The Cyclades are the quintessential Greek isles, renowned for the beauty of their seascapes, their historical monuments and a unique way of life deeply rooted in the remote past of the Aegean. Over the course of more than 7,000 years the Cyclades have seen a succession of civilizations, the earliest of them perpetuated in legends such as that of Atlantis, which has been identified with volcanic Santorini. The islands are arrayed around their sacred centre on Delos, where Leto was said to have given birth to the divine twins Apollo and Artemis, children of Zeus. Dionysos was born on olive-embowered Naxos, where he fell in love with Ariadne, and myths relate that Poseidon was the protector of Tinos, whose mid-summer festival of the Virgin is celebrated with the folk-dances and songs for which the Cyclades are famous. In this comprehensive guide to the Cyclades, John Freely describes the immemorial past and timeless present of these enchanting islands, which still await discovery.