A group of scattered islands in the Aegaean Sea, off the island of Crete and the western coast of Asia Minor, so called in opposition to the Cyclades, which lay in a circle around Delos.
Sporades, or the Scattered, a group of islands in the Aegaean, Cretan, and Carpathian seas, so called because they were scattered throughout these seas, in opposition to the Cyclades, which lay round Delos in a circle. But the distinction between these groups was not accurately observed, and we find several islands sometimes ascribed to the Cyclades, and sometimes to the Sporades. The islands usually included among the Cyclades are given under that article. [Vol. I. p. 723.] Scylax makes two groups of Cyclades; but his southern group, which he places off the coast of Laconia and near Crete, are the Sporades of other writers: in this southern group Scylax specifies. Melos, Cimolos, Oliaros, Sicinos, Thera, Anaphe, Astypalaea (p. 18, ed. Hudson). Strabo first mentions among the Sporades the islands lying off Crete, - Thera, Anaphe, Therasia, Ios, Sicinos, Lagusa, Pholegandros (x. pp. 484, 485). Then, after describing the Cyclades, he resumes his enumeration of the Sporades, - Amorgos, Lebinthos, Leria, Patmos, the Corassiae, Icaria, Astypalaea, Telos, Chalcia, Nisyros, Casos, the Calydnae (x. pp. 487-489). Pliny (iv. 12. s. 23) gives a still longer list. An account of each island is given under its own name.
This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited September 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
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