Mask of Agamemnon: Schliemann's Discovery

Mask of Agamemnon: Schliemann's Discovery

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A short video describing Heinrich Schliemann's discovery of the so-called "Death Mask of Agamemnon".

Schliemann has been praised and given recognition for shining new light on ancient Greek civilization, and is often heralded as a father of archaeology. However, some of his claims, as we have seen, have been questionable and even disproved with modern evidence. Many of his critics have gone as far as to refer to him as a con and a fraud and suggested that his excavations were simply hoaxes that he fabricated for the sake of gaining fame.

Perhaps one of Schliemann’s greatest faults was also the greatest fuel for his archaeological effort. His unwavering belief in a Homeric Troy, and an epic Greek Bronze Age. He stuck to this belief ever since he was a young child, and in his older age, he wrote an autobiographical piece where he distinctly recalled the conversation he had with his father, in which he was determined that there must be some ruins of Troy left to find. Schliemann wrote this about fifty years later, much to the surprise of his peers, who found it hard to believe that one could recall a memory like that after so long. (Payne) Now, while scholars are in agreement that Troy existed, the actual size of the city, and the details of events in the Trojan War are often debated, and it is agreed that much of what Homer wrote in The Iliad is based in fantasy. There is no concrete evidence that some of the major characters presented in Homer’s poetry, such as Helen or Achilles, even existed, or that the war itself was on such a grand scale as Homer describes. Homer was writing about the Trojan war hundreds of years after it occurred, and there are some obvious fantastical nuances of his work. This makes Homer a questionable source overall when examining ancient Greek history. Homer’s work may be useful for looking into the heroic values and social entertainment of his time, but he simply isn’t reliable enough to link his writings to archaeological evidence. However, Finding archaeological evidence for a Homeric Greece seemed to be what Schliemann wanted the most, even if that meant exaggerating his findings, or even falsifying them.

Schliemann, in a word, was a man of the people, and a bit of a show boat. This often lead to self-aggrandizing, and very selfish behavior. In the case of his decision to excavate Hisarlik, for example Frank Calvert, an English archaeologist of the time, advised Schliemann to dig there. Calvert, himself, had dug there previously, but had no luck in the discovery of a great Troy. However, despite Calvert’s suggestion leading to this great find, it is known that Schliemann gave no credit whatsoever to Calvert for the discovery. Schliemann’s act of approaching this dig site was unbecoming of an archaeologist, to say the least. The Turkish government, toward the end of the dig, ended up rescinding his permission to excavate at Hisarlik and also sued him for a share of “Priam’s Treasure” because he had started his work before he was given approval. The conduction of the dig was very careless. Greek archaeologists such as Panagiotis Stamatakis, accused him of destroying other ancient artifacts by his hasty method of excavation in order to find what he wanted evidence of a Homeric Troy. These methods of approach and selfish acts give a strong base for skepticism, and when it came down to the actual discovery of this treasure, a large and impressive collection of items such as jewelry, pottery, and weapons, it was immediately inundated with questions and doubts.

Photograph of Priam’s Treasure

In Schliemann’s diary, where he initially wrote of his findings, his account is sketchy and incomplete and he was found to have misidentified several artifacts. Specifically, his accounts of the location and dates of his discoveries are vague and he often contradicted himself. One of the biggest pieces of evidence against Schliemann is that the land where he dug is not where Troy is actually believed to be (Easton). Hisarlik, the site that Schliemann and Calvert dug at, contained nine ancient cities built on top of each other, all surrounded by a high wall. Schliemann started his excavation at the second city, however modern day archaeologists have concluded that the sixth and seventh cities are the closest candidates for what the city of Troy would have been. It has also been proven that the artifacts found were from a time period much earlier than what Schliemann had stated. The jewels that Schliemann claimed had once belonged to Helen were estimated to have actually been 1000 years older than his estimates. This evidence leads some archaeologists to believe that Schliemann’s findings are actually a part of what is known as Troy II (Lovgren), and not Homeric Troy.

The faultiness and inconsistencies of Schliemann’s records did not help the legitimacy of the findings, but these circumstances could, in fact, simply be Schliemann’s misinformed opinion. Being fueled once again by his desire to find evidence of Homeric Troy. In other words, it can’t be said that Schliemann deliberately lied about the accounts of his findings, but they can be considered questionable. However, it is irrefutable that Schliemann blatantly lied about other certain aspects of the discovery. For instance, he originally stated his wife was present when he discovered the treasure, but that was found to be false. He admitted that it was a lie, but excused it by saying that he only wrote it in his diary so that his wife would feel more involved in the discovery. Schliemann rashly proclaiming his findings to be that of King Priam brings up further questions. When Schliemann claimed it to be, “Priam’s Treasure”, it wasn’t a claim based in logic, but rather one based in emotion. Schliemann wanted there to be proof of Homeric Troy, so, no matter what he found, he would have somehow linked it to those epic stories so as to support his belief in those legends. These lies and misinformation may seem like small transgressions, but nothing about archaeological discoveries can be skewed even in the slightest, lest the accuracy and legitimacy of the findings be called into question.

Many modern historians believe what Schliemann found in his Hisarlik excavation was only actually a few small bronze artifacts, combined with other items of different ages and styles that were found at other sites. It is thought that he combined findings from these sites for the purpose of announcing it and showing off his work, as he was wont to do. Another gray area that opens to questioning is the fact that Schliemann began his career by drawing everything he found, giving possible room for his bias. However, in 1872, his findings were photographed, and in 1873, they were drawn by a third-party artist. Out of all the items supposedly found at Priam’s Treasure, none of them are found recorded in his early documentation. This may be inconsequential, given Schliemann’s poor skill for documentation and hasty nature, but the very fact that the point can be made leaves a large red flag on Schliemann’s history and is very alarming.

Looking into his excavations in Mycenae in 1876, the motif of Schliemann’s overzealous and exaggerated findings seem to precede him once again. He discovered two circles of shaft graves containing many valuable objects, namely the series of golden funeral masks. It should be mentioned that all of the most significant finds of the site were supposedly discovered personally by Schliemann. Another nod to his knack for self-aggrandizing. When sharing his findings with the public, Schliemann once again over exaggerated, claiming that he had found the grave site of the great king Agamemnon. He had no solid proof, other than his own inspection and speculation of one of the masks he had discovered. There was no grave-marker indicating it was the final resting place of Agamemnon, and even though the mask and body were found with a wealth of coins and other artifacts, that does not mean that Schliemann’s claim was justified. As in his claim that he had found “Priam’s Treasure”, this claim, too, was based in emotion.

Other artifacts found at Mycenae

Inconsistencies in the artistic design of these masks raised particular interest, in the fact that they didn’t seem to have come from the same time or dig site. There seems to be three distinct styles of mask: two-dimensional masks with no smiles or facial hair, three-dimensional masks with more of a bowl-like structure and wearing smiles, and the third design was that of the supposed, “Mask of Agamemnon” that Schliemann found. Some of the most notable differences of this mask of Agamemnon were that it had facial hair, and the ears were cut out separately from the mask, making them stand out more. The differences in these masks gives a foothold against Schliemann that states that these findings were falsified. Schliemann was known to have allegedly smuggled treasure outside of Hisarlik, so it could be suggested that he could have smuggled the mask into Mycenae, or even added characteristics to another mask he previously discovered.

Schliemann’s rash claims, careless handling of archaeological evidence, and overall shady inconsistencies drew much scrutiny from his peers, who accused his findings of being hoaxes, and to be set up. According to the opinion of William M. Calder III, Schliemann enjoyed fabricating his work. Calder, an award-winning author and classics professor, was one of the first to question the truthfulness of Schliemann. He is quoted as saying that he has learned to doubt anything said by Schliemann unless there is independent confirmation. (Harrington)

Outside of Schliemann’s archaeological career, he had a history of being untruthful. Originally a businessman, he was known to make dishonest monetary transactions and was found to have lied to the U.S. government in order to be granted citizenship and a divorce. He also made other claims that were obviously false: such as he met President Millard Fillmore even though there is no possible way he could have, and claiming to have witnessed an earthquake in San Francisco although it is known that he was not there.

William Niederland created a modern psychoanalytic profile for Schliemann and determined that he had elements of possible psychopathy in his makeup. This is a very interesting evaluation because it would explain his extreme passion that border-lined desperation in his search for proof of an epic ancient Greece, and his seemingly compulsive lying.


The Mask of Agamemnon is a gold funeral mask discovered at the ancient Greek site of Mycenae. The mask, displayed in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, has been described by Cathy Gere as the “Mona Lisa of prehistory”. [1]

German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, who discovered the artifact in 1876, believed that he had found the body of the Mycenaean king Agamemnon, leader of the Achaeans in Homer’s epic of the Trojan War, the Iliad, but modern archaeological research suggests that the mask dates to about 1600 BC, predating the period of the legendary Trojan War by about 400 years.


In the later half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century, the authenticity of the mask has been formally questioned. Archaeology magazine has run a series of articles presenting both sides of the debate. By the time of the excavation of the Shaft Graves, the Greek Archaeological Society had taken a hand in supervising Schliemann's work (after the issues at Troy), sending Panagiotis Stamatakis as ephor, or director, of the excavation, who kept a close eye on Schliemann.

Proponents of the fraud argument centre their case on Schliemann's reputation for salting digs with artifacts from elsewhere. The resourceful Schliemann, they assert, could have had the mask manufactured on the general model of the other Mycenaean masks and found an opportunity to place it in the excavation.

The defending advocate(s) point out that the excavation was closed on November 26–27 for Sunday holiday and rain. It was not allowed to reopen until Stamatakis had provided the work with credible witnesses. The three other masks were not discovered until the 28th. The Mask of Agamemnon was found on the 30th.

A second attack is based on style. The Mask of Agamemnon differs from three of the other masks in a number of points: it is three-dimensional rather than flat, one of the facial hairs is cut out, rather than engraved, the ears are cut out, the eyes are depicted as both open and shut, with open eyelids, but a line of closed eyelids across the centre, the face alone of all the depictions of faces in Mycenaean art has a full pointed beard with handlebar mustache, the mouth is well-defined (compared to the flat masks), the brows are formed to two arches rather than one.

The defence presented prior arguments that the shape of the lip, the triangular beard and the detail of the beard are nearly the same as the mane and locks of the gold lion-head rhyton from Shaft Grave IV. Schliemann's duplicity, they claim, has been greatly exaggerated, and they also claim that the attackers were conducting a vendetta.

20. Discovering that Homer&rsquos Troy actually existed

Homer&rsquos Iliad is set in and around Troy, and recounts the final year of the Trojan War, sometime in the 13 th century BC. As told by Homer, Troy was subjected to a ten year siege by a Greek coalition led by Mycenae&rsquos high Agamemnon. Their goal was to recover recover Helen, wife of Sparta&rsquos king and Agamemnon&rsquos brother Menelaus, after she had been seduced by Paris, the son of Troy&rsquos king Priam. The epic poem features plenty of rollicking adventures, a surfeit of graphic and gory combat, and numerous plot twists and turns from humans and gods. In the end, the city falls when the wily Odysseus tricks the Trojans into letting in a huge wooden horse, packed with Greek warriors.

As a story, the Iliadwas awesome, but as history, Troy and the Trojan War were dismissed for centuries as pure myth. However, German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann was convinced that there was actual truth in the Iliad, and set out to prove. From 1870 to 1890, Schliemann excavated the actual site of Troy, and his initial finds of gold and silver convinced him that he had found Homer&rsquos Troy. As it turned out, Schliemann had excavated the right city, but the wrong period: his initial finds dated from about 1000 years before the Trojan War. The site actually held the remains of 9 different Troys, built atop each other. Excavations continued after Schliemann&rsquos death in 1890, and today his finds are labeled Troy I through IX, with Troy VI being the likeliest candidate for Homer&rsquos Troy.

In 1876, Heinrich Schliemann went digging in the royal cemetery near the Lion Gate, the entrance to the citadel of Mycenae in southern Greece. In one of the graves, he found a funeral mask covered in gold, which he attributed to the legendary king from the Iliad. As Schliemann put it in a telegraph announcing the discovery: &ldquoI have gazed upon the face of Agamemnon&ldquo. However, as with his finds in Troy, Schliemann got the broad outlines right, but jumped the gun when it came to the details.

As later dating demonstrated, the mask did, indeed, belong to a Mycenaean king, but to one who had died circa 1580 to 1550 BC &ndash two and a half to three centuries before the events of the Trojan War. The name stuck, however, and the artifact is still commonly referred to as the Mask of Agamemnon.


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IN MORE trusting times, a visit to Greece completed the education of any eager teenager who had spent schooldays labouring over dry classical texts. A slow train through Yugo-slavia or an odyssey on the Brindisi ferry preceded that magical moment in the National Museum at Athens when you beheld - carelessly displayed in a dusty glass case - the crinkled features of a long-dead king, imprinted on a thin disc of gold. A small card informed the viewer that Heinrich Schliemann, the German archaeologist, had found this treasure in 1876. In excitement he telegraphed the King of Greece: "I have gazed on the face of Agamemnon," he is supposed to have said.

Mythology, however, proved as powerful in the 19th century as in the dim age of Homer. The Mask of Agamemnon, like so many other of Schliemann's finds, is a controversial object. It may be centuries too early for the period described in the Iliad, or indeed it may be some 25 centuries too late. A fake, in fact.

Schliemann was a fantasist, a businessman turned self-taught archaeologist who seriously distorted the record of his excavations. He may have "salted" his digs with articles purchased in the souks of Smyrna or Constantinople. His letters are full of invented encounters with the great and the good. He falsified his diaries to give credence to his claims. He exploited the discoveries of a loyal British colleague, Frank Calvert, and he bribed workmen to slip precious discoveries out of sight of the government supervisors. He was pompous and perfectly foul to his wife. Apart from that, he was a great man.

David Traill, a teacher of classics at the University of California, has spent more years unearthing the truth about Schliemann's life than Schliemann himself devoted to the discovery of Troy and Mycenae. His book aims to be exhaustive - the researches certainly are - and it sometimes seems as preoccupied with the intricate strata of Schliemann's finances as with the detailed surveys of his sites. It is, however, a marvellous survey of a complex, troublesome career.

Schliemann was born in the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg in 1822 in a family surrounded by domestic scandal. He was an unhappy child. He achieved a mediocre school record and went to work for more than five years in a small grocer's shop. But he possessed a phenomenal memory which he first applied to the mastery of book-keeping and later to the study of languages. He spoke or wrote 22 by the end of his life. Between 1822 and 1867 he had entered a big continental trading house and made a fortune as an entrepreneur. This wealth provided the means to indulge his obsession.

Schliemann was later to claim that it was his childhood dream to find the site of Homer's Troy and that all his efforts were directed to that end. Here he was conveniently rewriting his own life history. It seems more likely that he drifted into archaeology after a conventional Grand Tour through the Aegean. He went through a mid-life crisis of more than conventional drama. He jettisoned his first wife and family in St Petersburg and wrote to a friendly Greek Archbishop asking him to find a suitable bride in Athens. The Archbishop came up with Sophia Engastromenos, a respectable girl 27 years younger than Schliemann. After a courtship inevitably conducted in Homeric prose, they married. Like most of Schliemann's dealings in the south, the marriage was a transaction. None the less, she provided companionship - interspersed with mild hysteria - and two children, christened Agamemnon and Andromache.

While Sophia traipsed at Schliemann's expense around the spas and cures of Mitteleuropa, her husband could not tear himself away from his chosen objective: finding Troy.

The author explains that in the 19th century dispute surrounded the very existence of the Homeric city. Ancient writers located it at Hisarlik in the Troad, near the Dardanelles. When Schliemann started digging at Hisarlik in 1868, most scholars tended to think Troy was actually at another site called Bunarbashi, while some proclaimed the whole Iliad a myth and Troy itself a figment of poetic imagination.

Schliemann fixed upon Hisarlik with enthusiasm. Typically for him, there were furious rows with the Ottoman authorities which drew in the American Consulate, the British Ambassador, the Minister of Public Instruction and sundry local worthies. Much of the preliminary study had been done by Frank Calvert, who encouraged Schliemann, only to fall out with him over money. In the last century Greeks still inhabited the shores of Asia Minor and Schliemann generally recruited Greek workmen to labour in the excavations. As they proceeded through the layers of city upon city, skeletons, ornaments and vessels came to light, some gold, some bronze. By modern standards the digging was clumsy and destructive. Schliemann did not care. He was in search of treasure, and, in 1873, he found it.

"Priam's Treasure" was Schlie- mann's greatest discovery at Troy. Lost to Soviet plunderers at the end of the Second World War, it is soon to be put on display again in a Russian museum. It consists of astonishing finds uncovered near a wall of the city, conveniently described by Schliemann, without the least evidence, as the palace of Priam, doomed King of Troy. Visitors will doubtless flock to see these mythical treasures. But, as Traill shows all too well, Schliemann's evidence is suspect, his findings doctored and his account of their discovery implausible.

Schliemann had already tampered with the facts surrounding the discovery of a female skeleton. He wrote a report conveying a vivid image - that this was a Trojan woman trapped with her jewellery in her collapsing house as fire consumed the city. Unfortunately such conclusions owed more to the novels of Bulwer Lytton than to sober scholarship, and Traill reconstructs the fraud like a forensic scientist giving evidence for the prosecution. The skeleton was found on a different date and in another place from those given by Schliemann. Her beads and oval ring were found separately. The finds were attributed to the wrong level of the city. An eager Schliemann had creatively combined evidence from three finds to present a dramatic, but imaginary, scenario.

So it was with "Priam's Treasure". Schliemann said he discovered the treasure together with his wife - but the record shows that Sophia was languishing in Athens on that day. It was odd that his descriptions of the gold and silver items in the treasure seem neither to be contemporaneous or accurate. Perhaps he concealed the existence of these rich objects the better to smuggle them from the Troad to Athens. Perhaps this find, too, was "salted" with purchases made from antiquaries.

None the less, Schliemann's account of his excavations at Hisarlik and his remarkable discoveries transformed his reputation. Frank Calvert, who owned part of the site, protested that Schliemann's fanaticism induced him "to suppress or pervert every fact brought to light that could not be reconciled with the Iliad". But even so, a triumphant Schliemann went on to follow Homer's Agamemnon back to his citadel at Mycenae.

The excavations at Mycenae were accompanied by familiar scenes of drama and recrimination. There were arguments over his methods, his character and his disregard of scholarship. Again he acted on instinct, followed the words of the ancients as if they were gospel and struck lucky. The writer Pausanias had visited Mycenae in the second century AD, while compiling what is probably the first travel guide to Greece. He was shown underground treasuries and the tombs where Agamemnon and his retinue were buried after they were murdered by Clytemnestra and Aegisthus. This bloody cycle was familiar from the classical plays and playwrights, but Schliemann interpreted tradition as truth. In defiance of the contemporary wisdom, he began excavating the strange shaft graves that surrounded the Cyclopean walls of Agamemnon's city. The results were stunning.

He found jewellery, drinking cups, swords, spearheads, skeletons and mummified bodies "covered with masses of gold". The bodies had been laid to rest with their faces covered by the famous death masks. If not Agamemnon and his suite, they were surely the masters of ancient Mycenae. Traill is a big enough scholar to grant Schliemann his historical due, for the attribution of the finds is ultimately of less significance than their symbolism to Greece and the modern world.

Here the Victorians saw men and women pulled into the Greek sunlight after thousands of years, god-kings placed in the earth in remote an- tiquity, long before Aristotle, Caesar and Christ walked the earth. Schlie- mann had proved the existence of an archaic Greek civilisation a millennium before Socrates. He had revised Aegean scholarship and rekindled the heroic myths for a drab industrial age. The classical idea of ancient Greece began to be doubted. Thus Schliemann also helped the late Romantics - and philosophers like Nietzsche - to discern behind the facade of fifth- century Athenian reason a mysterious, vast, irrational, Dionysian, bloodstained world. The unearthed legacy of Agamemnon and Atreus was not a revelation, but a long-buried curse.

! 'Schliemann of Troy: Treasure and Deceit' by David Traill is published by John Murray at pounds 19.99.


Schliemann was born January 6, 1822 Heinrich Schliemann in Neubukow, Mecklenburg-Schwerin (part of the German Confederation). His father, Ernst Schliemann, was a Lutheran minister. The family moved to Ankershagen in 1823 (today their home houses the Heinrich Schliemann Museum). [2]

Heinrich's father was a poor Pastor. His mother, Luise Therese Sophie Schliemann, died in 1831, when Heinrich was nine years old. After his mother's death, his father sent Heinrich to live with his uncle. When he was eleven years old, his father paid for him to enroll in the Gymnasium (grammar school) at Neustrelitz. Heinrich's later interest in history was initially encouraged by his father, who had schooled him in the tales of the Iliad and the Odyssey and had given him a copy of Ludwig Jerrer's Illustrated History of the World for Christmas in 1829. Schliemann later claimed that at the age of 7 he had declared he would one day excavate the city of Troy. [3] [4]

However, Heinrich had to transfer to the Realschule (vocational school) after his father was accused of embezzling church funds [5] and had to leave that institution in 1836 when his father was no longer able to pay for it. His family's poverty made a university education impossible, so it was Schliemann's early academic experiences that influenced the course of his education as an adult. In his archaeological career, however, there was often a division between Schliemann and the educated professionals.

At age 14, after leaving Realschule, Heinrich became an apprentice at Herr Holtz's grocery in Fürstenberg. He later told that his passion for Homer was born when he heard a drunkard reciting it at the grocer's. [6] He laboured for five years, until he was forced to leave because he burst a blood vessel lifting a heavy barrel. [7] In 1841, Schliemann moved to Hamburg and became a cabin boy on the Dorothea, a steamer bound for Venezuela. After twelve days at sea, the ship foundered in a gale. The survivors washed up on the shores of the Netherlands. [8] Schliemann became a messenger, office attendant, and later, a bookkeeper in Amsterdam.

On March 1, 1844, 22-year-old Schliemann took a position with B. H. Schröder & Co., an import/export firm. In 1846, the firm sent him as a General Agent to St. Petersburg.

In time, Schliemann represented a number of companies. He learned Russian and Greek, employing a system that he used his entire life to learn languages Schliemann claimed that it took him six weeks to learn a language [9] and wrote his diary in the language of whatever country he happened to be in. By the end of his life, he could converse in English, French, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Swedish, Polish, Greek, Latin, and Arabic, besides his native German. [10] : 28–30

Schliemann's ability with languages was an important part of his career as a businessman in the importing trade. In 1850, he learned of the death of his brother, Ludwig, who had become wealthy as a speculator in the California gold fields.

Schliemann went to California in early 1851 and started a bank in Sacramento buying and reselling over a million dollars' worth of gold dust in just six months. When the local Rothschild agent complained about short-weight consignments, he left California, pretending it was because of illness. [11] While he was there, California became the 31st state in September 1850, and Schliemann acquired United States citizenship. While this story was propounded in Schliemann's autobiography of 1881, Christo Thanos and Wout Arentzen, [12] state clearly that Schliemann was in St Petersburg that day, and "in actual fact, . obtained his American citizenship only in 1869."

According to his memoirs, before arriving in California he dined in Washington, D.C. with President Millard Fillmore and his family, [13] but W. Calder III says that Schliemann didn't attend but simply read about a similar gathering in the papers. [14]

Schliemann also published what he said was an eyewitness account of the San Francisco Fire of 1851, which he said was in June although it took place in May. At the time he was in Sacramento and used the report of the fire in the Sacramento Daily Journal to write his report. [15]

On April 7, 1852, he sold his business and returned to Russia. There he attempted to live the life of a gentleman, which brought him into contact with Ekaterina Petrovna Lyschin (1826–1896), the niece of one of his wealthy friends. Schliemann had previously learned that his childhood sweetheart, Minna, had married.

Heinrich and Ekaterina married on October 12, 1852. The marriage was troubled from the start.

Schliemann next cornered the market in indigo dye and then went into the indigo business itself, turning a good profit. Ekaterina and Heinrich had a son, Sergey (1855–1941), and two daughters, Natalya (1859–1869) and Nadezhda (1861–1935). [11]

Schliemann made yet another quick fortune as a military contractor in the Crimean War, 1854–1856. He cornered the market in saltpeter, sulfur, and lead, constituents of ammunition, which he resold to the Russian government.

By 1858, Schliemann was 36 years old and wealthy enough to retire. In his memoirs, he claimed that he wished to dedicate himself to the pursuit of Troy.

As a consequence of his many travels, Schliemann was often separated from his wife and small children. He spent a month studying at the Sorbonne in 1866, while moving his assets from St. Petersburg to Paris to invest in real estate. He asked his wife to join him, but she refused. [16]

Schliemann threatened to divorce Ekaterina twice before doing so. In 1869, he bought property and settled in Indianapolis for about three months to take advantage of Indiana's liberal divorce laws, although he obtained the divorce by lying about his residency in the U.S. and his intention to remain in the state. He moved to Athens as soon as an Indiana court granted him the divorce and married again two months later. [17]

Heinrich Schliemann was an amateur-archaeologist.

Schliemann was obsessed with the stories of Homer and ancient Mediterranean civilizations. He dedicated his life's work to unveiling the actual physical remains of the cities of Homer's epic tales. Many refer to him as the "father of pre-Hellenistic archaeology." [18]

In 1868, Schliemann visited sites in the Greek world, published Ithaka, der Peloponnesus und Troja in which he asserted that Hissarlik was the site of Troy, and submitted a dissertation in Ancient Greek proposing the same thesis to the University of Rostock. In 1869, he was awarded a PhD in absentia [19] from the University of Rostock, in Germany, for that submission. [11] David Traill wrote that the examiners gave him his PhD on the basis of his topographical analyses of Ithaca, which were in part simply translations of another author's work or drawn from poetic descriptions by the same author. [20]

In 1869, Schliemann divorced his first wife, Ekaterina Petrovna Lyshin, whom he had married in 1852, and bore him three children. A former teacher and Athenian friend, Theokletos Vimpos, the Archbishop of Mantineia and Kynouria, helped Schliemann find someone "enthusiastic about Homer and about a rebirth of my beloved Greece. with a Greek name and a soul impassioned for learning." The archbishop suggested a young schoolgirl, Sophia Engastromenos, daughter of his cousin. They were married by the archbishop on 23 September 1869. They later had two children, Andromache and Agamemnon Schliemann. [21] : 90–91,159–163

Schliemann was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1880. [22]

Troy and Mycenae Edit

Schliemann's first interest of a classical nature seems to have been the location of Troy. At the time he began excavating in Turkey, the site commonly believed to be Troy was at Pınarbaşı, a hilltop at the south end of the Trojan Plain. [23] The site had been previously excavated by archaeologist and local expert Frank Calvert. Schliemann performed soundings at Pınarbaşı but was disappointed by his findings. [23] It was Calvert who identified Hissarlik as Troy and suggested Schliemann dig there on land owned by Calvert's family. [24]

Schliemann was at first skeptical about the identification of Hissarlik with Troy but was persuaded by Calvert. [25] Schliemann began digging at Hissarlik in 1870, and by 1873 had discovered nine buried cities. The day before digging was to stop on 15 June 1873, was the day he discovered gold, which he took to be Priam's treasure trove. [10] : 36–39 [21] : 131,153,163–213

A cache of gold and several other objects appeared on or around May 27, 1873 Schliemann named it "Priam's Treasure". He later wrote that he had seen the gold glinting in the dirt and dismissed the workmen so that he and Sophia could excavate it themselves they removed it in her shawl. However, Schliemann's oft-repeated story of the treasure's being carried by Sophia in her shawl was untrue. Schliemann later admitted fabricating it at the time of the discovery Sophia was in fact with her family in Athens, following the death of her father. [26] Sophia later wore "the Jewels of Helen" for the public.

Schliemann smuggled the treasure out of Turkey into Greece. The Turkish government sued Schliemann in a Greek court, and Schliemann was forced to pay a 10,000 gold franc indemnity. Schliemann ended up sending 50,000 gold francs to the Constantinople Imperial Museum, and some of the artifacts. Schliemann published Troy and Its Remains in 1874. Schliemann at first offered his collections, which included Priam's Gold, to the Greek government, then the French, and finally the Russians. However, in 1881, his collections ended up in Berlin, housed first in the Ethnographic Museum, and then the Museum for Pre- and Early History, until the start of WWII. In 1939, all exhibits were packed and stored in the museum basement, then moved to the Prussian State Bank vault in January 1941. Later in 1941, the treasure was moved to the Flakturm located at the Berlin Zoological Garden, called the Zoo Tower. Dr. Wilhelm Unverzagt protected the three crates containing the Trojan gold when the Battle for Berlin commenced, right up until SMERSH forces took control of the tower on 1 May. On 26 May 1945, Soviet forces, led by Lt. Gen. Nikolai Antipenko, Andre Konstantinov, deputy head of the Arts Committee, Viktor Lazarev, and Serafim Druzhinin, took the three crates away on trucks. The crates were then flown to Moscow on 30 June 1945, and taken to the Pushkin Museum ten days later. In 1994, the museum admitted the collection was in their possession. [10] [27] [21]

In 1876, he began digging at Mycenae. There, he discovered the Shaft Graves, with their skeletons and more regal gold (including the so-called Mask of Agamemnon). These findings were published in Mycenae in 1878. [10] : 57–58 [21] : 226–252,385

Although he had received permission in 1876 to continue excavation, Schliemann did not reopen the dig site at Troy until 1878–1879, after another excavation in Ithaca designed to locate a site mentioned in the Odyssey. This was his second excavation at Troy. Emile Burnouf and Rudolf Virchow joined him there in 1879. [28]

Schliemann began excavation of the Treasury of Minyas at Orchomenus (Boeotia) in 1880. [29]

Schliemann made a third excavation at Troy in 1882–1883, an excavation of Tiryns with Wilhelm Dörpfeld in 1884, and a fourth excavation at Troy, also with Dörpfeld (who emphasized the importance of strata), in 1888–1890. [30]

On August 1, 1890, Schliemann returned reluctantly to Athens, and in November travelled to Halle, where his chronic ear infection was operated upon, on November 13. The doctors deemed the operation a success, but his inner ear became painfully inflamed. Ignoring his doctors' advice, he left the hospital and travelled to Leipzig, Berlin and Paris. From the last, he planned to return to Athens in time for Christmas, but his ear condition became even worse. Too sick to make the boat ride from Naples to Greece, Schliemann remained in Naples but managed to make a journey to the ruins of Pompeii. On Christmas Day 1890, he collapsed into a coma he died in a Naples hotel room the following day the cause of death was cholesteatoma.

His corpse was then transported by friends to the First Cemetery in Athens. It was interred in a mausoleum shaped like a temple erected in ancient Greek style, designed by Ernst Ziller in the form of an amphiprostylee temple on top of a tall base. The frieze circling the outside of the mausoleum shows Schliemann conducting the excavations at Mycenae and other sites.

Schliemann's magnificent residence in the city centre of Athens, the Iliou Melathron (Ιλίου Μέλαθρον, "Palace of Ilium") houses today the Numismatic Museum of Athens.

Further excavation of the Troy site by others indicated that the level he named the Troy of the Iliad was inaccurate, although they retain the names given by Schliemann. In an article for The Classical World, D.F. Easton wrote that Schliemann "was not very good at separating fact from interpretation" [31] and claimed that, "Even in 1872 Frank Calvert could see from the pottery that Troy II had to be hundreds of years too early to be the Troy of the Trojan War, a point finally proven by the discovery of Mycenaean pottery in Troy VI in 1890." [31] "King Priam's Treasure" was found in the Troy II level, that of the Early Bronze Age, long before Priam's city of Troy VI or Troy VIIa in the prosperous and elaborate Mycenaean Age. Moreover, the finds were unique. The elaborate gold artifacts do not appear to belong to the Early Bronze Age.

His excavations were condemned by later archaeologists as having destroyed the main layers of the real Troy. Kenneth W. Harl, in the Teaching Company's Great Ancient Civilizations of Asia Minor lecture series, sarcastically claimed that Schliemann's excavations were carried out with such rough methods that he did to Troy what the Greeks could not do in their times, destroying and levelling down the entire city walls to the ground. [32]

In 1972, Professor William Calder of the University of Colorado, speaking at a commemoration of Schliemann's birthday, claimed that he had uncovered several possible problems in Schliemann's work. Other investigators followed, such as Professor David Traill of the University of California. [33]

An article published by the National Geographic Society called into question Schliemann's qualifications, his motives, and his methods:

In northwestern Turkey, Heinrich Schliemann excavated the site believed to be Troy in 1870. Schliemann was a German adventurer and con man who took sole credit for the discovery, even though he was digging at the site, called Hisarlik, at the behest of British archaeologist Frank Calvert. [. ] Eager to find the legendary treasures of Troy, Schliemann blasted his way down to the second city, where he found what he believed were the jewels that once belonged to Helen. As it turns out, the jewels were a thousand years older than the time described in Homer's epic. [1]

Another article presented similar criticisms when reporting on a speech by University of Pennsylvania scholar C. Brian Rose:

German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann was the first to explore the Mound of Troy in the 1870s. Unfortunately, he had had no formal education in archaeology, and dug an enormous trench "which we still call the Schliemann Trench," according to Rose, because in the process Schliemann “destroyed a phenomenal amount of material." [. ] Only much later in his career would he accept the fact that the treasure had been found at a layer one thousand years removed from the battle between the Greeks and Trojans, and thus that it could not have been the treasure of King Priam. Schliemann may not have discovered the truth, but the publicity stunt worked, making Schliemann and the site famous and igniting the field of Homeric studies in the late 19th century. During this period he was criticized and ridiculed of claims to fathering an offspring with a local Assyrian Girl sparking infidelity and adultery which Schliemann did not confirm or deny. ' [34]

Schliemann's methods have been described as "savage and brutal. He plowed through layers of soil and everything in them without proper record keeping—no mapping of finds, few descriptions of discoveries." Carl Blegen forgave his recklessness, saying "Although there were some regrettable blunders, those criticisms are largely colored by a comparison with modern techniques of digging but it is only fair to remember that before 1876 very few persons, if anyone, yet really knew how excavations should properly be conducted. There was no science of archaeological investigation, and there was probably no other digger who was better than Schliemann in actual field work." [35]

In 1874, Schliemann also initiated and sponsored the removal of medieval edifices from the Acropolis of Athens, including the great Frankish Tower. Despite considerable opposition, including from King George I of Greece, Schliemann saw the project through. [36] The eminent historian of Frankish Greece William Miller later denounced this as "an act of vandalism unworthy of any people imbued with a sense of the continuity of history", [37] and "pedantic barbarism". [38]

Peter Ackroyd's novel The Fall of Troy (2006) is based on Schliemann's excavation of Troy. Schliemann is portrayed as "Heinrich Obermann".

Schliemann is also the subject of Chris Kuzneski's novel The Lost Throne. [ citation needed ]

Schliemann is the subject of Irving Stone's novel The Greek Treasure (1975), which was the basis for the 2007 German television production Der geheimnisvolle Schatz von Troja (Hunt for Troy).

Schliemann is a peripheral character in the historical mystery, A Terrible Beauty. It is the 11th book in a series of novels featuring Lady Emily Hargreaves by Tasha Alexander. [39]

Life in a Mask

IUP has officially started again so it’s time Trowels and Tribulations got back into action. One of IUP’s new policies regarding COVID-19 is that all students must wear masks. Masks are a culturally significant item that is present in many different countries and used in a variety of rituals from burials to rites of passage and religious practices.

One of the most famous masks was discovered my Heinrich Schliemann in his 1876 excavation of Mycenae in Greece. During his excavations, Schliemann’s team discovered a large grave circle, now called Grave Circle A, in which a number of burials were discovered. Five of these burials contained gold burials masks. Schliemann concluded that one of these burials and masks belonged to the legendary Greek hero and king Agamemnon. While never actually authenticated by Schliemann as Agamemnon, this particular mask was the most spectacular and thus associated with the hero king. Unfortunately for the often overly fanciful Schliemann the burials were later dated to 300 years after the Trojan War in which Agamemnon fought and thus were not likely to be associated with him. The most interesting point about this mask is that it is so perfectly preserved and distinctive that some scholars believe it to be a hoax, which Schliemann is known for doing. Along with the mask looking completely different from the others, Schliemann himself acted in a suspicious manner around the time of his discovery. He had left the site for two days just before it was discovered and then closed the site directly after its discovery. While not suspicious in itself, he was known to purchasing and commissioning replicas of objects, such as the bust of Cleopatra found in Alexandria, and planting them in his sites. Despite these doubts of authenticity, other gold masks have been recovered from the grave circle and appear to be authentic. (For more click here and here)

Three Mycenaean masks all of gold. The middle is the Mask of Agamemnon. It has much more distinctive features, extended ears, larger eyes, smaller forehead, and a well groomed beard and mustache that is not present on the other two.

Transformation mask that when opened reveals another face

I little closer to home, masks are used my name Native American traditions (modern and past) in rituals and ceremonies. One very interesting mask type is called transformation masks and are commonly worn by tribes along the Northwest Coast of North America. Transformation masks are made from wood and decorated to look like animals, ancestors, or mythical beings. The wearer can manipulate the masks using strings so at specific moments in the ceremony, the performer will transform into another creature or ancestor by opening up the mask. They are most well known for being used during Knakwaka’wakw potlatch ceremonies during which the masks can convey status and genealogy. Many other tribes throughout North America use masks in their ceremonies. However, because of the materials they are made from, wood, leather, and other degradable materials, they are not often recovered in archaeological contexts. Some tribes such as the Cherokee nearly lost the mask making traditions when they were forcible removed from traditional lasts. Fortunately, Native American artists are working to restore these lost traditions. (To learn more click here)

Ancient Neolithic stone masks

The oldest masks in the world were discovered in 1983 in Nahal Hemar cave along the Dead Sea. The masks date to around 9,000 years and were also discovered with the oldest known glue along with baskets and beads. Some masks still show pigment meaning that they were likely painted. These stone masks weigh between one and two kilograms (about a 2-4 pounds) are each unique to one another and possible represent particular people. The actual use of these masks in unknown but Dr. Debby Hershman of the Israel Museum theorizes that they were likely worn by tribal leaders or shamans during burial and other death rituals. Since the masks have holes for the eyes, mouth, a dent for a nose, and small holes on either side of the face, it is likely they were worn by a person. (View sources here and here)

Masks have been an important part of history and are still important today for more than just ceremonial practices. These masks were used to symbolize ancestors or spirits. They were not worn everyday and help great powers over those who did wear and likely those who made them. Our masks do not share the same transformative powers, but they are important. Keep on wearing your masks and make a story out it.

Mask of Agamemnon: Schliemann's Discovery - History

Arentzen Wout. An Early Examination of the "Mask of Agamemnon". In: L'antiquité classique, Tome 70, 2001. pp. 189-192.

An Early Examination of the 'Mask of Agamemnon'

William Calder III has recently published a noteworthy study on the so-called "mask of Agamemnon"1 This study is worthy of note in part for the the simple reason that Calder delivered a paper on the subject at an international conference in Waren, Germany, in 19972. That paper was published in the proceedings of the conference3. Many of the scholars who participated in the Colloquium in Waren were surprised to discover that Calder repeated exactly the same thesis which he had advanced in Berlin only a year before4. What is significant in this respect is that, among other things, neither at the conference in 1996, nor at the Colloquium in Waren did Calder answer the criticisms and questions raised by Dr. Reinhard Witte. One would have hoped that at least in his contribution in Archaeology he would have responded to Witte' s salient interventions. But, alas, this is not the case.

Nor did Traill, who also participated in the Conference in Waren, and who also made a contribution in the same issue of Archaeology5 ', see fit to answer Witte' s criticisms. In the end he came to the conclusion that he has no idea whether the mask is genuine, has been significantly altered, or is a forgery. He does, however, appear to be convinced that there is something seriously wrong with the mask, since Schliemann is a notorious liar. He seems to overstate himself, however, when he claims that "even Schliemann' s staunchest supporters are beginning to admit that "Priam's Treasure" is probably not the single find that Schliemann claimed it to be". On this question the jury may still be out, but at this point in time one suspects that there is little reason to believe that Traill' s thesis will survive6. The same holds true

1 W.M. CALDER III, "Is the Mask a Hoax ? ", in S.P.M. HARRINGTON, W.M. CALDER III, D.A. TRAILL, K. DEMAKOPOULOU and K.D.S. LAPATIN, "Behind the Mask of Agamemnon", Archaeology, 52, 4 (1999), p. 53-55 [51-59].

2 Internationales Kolloquium Heinrich Schliemann zum 175. Geburtstag Forschunsprobleme und Neue Informationen über sein Leben und Werk vom 4. bis 6. Juli 1997 in Waren (Müritz) an der Europäischen Akademie Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Calder' s contribution in Archaeology repeats exactly the same nine arguments which he advanced at the Kolloquium in Waren.

Watch the video: THIEF 2 FAN-MISSION: THE MASK OF AGAMEMNON. Grabräuber ExperteDeutsch (August 2022).