In the 8th century BC, the Greek troubadour Homer wrote two great epics, “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey”, which have been passed down to this day. They had a profound impact on European civilization and became the foundation of Western spirit and literature. source. The Trojan War, which these two epics focus on, has been talked about by people all over the world for thousands of years. However, for centuries, it existed only as a myth and legend rich in artistic imagination, rather than as a real history. No one knows exactly where Troy is located. Historians only trace ancient Greek civilization back to the 8th century BC. Before that, everything was blurry, as if there was no bustling city and splendid civilization described in the epic.
So, is the Trojan War true or false? Was there really a Trojan horse massacre? People have been arguing for many years, and the debate continued into the 19th century. In 1822, a baby boy named Henry Schliemann was born to a poor priest family in Germany. On Christmas when he was 7 years old, his father, who was very interested in history, gave young Schliemann “Illustrated History of the World” and “The Picture Book of the Iliad” as gifts. What the father did not expect was that these two books would entrust his son’s life-long dream, and thus change the entire Western history.
One day, little Schliemann pointed to the city of Troy that was captured by the Greeks’ Trojan horse trick in the book, and asked his father: “Dad, is there really a city of Troy?” His father smiled and replied: “Then Just myths and legends. There is no proof of the existence of Troy.”
“Oh?” Little Schliemann looked at the city of Troy, which was in flames, and pondered. After a while, he looked at his father and said, “No! I don’t believe it! Someone must have seen the tall city walls and the majestic Xi’an Gate in the picture, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to draw it.” The father laughed and said, ” Child, that’s just an imaginary painting.” Little Schliemann clenched his fists and said firmly: “No, that can’t be just an imagination. When I grow up, I will personally find the city of Troy and Agamemnon. The king’s palace. I swear!”
The father thought this was just his son’s innocent words, so he laughed it off. Unexpectedly, the magical charm of classical mythology inspired my son’s ambition to explore. From then on, Schliemann made up his mind to one day discover the lost city of Troy and verify the authenticity of “Homer’s Epic”!
The dream is distant and great, but it is very difficult to realize it, especially for someone from a poor family like Schliemann. From the age of 14, Schliemann dropped out of school because he could not afford the tuition. In order to survive, he worked as an apprentice, a salesman, a trainee sailor, and a bank messenger, and suffered a lot. He understood that conducting archaeological excavations and research required knowledge of the language and a lot of money. To this end, he worked tirelessly and traveled all over Europe. While working hard to make money, he also diligently studied on his own and made full preparations for both capital and knowledge.
Schliemann was an absolute genius of that era. He was talented, hard-working and persevering. Through self-study, he actually mastered 22 languages and had a deep understanding of history and writing. , with unique understanding, can be regarded as the most talented linguist in the 19th century. Language and knowledge gave him wings to take off. At the age of 22, he founded his own import and export business in Petersburg, Russia. During the subsequent Crimean War and the American Civil War, he took advantage of the trend to engage in arms business and made huge profits. Immediately afterwards, he became a U.S. citizen and made a lot of money during the California gold rush. In his early 40s, Schliemann became a millionaire.
With the solid material foundation accumulated in his business adventure, Schliemann began to realize his childhood ideal-to find and confirm the real existence of the city of Troy in “Homer’s Epic”. By this time, he was proficient in Greek and familiar with the mystery of Homer’s hexameter poems. He once said to people humorously: “Now I write a letter to Plato, and he will definitely understand it.”
In 1868, the 46-year-old Schliemann was ready and officially announced that he would devote all his efforts to the exploration and excavation of the long-awaited Troy ruins. At that time, people were still skeptical about the authenticity of the events described in “Homer’s Epic”, but Schliemann firmly believed that behind every myth and legend, there was some historical basis. To prove that the heroic deeds of Homer’s heroic deeds of fighting and conquering thousands of miles like a tiger are real historical existences, we must find and unearth the city of Troy buried underground.
Soon, Schliemann set foot on the land of Greece and Asia Minor. His “guide” is “Homer’s Epic”, especially the “Iliad”. After on-the-spot investigation, Schliemann set his sights on a hill called Hisarlik in northwest Turkey, which he believed to be the site of the city of Troy.
In April 1870, Schliemann hired 120 migrant workers and began digging the 50-foot-high Hisarlik. This work is both arduous and dangerous. Not only is the climate harsh, fevers are prevalent, but the inner walls of the tunnels often collapse. The academic community did not understand him either, and ignored the matter, and even ridiculed and slandered him. Schliemann ignored them all and worked hard.
On June 15, 1873, a hot and dusty morning as usual, around 9 o’clock, Schliemann suddenly discovered something shining behind the old bronze in the corner. . “Gold!” After saying that, he jumped into the pit, raised his shovel, and started digging with all his strength. The long-lost smile appeared on his face again. The dream of that boy back then was very close to coming true.
There is more and more golden light in the soil, and a batch of treasures are revealed – gold, crowns, diamonds, daggers, silver bottles, earrings, bracelets and copper vessels, large clay pots , countless gold and silver jewelry are dazzling. The most precious one is a pure gold headband, made of 16,353 pieces of gold. The long and short tassels composed of heart-shaped gold pieces can hang down to the wearer’s forehead and shoulders.
Schliemann ordered the workers to continue digging deeper, intending to dig out the entirety of the magnificent city. Then gradually revealed were stone pavements, straight streets, towering city gates, broken walls, and traces of war burns on the thick city walls. The ruins of a large city are revealed in front of people’s eyes.
As the excavation deepened, the results surprised Schliemann. What he found was not only the ruins of Troy, but also a large area of ancient cities buried underground. The ruins lay one on top of another, separated by dirt, and were 45 feet deep. Each layer represents a historical period, with as many as nine cities built on each layer.
So which city is Troy? Due to the technological level at the time, Schliemann couldn’t tell. He found the right location, but he couldn’t determine which floor the real Troy was on. His discovery attracted the attention of scholars from various countries, and the academic community began to re-evaluate the authenticity of the history described in “Homer’s Epic”. In 1900, British archaeologists discovered the legendary labyrinth of Greece; in 1953, British engineers successfully deciphered an even older Greek language. In 1988, more than 350 scientists and archaeologists relied on contemporary science and technology and through more detailed work, basically confirmed that the site excavated by Schliemann that year was that the seventh layer from bottom to top was the site of the city of Troy, and The Trojan War did happen.
After Schliemann won the first battle, he began excavations in the Mycenae area of Greece in 1876, and unearthed a tomb site containing a large amount of gold, including many royal tombs and a large amount of gold. Silver ornaments, including the “golden mask of Agamemnon.” Since the “Iliad” calls Mycenae the residence of Agamemnon, Schliemann excitedly claimed that what he had discovered was “Mycenae rich in gold” and he could prove that there had been a wealthy man there. And an advanced ancient civilization that was more than a thousand years earlier than Athens.
Schliemann’s archaeological practice miraculously explored the origin of Western civilization from mythology, confirming that the ancient Aegean civilization was not just a poet’s fantasy, nor was it just a dream. The history of ancient Greek civilization goes back hundreds of years. This discovery is of extremely important significance to the study of the history of world civilization. As a result, Schliemann became a pioneer in large-scale exploration and archaeological excavations in modern Europe. He was honored as the “Father of Aegean Archeology” and ranked among the greatest archaeologists, and his name went down in history.