Kostas Vlassopoulos, ‘Subaltern community formation in antiquity: some methodological reflections’, C. Courrier & J. C. Magalhães de Oliveira (eds.), Ancient History from Below: Subaltern Experiences and Actions in Context, Routledge (2021), 35-54.
The aim of this chapter is to raise some major methodological issues about the study of subaltern groups in antiquity and to offer a framework that could be utilised for future work. The main thrust of the argument is that we must not take for granted the existence of distinct and distinctive subaltern communities in antiquity. If we want to do history from below properly and accord subaltern agency its rightful place, we need to explore carefully a range of difficult issues. These issues include the nature and format of our sources, the metanarratives within which we interpret and utilise them, the various factors and processes that created subaltern communities, and the languages and discourses that they employed to conceive of themselves and the world and achieve their aims.