From Draco onwards, if not before, the laws of Athens were preserved in writing, and some of them were also displayed to public view: notably the laws of Solon, written up on objects called axones and kyrbeis. No other publication of Athenian laws had such renown as this, or these, of Solon's. In fact it is hard to find any publication at all on the same scale, or any publication but of single documents in scattered places. In the later fifth and the fourth centuries, the period best known to us, each new document is published, if at all, on a separate stele. Moreover, there is no thought of aligning this stele with any existing publication, either of similar laws or of laws in general; instead the stele is set up at whatever spot seems indicated by the business at hand; if the business is urgent, more than one stele is set up at more than one spot. Such episodic publication is the rule for laws as well as other public documents. Or to put it differently, for a long while the Athenians did not distinguish laws from other binding decisions, mainly decrees of the Assembly; if they did not so distinguish when publishing on stone, they did not either in their filing system of papyrus and whitened boards. By the early fourth century a distinction was made, and afterwards insisted on, between ‘laws’ and ‘decrees’; but even then professed laws were published as before, on separate stelae in various places. From these facts we might be tempted to conclude that any general or comprehensive publication of laws, as of Solon's, was so to speak an accident, occurring only when many so-called laws needed to be published all at once, as will happen at an early stage of society.