Heinrich Schliemann

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Heinrich Schliemann (German pronunciation: [ˈʃliːman]; (January 6, 1822 – December 26, 1890) was a German businessman and archaeologist, and an advocate of the historical reality of places mentioned in the works of Homer. Schliemann was an important archaeological excavator of Troy, along with the Mycenaean sites Mycenae and Tiryns. His successes lent material weight to the idea that Homer's Iliad and Virgil's Aeneid reflect actual historical events.


Childhood, youth, and life as a businessman

Schliemann was born in Neubukow in 1822. His father, Ernst Schliemann, was a poor Protestant minister. That's why the family lived in Ankershagen since 1823 (today in this house is the museum of Heinrich Schliemann)[1]. Heinrich's mother, Luise Therese Sophie, died in 1831, when Heinrich was nine years old. After his mother's death, his father sent Heinrich to live with his uncle. When he was eleven years old, his father paid for him to enroll in the Gymnasium (grammar school) at Neustrelitz. Heinrich's later interest in history was initially encouraged by his father, who had schooled him in the tales of the Iliad and the Odyssey and had given him a copy of Ludwig Jerrer's Illustrated History of the World for Christmas in 1829. According to his diary, Schliemann's interest in ancient Greece was conceived when he overheard a university student reciting the Odyssey of Homer in classical Greek; Heinrich was taken by the language's beauty.[citation needed] Schliemann later claimed that at the age of 8, he had declared he would one day excavate the city of Troy.

However, Heinrich had to transfer to the Realschule (vocational school) after his father was accused of embezzling church funds[2] and had to leave that institution in 1836 when his father was no longer able to pay for it. His family's poverty made a university education impossible, so it was Schliemann's early academic experiences that influenced the course of his education as an adult. He wanted to return to the educated life, to reacquire and explore the interests he had been deprived of in childhood. In his archaeological career, however, there was often a division between Schliemann and the educated professionals.

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