Januar als eins der neun Kinder des protestantischen Pfarrers zu [ ] Neu-Buckow in Mecklenburg-Schwerin geboren, wurde er auf den Namen Julius getauft, aber nach dem Tode eines Bruders auf dessen Namen von den Eltern umgenannt. In seiner Verzweiflung wollte er Schiffsjunge werden und verschaffte sich durch die Vermittlung eines Freundes seiner Eltern einen Platz auf einer Brigg, die nach Venezuela bestimmt war. Petersburg geeignet erscheinen. Anfang der 50er Jahre reist Sch. Fillmore, to whom I made my introduction by stating that the great desire to see this beautiful country of the West and to make the acquaintance of the great men who govern it had induced me to come from Russia, and that I now decerned it my first and most agreeable duty to pay my respects to the President.
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He is sometimes considered to be the modern discoverer of prehistoric Greece, though scholarship in the late 20th and early 21st centuries revealed that much self-mythologizing was involved in establishing his reputation.
Schliemann was the son of a poor pastor. By one of his autobiographical accounts, it was a picture of Troy in flames in a history book his father had given him when he was seven years old that remained in his memory throughout his life and sustained his fervent belief in the historical foundations of the Homeric poems.
He worked for several years at the grocery and then determined to emigrate. In order to do so, he became a cabin boy on a ship bound from Hamburg to Venezuela. After the vessel was wrecked off the Dutch coast, he became an office boy and then a bookkeeper for a trading firm in Amsterdam.
He had a passion and a flair for languages, as well as a remarkable memory, and those factors, combined with great energy and determination, enabled him to learn to read and write several languages fluently. Accounts vary, but his competence certainly included Russian and both ancient and modern Greek. In his firm sent him to St.
Petersburg as an agent. There he founded a business on his own and embarked, among other things, on the indigo trade. In he married Ekaterina Lyschin. He made a fortune at the time of the Crimean War , mainly as a military contractor. In the s he was in the United States and became a U.
Returning to Russia, he retired from business at age 36 and began to devote his energies and money to the study of prehistoric archaeology. To train himself, he traveled extensively in Greece , Italy , Scandinavia , Germany , and Syria and then went around the world, visiting India , China , and Japan he wrote a book about the last two countries.
He also studied archaeology in Paris. He further claimed that the graves of the Greek commander Agamemnon and his wife, Clytemnestra , at Mycenae , which had been described by the Greek geographer Pausanias , were not the tholoi vaulted tombs outside the citadel walls but lay inside the citadel.
He was able to prove both theories by excavation in the course of the next few years. In the meantime, he divorced his Russian wife and married a young Greek schoolgirl named Sophia Engastromenos, whom he had selected through a marriage bureau.
A number of isolated discoveries had been made before Schliemann began digging. In Schliemann took up his work at that large man-made mound. He believed that the Homeric Troy must be in the lowest level of the mound, and he dug uncritically through the upper levels. In he uncovered fortifications and the remains of a city of great antiquity, and he discovered a treasure of gold jewelry as well as vessels of bronze, gold, and silver , which he smuggled out of Turkey.
He believed that the city he found was Homeric Troy. However, it proved to predate the era he thought it to be. In August he began work in the tholoi , digging by the Lion Gate and then inside the citadel walls, where he found a double ring of slabs and, within that ring, five shaft graves a sixth was found immediately after his departure. Buried with 16 bodies in the circle of shaft graves was a large treasure of gold, silver, bronze, and ivory objects.
In , , and , he excavated the site of the Treasury of Minyas, at Orchomenus in Boeotia, but he found little there but the remains of a beautiful ceiling. He conducted a third excavation at Troy in —83 and a fourth from until his death.
In his first season he had worked with only his wife. Toward the end of his life, Schliemann suffered greatly with ear trouble and traveled in Europe, visiting specialists and hoping for a cure.
None was forthcoming. In great pain and alone, on December 25, , while walking across a square in Naples , he collapsed. He died the next day.
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Heinrich Schliemann has been and is still reproached by archaeologists that he had destroyed many things of great value during his tremendous excavations. But just his boundless inquiring mind was the cause for these great discoveries! Only because of his complete dedication for this goal and by spending a lot of his own money he could achieve such great archaeological sensations. Also the backward time and the underdeveloped methods of archaeological research must be taken into consideration.
He was an advocate of the historicity of places mentioned in the works of Homer and an archaeological excavator of Hisarlik , now presumed to be the site of Troy , along with the Mycenaean sites Mycenae and Tiryns. His work lent weight to the idea that Homer 's Iliad reflects historical events. Schliemann's excavation of nine levels of archaeological remains with dynamite has been criticized as destructive of significant historical artifacts, including the level that is believed to be the historical Troy. The two men knew of each other, Evans having visited Schliemann's sites. Schliemann had planned to excavate at Knossos but died before fulfilling that dream. Evans bought the site and stepped in to take charge of the project, which was then still in its infancy.