In 1869, a few months after divorcing his Russian wife, Schliemann married the 17-year old schoolgirl Sophia Engastromenos, his choice from the several prospective brides that his old teacher, Archbishop Vimpos, had assembled. Sophia immediately found herself having to learn English, French, and German, and to reside in Paris. But Schliemann’s cosmopolitan life-style in France’s capital city, did not suit her. Sophia longed to return to Athens; they eventually did. She bore a daughter, Andromache, in 1871, and a son, Agamemnon, in 1878.

Sophia’s physical and mental health was a continuing concern to her husband, especially during the first years of their marriage. She found it difficult to cope with Heinrich’s long absences and often ‘stingy’ attitude to home economics. Eventually, and not without resistance, she learned to follow his lead and to share his passion for archaeology, becoming his close partner in the field.

In 1880, Heinrich and Sophia moved to their permanent residence, the Iliou Melathron. Following Schliemann’s instructions, the architect Ernst Ziller (1837-1923) built one of Athens’s largest and finest mansions. The local newspapers often praised Sophia for being the perfect hostess. She also became involved in many charitable activities during her marriage. Following Heinrich’s death, Sophia continued to support excavations at Troy and to make her home a meeting point for archaeologists and scholars. Her efforts to found a hospital for the treatment of tuberculosis and to establish the Vouliagmeni orphanage exemplify her great philanthropic work. When Sophia died in 1932, she received a state funeral.

“Your faithful forever Sophia” Eleftheria Daleziou