The Aegean Sea (Αιγαίο Πέλαγος) is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the Greek and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus. The Aegean Islands are within the sea and some bound it on its southern periphery, including Krete and Rhodes. In ancient times, there were various explanations for the name Aegean. It was said to have been named after the Greek town of Aegae, or after Aegea, a queen of the Amazons who died in the sea, or Aigaion, the 'sea goat', or, especially among the Athenians, Aegeus, the father of Theseus, who drowned himself in the sea when he thought his son had died.

In ancient times, the sea was the birthplace of two ancient civilizations–the Minoans of Crete and the Mycenean Civilization of the Peloponnese. Later arose the city-states of Athens and Sparta among many others that constituted the Athenian Empire and Hellenic Civilization. Plato described the Greeks living round the Aegean 'like frogs around a pond'. The Aegean Sea was a major part of ancient Hellenic life, and it is celebrated in an original exhibition titled 'Aegean – Creation of an Archipelago', which is taking place in cooperation with the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki’s Geology and Paleontology Museum and the University of Crete’s Natural History Museum. It has already been shown at the Noesis Science Center and Technology Museum in Thessaloniki and will remain on display in Athens–in an enriched version–through October, before continuing to other venues in Greece and abroad, this reports Ekathimerini.
The exhibition took two years to put together after a more ambitious plan for a show on the birth of the entire Eastern Mediterranean had to be scrapped due to financial constraints.

"The Aegean Sea has a tumultuous history. Long before it became the subject of disputed claims and diplomatic tensions, it was rocked by volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, violent weather phenomena and many more dramatic events. The history of how its distinctive archipelago was formed over the course of 20 million-plus years, and how the islands became the cradles of culture and in many cases the fields of great battles, is the subject of an exhibition at the Eugenides Foundation in the southern Athenian suburb of Palaio Faliro.
[W]e tend to regard the Earth’s landscapes as being relatively stable, a set for the rise and demise of human civilizations that leave a trace yet lack the power to bring about radical changes. Rivers and marshes are drained, canals forged, forests destroyed and mountains quarried, but the mountain ranges themselves, the islands and the seas are seen as constants, maintaining a sense of the historical continuity of mankind through the passage of time. This sense of permanence is challenged by the “Aegean” exhibition, which illustrates that everything we take for granted had a beginning and, inevitably, an end, shaped by unstoppable geological forces."

At the Eugenides Foundation, the 'Aegean' exhibition is split into three sections. The first goes back to the beginning, telling the story of how Aegeis, a vast landmass that emerged from the Tethys Ocean, emerged from the Tethys and eventually broke up to become the Aegean, explains Zouros. Intense volcanic activity in the region and how this shaped the archipelago through the eons is the subject of the second section, which explains how the still-active volcanoes of Santorini, Nisyros, Methana and Sousaki in Corinthia, which form the Aegean Volcanic Arc, helped shape islands such as Milos, Lemnos, Santorini, Kimolos and Samothraki. The third section explores ecosystems in the region by explaining the evolution of its biodiversity through displays of primal flora and fauna – such as a short-necked giraffe from Chios, a dwarf elephant from Tilos and an early antelope from Samos. The predecessors of modern man are also present in this section in the form of plaster casts of three humanoid skulls.

The exhibition is suitable for adults and children alike, offering two separate approaches: The first focuses on the tangible exhibits and the rich audiovisual material available, while the other is more profound, focusing on the Aegean’s geological history, with texts and a 15-minute informative video. Visitors are encouraged to set aside at least an hour to take in the whole display.

'Aegean: Creation of an Archipelago' will remain on display through October 23. Admission is free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis. Opening hours are Wednesdays-Fridays 5-8 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. More information is available here. Eugenides Foundation, 387 Syngrou, Palaio Faliro (entrance from 11 Pendelis), tel 210.946.9600.