A Brief History of the Faculty of Philosophy

The University of Thessaloniki was founded one hundred years after the founding of the University of Athens and a decade after the liberation of the region in 1925. Its founder, Alexandros Papanastasiou, then Prime Minister of the country and great proponent of the establishment of the Demotic Greek, attached great importance to his idea of forging a different mentality -to the extent possible- to that of the University of Athens during that period. The Faculty of Philosophy established, as early as the initial years of its functioning, the principles by which it would work, displaying a high degree of progressivism in terms of spirit and language, compared to the Faculty of Philosophy in Athens, as well as contributing to the character of the University. The Faculty opened its doors to 65 students in 1926.
The only School of the University at that time, in 1926, it was housed in the Villa “Allatini”, with desks and blackboards, made at the Papafio Orphanage. However, in October 1927, following the initiative of the President of the Rector’s Council, Georgios Sotiriadis, it was transferred to the mansion of the Second Military Hospital of Thessaloniki, where the Ottoman school “Idadie” was housed until 1912. Today, it houses some of the departments of the Faculty of Philosophy. The first conference session “in the new Institution of the University took place on Tuesday 4 October 1927, at 4 pm”.
As part of the School of Philosophy at University of Thessaloniki, the Institute of Foreign Languages and Philologies was founded as a branch, under the President of the Republic, Alexandros Zaimis, and Education Minister, Georgios Papandreou (law 5139/1-10-1931). Its purpose was designated as “the practical and theoretical instruction and development of foreign languages”. It was intended for six schools to be established.
The aim of the Faculty is twofold; on the one hand, to educate competent staff for Greece’s Secondary Education and, on the other hand, to mould scholars who can contribute to research in a wide range of areas of historical and social studies and of the humanities, which is the task of any Faculty of Philosophy. The problem of combining these two objectives of the Faculty proved extremely difficult to solve, as demonstrated by the constant changes in the divisions of the Faculty.
According to its Foundation Act, the Faculty of Philosophy consisted of two schools: the School of Philology and the School of History and Archaeology and it offered five degrees (Philosophy and Education, Classics, Medieval and Modern Greek Literature, History, Archaeology). Since November 1935 the School has offered two degrees, the Degree in Philology and the Degree in History and Archaeology. In 1952, the course of studies changed with the first three years of studies being made common for all students, while in the fourth year, students select their specialization in one of the following fields: 1. Classics, 2. Medieval and Modern Greek Literature, 3. Philosophy, 4. History and 5. Archaeology. As of the third academic year, a new division into two schools followed; the School of Philology and the School of History and Archaeology. The School of English Language and Literature started functioning in the academic year 1951-52, followed by the School of French Language and Literature (1954-1955), as well as the Schools of German and Italian Language and Literature (1960-61). The Departments of Balkan and Oriental Studies and Philology never functioned. At the end of 1963, the School of Philosophy was divided into four departments in the second academic year (the Department of Philosophy, the Department of Classics, the Department of Archaeology and the Department of Medieval and Modern Greek Studies). In 1971, the School of Philosophy expanded to include seven departments and the division was then transferred to the third year.
As of the academic year of 1982-1983 and onwards, law no. 1268 came into effect, some provisions of which were modified according to law no. 1566. The Faculty of Philosophy was established replacing the old School of Philosophy and the four schools of the Institute of Foreign Languages and Philologies became independent (law no.1268). In 1984-1985, the Faculty of Philosophy was divided into three schools: the School of Philology, the School of History and Archaeology, and the School of Philosophy, Education and Psychology. In 1993, the School of Philosophy, Education and Psychology was further divided into the School of Philosophy and Education and the School of Psychology. Today, the Faculty of Philosophy consists of eight schools, each of which providing its graduates with its own degree.