The city seems to have existed from the 7th or the 6th c. B.C. as the port of Pherai. In 353-352 B.C. it was taken by Philip II of Macedon, who made it an independent city, probably of Magnesia (Diod. Sic. 16.31.6, 35.5; Theopomp.: FGrH 115 fr. 53, 54; Dem. 4.35). In 293 B.C. it was absorbed into Demetrias. Pagasai was supposed to be 90 stades (14 km) from Pherai, 20 stades (ca. 4 km) from Iolkos (Strab. 9.436), between the latter and Amphanai (Skylax 64f). Ruins on the W shore of the Gulf of Volo, ca. 4 km S of Volo, were long recognized as those of Pagasai. Walls of two periods were involved. In 1908, however, Arvanitopoullos determined that the later part of the walls belonged to Demetrias and only the older wall circuit adjoining it to the S were the walls of Pagasai.
This wall runs from a hill called Prophitis Elias (44 m) which is ca. one km from the sea just to the E of the modern shore road Volo, SW across a dry wash (Ligarorema) and along the SW side of a low ridge about 2 km long, then around its end (Damari) and along the N side. The wall crosses the Ligarorema a little less than 2 km NW of the Prophitis Elias hill. It runs less than 1 km NW to the Kastro hill (201 m), and then N for a short distance where it disappears. Both ends of the wall are very close to the walls of Demetrias. There is no indication of how the two ends joined; it seems likely the wall must have curved through the city area of later Demetrias. The masonry varies from roughly polygonal to rectangular blocks, depending on the native type of rock. It is poorly preserved. There are the remains of 69 towers to be seen, but apparently traces of 138 regularly spaced along the wall. The preserved section is 5 km long; the estimated original length about 8 km. The wall seems to date from the first half of the 4th c. The walls seem not to have included a harbor. Just to the E of the city is a promontory (modern Pevkakia, formerly Tarsanas, ancient Neleia). To the S and N of this are possible harbors (the N later included in the walls of Demetrias); it is not clear which Pagasai's harbor was or whether both were used. Only one small square foundation has been found inside the city's SE wall and no buildings certainly earlier than Demetrias' foundation outside. Some sculpture, including a head of the 5th c., now in Volo, has been found in the area, and some graves belonging to the city. It has been suggested that the walled area was generally disused after Demetrias' foundation, as Hellenistic graves have been found outside the walls of Demetrias but inside those of Pagasai.
F. Stählin, Das hellenische Thessalien
(1924) 65-67; Stählin & E. Meyer, Pagasai und Demetrias (1934)
MPI; Meyer, RE (1939) s.v. Pagasai; H.
Biesantz, Die Thessalischen Grabreliefs (1965) 112,
131 I. (See also Demetrias).
NA , The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites (Trustees of Tufts University, Princeton, N.J.) [word count] [princeton16].