Skip to main content

Prof. Phillip Sidney Horky


AM (Chicago), PhD (Southern California)

AffiliationRoom numberTelephone
Professor in the Department of Classics and Ancient History212 38 North Bailey 
Member of the Centre for the Study of the Ancient Mediterranean and the Near East  


Phillip Horky is Professor in the Department of Classics and Ancient History and a member of Durham Centre for Ancient and Medieval Philosophy (DCAMP). He is also a member of the Department of Philosophy. His research concerns Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy. 

Prior to his arrival in Durham, Prof. Horky held postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard University's Center for Hellenic Studies (2010-11), and Stanford University (2007-10). He has also held the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship at the National Humanities Center (2016) and been a distinguished visitor at the Collaborative Program in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy, University of Toronto (2016).

Prof. Horky was awarded the British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship (2022-23) for a project on the philosophy of democracy in ancient Greece and Rome. Additionally, he is Co-Investigator for the project 'Aristotle Pezographos: The Writing Styles of Aristotle and their Contribution to the Evolution of Ancient Greek Prose' (Principal Investigator: Prof. Edith Hall FBA), which was awarded a UKRI Frontier Research Grant of £2.5 Million (2023-28).

Prof. Horky is co-editor of two book series: a new series Cambridge Texts and Studies in Platonism, published by Cambridge University Press, and the series Greece & Rome New Surveys in the Classics, published by Cambridge University Press. 

A trustee of the Gilbert Murray Trust, Prof. Horky was a Member of the Council of the Hellenic Society (UK) from 2012-15. He is also a member of the Peer Review College of the Arts and Humanities Research Council and on the Advisory Council for the Institute of Classical Studies in London.

Prof. Horky has written a History of Ancient & Medieval Philosophy at Durham University, which can be accessed here. For an online interview with the philosophy magazine 3:16, see here.


Prof. 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 published an edited volume entitled Cosmos in the Ancient World (Cambridge University Press, 2019), which investigates notions of cosmic order, balance, and symmetry in ancient physics, politics, ethics, poetics, and aesthetics, from Pythagoras to Nonnus. 

In addition to various articles and book chapters, Prof. 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) Project Academy is a partnership of scholars based in Durham and Tϋbingen, with the aim of developing a major initiative in the study of the Platonic tradition. At the heart of this project will be a series of critical editions, English and German translations, and commentaries of the fragments (and testimonies) of the members of Plato’s Academy (ca. 380–266 BCE). The initial stages of Project Academy involve four workshops dedicated to exploring the key issues in producing a major set of editions of the members of the Early Academy, over a period of roughly two years (February 2019–December 2020). The first workshop, on Speusippus of Athens, took place on 15-16 February 2019 (info here); the second workshop, on Xenocrates of Chalcedon, took place in Tϋbingen on 1-2 November 2019; the third workshop, on Philip of Opus, Hermodorus, and the Index Academicorum, took place 27-28 June 2022. A final workshop will take place in Tϋbingen (date TBD). New editions emerging from Project Academy are expected to be published in the book series Cambridge Texts and Studies in Platonism (Cambridge University Press).

3) The Philosophy of Democracy in Antiquity (awarded the British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship 2022-23). Is philosophy antithetical to democracy? Scholars have asserted that ancient democrats never developed a systematic theory of democracy, and that all ancient philosophers were 'anti-democratic'. Yet since John Rawls' seminal A Theory of Justice (1971), we can speak of a contemporary 'philosophy of democracy' without fear of internal contradiction. Could something similar be hiding in plain sight in the ancient world? This project aims to illuminate and determine, for the first time, the parameters of the philosophy of democracy in ancient Greece and Rome. By tracking the history of popular rule and its advocates from the early 6th century BCE, with the legislation of Solon of Athens, through to the rise of the 'democratic' cosmopolis of Rome in the 2nd century CE, this project will elucidate the various philosophical arguments used to support popular rule (minimally) or the regime of democracy as such (maximally) in antiquity. 

Doctoral Supervision

Prof. Horky is happy to supervise projects on Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy (especially the Presocratics, Plato and Platonism, Aristotle and Aristotelianism, and Pythagoreanism). He is interested in all topics of relevance to ancient philosophy (especially metaphysics, cosmology, epistemology, political theory, and ethics).

Current and former Ph.D. students supervised include:

Edoardo Benati (Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa): The Pseudo-Platonic Definitions: A Critical Edition with Introduction and Commentary (Correlatore, with Mauro Tulli)

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

Matilde Berti: The Relation of Parts and Wholes in Plato (First Supervisor)

Carlo CacciatoriPlato's Later Moral Epistemology (First Supervisor)

Giulia De CesarisAristotle's Account of Speusippus' and Xenocrates' Metaphysical and Epistemological Theories (First Supervisor)

Andrea Giannotti: The Pre-Play Ceremonies of the Athenian Dionysia: A Reappraisal (First Supervisor)

Maria Cristina MennutiDemonology in Antiquity: From post-Hellenistic Platonism to Christianity (First Supervisor)

Valerio RicciardiThe Architectonic Science: Politics and the Statesman’s Knowledge in Ancient Philosophy (First Supervisor)

Cesare SinattiThe Mind Through All Things: Stoic Cosmic Psychology and its Role in the Unification of the Cosmos (First Supervisor)

Schools Talks and Outreach

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

Access to Publications

To access Prof. Horky's publications, drafts of forthcoming papers, and current CV, please see his webpages at and Philpapers.

Research interests

  • Ancient Philosophy
  • Metaphysics & Epistemology
  • Intellectual History
  • Cosmology
  • Political Philosophy
  • Ancient Greek Literature


Authored book

Book review

  • Horky, Phillip Sidney. (2015). 'Review of Gerson, L. From Plato to Platonism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2014)'. Journal of the History of Philosophy 53(3): 542-543.
  • Horky, Phillip Sidney. (2013). 'Review of Graham, Daniel W. The Texts of Early Greek Philosophy: The Complete Fragments and Selected Testimonies of the Major Presocratics. Two Volumes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010).'. American Journal of Philology 134: 149-155.
  • Horky, Phillip Sidney. (2013). 'Review of Schofield, Malcolm (ed.). Aristotle, Plato and Pythagoreanism in the First Century BC: New Directions for Philosophy (Cambridge University Press, 2013).'. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2013.11.17
  • Horky, Phillip Sidney. (2012). 'Review of Brisson, Luc and Segonds, Alain Philippe. Jamblique, Vie de Pythagore. 2e tirage revu et corrigé. First Edition Published 1996 (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2011).'. Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2012.09.23
  • Horky, Phillip Sidney. (2011). 'Review of Frede, D. and Reis, B. (eds.). Body and Soul in Ancient Philosophy (Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2009).'. Journal of Hellenic Studies 131: 263-264.
  • Horky, Phillip Sidney. (2010). 'Review of Nichols, Mary P. Socrates on Friendship and Community: Reflections on Plato's Symposium, Phaedrus, and Lysis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007).'. Classical Bulletin 86(1): 156-158.
  • Horky, Phillip Sidney. (2008). 'Review of Herrmann, Fritz-Gregor. Words & Ideas: The Roots of Plato's Philosophy (Swansea: The Classical Press of Wales).'. Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2008.08.14.

Chapter in book

Edited book

Journal Article

Supervision students