Aegina, Or Egina (Turk. Engia) a Greek island in the Saronic gulf (now gulf of .Aegina), 12 m. S. S. W. of the Piraeus, about 9 m. long from N. E. to S. W., and about 7 m. wide. Its western side consists of stony but fertile plains, which are well cultivated and produce luxuriant crops. The rest of the island is mountainous. The climate is the most healthy in Greece. From its hills a magnificent prospect unfolds itself. Its chief interest depends on its past history and its antiquities, it having been one of the most celebrated islands of Greece, both in the mythological and historical periods, and also in the sphere of art. It was a Dorian settlement, and was one of the first places in Greece noted for its maritime ascendancy. As early as 5(53 B. C. Aegina had a factory in Egypt. It was a great rendezvous for pirates and slave traders, fugitive criminals and insolvent debtors. The people of Aegina, with their contingent of 30 ships, played a brilliant part in the great sea fight off Sal amis. Its earliest enemy was Athens, which state eventually, in 429 B. C., took possession of the island and expelled its inhabitants. .Aegina, though often mentioned in the Greek authors, never recovered any political or commercial importance.
Sulpieius, in one of his letters to Cicero, in which he alludes to a cruise in the Saronic gulf, speaks of Aegina as a monument of departed greatness. Its chief temple was that of Zeus Panhellenius, or, in the opinion of some archaeologists, that of Minerva, mentioned by Herodotus. Cicero speaks of it as in ruins. In 1811 a company of German and British scholars cleared away the rubbish which had accumulated in the course of 2,000 years at the base of the temple, and after 20 days' excavating were rewarded by the discovery of 16 statues of an early type of Greek sculpture. These statues are now in the Glyptothek of Munich, and have been restored by Thor-waldsen. The subject is supposed to be the expedition of the Aeacidaa or Aeginetan heroes against Troy, under the guidance of Minerva. The present population of the island is about 6,000, and that of its chief town, of the same name, on the W. side, near the ruins of the ancient town, 3,000. The products are wine, oil, fruits, and grain. The Aegina almonds are the best in Greece. The water works on the neighboring Mount Elias, famous for its magnificent views, save the island from drought. A bishop resides on the island, and schools and churches abound.
Since the decay of the Byzantine empire, Aegina has been successively in the hands of the Venetians, Turks, and Greeks. Under Capodistria it was from 1828 to 1831 the seat of the government. Edmond About has published L'Ile d'Egine (1854).