Classical philology studies classical languages. Classical philology principally originated from the Library of Pergamum and the Library of Alexandria around the fourth century BCE, continued by Greeks and Romans throughout the Roman/Byzantine Empire. It was preserved and promoted during the Islamic Golden Age, and eventually resumed by European scholars of the Renaissance, where it was soon joined by philologies of other non-Asian (European) (Germanic, Celtic), Eurasian (Slavistics, etc.) and Asian (Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese, etc.) languages. Indo-European studies involves the comparative philology of all Indo-European languages.
Philology, with its focus on historical development (diachronic analysis), is contrasted with linguistics due to Ferdinand de Saussure's insistence on the importance of synchronic analysis. The contrast continued with the emergence of structuralism and Chomskyan linguistics alongside its emphasis on syntax.
The term "philology" is derived from the Greek φιλολογία (philología), from the terms φίλος (phílos) "love, affection, loved, beloved, dear, friend" and λόγος (lógos) "word, articulation, reason", describing a love of learning, of literature, as well as of argument and reasoning, reflecting the range of activities included under the notion of λόγος. The term changed little with the Latin philologia, and later entered the English language in the 16th century, from the Middle French philologie, in the sense of "love of literature".
The adjective φιλόλογος (philólogos) meant "fond of discussion or argument, talkative", in Hellenistic Greek, also implying an excessive ("sophistic") preference of argument over the love of true wisdom, φιλόσοφος (philósophos).