Department of Greek & Latin


Tom Mackenzie

Honorary Research Fellow


Email: t.mackenzie@ucl.ac.uk

Research interests: Greek literature, Presocratic philosophy, Greek religion, didactic poetry

IRIS research profile

Originally from London, I completed my undergraduate (2009) and Master's (2010) degrees in Classics at Oxford. I then spent two years as an English teacher in London at Pimlico Academy, as part of the Teach First programme. I returned to Oxford in 2012 to embark on a doctorate which I completed in 2015. I then spent a year as a Teaching Associate in Greek Literature at Cambridge before coming to UCL in 2016.

My main research interests focus on the intersection between Greek literature and philosophy. My first book, Presocratic Poetics (CUP), applies literary-critical approaches to the Presocratic philosophers, Xenophanes, Parmenides and Empedocles who, unlike most other philosophers, wrote in verse. It aims to bring these authors further into the fold of literary studies and assess their significance for our understanding of the development of Greek poetics up until Plato. 

I have further academic interests in ancient didactic poetry, in the religious movement known as ‘Orphism’ and its literary manifestations, and in the history of Classical scholarship, in particular in its relationship to Scottish Romanticism.



  • Poetry and Poetics in the Presocratic Philosophers, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021.

Articles / Book Chapters

  • Rationality and Presocratic Cosmology in Sophocles’ Antigone’. Journal of Hellenic Studies 142 (2022), pp. 30-48.

  • ‘Hesiod, the Presocratic Poets, Aristeas, Epimenides and the Gold Tablets: Genre and Narrative’ pp. 81-103 in H. Koning and L. Iribarren (eds.) Hesiod and the Beginnings of Greek Philosophy. Leiden: Brill, 2022.

  • A Heraclitean Allusion to the Odyssey’. Classical Quarterly (accepted, March 2020).

  • ‘Empedocles, Personal Identity, and the Narrative of the Fallen Daimōn'. Phoenix 74 (2000), pp. 111-130.

  • ‘Hesiod in Liddell & Scott’, pp. 105-123 in Liddell and Scott: The Worlds of a Lexicon edited by C. Stray, M. Clarke and J. Katz. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020.

  • Georgica and Orphica: The Georgics in the Context of Orphic Poetry and Religion’, pp.67-77 in, Reflections and New Perspectives on Virgil's Georgics edited by N.Freer and B. Xinyue. London: Bloomsbury, 2019.

  • ‘Parmenides and early Greek Allegory’ Materiali e discussioni per l'analisi dei testi classici 79:31-59. 2017.

  • ‘The Contents of Empedocles’ Poem: A New Argument for the Single-Poem Hypothesis’ Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 200: 25-32. 2016.

  • ‘Language and Learning with the Presocratics: Xenophanes and Parmenides as Educators and Linguists’, pp.25-48 in, The History of Linguistics in the Context of Education (= Beitraege zur Geschichte der Sprachwissenschaft 26.1) edited by C. de Jonge and G.J. Rutten. Münster: Nodus Publikationen. 2016