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Department of Philosophy


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

(email at

Areas of Doctoral Supervision

Most areas and periods of ancient philosophy (especially Presocratics, Plato, Aristotle, and Pythagoreanism); Greek literature; intellectual history of Greece, Rome, and the Near East.

Current PhD Students

Nicolò Benzi: Philosophy in Verse: Early Greek Poetry and the Expression of Philosophical Thought (Primary Supervisor)

Giulia de Cesaris: The Philosophical Path of Pythagoreanism in the Imperial Age (Primary Supervisor)

Matteo Milesi: The Reception of Homer, Hesiod and Pythagoras among the Neoplatonist Philosophers (Co-supervisor with Prof. Barbara Graziosi)

Richard Beniston: Seneca and Post-Hellenistic Stoicism (Secondary Supervisor)

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

Jun Yeob Lee: The aperilēpton in Epicureanism (Secondary Supervisor)


Phillip Sidney Horky is Lecturer of Classics and Co-director of the Centre for the Study of the Ancient Mediterranean and Near East (CAMNE). His research focuses on ancient philosophy, especially in its literary and historical contexts. Before arriving in Durham in 2011, he held postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard University's Center for Hellenic Studies (2010-11) and Stanford University (2007-10). 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 forthcoming in 2016), on the importance of mathematical Pythagoreanism for the development of Plato's philosophy. He has also recently completed several new articles, all of which deal with Hellenistic philosophy: one concerns the philosophical biography of Empedocles; another is a study of theoretical philosophy among the Pythagorean Pseudepigraphers; and another proposes to determine the notion of 'Italic' philosophy at the crossroads of Greco-Roman intellectual cultures (3rd-1st Centuries BCE). Previously published research has focused on the development of Greek philosophy in the context of the ancient Near East, the reception and transformation of Pythagorean thought in the writings of the Early Academy and the Peripatetics, and notions of the soul in early Greek philosophy and culture.

Dr Horky is currently working on three major research projects. The first project involves two books: the first book, Pythagorean Philosophy, 250 BCE to 200 CE: An Introduction and Collection of Sources in Translation (for Cambridge University Press), is a source book and translation of the philosophical texts and testmonies that constituted Pythagorean philosophy after its dissolution in the mid-4th Century BCE; the second book, provisionally titled Pythagoreanism after Pythagoreanism, is a monograph that argues for Dr Horky's formulation of Pythagorean philosophy during this period. The second major project is the development of an international research network, with special focus on the idea of the Ancient Republic, co-organized with Prof. Monte Johnson of the University of California-San Diego and Dr Grant Nelsestuen of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This project is currently funded by a Global Engagement Facilitation Grant from the International Office at Durham University and an A.W. Mellon Foundation Workshop Grant from the Center for the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Finally, Dr Horky is preparing an edited volume on Cosmos in the Ancient World, with papers taken from Classics and Ancient History's 2012-13 Research Seminar. Publications, drafts, and a current CV can be found on his web page.

Dr Horky also runs workofmemory, a blog with occasional thoughts on ancient philosophy, classics, and intellectual history. From 2012-15, Dr Horky was a Member of the Council of the Hellenic Society, and he is on the editorial board of the Journal of Hellenic Studies. 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.

Research Interests

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


Books: authored

Books: reviews

Essays in edited volumes

  • Horky, Phillip Sidney. (Forthcoming). 'Empedocles Democraticus: Hellenistic Biography at the Intersection of Philosophy and Politics'. In Philosophos Bios. Eds. Schorn, S. & Bonazzi, M. Turnhout: Brepols.
  • Horky, Phillip Sidney. (Forthcoming). 'Italic Philosophy in the Hellenistic Age'. In The Oxford Handbook of Roman Philosophy. Shearin, W.S. & Flecher, R. Oxford University Press.
  • Horky, Phillip Sidney (Forthcoming). 'Pseudo-Archytas' Protreptics? On Wisdom in its Contexts'. In Second Sailing: Alternative Prospectives on Plato. Nails, D. & Tarrant, H. Societas Scientiarum Fennica.

Journal papers: academic

Journal papers: popular

  • Horky, Phillip Sidney (2015). 'Flying Scholars and the Rise of Flatulence: the Scientific Fantasy of Aristophanes' Clouds'. Omnibus (69): 23-25.