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Department of Classics and Ancient History


Dr Phillip Horky, AM (Chicago), PhD (Southern California)

(email at

Schools Talks and Outreach

Dr Horky believes strongly in the expansion and sustaining of Classics subjects at school and sixth-form levels. In July 2018, he is organizing a meeting to support Classics education for the Advocating Classics Education project. He would be very happy to give school talks on topics related to Classical Civilisation, including Democracy and the Athenians and Socrates and Athens.


Phillip Sidney Horky is Associate Professor of Ancient Philosophy. His research concerns ancient Greek and Roman philosophy. Dr Horky has held fellowships at the National Humanities Center (2016-17), Harvard University's Center for Hellenic Studies (2010-11), and Stanford University (2007-10). He was also a distinguished visitor at the Collaborative Program in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy, University of Toronto (2016). Dr Horky was educated at the University of Southern California (PhD), the University of Chicago (AM), and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (BA). 

Dr Horky has written a monograph, Plato and Pythagoreanism (Oxford University Press, 2013; paperback edition, with corrections, 2016), on the importance of mathematical Pythagoreanism for the development of Plato's philosophy. He has also recently completed several new articles which deal with the Early Academy and Hellenistic & Posthellenistic philosophy: one examines the pursuit and purpose of philosophy according to Speusippus and Xenocrates, the first scholarchs of Plato's Academy after his death; another concerns the philosophical biography of Empedocles; another is a study of theoretical philosophy among the Pythagorean Pseudepigraphers; and another examines the importance of Plutarch for modern theories of animal rationality. Dr Horky is now in the process of editing for publication a volume entitled Cosmos in the Ancient World (Cambridge University Press, 2018). This volume investigates notions of cosmic order, balance, and symmetry in ancient physics, politics, ethics, poetics, and aesthetics.

Dr Horky is currently at work on three major research projects:

1) Pythagorean Philosophy, 250 BCE to 200 CE: An Introduction and Collection of Sources in Translation (Cambridge University Press) is a source book and translation of the philosophical texts and testimonies that constituted Pythagorean philosophy after its dissolution in the mid-4th Century BCE. 

2) Prelude to the Categories is a monograph on the development of categorical speculation regarding existence and ways of describing it in Greece prior to Aristotle (from the Presocratics to the Early Academy).

3) Aristotle on the Human Good: Selections from Nicomachean Ethics and Eudemian Ethics (with Monte Ransome Johnson, UCSD) is a book-length student edition and commentary of some of the most famous and important texts of Aristotle. 

Publications, drafts, and a current CV can be found on his web page.

Dr Horky is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Hellenic Studies (UK), Methexis: International Journal for Ancient Philosophy (Netherlands/Italy), and Archai: Revista de Estudos sobre as Origens do Pensamento Ocidental (Brazil). He is also co-editor of the Greece & Rome New Surveys in the Classics Series, published by Cambridge University Press, and a member of the journals editorial board for the Classical Association (UK). A trustee of the Gilbert Murray Trust, Dr Horky was a Member of the Council of the Hellenic Society (UK) from 2012-15.

Research Interests

  • Ancient Philosophy
  • Greek Literature
  • Intellectual History
  • Greece and the Near East
  • Ancient Italy and Sicily

Doctoral Supervision

I am happy to supervise most areas and periods of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy (especially Presocratics, Platonism, and Pythagoreanism); Greek literature; and the intellectual history of Greece, Rome, and the Near East.

Current and former students supervised include:

Giulia De Cesaris: Mathematical-Metaphysical Theories in the Early Academy (First Supervisor)

Andrea Giannotti: Athenian Tragedy and Politics: Historical and Political Allusions and Civic Ideology on Stage (First Supervisor)

Carlo Cacciatori: Ethical Intellectualism in Plato's Academy (First Supervisor)

Nicolò Benzi: Philosophy in Verse: Competition and Early Greek Philosophical Thought (First Supervisor)

Richard Beniston: Seneca’s Anti-Platonism: a Dialectical Reading of the Natural Questions (Second Supervisor)

Research Interests

  • Ancient Philosophy
  • Greek Literature
  • Intellectual History
  • Greece and the Near East
  • Ancient Italy and Sicily


Authored book

Chapter in book

  • Horky, Phillip Sidney. (Accepted). 'Italic Philosophy in the Hellenistic Age'. In The Oxford Handbook of Roman Philosophy. Shearin, W.S. & Flecher, R. Oxford University Press.
  • Horky, Phillip Sidney (2018). 'Introduction'. In Cosmos in the Ancient World. Horky, P. S. Cambridge University Press.
  • Horky, Phillip Sidney (2018). 'Speusippus and Xenocrates on the Pursuit and Ends of Philosophy'. In Brill's Companion to the Reception of Plato in Antiquity. Tarrant, H., Renaud, F., Baltzly,‎ D. & Layne, D. A. Leiden: Brill. 29-45.
  • Horky, Phillip Sidney (2018). 'When did Kosmos become the Kosmos?'. In Cosmos in the Ancient World. Horky, P. S. Cambridge University Press.
  • Horky, Phillip Sidney (2018). ‘Cosmic Spiritualism among the Pythagoreans, Stoics, Jews, and Early Christians.’. In Cosmos in the Ancient World. Horky, P. S. Cambridge University Press.
  • Horky, Phillip Sidney (2016). 'Empedocles Democraticus: Hellenistic Biography at the Intersection of Philosophy and Politics'. In Bios Philosophos. Philosophy in Ancient Greek Biography. Bonazzi, M. & Schorn, S. Leuven: Brepols. 37-71.
  • Horky, Phillip Sidney (2015). 'Pseudo-Archytas´ Protreptics? On Wisdom in its Context'. In Second Sailing: Alternative Perspectives on Plato. Nails, D. & Tarrant, H. Helsinki: Societas Scientiarum Fennica. 21-39.

Edited book

  • Horky, Phillip Sidney (2018). Cosmos in the Ancient World. Cambridge University Press.

Journal Article

Book review