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Archaeological sites (1)
Perseus Site Catalog
Region: Saronic Gulf
Periods: Neolithic, Early Bronze Age, Middle Bronze Age, Late Bronze
Age, Dark Age, Geometric, Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Modern
Type: Fortified city
Summary: Capital city of the island of Aegina.
The ancient capital of Aegina is located on the NW coast
of the island, partially under the modern town. The city had a larger commercial
harbor and N of this a rectangular military harbor. The latter was protected on
the N by a low promontory which served as the acropolis. The Classical city walls
enclosed both harbors and the acropolis promontory. On the promontory beneath
the levels of the ca. 500 B.C. temple of Apollo and the remains of an earlier
temple, excavations have uncovered levels of continuous occupation extending back
through the Bronze Ages to the Neolithic. The successive settlements on the acropolis
were each fortified, at least since the Early Bronze Age. The 6th century temple
of Apollo was replaced by a late Roman fortress.
Aegina is located in a key maritime position and since prehistoric
times has had close trade contact with the mainland and the islands. It may have
been depopulated in the Dark Ages and then resettled by colonists from the Peloponnese
in the 10th century B.C. By the end of the 8th century, however, Aegina was independent
of any mainland ties. During the 7th and 6th centuries, Aegina was a major maritime
power and had trade contacts from Egypt to Spain. The island was especially noted
for its fine pottery and bronze products. Aegina was apparently the first Greek
city state to adopt coinage and its system of weights became one of the earliest
standards for trade in the Greek historical period. During the 6th century B.C.
the growing power of Athens came into conflict with the interests of Aegina. Although
Aegina fought along side the Greeks at Salamis, conflict with Athens continued
and in 458 B.C. Athens defeated the combined navies of Aegina and Corinth. In
431 B.C. Athens expelled the inhabitants of Aegina and established an Athenian
cleruchy on their territory. In 404 B.C. the remaining Aegina citizens returned
from exile, but the city was no longer a major power. Aegina came under Macedonian
control and finally in 210 B.C. it passed to the rule of Pergamon.
Excavations: 1894, B. Stais; 1901, Thiersch; 1904, Keramopoullis.
German excavations directed by P. Wolters 1924-1926; by G. Welter 1926-1931, 1941-43;
and by H. Walter 1966-1972.
Donald R. Keller, ed.
This text is cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 36 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.
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