Philologists

Philologists study the history of language. We have compiled a list of prominent philologists, living and dead, from all over the world. The list includes famous philologists like Max Muller, James Prinsep, E.A. Wallis Budge, John Philoponus and many more.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 
James Murray
(Lexicographer)

James Murray
6
Birthdate: February 7, 1837
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Denholm, Scotland
Died: July 26, 1915

James Murray was a Scottish philologist and lexicographer. He is best remembered as the main editor of the famous Oxford English Dictionary from 1879 until his demise in 1915. Murray's contribution to the dictionary and his collaboration with lexicographical researcher William Chester Minor inspired the 2019 film The Professor and the Madman, where the former was portrayed by Mel Gibson.

 2 
Max Müller
(Scholar, Philologist)

Max Müller
4
Birthdate: December 6, 1823
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dessau, Duchy of Anhalt, German Confederation
Died: October 28, 1900

Max Müller was a German-born Orientalist and philologist. Müller is credited with co-founding the western academic disciplines of religious studies and Indian studies. In 1874, he was honored with the Pour le Mérite. He received the prestigious Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and Art in 1875. In India, the Goethe Institutes are named in his honor.

 3 
Jacob Grimm
(Philologist)

Jacob Grimm
4
Birthdate: January 4, 1785
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hanau, Germany
Died: September 20, 1863

Part of the legendary folklorist duo known as the Brothers Grimm, Jacob Grimm gave to the world Grimm’s Fairy Tales, along with his younger brother, Wilhelm Grimm. The son of a lawyer, he, too, had initially studied law. He also contributed immensely to Germanic linguistics, with his Grimm's law.

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 4 
Friedrich Nietzsche
(German Philosopher, Cultural Critic and Philologist)

Friedrich Nietzsche
5
Birthdate: October 15, 1844
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Röcken, Lützen, Germany
Died: August 25, 1900

German philosopher, cultural critic, composer, and poet Friedrich Nietzsche has had a profound influence on modern intellectual history. He held the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel. His work spanned philosophical polemics, poetry, cultural criticism, and fiction. He suffered from numerous health problems from a young age and died at the age of 55.

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 5 

Jean-François Champollion
3
Birthdate: December 22, 1790
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Figeac, France
Died: March 4, 1832

Jean-François Champollion was a French orientalist, philologist, and scholar. A founding figure of Egyptology, Champollion is credited with deciphering the Egyptian hieroglyphs, which paved the way for several research and studies in the field of Egyptology. Not surprisingly, Champollion is often referred to as the Founder and Father of Egyptology.  

 6 
Giacomo Leopardi
(Philosopher)

Giacomo Leopardi
4
Birthdate: June 29, 1798
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Recanati, Italy
Died: June 14, 1837

Giacomo Leopardi was one of the greatest lyric poets of the 19th century. Born into a noble family, he mastered several languages and wrote many works by 16, in spite of suffering from a cerebrospinal ailment. Remembered for his iconic works such as A Silvia, he died during a cholera epidemic.

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 7 
Selma Ergeç
(Actress)

Selma Ergeç
6
Birthdate: November 1, 1978
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Hamm, Germany
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 8 
Vuk Stefanović Karadžić
(Philologist, Anthropologist and Linguist)

Vuk Stefanović Karadžić
4
Birthdate: November 6, 1787
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Tršić, Serbia
Died: February 7, 1864
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 9 
V. Gordon Childe
(Archaeologist)

V. Gordon Childe
3
Birthdate: April 14, 1892
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Sydney, Australia
Died: October 19, 1957

V. Gordon Childe was an Australian archaeologist best remembered for his contribution to the study of European prehistory. One of the earliest supporters of culture-historical archaeology, Childe went on to become the first proponent of Marxist archaeology. He is regarded as one of the best-known and most revered archaeologists of the 20th century.

 10 
Michael Ventris
(Architect, classicist and philologist who deciphered Linear B, the ancient Mycenaean Greek script)

Michael Ventris
4
Birthdate: July 12, 1922
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, England
Died: September 6, 1956

Apart from being a renowned architect, Michael Ventris was also a skilled cryptographer. He not only deciphered the Minoan Linear B script, but also linked it to the ancient Greek script. As an architect, he was commissioned by the Ministry of Education to design schools. He died in a car crash at 34.

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 11 
E. A. Wallis Budge
(Egyptologist)

E. A. Wallis Budge
4
Birthdate: July 27, 1857
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bodmin, England
Died: November 23, 1934

 12 
William Jones
(Philologist)

William Jones
4
Birthdate: September 28, 1746
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England
Died: April 27, 1794

 13 
Vladimir Propp
(Folklorist)

Vladimir Propp
3
Birthdate: April 29, 1895
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: August 22, 1970

 14 
Sibawayh
(Grammarian)

Sibawayh
4
Birthdate: 0760 AD
Birthplace: Beyza, Iran
Died: 0796 AD

Sibawayh was a Persian grammarian of Basra. He was the author of the earliest book on Arabic grammar and linguistics, an unnamed work simply referred to as Al-Kitāb, or "The Book." Modern scholars call him the greatest of all Arabic linguists and one of the greatest linguists of all time in any language. 

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 15 
Mildred Harnack
(Literary historian)

Mildred Harnack
4
Birthdate: September 16, 1902
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
Died: February 16, 1943

 16 
James Prinsep
(Antiquarian)

James Prinsep
4
Birthdate: August 20, 1799
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: County of Essex, England
Died: April 22, 1840
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 17 
Erich Auerbach
(Literary critic)

Erich Auerbach
4
Birthdate: November 9, 1892
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: October 13, 1957

 18 
Irving Finkel
(Philologist, Writer)

Irving Finkel
2
Birthdate: November 9, 1892, 1951
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England

 19 
Georges Dumézil
(Philologist)

Georges Dumézil
4
Birthdate: March 4, 1898
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 11, 1986

 20 
Wolfgang Iser
(Literary critic)

Wolfgang Iser
3
Birthdate: July 22, 1926
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Marienberg, Germany
Died: January 24, 2007

 21 
Georgius Agricola
(Former Humanist scholar, mineralogist and metallurgist known for his groundbreaking work De Natura Fossilium published in 1546, he is generally referred to as the Father of Mineralogy)

Georgius Agricola
4
Birthdate: March 24, 1494
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Glauchau, Germany
Died: November 21, 1555

 22 
George Perkins Marsh
(Environmentalist)

George Perkins Marsh
4
Birthdate: March 15, 1801
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Woodstock, Vermont, United States
Died: July 23, 1882

 23 

A. K. Ramanujan
2
Birthdate: March 16, 1929
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Mysore, British India
Died: July 13, 1993

 24 
Sahiba Gafarova
(Politician)

Sahiba Gafarova
4
Birthdate: March 19, 1955
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Shamkhor, Azerbaijan SSR, USSR

 25 
John Boswell
(Historian, Philologist)

John Boswell
2
Birthdate: March 20, 1947
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: December 24, 1994

Al-Khalil ibn Ahmad al-Farahidi
4
Birthdate: 0718 AD
Birthplace: Oman
Died: 0791 AD

 27 
J.B. Bury
(Historian)

J.B. Bury
3
Birthdate: October 16, 1861
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Clontibret, Ireland
Died: June 1, 1927

 28 
Justus Lipsius
(Philosopher)

Justus Lipsius
4
Birthdate: October 18, 1547
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Overijse, Belgium
Died: March 23, 1606

 29 
Henry Sweet
(Linguist, University teacher)

Henry Sweet
2
Birthdate: September 15, 1845
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
Died: April 30, 1912

 30 

Alexander Melville Bell
2
Birthdate: March 1, 1819
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: August 7, 1905

 31 
Elias Lönnrot
(Physician)

Elias Lönnrot
3
Birthdate: April 9, 1802
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Sammatti, Finland
Died: March 19, 1884

 32 
Aleksei Losev
(Philosopher, Philologist)

Aleksei Losev
3
Birthdate: September 23, 1893
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Novocherkassk, Russia
Died: May 24, 1988

 33 
J. R. R. Tolkien
(Author of 'The Hobbit' & 'The Lord of the Rings')

J. R. R. Tolkien
0
Birthdate: January 3, 1892
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bloemfontein, South Africa
Died: September 2, 1973

Considered one of the greatest authors, JRR Tolkien is popularly called the father of the modern fantasy literature. He is best known for his high fantasy classic works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, which is set in a conceived world called the Middle-Earth. Many years after his death, Tolkien continues to be one of the best-selling writers.

 34 

John Philoponus
3
Birthdate: 0490 AD
Birthplace: Alexandria, Egypt
Died: 0570 AD

 35 
William F. Albright
(Archaeologist)

William F. Albright
3
Birthdate: May 24, 1891
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Coquimbo, Chile
Died: September 19, 1971

 36 

Michael Witzel
3
Birthdate: July 18, 1943
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Swiebodzin, Poland

 37 

Friedrich Schlegel
3
Birthdate: March 10, 1772
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hannover, Germany
Died: January 12, 1829

 38 

Samuel ibn Naghrillah
3
Birthdate: 0993 AD
Birthplace: Córdoba, Spain
Died: 1056 AD

Considered the most politically influential Jew in Muslim Spain, Samuel ibn Naghrillah was also an eminent Talmudic scholar, poet, grammarian, philologist and soldier. Beginning his life as a merchant in Córdoba, he later moved to Granada, where his linguistic and calligraphic skills caught the attention of the vizier; he was appointed first as assistant vizier and on latter on as the vizier.

 39 

Julian Burnside
2
Birthdate: June 9, 1949
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia

Apart from being a successful barrister, Melbourne-based Julian Burnside, now a Living National Treasure, is also a famed human rights activist. A lover of the arts, he is a passionate collector of paintings and sculptures and has also chaired Chamber Music Australia. An author too, he has penned a children’s book.

 40 
Alexander Argüelles
(Linguist, Philologist)

Alexander Argüelles
2
Birthdate: April 30, 1964
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

 41 
Panini
(Linguist)

Panini
0
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Shalatula

 42 
Valery Durov
(Philologist, Educator)

Valery Durov
2
Birthdate: July 13, 1945
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia

 43 

Motoori Norinaga
3
Birthdate: June 21, 1730
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ise Province, Japan
Died: October 5, 1801

 44 
Ghil'ad Zuckermann
(Linguist, Philologist)

Ghil'ad Zuckermann
2
Birthdate: June 1, 1971
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel

 45 

Johann Jakob Bachofen
3
Birthdate: December 22, 1815
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Basel, Switzerland
Died: November 25, 1887

 46 
James Strong
(Theologian)

James Strong
2
Birthdate: August 14, 1822
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: August 7, 1894

 47 

Isaac Casaubon
3
Birthdate: February 18, 1559
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland
Died: July 1, 1614

 48 
Robert Scott
(Philologist, Educator)

Robert Scott
2
Birthdate: January 26, 1811
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bondleigh, England
Died: December 2, 1887

 49 

Fujiwara no Teika
3
Birthdate: 1162 AD
Birthplace: Kyoto, Japan
Died: September 26, 1241

Fujiwara no Teika was a Japanese anthologist, literary critic, calligrapher, novelist, scribe, and poet. Widely regarded as one of the greatest Japanese poets of all time, Fujiwara no Teika was very influential during the late-Heian and early-Kamakura periods. Considered the greatest exponent of the waka form, Fujiwara no Teika's ideas dominated classical Japanese poetry for centuries after his death.

 50 

Yoani Sánchez
2
Birthdate: September 4, 1975
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Havana, Cuba

Yoani Sánchez is a Cuban blogger best known for her critical depiction of life in Cuba, which has earned her multiple international awards. Her blog Generación Y is available in 17 languages. In 2008, Yoani Sánchez was named in Time magazine's 100 most influential people list.