Thierry Oppeneer is a postdoctoral research fellow at Ghent University. His research focusses on ancient forms of democracy and popular political participation throughout Graeco-Roman history.
After being trained as a historian at Ghent University (BA and MA), he obtained a combined degree for an interdisciplinary PhD (History and Literary Studies) for his dissertation ‘The Rhetoric of Democracy in Second Sophistic literature.' This dissertation investigated ideas about ‘the people’ and popular political participation in the works of Dio Chrysostom, Plutarch, Chariton and Lucian who all belonged to the so-called Second Sophistic (ca. 50-250 AD). His first postdoctoral project was about Plutarch’s Parallel Lives, a second-century AD collection of biographies of Greek and Roman statesmen from classical Athens to Republican Rome. It examined the Lives as a source on Greek city politics in Plutarch’s own day by testing the hypothesis that they were, in part, intended to instruct second-century AD politicians on how to secure the support of the people. After a year of teaching, his current research project (funded by the FWO) studies political communication in the popular assemblies during the Hellenistic and Roman eras through an analysis of rhetorical handbooks.