The Greek philosophical schools according to Europe’s earliest ‘history of philosophy’: Towards a new pioneering critical edition of Philodemus’ Arrangement of the Philosophers

Type of project: European  |  Start date: 01/01/2021  |  End date: 31/12/2025

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 we may 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 to provide a new innovative critical edition of the whole treatise and its different sections, with extensive introductions and commentaries.

In particular, we shall apply advanced techniques to both opisthograph and multi-layered papyri belonging to Philodemus’ ‘Syntaxis’, as well as to other papyri, in order to: (a) read the text hidden on the verso; (b) detect, classify and replace overlapping layers; (c) read the text concealed inside the latter.

We shall 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.

Finally, we shall 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.

GreekSchools explained in a few minutes (video)

Funded by the European Union

Within the framework of the ERC project GreekSchools, the following platform were developed:


Funding programme:
Horizon 2020

Funding body:
European Union

Grant agreement:


CNR-ILC role:

Project coordinator:
University of Pisa (UniPi), P.I. Graziano Ranocchia

CNR-ILC Research Unit Chair:
Angelo Mario Del Grosso

Federico Boschetti
Davide Albanesi
Paola Baroni
Simone Zenzaro