The Department of Philology was established in 1983 as part of the School of Philosophy. The School was founded at the University of Crete in 1976, as a single school to which students were admitted directly. The first intake was in the 1977-78 academic year. The first Dean of the School was the Classicist Yannis Kambitsis (1977-1979). In 1980 the following five divisions were set up: Classical Studies; Medieval and Modern Studies; History; Archaeology; Pedagogical Studies.
One particularly important milestone came in the year 1983. Following the implementation of Law 1268/1982, the School of Philosophy was divided into three Departments: the Department of Philology, the Department of History and Archaeology, and the Department of Philosophy and Social Studies.
Students were admitted to the first two departments as early as the 1983-1984 academic year, with 193 students gaining entry to the Department of Philology. The first graduates were awarded their degrees on 13/8/1987. From its establishment up to July 2019, approximately 3,000 students have graduated from the Department of Philology Undergraduate Program.
A second major development came in 1985-1987, when the departments in the School of Philosophy became autonomous. Immediately after the election for chancellor on 21st March 1987, elections were held in the School of Philosophy for the first Dean of the School in its new form, as well as for the first heads and vice-heads of department.
The first unelected Head of Department was Modern Greek specialist Nasos Vayenas (1983-1985), followed by Classicist Apostolos Athanasakis (1985-1987). Since then, the following have served as Head of Department: Theater Studies specialist Walter Puchner (1987-1988), Byzantinist Theocharis Detorakis (1988-1989), Classicists Yannis Kambitsis (1989-1990), Michalis Paschalis (1990-1995 and 2000-2004), Anastasios Nikolaidis (1995-1999 and 2004-2008), and Stelios Panayotakis (2020 onwards), Modern Greek specialists Alexis Politis (2008-2012) and Angela Kastrinaki (2013-2016), and Linguist Alexis Kalokerinos (2016-2020).
The Department suffered a serious loss with the sudden death of Yannis Kambitsis in August 1990.
When the Department of Philology was founded in 1983, four divisions were established:
- The Division of Classical Studies
- The Division of Medieval and Modern Greek Philology, renamed the Division of Division of Byzantine and Modern Greek Philology in 1992
- The Division of Linguistics
- The Division of Theater Studies and Musicology, renamed the Division of Theater-Cinema Studies and Musicology in 2019
Since the 1990-1991 academic year, the Undergraduate Studies Program in the Department of Philology has included four “specializations” corresponding to the department’s four divisions, which were established as “majors” in accordance with applicable legislation.
The joint Department of Philology Postgraduate Program of Studies first commenced in the 1993-1994 academic year. As of 2019-2020 this has been replaced by four new Postgraduate Studies Programs, as follows:
- MA in Classical Studies)
- MA in Byzantine and Modern Greek Philology
- MA in Linguistics
- MA in Theater and Cinema Studies (by inter-institutional collaboration with the Mediterranean Studies Institute at the Foundation for Research and Technology- Hellas).
The Department’s first doctoral candidate enrolled in the 1986 academic year, since which time 60 doctorates have been awarded. The current Doctoral Studies Regulations came into effect in the 2017-2018 academic year.
The following seven laboratories operate in the department:
- the Papyrology and Epigraphy Lab (since 1998)
- The Classical Studies Lab (since 2019)
- The Paleography Lab and Microfilm Archive (since 1998)
- The Lab of Literary Genres and Literary History (since 2016)
- The Linguistics Lab (since 1998)
- The Language Learning and Processing Lab (since 2018)
- The Laboratory of Theater, Film and Music Studies (since 1980)