Graham Anderson provides a comprehensive view of the Second Sophistic, the single most important movement in second century literature. Texts from this period, unlike most contemporaneous prose, came to be written as entertainment literature rather than being confined to historical subjects.
Anderson describes the cultural aspirations sought by Greek sophists in the Roman Empire as well as their skills in public speaking which enabled them to broaden their areas of artistic activity. He presents the sophists' multiple roles as civic celebrities, transmitters of Hellenic culture and literary artists. Although he confirms the image of sophists as vain, contentious, and sometimes superficial, he shows that they were no less fascinating for it. Anderson also emphasizes the integrity of their attempts to preserve the idea of an independent Greek past.
This is an important book. ... Any connoisseur of sophistic will savour his (Anderson's) verbal wit and gladly trade epigram for explanation.