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Honorary Fellow in the Department of Classics and Ancient History  
Member of the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies  


Myrthe Bartels is Honorary Fellow at Durham. She came to Durham as COFUND Junior Research Fellow (2018-2019), and the following academic year taught seminars for Early Greek Philosophy and Introduction to the Greek World as Teaching Assistant (2019-2020). She is currently Research Fellow in the History of Philosophy at the Dipartimento di Civiltà e Forme del Sapere of the University of Pisa.

Myrthe Bartels studied Classics and Russian at Leiden University and received her PhD in Classics from Leiden in 2014. As part of her PhD, she spent a term at Stanford University with scholarships from the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and the Leiden University Fund (2011). Following her PhD, she was Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh (2014-2015), Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Erfurt (2015-2017), and International Fellow at the New Europe College in Bucharest (2017-2018). She also received two research scholarships from the Fondation Hardt pour l'étude de l'antiquité classique in Vandoeuvres (2014, 2018).


Myrthe Bartels' research centres on ancient Greek political thought in its historical context. She wrote a monograph on Plato's LawsPlato's Pragmatic Project. A Reading of Plato's Laws (Steiner Verlag, 2017), which is based on her Leiden dissertation and appeared in the series Hermes Einzelschriften. The book analyses the way in which the laws are embedded in the dialogue and explores the consequences for the status of the legislative project. She is currently working on several articles and book chapters on 4th-century Greek political thought, as well as a chapter on the reception of Socrates in Baroque opera.

She is also interested in political interpretations of musical genres. Together with Andy Hamilton (Philosophy), she organised the workshop Philosophy of Music - Perspectives on Antiquity (11-12 July 2019), which will have an anticipated sequel in 2022 or 2023.

Research interests

  • ancient Greek law
  • Greek literature
  • ancient Greek philosophy
  • history of political ideas
  • classical reception
  • ancient political philosophy


Authored book

  • Bartels, M.L. (2017). Plato's Pragmatic Project. A Reading of Plato's Laws. Steiner Verlag.

Book review

  • Bartels, M.L. (2020). Review of: Julia Annas, Virtue and Law in Plato and Beyond. Oxford University Press 2017. Bryn Mawr Classical Review (2020.03.15).
  • Bartels, M.L. (2019). Review of: Marcus Folch, The City and the Stage. Performance, Genre, and Gender in Plato’s Laws. Oxford University Press 2015. Gnomon 91(8): 683-687.
  • Bartels, M.L. (2017). Review of: Susan Sauvé Meyer, Plato. Laws 1 and 2. Oxford University Press 2015. Mnemosyne 70(6): 1059-1072.
  • Bartels, M.L. (2014). Review of: Gregory Recco & Eric Sanday (eds.), Plato’s Laws. Force and Truth in Politics. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press 2013. Bryn Mawr Classical Review (2014.05.08).
  • Bartels, M.L. (2014). Review of: Mark J. Lutz, Divine Law and Political Philosophy in Plato’s Laws. Northern Illinois University Press 2012. Mnemosyne 67(4).

Chapter in book

  • Bartels, M.L. (2020). Plato’s seasick steersman: on (not) being overwhelmed by fear in Plato’s Laws. In Emotions in Plato. Renaut, O., & Candiotto, L. Brill. 147-68.
  • Bartels, M.L. (2012). ‘Senex Mensura. An Objective Aesthetics of Seniors in Plato’s Laws’. In Aesthetic Value in Classical Antiquity, eds. R.M. Rosen and I. Sluiter. Brill. 133-158.

Journal Article

  • Bartels, M. L. (2021). Philosophical Perspectives on Eunomia. Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek and Roman Political Thought 38(3): 473-493.
  • Bartels, M.L. (2017). ‘Why do lawgivers pursue philia more than justice? Aristotle, EN VIII.1‘. Maia 69(1): 3-22.

Newspaper/Magazine Article

  • Bartels, M.L. (2014). ’Laat universiteit autonoom blijven’. De Volkskrant
  • Bartels, M.L. (2010). ’Kunstwerk kan geen proefschrift zijn’. NRC Handelsblad