Berko Fine Paintings Collections, Knokke-le-Zoute/Brussels/Paris

Obsessed with Homer, German businessman Heinrich Schliemann (with his wife Sophia) devoted himself to a lifelong quest to find the places mentioned in Homer’s epics. Excavating before archaeological standards were developed, he plundered, sometimes planted evidence and ruined archaeological remains through his unscientific methods and zeal. In the 1870s he excavated the remains of a city in the Troad in Anatolia called Hissarlik, which he proclaimed to be Troy. There he discovered a treasure hoard (some of which is shown adorning his wife) that he dubbed “Priam’s Treasure,” after the ancient king of Troy. For all his missteps, Schliemann began the movement to document a historical basis for the Homeric tales.