This article considers the Political precepts of Plutarch of Chaeronea (ca. 50-120 AD) in order to advance our understanding of local power relations in the Greek cities of the Roman Empire. In this essay, written for the aspiring politician, Plutarch offers his readers various instructions, examples and warnings that are highly informative about local politics. With this article, I intend to show that his instructions, passed on from one elite politician to another, were meant to equip the reader with the necessary tools to assert as much influence as possible over a strong populace that was very capable of defending its own interests. From this it follows that, in contrast with the current scholarly consensus, the popular assembly was still the forum for an ongoing process of negotiation between mass and elite, even in the Roman period.