Heinrich and Sofia Schliemann | The Northeastern Aegean Culture
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Heinrich and Sofia Schliemann

Heinrich Schliemann was born in Neubokow, Germany in 1822. Romantic and extraordinarily energetic, he was a passionate admirer of Homer and a keen merchant. A talented student of foreign languages and initially self-taught, he studied at the Sorbonne in France during 1866-1870, when he had already become a tycoon. In 1868 he first visited the Troad , today part of Turkey, and decided to search there for Homeric Troy. He commenced excavations on the hill of Hissarlik in 1870, a year after his marriage to the much younger Sofia, who was Greek. During his expeditions in the Troad, he made many finds of gold, electrum (an alloy of gold and silver), bronze and semi-precious stones, the majority of which he donated the city of Berlin. Schliemann also conducted major excavations at Mycenae, Orchomenos, and Tiryns. He died in Naples, Italy in 1890. His coffin was transported to Athens, for burial in a mausoleum in the First Cemetery designed by the architect of his Athenian mansion, Ernst Ziller.

When Sofia Kastromenou, or Kastrioti, the daughter of an Athenian textile merchant, married Schliemann, she possessed only a slight knowledge of Homer and archaeology. Later she began to share her husband's admiration for Homer and took part in all his expeditions, during which she was a valued advisor and source of support. In 1870 the couple took up residence at Athens in an imposing three-storied mansion, named by Schliemann "Iliou Melathron" (that is, "The Palace of Troy"), designed by the architect Ernst Ziller, which today houses the Numismatic Museum. Heinrich and Sofia Schliemann had a daughter named Andromachi and a son called Agamemnon. In 1892, two years after the death of Schliemann, Sofia donated a small part of his Trojan collection to the National Archaeological Museum, Athens

Bibliography: Ο θησαυρός της Τροίας. Οι ανασκαφές του Heinrich Schliemann, Mόσχα, Μουσείο Puskin 16 Απριλίου 1996-15 Απριλίου 1997 (Αθήνα 1996) pp. 11-24. Τροία, Μυκήνες, Τίρυνς, Ορχομενός. Εκατό χρόνια από το θάνατου Ερρίκου Σλήμαν, Αθήνα, Εθνικό Αρχαιολογικό Μουσείο 15 Ιουνίου-2 Σεπτεμβρίου 1990, Berlin, Altes Museum, 4 Οctober 1990 - 15 January 1991, pp. 32-136 (contributions by R. Witte, E. Zengel, Κ. Demakopoulou, V.Ch. Petrakos, S. Hood, K. Kilian, L. Papazoglou-Μanioudaki)