Heinrich Schleimen

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Heinrich Schliemann
Fascinating stories have been passed down orally from one generation to the next, since Adam and Eve’s existence. Many individuals would share their stories about the powerful gods, ancient cities, romances, and the great warriors that fought to be remembered. However, for Heinrich Schliemann, it was Homer’s inspirational poem about the Trojan War that changed his life forever. Schliemann is notorious for chasing Homer’s description of Troy. It was a childhood dream for him to find the ruins of the marvelous city. During Schliemann’s search for the vast city of Troy, he discovered numerous of cities, jewels, and unearthed tombs that were full of gold. With each one of the objects that he unearthed, Schliemann was able to associate it with a verse from Homer’s Iliad. He knew every line from the Iliad, and used it as a guide to find Troy. Even though his discoveries were absolutely jaw dropping, many believed that they were not authentic artifacts, due to his reputation around the academic world. Schliemann was known for being an uneducated habitual liar with bad ethics, who could not be trusted very often. He looted numerous amounts of his discoveries, lied to get his way, and cheated people out of their shares of the finds. Schliemann’s egotistical personality was damaging towards his investigation, since he was so caught up in becoming the famous scholar, who proved Homer’s poem to be true. Despite the immeasurable amount of damage that he caused with his lying, and impatient digging technique; Schliemann’s discoveries, enthusiasm, and concepts opened the door for the future of modern archaeology. Heinrich Schliemann was born in 1822. He gained the interest of history mainly from his father, who would tell him the romances of the Iliad as a child. When he was eight years old, “…he received from his father a Christmas present of Jerrer’s Universal History which contained the story of Troy with an engraving of Aeneas escaping from the burning towers of Troy” (Wood 1998: 59). It was Homer’s well-described tall tale of the Trojan War that inspired Schliemann to become fascinated with antiquity. From a young age, Schliemann became completely obsessed with the Iliad. He always believed that the ruins of Troy’s colossal walls still remained, but they were covered under ages of dirt. At the age of forty-six, Schliemann decided that he wanted to pursue his childhood dream to find the ancient city of Troy. This profession was going to be a huge change from his previous business life, where he was involved in unscrupulous dealings that made him a fortune. “The entrepreneur was involved in several underhanded dealings such as selling gunpowder used in the Crimean War, gold from the California gold rush, and cotton during the Civil War” (Wood 1998: 60). Schliemann “succeeded in commerce because of his for languages and his lack of scruples”(Etienne 1992: 110). With the fortune that Schliemann made from his businesses it allowed for him to retire at the age of forty-six, and fund his intense search for Troy. It became a goal of Schliemann’s to prove that Homer’s Iliad was true, and that it was not a fictional story. Schliemann was not experience in archaeology, but since his adolescents years he wanted to be respected as a scholar. He “desperately craved acceptance by the academic world as a serious scholar and archaeologist” (Wood 1998: 62). By excavating the site of Troy it became a perfect opportunity for Schliemann to fulfill his hunger for fame. While Schliemann was searching for Homer’s Troy, he was also becoming known amongst the scholarly world. In 1871, Heinrich decided to excavate at Hissarlik, with the help of Frank Calvert. It was here that he found the controversial “Priam’s Treasure” that belonged to the beautiful Helen of Troy. Many people have had their doubts about the discovery of “Priam’s Treasure”. Schliemann has been accused of buying the jewelry on the black market and planting it at the...
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