Gail Mooney/CORBIS

These days, cruise ships ply the waters off the coast of Santorini (ancient Thera), in the caldera formed by a volcanic eruption more than 3,500 years ago. In the Bronze Age, too, the waters of the Aegean were crowded with Minoan ships. Masters of the seas, the Minoans established contacts with many of the other major civilizations of the Aegean world.