Skip to comments.Schliemann's search for the 'first city'
Posted on 09/30/2006 12:46:09 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
In his new novel, 'The Fall of Troy', Peter Ackroyd recreates the19th-century excavation of one of antiquity's greatest sites which was led byan archaeologist whose methods have always provoked controversy.. Some details about Heinrich Schliemann's life are documented but not too much should be taken for granted about a man so adept at presenting grand conclusions based on dodgy evidence. The location of the Homeric Ithaca remains in dispute and what Schliemann did find on modern Ithaca was no palace; the treasure he unearthed at Troy has since been dated to more than a thousand years before Homer's Trojan war; and he is believed to have been about two to three hundred years out in terms of 'Agamemnon's' mask. And yet, however flawed and hasty his conclusions might have been, German-born Schliemann did manage, over a remarkably short period, to instigate and lead the first excavations at major sites of antiquity - in particular Troy, Mycenae, Tiryns and Orchomenos. The treasure the digs yielded was immense, in terms of both artefacts and information.
(Excerpt) Read more at athensnews.gr ...
The Fall of Troy
by Peter Ackroyd
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IIRC, the first city mentioned in Scripture is Enoch, named after Cain's son. (Not to be confused with the more famous Enoch born later to Jared.)
I have always been interested in Schliemann, because he actually lived in Indianapolis, Indiana for a few years before he went off to do all of his archaeology. It gives me a connection with him that all of the other archaeological greats of the past don't have.
There's some kookiness that goes on even today, or especially so, about Schliemann. The fact is, he revolutionized archaeology; he busted the haid of the anti-literalists, who were in fact opposed to the teaching of the classics and classical languages; and he was one of the pioneers of the concept of prehistory. What we see today are groundless accusations that he faked the so-called Mask of Agamemnon, destroyed more than he discovered, was a fraud, huckster, phony, etc etc.
The fact is, without these men archaeology would have not captured the popular imagination and would have been mired in the realm of obscure studies, and funding for many of the projects which we have benefitted from would never have happened.
One of the things I most admire about Schliemann was his determination that Homer contained a great deal of factual truth, and he determined to prove it.
Many of the older fables and legends have since been proven true as well. Biblical archaeology has especially benefitted from the idea that the texts contained historical fact.
Archaeology owes a great deal to Schliemann.
This post refers to Homeric Ithaca and its location re: Troy. Well Ithaca was in the Greek archepelgo and Troy was in Asia Minor. Not the same place.
Schliemann did find Troy and the arguments ever since are which of the 11 cities, one on top of the earlier one was Homeric Troy?
Schliemann was brought up to be a trader. His father was a wealthy Belguin Trader and left the family business to Schliemann. Schliemann was well educated to fill his role. He spoke, read and understood many languages including Classical Greek and Latin. He increased the family fortune by selling war supplies to both sides during the Crimean War. Once his wealth had increased enough to satisfy his needs he gave the business to his son and set off to find Troy.
He funded the expedition and searched the northwest corner of Turkey. He found many geological clues which had been documented in Homers Illiad. For instances, the Greek army needed supplies and water and the Ilyiad mentiones natural springs and farms which could be looted for food and animals. A Turkish farmer led him to columns which were on his land and Schliemann excavated the podium and discovered the Greek letters ÁÎÇÉËËÅÓ which spelled Achilles!!!!! If this was Achilles tomb then Schliemann knew he was in the right area.
The farmer mentioned that a nearby hill, locally known as the hill of Hisarlik had some Roman Ruins on its crest. Schliemann explored the hill and knew that, since ancient times, many towns were built on top of the ruins of older towns.
Schliemann, being well read in the techniques of archeology, decided to dig in a regimented manner as outlined by that premier American Archeology, Thomas Jefferson!
You might enjoy reading Schliemann's story. It's much more exciting than a piece of fiction. Remember, Schliemann's love of history led him to Troy because he "believed" the story that the Iliad was true. It was written in the third century BC and set down a story that had been passed on for over 700 years by word of mouth. After the Iliad you should read the Odyessey for the wrap up of the story of the Greeks returning home after the sack of Troy!
Schliemann cut that huge trench into the citadel mound at Hissarlik, but had a good reason (for him) to do that, and that inhibited a better understanding of its history. Evans' first find of tablets at Knossos might have contributed a great deal to modern understanding of a vanished civ, but he ordered them laid out on a nearby hillside. A rain came in the night, and, oops, no more tablets. That was just due to stupidity.
Even after accumulating a large number of tablets, Evans refused to publish any but a handful of inscriptions, insisting until his death that there was no Greek recorded in them, and also holding on in hopes of deciphering them himself. That was due to venality. Oddly enough, he came across a word that appeared to be Greek, made mention of it, and then rejected the reading. Ventris cracked Linear B in 1952, and it is Greek. Linear A has been shown to be something other than Greek, although what that something is not agreed on. :')
Both of them obviously made enormous contributions in spite of their failings. By attempting more, they had more serious failures. And had they not made their attempts, as you said, perhaps nothing else would ever have been done.
Was There a Trojan War?
Archaeology | May/June 2004 | Manfred Korfmann
Posted on 07/30/2004 2:43:38 AM EDT by SunkenCiv
They went after him because he believed that literature contained authentic history.
It seems one of the hallmarks of many successful people is the tremendous failures they experienced..
They did not let those failures discourage them from trying ( and failing ) again however, and through determination, finally acheived their success..
The man believed in the place when most thought Troy was mythological. He found the correct longitude and latitude--just dug a little too deep.
I admire him.
Did you ever read Donna Tartt's novel The Secret History? A clique of classicists try to reenact a genuine Bacchanalia. I believe Schliemann's Troja makes a cameo.
Wow, I did not know he lived in Indy!
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