Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz

During his 20 years in St. Petersburg, Schliemann made a fortune by trading in indigo, herring and paper—and by supplying the Russian army with munitions during the Crimean War (1854–1856). In his off hours, he learned languages, acquired a huge private library and maintained an enormous personal correspondence. Despite his claims that he had dreamed of discovering Homer’s Troy as a youth in a German parsonage, Schliemann did not begin to study ancient Greek until 1856. This was the first time in ten years, according to author Igor Bogdanov, that Schliemann applied himself to anything unrelated to commerce. In 1868 Schliemann made his first visit to the Troad—where he met the British expatriate Frank Calvert, who was convinced that Homer’s Troy lay beneath the mound of Hisarlik. It was probably Calvert who inspired Schliemann to take up excavation.