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The Aegean Sea 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 Crete and Rhodes.

The sea was traditionally known as Archipelago (in Greek, Αρχιπέλαγος, meaning "chief sea"), but in English this word's meaning has changed to refer to the Aegean Islands and, generally, to any island group.

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In ancient times there were many explanations for the name of the sea. 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", another name of Briareus, one of the archaic Hecatonchires, or, especially among the Athenians, Aegeus, the father of Theseus, who drowned himself in the sea when he thought his son had died.

The sea has 1415 islands and islets, and covers covers about 214,000 km² in area.

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