Cerigo (anc. Cythera), the southernmost of the Ionian islands, now an eparchy of the kingdom of Greece, situated at the E. entrance of the Laconian gulf, between lat. 36° 7' and 30° 22' X., and traversed nearly through its centre by the meridian of 23° E. Its length from X. to S. is nearly 20 m., and its greatest breadth about 12; area, 106 sq. m.; pop. in 1871, 10,637. The shores are abrupt and dangerous to shipping. Storms are frequent, the currents round the island being from its peculiar position very strong, and the air is rarely quite calm. It is hilly, and abounds with streams. The soil is generally fertile; the products are corn, currants, wine, olive oil, and honey; cattle, goats, and sheep are reared. Many of the peasants resort annually to the Morea and to Asia Minor to work there during harvest time. It contains two curious natural caverns, which possess some stalactites of singular beauty. According to Pliny, the island was once called Porphyrse. The ancient name of Cythera, the fabled birthplace of Venus, however, is as old as Homer. It was colonized by Phoenicians, and successively occupied by the Argives and Lacedaemonians. Its chief town in antiquity bore the name of the island.

The modern chief town is Capsali, at its S. extremity. - The principal dependency of Cerigois a little island called Cerigotto by the Italians (anc. AEgilia), now known as Lius to the inhabitants, lying about 20 m. S. E., midway between Cerigo and Crete, and containing about 40 families; length 5 m., breadth from 1 to 3 m. Cerigotto abounds with olive trees, and produces some tine wheat. In former times it was a noted retreat of pirates.