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
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