THE crossing of the lEgean Sea was rendered easy by the presence of a world of islands which led the sailor step by step to his destination. To the west, the Ionian Sea contained no islands except close along the mainland, and Greek mariners might hesitate before setting forth over open tracts of water. Nevertheless, here too there were natural conditions which aided navigation. One current, from the lEgean, ran up the Greek coast towards the Adriatic ; 1 another, from the Adriatic, hugged southern Italy closely, and finally washed the eastern coasts of Sicily, about the point where the earliest Greek colony, Naxos, was founded. s

So there was intercourse at a very early date between the countries of the eastern Mediterranean and the coasts of Italy and Sicily. Legend made Minos die on an expedition to Sicily. Better than by mythical stories, these relations are proved by the discoveries made in the cemeteries of Sicily and the Tarentine Gulf, in the shape of vases and bronze weapons belonging to the latest Mycenrean periods. This road, opened by the lEgeans, was followed by the Hellenes. The wanderings of Odysseus took him to Sicily and the Bay of Naples. When the Achreans were driven from the Pelopon­ nese by the Dorians, while some reached the shores of Asia, others made for the west. Memories survived of ancient settlements in southern Italy, far earlier than the arrival of the colonists of the VIIlth century.