At Athens the laws of *Draco and of *Solon were inscribed on numbered axones; the term kyrbeis (of unknown origin), used of Solon's laws, is thought by some to refer to a different set of objects, but is more probably an alternative name for the same objects. They were probably three- or four-sided wooden pillars, mounted on a vertical axis so that readers could turn them. Probably they could still be read and studied in the 4th cent.; in the time of *Plutarch small fragments survived.
Gortyn was a city in central *Crete. From the 7th cent. bce are known a temple to *Athena on the acropolis, and one to *Apollo Pythios on the plain; an agora lies at the foot of the acropolis. By the 3rd cent. bce Gortyn was one of the most important cities on the island. It had conquered Phaestus, gaining an extensive territory and a good harbour at Matala in addition to the one at Lebena, and had entered into long-term hostilities with *Cnossus. After Cnossus had been captured by Q. *Caecilius Metellus (Creticus), Gortyn, which had sided with the Romans, was made the capital of the new province of Crete-*Cyrene. The well-preserved Roman-period city was extremely extensive (c. 150 ha.: 370 acres), and includes a large governor's residence (praetorium), baths, a circus, a theatre and amphitheatre, and seven Christian basilicas including one to Agios Titos (late 6th/early 7th cent. ce).
Papyrus, manufactured in Egypt since c.3000 bce from a marsh plant, Cyperus papyrus (see books, greek and roman), was the most widely used writing material in the Graeco-Roman world. The object of papyrology is to study texts written on papyrus (and on ostraca, wooden tablets, etc. in so far as they come from the same find-spots) in Egyptian (hieroglyphs, demotic, Coptic), Hebrew, *Aramaic, Greek, Latin, Pahlavi, and Arabic. Greek papyrology also deals with Greek texts written on parchment (see palaeography, Introduction). The vast majority of Greek papyri have been found in Egypt, preserved in the dry sand; with the exception of some carbonized papyri from *Bubastis and Thmouis, no papyri have survived in the damp soils of the Delta or *Alexandria (1). Outside Egypt, Greek papyri have been found at *Herculaneum, at Dura-*Europus, in Palestine, and one text has come from Greece: the carbonized Orphic commentary found in a burial at Derveni near Salonica; see orphic literature; orphism.
Symbolon, originally a physical object, intended as a material indication of identification or agreement. What may have begun as a private practice as a reminder of xenia or ritualized friendship (see friendship, ritualized; matching ‘tallies’ between individuals: Pl.Symp. 191d) came to have wider ramifications. A gold cup served as a symbolon between the Persian king and a 5th-cent. Athenian (Lys. 19. 25); in this case, the symbolon was transferable, giving its possessor command over goods and money all over *Asia Minor (or so it was claimed). At an inter-state level, symbola are mentioned in a mid-4th-cent. treaty between Athens and Strato, king of *Sidon (IG 22. 141 (Tod 139), line 19). Whereas the cognate term symbolaion came to mean an agreement or contract (e.g. over a loan), symbola typically referred to inter-state agreements, dealing with legal relations between individuals of different states, or between a state and an individual. To those travelling abroad, symbola offered protection from sylē (summary seizure of property) and other forms of harassment (as exemplified by the terms of the treaty between Oeanthea and Chaleion from c.