Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


24 April 2015

Schliemann of Troy: The Story of a Linguistic Genius

Natalia Vogeikoff-Brogan, From the Archivist's Notebook, 2-04-2015

Schliemann of Troy: The Story of a Linguistic Genius

Schliemann the legendary excavator of Troy and Mycenae hardly needs an introduction. A host of publications deal with the last twenty years of his life and the results of his excavations. It is only recently, however, that any interest has been taken in Schliemann’s “non-Greek” past, his early years, when he was a successful merchant, an obsessive traveler, and a compulsive linguist. What else can we call a man who taught himself to read, write, and speak more than fifteen languages?

Schliemann’s gift with languages has been studied only sporadically, Elizabeth Carvalho’s short essay, titled “Heinrich Schliemann, the linguist,” being the most comprehensive study.

This is why we at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA) enthusiastically accepted the initiative of LAASA (the Lady Ambassadors and Ambassadors’ Spouses in Athens) proposing to study Schliemann’s diaries and record in detail all languages in which he wrote. In the lingo of the archivist, this is called crowdsourcing, and the members of LAASA, considering all the languages that they collectively command, was the perfect group to accomplish this difficult task. The Schliemann Project was conceived after members of LAASA visited the Gennadius Library of the ASCSA more than a year ago. During that visit they were shown the travel diaries of Heinrich Schliemann, and found them fascinating because they were written in so many languages. I still remember their excitement when we discovered that there were entries in Urdu!



Παρακαλούμε τα σχόλιά σας να είναι στα Ελληνικά (πάντα με ελληνικούς χαρακτήρες) ή στα Αγγλικά. Αποφύγετε τα κεφαλαία γράμματα. Ο Αιγεύς διατηρεί το δικαίωμα να διαγράφει εκτός θέματος, προσβλητικά, ανώνυμα σχόλια ή κείμενα σε greeklish.