Magazine article Humanities

One Off

Magazine article Humanities

One Off

Article excerpt

IN 1876, Heinrich Schliemann made an extraordinary announcement. Schliemann was a famous German archaeologist. A short time earlier he had uncovered artifacts near Hisarhk, Turkey, leading to the positive identification of the site of Troy. This time, in Greece, he reported an even greater discovery: the death mask of Agamemnon.

It was a funerary mask with a skull underneath. "I have gazed into the eyes of Agamemnon," Schliemann said afterward with a touch of drama.

According to the Iliad, Agamemnon was the king who led the Greeks to victory against the Trojans. The Trojan War took place in the thirteenth century BCE. The mask that Schliemann discovered, however, predated this period by several centuries. Yet it provided valuable evidence about Mycenaean culture, its commerce, and the art of the late Bronze Age. …

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