Ellis Island by Bob Temple

By Bob Temple

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Once again, his luck had held. Perhaps Hermes, the Greek god of thieves, protected him. Against all odds, he was able to keep the Trojan gold. He was not, however, as celebrated as he had hoped to be. Many scholars felt that more evidence was needed before Hissarlik could be renamed Troy. Others found Heinrich’s theories ridiculous, his stories preposterous. Cartoons and caricatures of the Schliemanns filled the newspapers. All his life, Heinrich Schliemann was to irritate his colleagues. Though many scholars befriended him, he also made enemies — and his enemies simply could not stand him.

After Corfu, Heinrich followed Odysseus back to his homeland — Ithaca. Unlike Troy, Ithaca was a name that could be found on any map. Whether Odysseus ever lived was a matter of opinion, but there was no question as to where he lived: Odysseus was king of Ithaca. There were even guidebooks that gave locations for “Odysseus’s palace” and other Homeric sites. Heinrich was exactly the kind of tourist for whom these books were written. He walked in his hero’s footsteps and shed tears at the sites where Odysseus once wept.

Others found Heinrich’s theories ridiculous, his stories preposterous. Cartoons and caricatures of the Schliemanns filled the newspapers. All his life, Heinrich Schliemann was to irritate his colleagues. Though many scholars befriended him, he also made enemies — and his enemies simply could not stand him. They were disgusted by his romanticism, his boasting, his hysterical excitement over every new idea. It rankled that a grocer turned millionaire should unearth such staggering finds. Schliemann was a shrill and vulgar little man.

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