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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 Greek and Roman philosophy (especially Presocratics, Plato, the Early Academy, 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. His research focuses on ancient Greek and Roman philosophy. Before arriving in Durham in 2011, he held a Residential Fellowship at Harvard University's Center for Hellenic Studies (2010-11) and a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship at 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 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 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. Prior published research focused on the development of early 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 'Italic' philosophy in the context of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy.

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 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). From 2012-15, Dr Horky was a Member of the Council of the Hellenic Society (UK).

For the academic year 2016-17, Dr Horky will be on research leave as a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow at the National Humanities Center.

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. (Accepted). 'Italic Philosophy in the Hellenistic Age'. In The Oxford Handbook of Roman Philosophy. Eds. Shearin, W.S. & Flecher, R. Oxford University Press.
  • Horky, Phillip Sidney. (Accepted). 'Speusippus and Xenocrates on the Pursuit and Ends of Philosophy'. In Brill's Companion to the Reception of Plato in Antiquity. Eds. Tarrant, H. & Renaud, F. Brill.
  • Horky, Phillip Sidney. (2016). 'Empedocles Democraticus: Hellenistic Biography at the Intersection of Philosophy and Politics'. In Philosophos Bios: Philosophy in Ancient Greek Biography. Eds. Schorn, S. & Bonazzi, M. Brepols. 37-71.
  • Horky, Phillip Sidney. (2016). 'Pseudo-Archytas' Protreptics? On Wisdom in its Contexts'. In Second Sailing: Alternative Perspectives on Plato. Eds. Nails, D. & Tarrant, H. Societas Scientiarum Fennica. 21-39.

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.