Heinrich Schliemann




The Poet

Chios, Smyrna


Epic cycle

work author story covered
Cypria Stasinos of Cyprus (or Hegesias of Cyprus) preliminaries to war (Peleus-Thetis, Paris, abduction of Helen) to quarrel between Achilles and Agamemnon
Iliad Homer quarrel between Achilles and Agamemnon to burial of Hector
Aithiopis Arktinos of Miletos coming of Amazons; death of Achilles
Little Iliad Lesches of Lesbos suicide of Ajax; wooden horse
Iliupersis Arktinos of Miletos building of wooden horse to fall of Troy, dep. of Achaians
Nostoi Agias of Troizen various returns
Odyssey Homer return of Odysseus
Telegony Eugammon of Cyrene return of Odysseus to his death


Excavations at Troy:

Heinrich Schliemann et al.


  • Carl Schuchhardt (1859-1943), "Heinrich Schliemann 1822-1890," Die Grossen Deutschen: Deutsche Biographie III
        "Amidst the deeds of Germen men the lifework of Heinrich Schliemann stands out as amazing and unique."
  • Harmut Doehl, Heinrich Schliemann: Mythos und Aergenis [Heinrich Schliemann: Myth and Scandal] (1981)
  • William M. Calder III, David A. Traill

Map of Greece

Identification of Troy

Robert Wood, 1743, 1750

An Essay on the Original Genius and Writings of Homer (1769)

"Of the true and famous Troy there would have been no traces for ages: not a stone is left, to certify, where it stood. It was looked for to little purpose as long back as the time of Strabo; and Lucan having mentioned, that it had been in vain searched for in the time of Julius Caesar, concludes his narrative with this melancholy observation upon the fate of this celebrated city, that its very ruins were annihilated." An Essay on the Original Genius and Writings of Homer (1769)

  • site now obliterated
  • topographical observations (silt deposition since Trojan War)
  • Homer's works "sung and retained by memory"

Jean Baptiste Lechevalier, 1785

1st modern topographgical study

announced at Royal Society of Edinburg, 1791

  • ancient Troy at Bunarbasi
  • Trojan War historical

Lord Byron (1810)

Troad "a fine field for conjecture and snipe hunting."

Charles Maclaren, Edinburg

Dissertation on the Topgraphy of the Plain of Troy (1822); The Plain of Troy Described (1863)

"Ilium was for a considerable period to the Heathen world, what Jerusalem is now to the Christian, a 'sacred' city which attracted pilgrims by the fame of its wars and its woes, and by the shadow of ancient sanctity reposing upon it. Without abusing language, we may say that a voice speaking from this hill, three thousand years ago sent its utterance over the whole ancient world, as its echoes still reverberate over the modern." (The Plain of Troy Described [1863])

  • Identified Hisarlik as ancient Troy

Frank Calvert

1850's, supported Bunarbasi

by 1864, >Hisarlik

1865, excavated northern part of mound Athena Temple

These were heady times:

Greek war of independence (1820's)

Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species (1859)

Daniel Wilson, Prehistoric Annals (1851)

John Lubbock, Prehistoric Times (1865); The Origin of Civilisation (1870)



Heinrich Schliemann

Excavated at Troy 1870-1890 (6 campaigns)


Heinrich Schliemann, ca. 1870

Sophie Schliemann

1868 visit:

"...fully agrees with the description Homer gives of Ilium and I will add that, as soon as one sets foot on the Trojan plain, the view of the beautiful hill of Hisarlik grips one with astonsihment. That hill seems destined by nature to carry a great city...there is no other place in the whole region to compare with it."

"On leaving Hisarlik I moved on to the town of Yenitsheri at Cape one can take in a splendid panorama of the entire Trojan plain. When, with the Iliad in hand, I sat on the roof of a house and looked around me, I imagined seeing below me the fleet, camp and assemblies of the Greeks; Troy and its Pergamus fortress on the plateau of Hisarlik; troops marching to and fro and battling each other in the lowland between city and camp. For two hours the main events of the Iliad passed before my eyes until darkness and violent hunger forced me to leave the roof....I had become fully convinced that it was here that ancient Troy had stood."

contra, Frank Calvert's letters. And Schliemann himself (1869): "After carefully examining the Trojan plain on two occasions, I fully agree with the conviction of this savant [Calvert] that the high plateau of Hislarlik is the position of ancient Troy...."


Wife of Max Muller (1823-1900):

"When Dr Schliemann exhibited his Trojan treasures at the South Kensington Museum, Max Muller spent some time in London helping him to arrange the things—an arduous task, for, as is well known, though he had the scent of a truffle dog for hidden treasures, he had little or no correct archaeological knowledge, and Max Muller found the things from the four different strata which Schliemann considered he had discovered at Troy in wild confusion—though he maintained they were all carefully packed in different cases. One day when Max Muller was busy over a case of the lowest stratum, he found a piece of pottery from the highest. "Que voulez-vous," said Schliemann, "it has tumbled down!" Not long after, in a box of the highest stratum appeared a piece of the rough pottery from the lowest. "Que voulez-vous," said the imperturbable Doctor, "it has tumbled Up.'"

H. Schliemann, Troy and Its Remains (1875), title page

H. Schliemann, Ilios. The City and Country of the Trojans (1881), title page



""IF I begin this book with my autobiography, it is not from any feeling of vanity, but from a desire to show how the work of my later life has been the natural consequence of the impressions I received in my earliest childhood; and that, so to say, the pickaxe and spade for the excavation of Troy and the royal tombs of Mycenae were both forged and sharpened in the little German village in which I passed eight years of my earliest, childhood. I also find it necessary to relate how I obtained the means which enabled me, in the autumn of my life, to realize the great projects I formed when I was a poor little boy. But I flatter myself that the manner in which I have employed my time, as well as the use I have made of my wealth, will meet with general approbation, and that my autobiography may aid in diffusing among the intelligent public of all countries a taste for those high and noble studies, which have sustained, my courage during the hard trials of my life, and which will sweeten the days yet left me to live." (Ilios 1)


After two years of studying modern Greek,

"I then [1856] occupied myself for two years exclusively with the literature of ancient Greece; and during this time I read almost all the classical authors cursorily, and the Iliad and Odyssey several times. Of the Greek grammar, I learned only the declensions and the verbs, and never lost my precious time in studying its rules; for as I saw that boys, after being troubled and tormented for eight years and more in schools with the tedious rules of grammar, can nevertheless none of them write a letter in ancient Greek without making hundreds of atrocious blunders, I thought the method pursued by the schoolmasters must be altogether wrong, and that a thorough knowledge of the Greek grammar could only be obtained by practice,—that is to say, by the attentive reading of the prose classics, and by committing choice pieces of them to memory. Following this very simple method, I learnt ancient Greek as I would have learnt a living language. I can write in it with the greatest fluency on any subject I am acquainted with, and can never forget it. I am perfectly acquainted with all the grammatical rules without even knowing whether or not they are contained in the grammars; and whenever a man finds errors in my Greek, I can immediately prove that I am right, by merely reciting passages from the classics where the sentences employed by me occur.... I therefore strongly recommend all directors of colleges and schools to introduce the method I have followed.... This is no idle theory, but a stubborn fact, which therefore ought to be listened to [S. then lambasts (again) traditional British education's approach to ancient Greek]....Latin should, in my opinion, be taught not before, but after, Greek." (Ilios 14-16)

Troy II, Schliemann's excavations after removal of 12 meters of fill


Trojan plain, 1794: Scamander, Hisarlik

Hisarlik before Schliemann's excavations


The Great Trench, June 1873 (Ilios)



"Priam's Treasure" (Troy II)

"May 1873"

"Jewels of Helen"

  • >Athens? Berlin? Leningrad? Texas?

Sophie Schliemann

While following up this circuit-wall, and bringing more and more of it to light, close to the ancient building and north-west of the Gate, I struck upon a large copper article of the most remarkable form, which attracted my attention all the more, and I thought I saw gold behind it. On the top of it was a layer of red and calcined ruins, from 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 ft. thick, as hard as stone, and above this again the above-mentioned wall of fortification (5 ft. broad and 20 ft. high), built of large stones and earth, which must have been erected shortly after the destruction of Troy. In order to secure the treasure from my workmen and save it for archaeology, it was necessary to lose no time; so, although it was not yet the hour for breakfast, I immediately had paidos called.... While the men were eating and resting, I cut out the Treasure with a large knife. This required great exertion and involved groat risk, since the wall of fortification, beneath which I had to dig, threatened every moment to fall down upon me. But the sight of so many objects, every one of which is of inestimable value to archaeology, made me reckless, and I never thought of any danger. It would, however, have been impossible for me to have removed the treasure without the help of my dear wife, who stood at my side, ready to place the things I cut out in her shawl, and to carry them away. All the different articles of which this Treasure was composed will be described at the proper place in the precise order in which they were taken out of the ruins. I hero only give a general view of the whole.

As I found all these articles together, in the form of a rectangular a mass, or packed into one another, it seems certain that they were placed
on the city wall in a wooden chest. This supposition seems to be corroborated by the fact that close by the side of these articles I found a copper key. It is therefore possible that some one packed the treasure in the chest, and carried it off, without having had time to pull out the key; when he reached the wall, however, the hand of an enemy, or the fire, overtook him, and he was obliged to abandon the chest, which was immediately covered, to a height of 5 ft., with the ashes and stones of the adjoining house....

That the Treasure was packed together at a moment of supreme peril appears to be proved, among other things, by the contents of the largest silver vase, consisting of nearly 9000 objects of gold, which will be described in the subsequent pages. The person who endeavoured to save the Treasure had, fortunately, the presence of mind to place the silver vase, with the valuable articles inside it, upright in the chest, so that nothing could fall out, and everything has been preserved uninjured.

(Ilios 40-41)

"Treasure of Priam"


Great Trench from west to east (Ilios)

Troy after excavations of 1871-1873 (Ilios)

Schliemann's "Great Trench" at Troy, 1893

Troy, main Phases (after Wood)

Troy, schematic cross-section


Wilhelm Doerpfeld



Troy: 1893-1894 (2 years after d. Schliemann)

financed by Sophie Schliemann and the Kaiser

excavated southern side, magnificent walls

Troy VI = Homeric Troy


Hislarlik from the north, 1894 (Doerpfeld)

Reconstruction of Troy VI, from the north



N-S Section of Troy (after Doerpfeld)

Troy, eastern bastion of Troy VI, Doerpfeld at base

Walls of Troy VI, Doerpfeld standing on top

Walls of Troy VI

Reconstruction of Troy VI

Plan, Troy, citadel




Carl Blegen

Troy: 1932-1938

Troy VIIa = Homeric Troy


Carl Blegen as a young man

Blegen, ca. 1963

eastern walls of Troy VI as cleared by Blegen, 1938

House VIG and sunken jars of Troy VIIa

Recent excavations, Troy VIa-VIb (Studia Troica 7)



Schliemann, 1876


H. Schliemann, Mycenae: A Narrative of Researches and Discoveries at Mycenae and Tiryns (1880)


Schliemann describes Mycenae excavations at Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, London, 22 March 1877 (Illustrated London News)

Mycenae, Lion Gate


Pausanias (2nd AD) (2.16.6): tombs of Agamemnon et al inside walls [?]


Mycenae, approach to Lion Gate, Edward Dodwell (1810)


Mycenae, Lion Gate, 1880's: l. Doerpfeld, seated Heinrich Schliemann (?), ...seated Sophie Schilemann (?)



Grave Circle A

Mycenae, Lion Gate, Grave Circle A

Mycenae, "Royal Tombs" within "Agora" (Schliemann, Mycenae)

Mycenae, Grave Circle A, drawing

Grave Circle A, Gold Mask

Grave Circle A, Grave V, gold cups

Grave Circle A, Grave IV, gold rhyton

Grace Circle A, Grave IV, gold and silver rhyton

Grave Circle A, Grave IV, inlaid dagger

Grave Circle A, Grave III, gold diadem

Schliemann in old age (date?)


Schliemann's last campaign, 1890: Heinrich Schilemann at center, Wilhelm Doerpfeld behind; right (standing) Frank Calvert






"Sandy Pylos," palace, singer