The Greek Philosophical Schools according to Europe's earliest "history of philosophy"

Towards a new pioneering critical edition of Philodemus’ Arrangement of the Philosophers

Acronimo: GreekSchools


Our knowledge about Greek philosophical schools is mostly second-hand and based on Diogenes Laërtius’ Lives of Eminent Philosophers (3rd century AD) and Philodemus of Gadara’s Arrangement of the Philosophers (75-50 BC) – hereinafter Syntaxis –, an extensive treatise in several books which represents the earliest ‘history of philosophy’ to have reached us directly from antiquity. From this work exclusively preserved by the Herculaneum papyri, it is possible to derive a virtually systematic account of the history of Greek philosophical schools, which is in many respects unique and much closer to the facts than Diogenes’ is. Unfortunately, the original manuscripts which transmit it are in a poor state and the currently available editions of them have largely been made obsolete by the latest technological progress.
By relying on the most advanced technologies available today, the project aims at providing a new innovative critical edition of the whole treatise and its different sections, with extensive introductions and commentaries.

In particular, the project shall:

  • apply non-invasive techniques to both opisthograph and multi-layered papyri belonging to Philodemus’ Syntaxis in order to (1) read the text hidden on the verso, (2) detect, classify and replace overlapping layers, and (3) read the text concealed inside the latter;
  • combine these state-of-the-art methods with new, sounder philological approaches in order to produce a more reliable and substantially improved critical text of Philodemus’ treatise and its various sections through an innovative editorial system;
  • produce an open-access electronic edition of it through a pioneering open-source scholarly Web platform, engaging the scientific community in an on-going and on-line collaborative review of our critical edition.


  • Finanziato da: Commissione europea
  • Call: ERC-2019-ADG
  • Data di inizio: 01/01/2021
  • Data di conclusione: 31/12/2025
  • Responsabile scientifico ISPC: Costanza Miliani
  • Ente capofila: Università di Pisa
  • Altri Enti/Istituzioni/Organizzazioni coinvolte: CNR ILC, MIBACT-Biblioteca Nazionale di Napoli
  • Link al progetto

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