The object of the present study consists in the substance and role of classical philology in 19th-century Greece. There is a particularly close connection between the study of classical antiquity and Greece during that period since the ancient Greek past provided the cornerstone of the ideological foundations of the newly founded Modern Greek state. Thus, the formation of Classical Philology as a discipline in Greece in the course of the 19th century was a process intertwined with Modern Greek state building. This is a complex field of research in which the history of ideologies intersects with cultural studies; the book examines it by focusing especially on how philology was practiced at the faculty of philosophy of the University of Athens.
A major aspect investigated concerns the objective as well as the ideological factors that defined a discipline that was par excellence ideologically favored by Modern Greek intellectuals and scholars and which occupied a privileged position in the curriculum of the School of Philosophy of the University of Athens – the institution in the context of which scientific disciplines in 19th century Greece were largely established. The relationship of Classical Philology with Modern Greek education, ideology and the cultivation of vernacular Greek, the nominal freedom in the way it was taught and the significance of the fact that 19th century Modern Greek philologists tended to be trained in German universities are among the topics discussed in the book. The protagonists of the story are the Modern Greek professors of Classical Philology, many of whom produced important work. A fundamental question the book addresses is at what point and to what extent Classical Philology became a specialized, scientific academic discipline in 19th century Greece.