When Heinrich Schliemann emerged from Turkey in June of 1873 with a sizeable treasure, the whole world took note.
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Jenny Petersen Essay #1 When Heinrich Schliemann emerged from Turkey in June of 1873 with a sizeable treasure, the whole world took note. He claimed not only to have found the treasure of King Priam, King of the ancient city of Troy in Homer's epic, but more importantly he claimed to have discovered the actual ruins of what he believed to be the infamous and lost city of Troy. Within days Schliemann was famous all over the world, and throughout the course of his life, and after more than fifty years of archeological research, he was adorned with the title "father of modern-day archeology." Schliemann's timely findings may lead many to believe that he was indeed one of the luckiest men in history, but others have delved into the life of Schliemann as both a man and an archeologist, and after learning about what may seem like minor faux pas and irrelevant mistakes, they have come to conclude that although he was a successful scientist, Schliemann was a liar, a thief, and a fraud in both his personal life and in his career as an archeologist. J. Lesley Fitton, William Caulder, David Traiil, and David Turner are just four of the thousands of educated scholars that have taken it upon themselves to learn about Schliemann and to recognize and uncover the crucial lies that Schliemann told time and again about himself and about his career. Schliemann's personal life was full of grand achievements and grave deficits, and in all of his years of fame and stardom,
Caulder and Traill expose the possibility of this statement as a lie when they acknowledge to the reader than Schliemann claims to have written a dissertation in Greek about his excavations at Ithaca, and sent his dissertation to the University of Rostock, where he was soon after honored with a Ph.D (Caulder, Traill, p 23). Caulder writes: "I soon discovered that no 'dissertation in ancient Greek' existed at Rostock, only a wretched translation into that language...on which the Greek professor...reported to the dean that " ' The ignoranceof Greek endings and sentence construction shows that the author has never passed a course in Greek syntaz and therefore is incapable of forming a complete, independent sentence...' " (Caulder, Traill, p 23). Schliemann had lied once again, and this time he had lied "in print" to create the deceiving impression that he "had mastered a learned language which he scarcely knew" (Caulder, Traill, p 23). But this wasn't the last lie that Schliemann would disclose in his diary. In his diary entry for February 21, 1851, Schliemann claims that he had visited with President Fillmore and his wife for over one and a half hours, when there is indeed no evidence, in either newspapers or press releases, that Schliemann had ever met the President of the United States. Moreover, Schliemann fabricated yet another lie about being present in San Francisco at the time of the famous 1851 San Francisco earthquake and fire.
We will never really know, however, if Schliemann faked his magnificent find. Maybe the only person who ever knew the truth was Schliemann's beautiful Greek wife, Sophia, whom Schliemann lied about helping him pull Priam's treasure from the earth. Schliemann wrote in one of his diaries: " "It would, however, have been impossible for me to have removed the treasure without the help of my dear wife, who stood by me ready to pack the things which I cot out in her shawl and to carry them away.' " But. Sophia wasn't even at Troy the day Schliemann discovered Priam's Treasure. She had gone to Athens almost a month prior and did not return until after the discovery. Schliemann later explains his dishonesty in a letter to Charles Newton: "I am endeavoring to make an archaeologist of her, I wrote in my book that she had been present and assisted me in taked out the treasure. I merely did so to stimulate and encourage her, for she had great capacities" (Fitton, p 69). If Schliemann lied about situations as significant as these, he most certainly told untrue stories about other events throughout his career as an archaeologist. How much of his own work is actually reliable if this is the case? Generally, these fabrications are too typical of Schliemann, a professional archaeologist of his time. Although he was less of a learned man than many of his colleagues, Schliemann certainly appears to be even less of a learned man today as more inaccuracies continue to be unearthed about Schliemann as a man and as an archeologist.
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