Parthenon Marbles

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

Geometry and harmony.
As soon as the video starts you can select Greek, German, French.

Watch also Secrets of the Parthenon for fascinating facts about the geometrical properties of the parthenon.

Greek protesters hold candlelit vigil demanding return of Parthenon marbles – video

Hundreds of protesters hold a candlelit vigil in Athens on Sunday demanding that Britain returns the Parthenon marbles. ‘We really need them back’ says the mayor of Marathon, a suburb of Athens, holding up a candle. The marble statues from the facade of the Parthenon were taken to Britain more than 200 years ago and are currently housed at the British Museum in London.
(source: The Guardian)

Staged protest in British Museum by Sonia Theodoridou, for the return of Parthenon Marbles

Six Greek women dressed in white togas launched an original protest to draw attention to a Greek issue: the return of Acropolis Marbles to Greece. The group under the lead of renowned soprano Sonia Theodoridou wandered through the corridors and halls of the British Museum in London in search of their “lost sister” – the sculpture of a Caryatid. (Translation Sonia’s fb post)

The eerie silence that surrounded us we entered the museum will remain forever in my mind. The thousands of people who stood there, they were watching in awe making way for us, to walk through. Everyone was in complete silence. The only think one could hear was the “click-click” sound of photographers. And the guards, who at first tried to stop us, then stepped aside and accompanied us throughout the duration of our stay in the museum; some even were saying to Theodore that they are “for” the return of the sculptures to Greece. YESTERDAY, HISTORY WAS MADE. Today, we are waiting all of our friends of London, at St. Sophia in Bayswater at 13.00

Source: iefimerida | KeepTalkingGreece | Sonia Theodoridou, facebook



An extremely important quest that began many years ago, by the remarkable and unforgettable Melina Merkouri and the continuous growing list of world wide personalities together with high level officials, people of the Arts and
Scolars have all embraced the idea that the Greek Marbles must be returned to
their place of origin: the Parthenon.
This for many is not a dream or a is a life’s commitment. The marbles
need to be returned to their birthplace and take up their position in the Archaeological Museum of Athens.
The internationally renowned Soprano Sonia Theodoridou together with her distinguished husband, Maestro Theodore Orphanides,
both of whom have established a cultural movement known as the ” Beautiful People ”, in an effort to alert the public have taken the initiative to present a unique performance / protest. This event will be directed by Elda Panopoulou, and music by Pantelis Pavlidis.
The event will take place at the pavilion of Saint Sophias’ Greek Orthodox Church,
located at Moscow Road, Bayswater, London, W2 4LQ on Sunday, ( on Pentacost ) June 8th , 2014 following the Sunday service at 1.00 p.m.
Could the Karyatides call their lonely sister to return home ?? Will the British
eventually see and understand that The Parthenon marbles were stolen and therefore need to be returned where they belong ??
Our target, through this very special performance is to awaken the consciousness and speak to the hearts of the people who are aware of such cultural crimes and which need to cease so that such injustices eventually stop.
We need your support for our country !
We need you next to us in this battle for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece ! We owe it as Greeks to our great history !
Looking forward to seeing you all on Sunday, 8th of June at 1.00 pm at Saint Sophia’s Church.
For further information please contact Ms. Mary Avgerinopoulou at

Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman and George Clooney promote their new movie The Monuments Men.

They came to promote a film showing how millions of artworks were rescued and returned to their rightful owners after plunder by the Nazis. But George Clooney, Bill Murray and Matt Damon left implying that Britain, too, needed to have a long, hard, look at itself.

The Hollywood actors had become embroiled in one of the fiercest of all heritage controversies: should the Elgin marbles, removed from the Parthenon 200 years ago, be housed in London or in Athens?

See full article in TheGuardian

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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