Myth and history lose themselves in the limitless blue of the sea. The Aegean, the cradle of civilization! Whichever of its local waters today's seafarer traverses - Myrtoan. Thracian, Icarian, Cretan, or Karpathian, there will come to mind gods, heroes, and nymphs, the very stuff of Grek myth and folktale down the ages. The Aegean is arguably the most fascinating stretch of water in the Mediterranean, to judge by its tributes from poets. Its seven island chains are a unique piece of Nature's architecture, thoughtfully bestowed on Greece by the gods to grace their native land. Reams could be written about it, but one need only remember that poetry flourished in its aquatic environment, from Geometric times onwards, far more intensely than in other regions of the Greek world. Homer was, they say, an Aegean. As our cultural heritage, a bridge between past and present, the Aegean archipelago is a fixed point of reference for us all.
In this book, Aegean ex altis, we adopt a poetic approach designed to show the reader how aerial views enable him or her to appreciate more fully the tints of blue, the bone-white houses, the chapels, the beaches (empty or crowded), the white of marble in the sunlight, the cliffs, the bare rock, the riparian vegetation, and the growing plants on the upland plains. The Dodecanese, the Cyclades, the Sporades and the northern shores of Crete have all been scanned by the camera lens, trapping them in a moment of time, uniquely and enigmatically, full of the mystery contained in the harmonious symbiosis of the past with the present. In the words of the great early nineteenth century Greek poet Kalvos: Fragrant and fresh / isles of the Aegean Sea, / o happy earth / where peace and joy/ for ever dwell.