Parthenon Marbles

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

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)


Who Owns Antiquity?
The Verdict

The National Hellenic Museum Brought Famed Attorneys who Faced Off on March 16, 2017, at The Art Institute CHICAGO, IL .

Verdict: Jury ruled 8-4 in favor of the Return. Judges decision was 4-1 in favor of the Return of the Parthenon Marbles.

The Parthenon Marbles must return to their home in Greece! So ruled a majority of the audience, jury and judges hearing the National Hellenic Museum’s Trial of the Parthenon Marbles, Thursday night. The National Hellenic Museum (NHM) presented the fourth Trial in its acclaimed series before an audience of over 800 citizens, whose votes tilted the scales of justice in favor of Greece’s claim for the Marbles. The jury also ruled 8-4 for the Marbles’ return. Judge Richard Posner cast the sole dissenting vote in the 4-1 decision of the judges. He asserted that the sculptures created by the ancient Greeks belong to the world and should remain at the British Museum where they have resided for 200 years.

Courtesy: NHM-Trial-EliosPhoto©2017

On March 16, 2017, the National Hellenic Museum invited the public to weigh in on one the most highly contested international cases concerning cultural history. Following the extraordinary successes of The Trials of Socrates, Orestes, and Antigone, the NHM conducted its latest mock trial in front of a packed auditorium. Some of the nation’s best legal minds presented a fascinating debate to determine if the Parthenon Marbles should be returned to Greece or remain at the British Museum.

The Parthenon Marbles, also known as the Elgin Marbles, are half of the surviving statues that once decorated the exterior of the Parthenon. Between 1801 and 1803, Thomas Bruce, Lord Elgin and the British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, oversaw the removal of these priceless antiquities to London, where they were eventually acquired by the British Museum. Since obtaining its independence, Greece has pressed for the Marbles’ return on the grounds that the sculptures were never legally obtained. The British Museum has routinely denied this accusation and has advocated that the sculptures remain in place in its world class, encyclopedic museum setting.

Both teams offered compelling cases that asked the judges, jury and audience to consider the complexities of law, history, and heritage. The evening provided a robust debate on topics as diverse as the specific validity of Elgin’s Ottoman “firman” to broad questions surrounding cultural heritage and its preservation. Cultural universalism, nationalism, and symbolic representation were discussed. It was debated whether law, morality, or justice should be the applicable aspect for debating the case.

The Jury of twelve heard the arguments and voted 8-4 to return the Marbles’ to Greece. Some jurors suggested that the role of diplomacy in reestablishing the Marbles physical and narrative context was paramount in their decision to vote to return the Marbles to Athens.

As Konstantinos Armiros, NHM Trustee and Trial Planning Committee Chair, said, “This Trial was our most successful ever. The lawyer’s arguments were brilliant, giving many lay people a glimpse into what real life courtroom theatrics look like. A majority of the audience, jury and judges all ruled in favor of Greece’s claim for the Marbles’ return.”

The topics of the NHM Trial Series have always sparked passionate argument. No matter the outcome of the judge, jury and audience votes in these mock trials, raising awareness about issues of cultural heritage and historical memory continue to be the focus of the National Hellenic Museum. The NHM Trial of the Parthenon Marbles honored the Hellenic legacy through lively legal debate and democratic participation.

The NHM Trial of the Parthenon Marbles is a prime example of the kind of educational programming the National Hellenic Museum is proud to offer year-round. The Museum provides lifelong learning to thousands of school children and adults, bringing the Hellenic legacy to life every day.

Source NHM: The National Hellenic Museum (NHM)

Announcement of the Trial: The Trial of the Parthenon Marbles

Presiding over the proceedings were: 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.

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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

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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

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.