"he was talking on and on in a low voice about Schliemann's Ilios"

The walls of the city of Troy
GNU Free Documentation LicenseThe walls of the city of Troy - Credit: Dodo
 Heinrich Schliemann (1822-1890) was a German businessman and archaelogist, most famous for his discovery of the historical site of Troy, on the Turkish coast near Mount Ida. He advocated the idea that there was historical truth to Ancient Greek and Roman stories such as Homer's Iliad and Virgil's Aeneid.

Schliemann was an important influence on a young Donna Tartt, who decided to become an archaelogist after her grandmother gave her a book about him.