The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Schliemann, Heinrich

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The Encyclopedia Americana
Schliemann, Heinrich
Edition of 1920. See also Heinrich Schliemann on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

SCHLIEMANN, shlē'män, Heinrich, German archæologist: b. Neubuckow (Mecklenburg-Schwerin), 6 Jan. 1822; d. Naples, 27 Dec. 1890. He spent five years as a pupil in retail business in Fürstenberg, then embarked as cabin-boy on board a ship bound for Venezuela. The ship was wrecked on the coast of Texel, but Schliemann was saved and taken to Amsterdam. Here he obtained a post in a commercial house and set himself to acquire a thorough knowledge of the chief European languages. In 1846 he was sent to Saint Petersburg as agent for another Amsterdam firm. In 1850 he happened to be in California on 4 July when the State entered the Union and acquired American citizenship. By 1856 he had learned modern Greek and begun the study of ancient Greek, and in 1858-59 traveled in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Egypt, Syria and Greece. Having amassed a considerable fortune in trade, he retired from it in 1864 in order to devote himself wholly to archæological studies. He traveled round the world in 1864-66, and in 1868 went to the coast of Asia Minor by way of Corfu and the Morea. In 1870 he undertook at his own cost the excavation of the heaps of ruins at Hessarlik, in the Troad, which he believed to be the site of ancient Troy (q.v.). These excavations he carried on with interruptions until 1890. Contrary to agreement with the Porte, he retained possession of all the spoils discovered there, and was compelled by the Greek courts to pay the sum of $10,000. He presented his collections to the Museum für Völkerkunde at Berlin. In 1876 he began similar excavations at the site of ancient Mycenæ in Greece. Little confidence was at first placed in his methods by trained archæologists, and when his discoveries had been made their historical value was for a time doubted. But scholars now generally agree that they attest powers adequate to the Trojan War, and make the traditional account probable in its main outlines. Consult his autobiography edited by his wife (Leipzig 1891); Schuchardt, ‘Schliemann's Excavations and Archæological and Historical Studies’ (London 1891); Sandys, J. E., ‘A History of Classical Scholarship’ (Cambridge 1908); Hawes, C. H. and H., ‘Crete: the Forerunner of Greece’ (London 1909).