Ancient Pagai is located in the modern-day village of Kato Alepochori, 20 kilometers northwest of the city of Megara. In antiquity it was an important city and harbor of Megaris on the Gulf of Corinth. According to Aristophanes (Lysistrata), Pagai and Nisaia, Megara’s southern port on the Saronic Gulf, formed Megara’s “legs.” It was considered a city of strategic importance from the era of the Persian Wars down to the end of antiquity, and played a special role during the Peloponnesian War, as attested by Thucydides.
The city, for which the sources mention sanctuaries, public buildings, and a theater, was created around the mid-5th century B.C. In 461 B.C., the Megarians joined the Athenian alliance and the Athenians used Pagai as a base for their fleet in the Corinthian Gulf. In 343/2 B.C., the Megarians requested assistance from the Athenians to confront the Macedonian threat. This date is very likely connected with that of the city’s acropolis and wall. Later, in 192 B.C. the city joined the Achaean Confederacy and minted its own coinage. The cults in Pagai mentioned include those of Zeus, Isis, the hero Aigialeas, and Artemis. Pausanias notes a bronze statue of Artemis Soteira similar to that in Megara, while a celebration with sacrifices in her honor is mentioned in a 1st century B.C. inscription.