Heinrich Schliemann

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Heinrich Schliemann was born in Germany in 1822. His father was a pastor and was very interested in ancient history. It was Heinrich’s father who instilled in him an interest in Troy. Heinrich just could not believe—as the educated believed at the time — that all of Homer’s writings were fiction.

Growing up, it was Schliemann’s greatest ambition to find Troy, but without money to provide a good education, he pursued several careers before ending up book-keeping for an Amsterdam firm. Working as a book-keeper, Heinrich learned seven different languages, and in 1847 became his own boss. From then on he was able to embark on various business enterprises which led him all over the world, and unfailingly led to success.

At the age of forty-one Heinrich Schliemann retired. Wealthy and ready to pursue his dream, Heinrich studied archeology in Paris, and set off for Asia Minor. The few people who thought that Troy even existed, placed it near a village called Bunarbashi. But Schliemann, using Homer’s Iliad as a road map, found a flat-topped mound called Hissarlik close to the Mediterranean coast (in Turkey), and began digging. With his wife and a hundred workmen, Schliemann not only uncovered the remains of one city, but nine that had been destroyed, and rebuilt, one on top of another.

Schliemann instantly became world famous. Once a poor pastor’s son without a formal education, through hard work and just a bit of luck he added a thousand years to ancient history.