Parthenon Marbles

Hellenic Electronic Center (HEC) For the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles

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Elgin, the vandal and the thief, removed and stole: 247 feet—just under half—of the total friezes(1), 15 metopes(2), 17 pediment(3), and various pieces of architecture figures from the Parthenon. In addition, removed and stole one of the caryatids (female sculptures) from the nearby portico of the Erechtheion, 4 fragments from the frieze of the temple to Athena Nike, and architectural members from the Propylaia.

He did so by “claiming” that he had permission by a Turkish firman. The truth is, as National Geographic writes:
“…Despite the ambiguity of the language in the firman, the landmark 1967 study by British historian William St. Clair, Lord Elgin and the Marbles,concludes that the sultan did not allow the removal and export of statues and reliefs from the Parthenon. A clause authorizing the British to take stones “with old inscriptions and figures” probably referred to items found in the excavations conducted on the site, not artworks adorning the temples….”

How the Parthenon Lost Its Marbles – National Geographic HISTORY MAGAZINE
In 1801 Elgin stripped the Parthenon of many of its sculptures and took them to England. The Parthenon had withstood centuries of abuse from outsiders when the thief Elgin removed its remaining sculptures in the early 1800s.Read the history at National Geographic HISTORY MAGAZINE

Ήρθε η ώρα οι νέοι από όλον τον κόσμο, να ενώσουμε τα χέρια για τη επιστροφή των Γλυπτών του Παρθενώνα στην Ελλάδα. Πάρτε θέση να πάρουν τη θέση τους…

The time has come for all young people around the world to join hands for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures back to Greece. Do your part to be replaced where they belong…

Now is the time to offer to return them, as part of the Brexit deal

Geoffrey Robertson just wrote an opinion in the guardian, pushing for the return of the Parthenon artifacts.

Mr. Robertson writes:
Reuniting the marbles is a cultural imperative, not so much for Greece (its current citizens are of doubtful descent from Pericles) as for Europe. United, they will stand as a unique representation of the beginnings of civilised life in Europe, 2,500 years ago. It will be like putting together a photograph long torn in half, recording people walking and talking, playing and (particularly) drinking. United in the custom-built modern museum beneath the Parthenon, the marbles will be the greatest artistic and architectural treasure on the continent.

There is no doubt that they were stolen. Elgin’s licence to remove “stones” specifically prohibited him from pulling down the superstructure of the building to rip off the metopes and sculptures. Before a parliamentary committee he lied outrageously, pretending to have acted only when he saw with his own eyes how they were being despoiled by the Turks.

This was a demonstrable falsehood, because he did not arrive in Athens until most of the marbles had been torn down by his workmen for his own profit, in breach of his duty as British ambassador. They are now vested by the 1963 British Museum Act in the trustees of the institution. But parliament can unvest them, by a simple amendment or a line in the big Brexit bill, and send them back to Athens as part of our final deal with Europe”

Source: the guardian (complete article)

Stolen Antiquities Returned from Munich Arrive at National Archaeological Museum in Athens

National Archaeological Museum Athens

Eight crates containing 33 archaeological artifacts and 600 coins, including some ancient masterpieces dating to the 12th and 13th centuries B.C., arrived at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens from Munich on Friday.

The crates full of archaeological treasures were transported to the museum with great secrecy and opened in the museum amphitheatre in the presence of Culture Minister Lydia Koniordou, with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency invited to record the opening of the crates as the museum curators took delivery.

The remarkable finds, most in very good condition, included amphorae, bird-shaped vases, a pottery statue of a chariot driver and two riders and other small objects, most of which were possibly grave goods taken from the northwestern Peloponnese.

“Today, this is a special, touching and very important moment. What you feel from the expressions of the archaeologists and curators, the joy on their face every time the very important finds are unveiled one by one,” said Koniordou. Their return from Munich, where they were taken illegally, was “truly touching,” the minister added, noting that it was a huge success for Greek and German law enforcement agencies, which had cooperated seamlessly in a joint effort to which the Greek general consul in Munich had also contributed greatly.

The minister said that the 33 objects dated to the late Bronze age, had very interesting shapes and patterns, while most appeared to come from the same pottery workshop. There were also small objects from the Geometric period that were “real masterpieces” and 600 coins, she said.

“It is a non-negotiable principle of the Greek state to combat illegal antiquities smuggling and protect cultural heritage by any means. It is our desire that these illegally acquired ancient treasures should return to the areas from which they were stolen. We are already discussing how specific antiquities will be presented at the best time and in the best way to the public,” Koniordou said.

The finds linked to an international ring of illegal antiquities traders dismantled in Patras last October have been transferred to museum conservation workshops, while a committee has been set up to assess their authenticity and value.

(Sources: ANA-MPA & The Greek Reporter)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 3, 2017 – Update: The Verdict

Who Owns Antiquity?

The National Hellenic Museum Brings Famed Attorneys to Face Off on March 16 at The Art Institute CHICAGO, IL – On March 16, 2017, the public will decide one of the most highly anticipated international cases, The Trial of the Parthenon Marbles. Following the extraordinary success of The Trials of Socrates, Orestes, and Antigone, The National Hellenic Museum will conduct this latest Trial at the Rubloff Auditorium and The Art Institute. There, in a court filled with nationally renowned judges and attorneys, The Trial of the Parthenon Marbles will decide whether these classical Greek marble sculptures should return to Greece or remain in the British Museum.

The Parthenon Marbles, also known as the Elgin Marbles, originally formed much of the exterior decoration of the Parthenon. In the early 1800s, the Ottoman governor of Greece allegedly permitted Lord Elgin to ship them to England. They have been on display at the British Museum for nearly 200 years. Since obtaining independence from the Ottoman Empire, Greece has pressed the United Kingdom for the Marbles’ return, a request that has been refused on the grounds that ownership was properly acquired.

Presiding over the proceedings will be Judges Richard A. Posner and William J. Bauer from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne M. Burke, US District Judge Charles P. Kocoras and Cook County Circuit Judge Anna H. Demacopoulos.

Greece, looking to regain control of the Parthenon Marbles, will be represented by Daniel K. Webb and Robert A. Clifford, who are expected to argue in court that Lord Elgin obtained the Parthenon Marbles without proper permission and thus lacked title. Supporting their efforts will be Sam Adam, Jr., who will present an expert witness on behalf of Greece. Mr. Adam will also cross examine the British expert.

The British will take issue with the Greek argument. Representing the United Kingdom and the British Museum, Patrick M. Collins and Patrick J. Fitzgerald, are expected to argue not only the validity of Lord Elgin’s possession of the Marbles, but the equity of British Museum’s continued ownership insofar is it came into possession of the Marbles in good faith. Tinos Diamantatos will present an expert witness on behalf of the British side and will cross examine the Greek expert.

Cast your vote for whether the Marbles should return or remain at The Trial of the Parthenon Marbles on March 16 at The Art Institute – Rubloff Auditorium, 230 S Columbus Dr., Chicago, IL 60603. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. and the trial begins at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are $100 per person and are available for purchase at, contact Francesca Peppiatt at (312) 655-1234, ext. 21, or purchase in person at the National Hellenic Museum’s gift shop.


  • The Honorable William J. Bauer, Judge for the Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
  • The Honorable Richard A. Posner, Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
  • The Honorable Anna H. Demacopoulos, Circuit Court of Cook County
  • The Honorable Anne M. Burke, Illinois Supreme Court.
  • The Honorable Charles P. Kocoras, U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois


  • Robert A. Clifford, Founder & Senior Partner, of Clifford Law Offices and past president of the Chicago Bar Association
  • Patrick M. Collins, Partner, Perkins Coie, former First Assistant U. S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois
  • Patrick J. Fitzgerald, Litigation Partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, former U. S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois
  • Dan K. Webb, Chairman, Winston & Strawn, former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois
  • Sam Adam Jr., founder Sam Adam Junior Law Group
  • Tinos Diamantatos, partner, Morgan Lewis

# # #

The National Hellenic Museum (NHM) portrays and celebrates Greek heritage and the Hellenic legacy. With a rich depository of over 20,000 artifacts, the Museum highlights the contributions of Greeks and Greek-Americans to the American mosaic and inspires curiosity about visitors’ own family journeys though cultural expression, oral history and experiential education. Located in Chicago’s Greektown, the Museum provides lifelong learning for the whole community through classes, exhibitions and programs that spark inquiry and discussion about the broader issues in our lives.

For more information, visit

  • Media Contact: Marina Christos Marketing & Community Outreach Coordinator
  • National Hellenic Museum:
    • 333 South Halsted Street Chicago, IL 60661
    • Office: 312.655.1234 ext. 27
  • Email:

Source NHM: See full Press Release PDF

The Parthenon Marbles The Parthenon Marbles, east pediment

2016 marks the 200th anniversary of “elginism” [def: An act of cultural vandalism]. On June 7th 1816 the British parliament voted to purchase the looted collection of Parthenon marbles from lord Elgin.

As the 200th anniversary is upon us, the Greek Minister of Culture Aristides Baltas says the Greek government is considering appealing to the international justice system for their return.
The Greek Minister told the Guardian that “if the UN represents all nations of the world and all nations of the world say ‘the marbles should be returned’ then we’ll go to court because the British Museum would be against humanity” … “we do not regard the Parthenon as exclusively Greek but rather as a heritage of humanity”.

The Guardian also published a 142-page report [ The Case for Return of the Parthenon Sculptures ] composed by Geoffrey Robertson, Norman Palmer and Amal Clooney in July 2015, on Greece’s legal prospects. The three attorneys argue that Greece has a strong case in and could appeal to the European Court of Human Rights or the International Court of Justice.

References and articles for discussion:
The Guardian: Greece looks to international justice to regain Parthenon marbles from UK
Illicit Cultural Property: Greece reported to be seeking International Justice for the Parthenon
To vima: Greece considers legal action against the UK for the Parthenon marbles
Το βήμα: Γλυπτά Παρθενώνα: Τίποτα δεν έχει τελειώσει, ανοιχτή η νομική διεκδίκηση

Joan Breton Connelly rightly admonishes the British and other despoilers of the Parthenon to return their loot to Greece. She says that

“the deliberate and sustained dismemberment of what are some of the most sublime images ever carved by humankind brings shame on those who work to uphold this state of affairs.”

PARTHENON ENIGMA by Joan Breton Connelly

Book Review by Evaggelos Vallianatos – Scholar; Author

The polytheistic, scientific and technological culture of the Greeks culminated in an extremely sophisticated form of sculpture and architecture and city planning of the classical age, filling poleis with thousands of statues and dozens of great temples, including the Parthenon in Athens honoring the virgin goddess Athena.

Building the Parthenon was, first of all, a massive public works project. Plutarch, priest of Apollo and philosopher, writing almost six centuries after the Athenians built the Parthenon in the fifth century BCE, left a few valuable clues on the history of the Parthenon.

He reported that the materials used for its construction included marble, bronze, ivory, gold, ebony and cypress-wood. Some 200 craftsmen and 50 sculptors did the lions’ work in constructing the temple of the virgin goddess Athena.

Plutarch praised Perikles under whose leadership Parthenon came into being. The works of Perikles, he said, were done “in a short time for all time.”

William Martin Leake, a British traveler and philhellene, visited Athens in the 1810s. In 1821, he extolled the “magnificent” Parthenon, “which, by its united excellences of materials, design and decorations, was the most perfect ever executed.”

Another philhellene, the French philosopher Ernest Renan, visited the Acropolis in 1865 and fell in love with the beauty and sacredness of the Parthenon. He admitted that, “Greece had created science, art, philosophy and civilization; but the scale failed me. When I saw the Acropolis, I have had the revelation of the divine.” In addition, Renan equated the beauty of the Parthenon with “absolute honesty,” reason and the respect Greeks had towards their gods. He said the hours he spent on the Acropolis were “hours of prayer” to Pallas Athena.

A 20th-century student of ancient Athens, R. E. Wycherley, noted that the Parthenon was the

culmination of Greek architecture… The temple dominated the Acropolis and was the crowning glory of the city… It was elaborately designed, and… worthy offering to Athena and a splendid symbol of the power and achievement of Athens.

E. Guhl and W. Koner, German scholars, also of the 20th century, documented that works of architecture “produce the grandest and most powerful impression and give the most distinguishable character to the life of a nation.” This was particularly true with the Greeks who “were enabled and gifted more than any other nation” in rendering “the innermost nature of their genius in external works of art.”

Just like the Greeks designed the world’s first computer 2,200 years ago in order to unite the heavens and Earth, they also brought together the celestial and temporal in their temples. According to Guhl and Koner, “the temple became the rallying-point of everything good, noble and beautiful, which we still consider as the glory of Greek culture and refinement.”

The American classics scholar, Jon D. Mikalson, agrees. He speaks of the divine origins in Greek architecture, the “inclination” of the Greeks “to give to their gods only what was beautiful.” The result of this piety, he says, “filled their cities and villages… with temples, statues and dedications of unsurpassed beauty.”

According to Mikalson:

Most of what we think of as characteristically Greek in architecture, sculpture, mythology, lyric poetry, tragedy, and comedy owned its origins and, especially in the Classical period, its development to the religious institutions and practices of the Greek people. The cultural environment in which the Greek individual lived, whether in Athens or Sparta or Thebes, was significantly determined by his religion and that of his ancestors.

The Parthenon was the jewel of Greek religion. Like an ageless celestial mirror, it also reflected the power, patriotism, democracy and artistic and technical achievements of Athens, the premier Greek polis in the fifth century BCE.

The Parthenon Enigma (Alfred A. Knopf, 2014) highlights this refreshing interpretation of Greek history. Its author, the American classics scholar Joan Breton Connelly, is admirable because she sees the Greeks mostly as the Greeks saw themselves. This is no small achievement in an age that is fashionable even for classical scholars to hate the Greeks.

In her 2007 book, Portrait of a Priestess, Connelly argued convincingly women in ancient Greece were not second-class citizens, especially in religious practices. Now in her masterful story, The Parthenon Enigma, she breaks new ground once again — explaining the Greeks in terms of their relationships with their gods. Yes, Athens had plenty of philosophers and radical democrats, but above all else Athens had people pious to the gods and Athena in particular.

The Parthenon, Connelly says, was “first and foremost a religious building,” a “supernal” temple that facilitated beliefs and rituals at the “very fabric of [Athenian] life.” It wedded metaphysical understanding and civic solidarity among citizens who knew they were autochthonous Greeks. The Parthenon told them to protect their polis from “exotic, barbaric outsiders.” This made the Parthenon an “epitome of Athenian self-awareness.”

Christians and, eventually, Moslems desecrated, plundered, bombed and wrecked the Parthenon. But, like Plutarch said, the Parthenon remains untouched by time.

Read The Parthenon Enigma. It is a very important book: thoroughly researched and written for the intelligent reader. It is original, insightful and convincing.

Despite the ceaseless barbarities against Greece, including the unforgivable and atrocious colonialism of the European Union and America in Greece since 2009, Greek values are at the foundation of the West. Connelly’s book reminds us of that.

Connelly rightly admonishes the British and other despoilers of the Parthenon to return their loot to Greece. She says that the “deliberate and sustained dismemberment of what are some of the most sublime images ever carved by humankind brings shame on those who work to uphold this state of affairs.”

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