Heinrich Schliemann

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Heinrich Schliemann : biography

6 January 1822 – 26 December 1890

Priam’s Treasure

Sophia Schliemann (née Engastromenos) wearing treasures recovered at [[Hisarlik.]] A cache of gold and other objects appeared in May 1873; Schliemann named it "Priam’s Treasure". He later wrote that he had seen the gold glinting in the dirt and dismissed the workmen so that he and Sophia could excavate it themselves, removing it in her shawl. However, Schliemann’s oft-repeated story of the treasure being carried by Sophia in her shawl was untrue. Schliemann later admitted fabricating it; at the time of the discovery Sophia was in fact with her family in Athens, following the death of her father.Moorehead, Caroline, The Lost Treasures of Troy (1994) page 133, ISBN 0-297-81500-8 Sophia later wore "the Jewels of Helen" for the public. Those jewels, taken from the Pergamon Museum in Berlin by the Soviet Army (Red Army) in 1945, are now in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow.

Schliemann published his findings in 1874, in Trojanische Altertümer ("Trojan Antiquities").

This publicity backfired when the Turkish government revoked Schliemann’s permission to dig and sued him for a share of the gold. Collaborating with Calvert, Schliemann smuggled the treasure out of Turkey. He defended his "smuggling" in Turkey as an attempt to protect the items from corrupt local officials. Priam’s Treasure today remains a subject of international dispute.

Schliemann published Troja und seine Ruinen (Troy and Its Ruins) in 1875 and excavated the Treasury of Minyas at Orchomenus. In 1876, he began digging at Mycenae. Upon discovering the Shaft Graves, with their skeletons and more regal gold (including the Mask of Agamemnon), Schliemann cabled the king of Greece. The results were published in Mykenai in 1878.

Although he had received permission in 1876 to continue excavation, Schliemann did not reopen the dig site at Troy until 1878–1879, after another excavation in Ithaca designed to locate an actual site mentioned in the Odyssey. This was his second excavation at Troy. Emile Burnouf and Rudolf Virchow joined him there in 1879. Schliemann made a third excavation at Troy in 1882–1883, an excavation of Tiryns with Wilhelm Dörpfeld in 1884, a fourth excavation at Troy, also with Dörpfeld (who emphasized the importance of strata), in 1888–1890.

In popular culture

Schliemann is the subject of Irving Stone’s novel The Greek Treasure (1975). Stone’s book is the basis for the German television production Der geheimnisvolle Schatz von Troja (Hunt for Troy) from 2007. He is also the subject of the novel The Lost Throne by American author Chris Kuzneski.

The novel The Fall of Troy by Peter Ackroyd (2006) is based on Schliemann’s excavation of Troy. Schliemann is portrayed as "Heinrich Obermann".

Death

Schliemann’s grave in the [[First Cemetery of Athens.]] On August 1, 1890, Schliemann returned reluctantly to Athens, and in November traveled to Halle, where his chronic ear infection was operated upon on November 13. The doctors deemed the operation a success, but his inner ear became painfully inflamed. Ignoring his doctors’ advice, he left the hospital and traveled to Leipzig, Berlin, and Paris. From the latter, he planned to return to Athens in time for Christmas, but his ear condition became even worse. Too sick to make the boat ride from Naples to Greece, Schliemann remained in Naples, but managed to make a journey to the ruins of Pompeii. On Christmas Day he collapsed into a coma and died in a Naples hotel room on December 26, 1890. The cause of death was cholesteatoma. His corpse was then transported by friends to the First Cemetery in Athens. It was interred in a mausoleum shaped like a temple erected in ancient Greek style designed by Ernst Ziller in the form of a pedimental sculpture. The frieze circling the outside of the mausoleum shows Schliemann conducting the excavations at Mycenae and other sites. His magnificent residence in the city centre of Athens, houses today the Numismatic Museum of Athens.