In this comparative study of variations in the isotopic compositions (Sr, Nd, O and Hf) of the calc-alkaline magmas of the largest two volcanoes, Milos and Santorini, of the Aegean arc (eastern Mediterranean) we demonstrate the complexity of the processes governing the evolution of the magmas on the scale both of the arc and of each volcano. On Santorini, the crustal contamination processes have been limited, effecting the magma gradually during its differentiation. The most differentiated lavas (rhyodacite and pumice) are also the most contaminated. On Milos, by contrast, these processes are very extensive. They are expressed in the 143Nd/144Nd vs. 87Sr/86Sr diagram as a continuous mixing curve between a mantle and a crustal end member pole defined by schists and metavolcanic rocks outcropping on these volcanoes. In contrast with Santorini, the least differentiated lavas on Milos are the most contaminated. These isotopic singularities can be correlated with the geodynamic evolution of the Aegean subduction zone, consisting of alternating tectonic phases of distension and compression. The genesis of rhyolitic magmas can be linked to the two phases of distension, and the contamination of the calc-alkaline mantle-derived magmas with the intermediate compressive phase. The isotopic characteristics of uncontaminated calc-alkaline primitive magmas of Milos and Santorini are directly comparable to those of magmas generated in subduction zones for which a contribution of subducted sediments to partial melts from the mantle is suggested, such as in the Aleutian, Sunda, and lesser Antilles island arcs. However, in spite of the importance of the sediment pile in the eastern Mediterranen oceanic crust (6-10 km), the contribution of the subducted terrigenous materials remains of limited amplitude. ?? 1986.