Despite the large number and great popularity of clubs in the Greek world, both in the Hellenistic and in the Graeco-Roman period, literature makes surprisingly few references to them, and the available evidence consists almost entirely of inscriptions and, in the case of Egypt, papyri. These provide a picture which, if incomplete, is at least vivid and detailed.Greek clubs, sacred and secular, are attested as early as the time of *Solon, one of whose laws, quoted by Gaius (Dig. 47. 22. 4), gave legal validity to their regulations, unless they were contrary to the laws of the state; and we hear of political clubs (*hetaireiai) at Athens in the 5th cent. bce (Thuc. 3. 82; 8. 54; 65). In the Classical period the societies known to us are mostly religious, carrying on the cult of some hero or god not yet recognized by the state, such as the worshippers (see orgeones) of Amynus, Asclepius, and Dexion, the heroized *Sophocles (1).