537, Suleyman the Magnificent declared war upon Venice and his admiral Hayreddin Barbarossa spread fire and sword upon the Ionian Islands
Ionian Islands
The Ionian Islands are a group of islands in Greece. They are traditionally called the Heptanese, i.e...

 and in October fell upon the island of Aegina. On the 4th day Palaiochora
Palaiochora is a small town in Chania prefecture. Paleochora is located 77 km south of Chania, on the southwest coast of Crete and occupies a small peninsula 400m wide and 700m long. The town is set along 11 km of coastline bordering the Libyan Sea...

 fell, but the church of St George (Latin church) was spared. He massacred all the adult male population and took away 6000 women and children as slaves. Thence Barbarossa sailed to Naxos, whence he carried off an immense booty, compelling the Duke of Naxos to purchase his further independence by a tribute of 5000 ducats.

With the peace of 1540, Venice ceded Nauplia and Monemvasia. For nearly 150 years after, Venice did not own an inch of soil on the mainland of Greece, except the Ionian dependencies of Parga and Butrinto, but of her insular dominions Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

, Crete, Tenos and 6 Ionian islands still remained.

First Ottoman period (1540–1687)

Attack and desolation of the island by Francesco Morosini
Francesco Morosini
Francesco Morosini was the Doge of Venice from 1688 to 1694, at the height of the Great Turkish War...

 during the Cretan War
Cretan War (1645–1669)
The Cretan War or War of Candia , as the Fifth Ottoman–Venetian War is better known, was a conflict between the Republic of Venice and her allies against the Ottoman Empire and the Barbary States, fought over the island of Crete, Venice's largest and richest overseas possession...


Second Venetian period (1687–1715)

In 1684, the outbreak of the Morean War
Morean War
The Morean War is the better known name for the Sixth Ottoman–Venetian War. The war was fought between 1684–1699, as part of the wider conflict known as the "Great Turkish War", between the Republic of Venice and the Ottoman Empire...

 between Venice and the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 led to the temporary re-conquest of a large part of the country by the Republic. In 1687 the Venetian army arrived in Piraeus and took command of Attica. The number of the Athenians at that time exceeded 6000, the Albanians from the villages of Attica excluded, and whilst in 1674 the population of Aegina did not seem to exceed 3000 inhabitants, 2/3 of which were women. The Aeginetans had been led to seediness to pay their taxes. The most significant plague epidemic though began in Attica in 1688, an occasion that caused the massive migration of all the Athenians toward south; most of them settled in Aegina. In 1693 Morosini resumed the command, but his only acts were to refortify the castle of Aegina, which he had demolished during the Cretan war in 1655, the cost of upkeep being paid, as long as the war lasted, by the Athenian, and to place it and Salamis under Malipiero as Governor. This led the Athenians to send him a request for the renewal of Venetian protection and an offer of an annual tribute. He died in 1694 and Zeno was appointed at his place.

In 1699, thanks to English mediation, the war ended with the peace of Karlowitz by which Venice retained possession of the 7 Ionian islands, Butrinto and Parga
Parga, , is a town and municipality located in the northwestern part of the regional unit of Preveza in Epirus, northwestern Greece. The seat of the municipality is the village Kanallaki. Parga lies on the Ionian coast between the cities of Preveza and Igoumenitsa...

, the Morea, Spinalonga
The island of Spinalonga , officially known as Kalydon , is located in the Gulf of Elounda in north-eastern Crete, in Lasithi prefecture, next to the town of Elounda....

 and Suda
The Suda or Souda is a massive 10th century Byzantine encyclopedia of the ancient Mediterranean world, formerly attributed to an author called Suidas. It is an encyclopedic lexicon, written in Greek, with 30,000 entries, many drawing from ancient sources that have since been lost, and often...

, Tenos, Santa Maura and Aegina and ceased to pay a tribute for Zante, but restored Lepanto to the Ottoman sultan. The burden of having to contribute to the maintenance of Cerigo and Aegina, both united administratively with the Morea since the peace, the peninsula not only paid all the expenses of administration, but furnished a substantial balance to the naval defence of Venice, in which it was directly interested.

Second Ottoman period (1715–1821)

The Ottomans regained Aegina along with the Morea in 1715, and remained in control of the island with the exception of a short-lived Russian occupation
Orlov Revolt
The Orlov Revolt was a precursor to the Greek War of Independence , which saw a Greek uprising in the Peloponnese at the instigation of Count Orlov, commander of the Russian Naval Forces of the Russo-Turkish War...

, until the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence
Greek War of Independence
The Greek War of Independence, also known as the Greek Revolution was a successful war of independence waged by the Greek revolutionaries between...

 in 1821. .


  • Temple of Aphaea
    Temple of Aphaea
    The Temple of Afea The Temple of Afea The Temple of Afea (the name Afea appears on all the local signs, Afea being the name of a Cretan woman of unsurpassed beauty. After escaping a unwelcome marriage on Crete, she was rescued by a fisherman from Aegina. In payment for this he also proposed an...

    , dedicated to its namesake, a goddess which was later associated with Athena
    In Greek mythology, Athena, Athenê, or Athene , also referred to as Pallas Athena/Athene , is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, warfare, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, justice, and skill. Minerva, Athena's Roman incarnation, embodies similar attributes. Athena is...

    ; the temple was part of a pre-Christian, equilateral holy triangle of temples including the Athenian Parthenon
    The Parthenon is a temple on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their virgin patron. Its construction began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the height of its power. It was completed in 438 BC, although...

     and the temple of Poseidon
    Poseidon was the god of the sea, and, as "Earth-Shaker," of the earthquakes in Greek mythology. The name of the sea-god Nethuns in Etruscan was adopted in Latin for Neptune in Roman mythology: both were sea gods analogous to Poseidon...

     at Sounion
    Cape Sounion is a promontory located SSE of Athens, at the southernmost tip of the Attica peninsula in Greece.Cape Sounion is noted as the site of ruins of an ancient...

  • Monastery of Agios Nectarios, dedicated to Saint Nectarios
    Saint Nectarios of Aegina , Greek: Άγιος Νεκτάριος Αιγίνης, Metropolitan of Pentapolis and Wonderworker of Aegina, was officially recognized as a Saint by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1961. His Feast Day is celebrated every year on 9 November.- Life :St. Nectarios was born on 1...

    , a recent saint of the Greek Orthodox Church
    Greek Orthodox Church
    The Greek Orthodox Church is the body of several churches within the larger communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity sharing a common cultural tradition whose liturgy is also traditionally conducted in Koine Greek, the original language of the New Testament...

  • Ioannis Kapodistrias
    Ioannis Kapodistrias
    Count Ioannis Antonios Kapodistrias |Academy of Athens]] Critical Observations about the 6th-Grade History Textbook"): "3.2.7. Σελ. 40: Δεν αναφέρεται ότι ο Καποδίστριας ήταν Κερκυραίος ευγενής." "...δύο ιστορικούς της Aκαδημίας κ.κ...

    , the first leader of free modern Greece (1776–1831) had a large building erected intended for a barracks, which was subsequently used as a museum, a library and a school. The museum was the first institution of its kind in Greece, but the collection was transferred to Athens
    Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

     in 1834. A statue in the principal square commemorates him.


In Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

, Aegina
Aegina (mythology)
Aegina was a figure of Greek mythology, the nymph of the island that bears her name, Aegina, lying in the Saronic Gulf between Attica and the Peloponnesos. The archaic Temple of Aphaea, the "Invisible Goddess", on the island was later subsumed by the cult of Athena...

was a daughter of the river god Asopus
Asopus or Asôpos is the name of four different rivers in Greece and one in Turkey. In Greek mythology, it was the name of the gods of those rivers.-The rivers in Greece:...

 and the nymph
A nymph in Greek mythology is a female minor nature deity typically associated with a particular location or landform. Different from gods, nymphs are generally regarded as divine spirits who animate nature, and are usually depicted as beautiful, young nubile maidens who love to dance and sing;...

Metope (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Metope was a river nymph, the daughter of the river Ladon. Her waters were near the town of Stymphalus in the Peloponnesus...

. She bore at least two children: Menoetius
In Greek mythology, Menoetius referred to several different people:#A son of Iapetus and Clymene or Asia, and a brother of Atlas, Prometheus and Epimetheus, was killed by Zeus with a flash of lightning, in the fight of the Titans, and banished to Tartarus.#One of Hades' shepherds on Erythea...

 by Actor
Actor (mythology)
Actor is a very common name in Greek mythology. Here is a selection of characters that share this name :...

, and Aeacus
Aeacus was a mythological king of the island of Aegina in the Saronic Gulf.He was son of Zeus and Aegina, a daughter of the river-god Asopus. He was born on the island of Oenone or Oenopia, to which Aegina had been carried by Zeus to secure her from the anger of her parents, and whence this...

 by Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

. When Zeus abducted Aegina, he took her to Oenone
In Greek mythology, Oenone was the first wife of Paris of Troy, whom he abandoned for the queen Helen of Sparta.Oenone was a mountain nymph on Mount Ida in Phrygia, a mountain associated with the Mother Goddess Cybele, alternatively Rhea. Her father was Cebren, a river-god...

, an island close to Attica
Attica is a historical region of Greece, containing Athens, the current capital of Greece. The historical region is centered on the Attic peninsula, which projects into the Aegean Sea...

. This island would later be called Aegina. Here, Aegina gave birth to Aeacus, who would later become king of Oenone; henceforth, the island's name Aegina.

Aegina is the gathering place of Myrmidons, in Aegina they gathered and they trained. Zeus needed an elite army and at first thought that Aegina who at the time did not have any villagers was the perfect place. So he turned the ants into warriors who had 6 hands and wore black armor. Later on Myrmidons were known as the most fearsome fighting unit in Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 led by Achilles
In Greek mythology, Achilles was a Greek hero of the Trojan War, the central character and the greatest warrior of Homer's Iliad.Plato named Achilles the handsomest of the heroes assembled against Troy....


Famous Aeginetans

  • Aeacus
    Aeacus was a mythological king of the island of Aegina in the Saronic Gulf.He was son of Zeus and Aegina, a daughter of the river-god Asopus. He was born on the island of Oenone or Oenopia, to which Aegina had been carried by Zeus to secure her from the anger of her parents, and whence this...

    , the first king of Aegina according to mythology
  • Smilis
    Smilis was a legendary ancient Greek sculptor, the contemporary of Daedalus, whose name was associated with the archaic cult figure of Hera at Samos. Smilis was born in the island of Aegina.-External links:* "The Sculptors: The Archaic Period"...

     (6th century BC), sculptor
  • Onatas
    Onatas was an ancient Greek sculptor of the time of the Persian Wars and a member of the flourishing school of Aegina. Many of his works are mentioned by Pausanias; they included a Hermes carrying the ram, and a strange image of the Black Demeter made for the people of Phigalia; also some elaborate...

     (5th century BC), sculptor
  • Ptolichus
    Ptolichus is a name attributed to two individuals from Classical antiquity:*Ptolichus of Aegina was an ancient Greek sculptor from Aegina. He was the son and pupil of Synnoön and flourished from about Olympiad 75 to about Olympiad 82, roughly 480-448 BC...

     (5th century BC), sculptor
  • Cosmas II Atticus (2nd century), Patriarch of Constantinople
  • Paul of Aegina
    Paul of Aegina
    Paul of Aegina or Paulus Aegineta was a 7th-century Byzantine Greek physician best known for writing the medical encyclopedia Medical Compendium in Seven Books...

     (7th century), medical scholar and physician
  • Saint Athanasia of Aegina
    Athanasia of Aegina
    Saint Athanasia of Aegina was a saint who lived in the Byzantine Empire and was for a while adviser to the Empress Theodora II.-Life:...

    (9th century), abbess and saint

The influential Leoussi family has originated from the isle of Aigina and their roots go as far as the 15th century.

Historical population

Year Town population Municipal/Island population
1981 6,730 11,127
1991 6,373 11,639
2001 7,410 13,552


  • Welter Gabriel, Aigina, Archäol. Inst. d. Deutschen Reiches, Berlin 1938.
  • Miller William, Essays on the Latin orient, Rome 1921 (reprint: Amsterdam 1964).
  • Miller William, «Η Παληαχώρα της Αιγίνης. Ηρημωμένη ελληνική πόλις», Νέος Ελληνομνήμων Κ΄ (1926), p. 363-365.
  • Rubio y Lluch A., «Συμβολαί εις την ιστορίαν των Καταλωνίων εν Ελλάδι», Δελτίον της Ιστορικής και Εθνολογικής Εταιρείας της Ελλάδος Β΄(1885), p. 458-466.
  • Lambros Spyridon ed., Έγγραφα αναφερόμενα εις την μεσαιωνικήν ιστορίαν των Αθηνών, Athens 1906.
  • D’ Olwer Nic., Les seigneurs Catalans d’ Egine, τόμος εις μνήμην του Σπυρίδωνος Λάμπρου, Athens 1935.
  • Koulikourdi Georgia, Αίγινα, 2 vols., Athens 1990.
  • Moutsopoulos Nikolaos, Η Παλιαχώρα της Αιγίνης. Ιστορική και μορφολογική εξέτασις των μνημείων, Athens 1962.
  • Nikoloudis Nikolaos, "Η Αίγινα κατά τον Μεσαίωνα και την Τουρκοκρατία", Βυζαντινός Δόμος 7(1993-4), p. 13-21.
  • Pennas Charalambos, The Byzantine Aegina, Athens 2004.

External links

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