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Aegina, island in Saronic Gulf, inhabited from late neolithic times and in contact with Minoan Crete and Mycenae. Early in the first millennium bce it was resettled by Greeks from Epidaurus (Hdt. 8. 46, 5. 43); protogeometric pottery indicates links with Attica and the Argolid. Aegina belonged to the Calaurian amphictiony (Strabo 8. 6. 14; see calauria). It was not a great colonizing power, though Aeginetans participated at Naucratis (Hdt. 2. 178), and are said to have colonized Kydonia (mod. Chania) on Crete, and Italian Umbria (Strabo 8. 6. 16; see atria; spina). Certainly Aeginetan connections with central Italy are attested c.500 bce by a dedication at Gravisca (Etruria) by the wealthy Sostratus of Aegina (Jeffery, LSAG2 p. 439 + Hdt. 4. 152). The scale of Aegina's trade is indicated by its population of perhaps 40,000 (Figueira; reduced to 20,000 by Hansen) on territory which could support only 4,000 from its own agricultural resources. Aegina struck coins early.

In the 6th cent. bce Aegina and Athens came to blows, a naval war which simmered on during the Persian War period (when, however, Aeginetans fought well on the Greek side), and ended only with Aegina's forcible incorporation (paying a steep 30 talents annual tribute) into the Athenian empire in 458/7. This was a watershed in 5th-cent. Greek history, given that Aegina was Dorian, as Pindar often stresses. His Eighth Pythian of 446 may be a reproach to Athens for its recent treatment of Aegina and a warning not to go too far. But Athens went further, evicting the Aeginetans from Aegina in 431 bce (Thuc. 2. 27) alleging that they were ‘chiefly responsible for the war’, a reference to Aeginetan complaints at Sparta that their autonomy under ‘the treaty’—the Thirty Years Peace of 446 rather than the terms of the 458 incorporation—had been infringed (Thuc. 1. 67). Athenian cleruchs (see cleruchy) were installed. This is the effective end of independent Aeginetan history, though Lysander restored the island to the Aeginetans after 405 (Xen. Hell. 2. 2. 9). Aegina was used as a base for piracy in the 4th cent. by Athens' enemies (Xen. Hell. 5. 1. 1 ff., 6. 2. 1). Macedonian in the Hellenistic period, it was conquered by the Romans in 211 and given by them to the Aetolians, who sold it to Attalus II of Pergamum (Polyb. 22. 8. 10, and see OGI 329 for Cleon, Attalid governor of Aegina). It passed to Rome again under Attalus III's will in 133 bce, suffered from pirates again in the early 1st cent. (IG 4. 2), and was one of the Greek places said by Ser. Sulpicius Rufus in 45 bce to be desolate (Cic. Fam. 4. 5; overdone). M. Antonius (2) (Mark Antony) gave it to Athens but Augustus later reversed this (App. BCiv. 5. 30; Cass. Dio 54. 7. 2). It seems to have been ‘free’ thereafter.

Aegina is of artistic interest chiefly for the eleven relevant epinician odes of Pindar, Bacchylides and the temple of Aphaea. The building of the latter has traditionally been put c.510bce, but a date after the Persian Wars now seems possible.


Inscriptions: K. Hallof, Inscriptiones Graecae 4. 22 (2007).Find this resource:

    T. Figueira, Aegina, Society and Politics (1981).Find this resource:

      T. Figueira, Athens and Aegina (1991).Find this resource:

        M. H. Hansen and T. H. Nielsen (eds.), An Inventory of Archaic and Classical Poleis (2004), no. 358.Find this resource:

          Jeffery, Cambridge Ancient History 42 (1988), 364–367.Find this resource:

            J. Barron, Journal of Hellenic Studies 1983, 1 ff.Find this resource:

              P. Graindor, Athènes sous Auguste (1927), 6 f.Find this resource:

                D. Ohly, Ägina, Tempel und Heiligtum der Aphaia (1978).Find this resource:

                  U. Sinn, Mitteilungen des deutschen archäologischen Instituts: Athenische Abteilung 1987, 131–167.Find this resource:

                    D. Gill, Annual of the British School at Athens 1988, 169 ff.Find this resource:

                      H. Bankel, Der spätarchaische Tempel der Aphaia auf Aegina (1993).Find this resource:

                        G. de Ste. Croix, Athenian Democratic Origins (2004), 371 ff.Find this resource:

                          A. P. Burnett, Pindar’ Songs for Young Athletes of Aigina (2005).Find this resource:

                            M. H. Hansen, Studies in the Population of Aigina, Athens and Eretria (2006), 5 ff.Find this resource:

                              D. Fearn (ed.) Aegina (2009).Find this resource:

                                B. Kowalzig, Singing for the Gods (2007), ch. 4.Find this resource:

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