Parthenon Marbles

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

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Boris Johnson during a visit to the Acropolis in 2012 – The Guardian

In his interview with Greek daily Ta Nea on March 12, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed that:
“the UK government has a firm longstanding position on the sculptures which is that they were legally acquired by Lord Elgin under the appropriate laws of the time and have been legally owned by the British Museum’s Trustees since their acquisition.”
[in the photo, Boris Johnson poses especially for “TA NEA” leaning on the bust of Pericles which adorns his office in the House of Commons.]

However, a quick response on the same day, the Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni firmly challenged PM Boris Johnson’s statement. Mendoni said in an open letter:

“Upon careful review of the statements made by UK Prime Minister Mr Boris Johnson, it is clear that he has not been properly informed by the competent state services of his country of the new historical data regarding Greece’s occupation by the Ottomans that show that there was never a legitimate acquisition of the Parthenon sculptures by Lord Elgin and, therefore, neither has the British Museum ever acquired the Sculptures in a legitimate manner.

The Ministry of Culture and Sports can provide the necessary documentary evidence that can inform the British people how the British Museum possesses the sculptures illegally. For Greece, the British Museum does not have legitimate ownership or possession of the sculptures.”

Give Them Back!

George Clooney with his wife Amal Alamuddin are again in the forefront discussing the fate of the Parthenon Marbles in a recent interview with the British Sunday paper Observer.

Clooney with his renewed intervention advocates the return of the Parthenon sculptures, and urges Britain and the British Museum to allow their permanent reunion in their birthplace, The Parthenon.

According to “The New Weekend,” the Hollywood star recently stressed in a message to actress Janet Suzman, Chair of the UK Commission for the Reunification of Parthenon Sculptures, that marbles belong to Greece and should be returned there. “There are indeed many objects of historical value that must be returned to their original owners. However, none of them is as important as the Marbles of the Parthenon.”

Several years ago, George Clooney, Bill Murray and Matt Damon had implied that Britain, too, needed to have a long, hard, look at itself.


The Parthenon marbles at the British Museum in London. (Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

A recent opinion was published by Molly Roberts, Editorial Writer, Washington Post.

A well written article which deserves attention. The author among other well-made points, writes:

“The problem Bruce’s beneficiaries have now run into is that those one-time “barbarians” have transformed into the rightful inheritors of Hellas. Greece is today revered as the cradle of Western culture, and who better to house that culture than the Greeks? The British turn this point around and argue that it was their foresight in whisking Iris and company off to the isles that spawned neoclassicism in the first place by reintroducing a forgotten style to their taste-making citizens.”

The author also points out that

“There’s an aesthetic case for unification, somewhere, and a geographic case for reunification in Greece.
No god or goddess should be made to bear the indignity of headlessness, and no visitor should be needlessly deprived of viewing a masterpiece that’s actually in one piece.”

The modern, spacious, sunbathed Acropolis Museum with the Acropolis in the backdrop, is waiting for the return of Greece’s treasures.

The newly built Athens’s Acropolis Museum is the perfect place displaying these timeless artifacts and not the dark and gloomy presentation at BM. Simply it is the natural location, where the Museum’s open spaces let’s the visitors to simultaneously see the artifacts and view the Acropolis itself.

Let’s not forget,

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.

The stolen artifacts that are missing from the Parthenon must be returned to their origins.

Referenced source article: Give Iris her body back, Britain – Washington Post


Ancient Greek Elgin Marbles are on display at the British Museum in London, removed from the Parthenon by Elgin early 1800s, which has sparked a long-running dispute between Greece and Britain. Now the Greek efforts are intensified with the upcoming Brexit.

The 27 EU countries hardened their positions and among other clauses, the Draft Brexit document is updated to demand the return of the Parthenon ancient treasures. The updated EU27 Brexit Draft also seeks: “The Parties should … address issues relating to the return or restitution of unlawfully removed cultural objects to their countries of origin.

UPDATE – This is a developing story.

According to eKathimerini and other sources, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said that Greece will continue her campaign for the return of the Parthenon artifacts and will consider which avenues  would be the best for the  cause. He specifically said: “Greece’s request for the return of the Parthenon marbles remains strong and it is not linked to a Brexit deal,”

Sources: eKathimerini | CNBC | REUTERS

Gloomy setting at British Museum

Greek (use toolbar to return to English original)
Dame Janet Suzman, chair of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon marbles and actress in an article on Saturday to Nea newspaper answers to the director of the British Museum.

“I am neither an intellect nor an academic. My position in the committee is of a simple visitor of the museum and as a visitor I can see clearly that the Marbles are in the wrong place. They need Attica’s sun to shine on them with background the blue sky. They ask to be reunited with their other half at the New Acropolis Museum where a place is always waiting for them” said Suzman in her article.

“They must be displayed in front of the Parthenon which continues to stand up. They must see this place in order I, the visitor to be able to turn my head and cry “Now I can see it, that’s from where they come from! Not any more dim light, no more orphan sculptures. They must be reunited with the other half of the pediment that is in this magnificent museum in order I, the visitor, to be able to understand the silent discussion that is held between them” she added.

Referring to British Museum director Hartwig Fischer statements that the “museum will not return the marbles permanently to Greece” she commented “I do not trust the terminology of the art historian and of the art directors when they arrogantly refer to ‘creative actions’ implying that the Marbles acquire another, equally important, nature when they are violently deprived from their siblings”.

However, she acknowledged that the director “is forced to speak diplomatically” and attacked the Museum’s custodians that “obviously as complacent-crypto-imperialists do not examine something that is fair and right”.

Concluding, Suzman quoted another member of the Committee (Alexi Kaye Campbell) “Asking for something back of huge significance which has been taken from you when you were under foreign occupation is a demand for simple justice”.

Source: Athens News Agency – Macedonian Press Agency (ANA-MPA) [Αθηναϊκό Μακεδονικό Πρακτορείο Ειδήσεων]
Photo credit: Wikipedia

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