Lucian of Samosata, the prolific Greek-speaking satirist of the 2nd century AD, left us a wide range of works ranging from harsh invective against cult-leaders and philosophers to playful pastiche of Herodotus' Histories. Art and artists, teachers of rhetoric, inconsistent myths, parasites in rich households, authors seeking imperial patronage and the rich and powerful themselves all provide rich material for his wit and humour. In this volume the focus is not on the literary values of Lucian's works, but rather on what they show us about the intellectual, political, religious and everyday life of the Imperial period. The articles address themes such as the importance of Latin in the Greek-speaking eastern Empire, rituals of death and mourning, attitudes towards the lands beyond the empire and the role of politics in comedy and satire, both in Lucian's own time and in the 5th and 4th centuries BC. While Lucian's own distinctive personality is impossible to ignore, the picture that emerges is one of both the high intellectual life and everyday behaviour in this vibrant period in the history of the Mediterranean region.
Dr Adam Bartley received his PhD in Greek and Latin Literature at the University of Sydney in 2001. He has conducted research the Georg-August Universität, in Göttingen, Germany and the University College in Cork, Ireland. He is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Classical and Archaeological Studies at the University of Kent.