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Greek Literature and the Roman Empire uses up-to-date literary and cultural theory to make a major and original contribution to the appreciation of Greek literature written under the Roman Empire during the second century CE (the so-called 'Second Sophistic'). This literature should not be dismissed as unoriginal and mediocre. Rather, its central preoccupations, especially mimesis and paideia, provide significant insights into the
definition of Greek identity during the period. Focusing upon a series of key texts by important authors (including Dio Chrysostom, Plutarch, Philostratus, Lucian, Favorinus, and the novelists), Whitmarsh argues that narratives telling of educated Greeks' philosophical advice to empowered Romans (including emperors) offer a crucial
point of entry into the complex and often ambivalent relationships between Roman conquerors and Greek subjects. Their authors' rich and complex engagement with the literary past articulates an ingenious and sophisticated response to their present socio-political circumstances.
Tim Whitmarsh is Fellow and College Lecturer, St John's College, Cambridge