This project will investigate ideas about 'the people' and popular political participation in the works of a number of Greek intellectuals from the Roman Empire, viz. Plutarch of Chaeronea, Dio of Prusa, Favorinus of Arelate, Publius Aelius Aristides, Lucian of Samosata and Flavius Philostratus, who all belonged to the so-called Second Sophistic (ca. 50-250 AD). Going against the current scholarly orthodoxy that popular politics in the Greek cities ceased to exist under the Roman Empire, my working hypothesis will be that the thoughts and ideas about 'the people' and popular politics expressed by these authors not only document and interact with an authentic reality of popular political participation in the Greek cities of the Roman East but were in fact active contributions to the participatory political process.
Ghent University Research Fund (BOF), 2013-2017, PhD project Thierry Oppeneer Supervisors A. Zuiderhoek and K. De Temmerman