An archipelago is a group of many small things clustered in a larger area, like an archipelago of single-family homes. But it originally referred to the Aegean Sea. The Aegean is surrounded by Greece on all sides except the east, where the coastline is Turkey. The Aegean is the “chief sea” in relation to Greece, and that’s what archipelago means. The usage changed based on how the rest of us know the Aegean: as a sea with dozens of islands. But the story of the Aegean comes from Greek mythology. Aegeus was a king of Athens, succeeded by his son Theseus. Theseus went to Crete, the largest Greek island, as part of a forced sacrifice to the Minotaur. Thinking Theseus was dead, Aegeus drowned himself in the water that today bears his name.
Image courtesy of A.Word.A.Day.