Is Parthenon Elgin marbles argument still strong ?

Is Parthenon Elgin marbles argument still strong ? In 1816, the Scottish diplomat Elgin’s removed sculptures of the Acropolis of Athens and, still displayed in the British musueum of London, Greeks have been asked for their return since 1981 via Melina Mercouri. Elgin marbles debate is still strong : The Elgin marbles should they be returned to Greece ? Here are five reasons why the Parthenon Sculptures must be returned to Greece…

Five reasons why the Parthenon Sculptures must be returned to Greece

1. Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin diplomat on his way to Istanbul did not have the legal right to remove the frieze on the Parthenon. By means of a ‘firman’, he took them on the spot and bribed local Ottoman authorities into permitting the removal, without permission from the Sultan. Consequently, the argument of the British Museum that Parthenon sculptures consist legal property of the museum is doubted.

2. Many greek artifacts have ben restituted so far from 2001: from the US (Macedonian gold wreath, marble statue of a woman), from Germany (piece of Parthenon’s north frieze), from a British court (Byzantine icon stolen 30 years ago from a Greek monastery), from Italy in Sicily (fragment of the Sculptures)..etc. Isn’ it the turn of the British Museum to give back the frieze of the Parthenon ? 

3. A UNESCO World and European Heritage Site is dismembered. Almost 60% of Parthenon’s masterpieces is exposed in the British Museum in London : 17 figures from the statuary from the east and west pediments, 15 (of an original 92) of the metope panels depicting battles between the Centaurs and the Lapiths, as well as 247 feet (or 75 m of an original 524 ft or 160 m) of the Parthenon Frieze which decorated the horizontal course set above the interior architrave of the temple. It is clear that the Parthenon Marbles should consist in a whole architectural piece in its one original environment : in the New Acropolis Museum, in the shaddow of the Parthenon and other Athenian ancient sites.


4. People think that the Parthenon Marbles should return to Greece. According to a poll conducted during 2008 by the British Ipsos-Mori firm (2,109 persons in 198 UK locations), 69% of those who were familiar with the issue were in favour of Sculptures’ restitution to Greece, while only 13% expressed opposition.

5. The campaign for the return of the greek Parthenon frieze to Greece has gained international recognition. From Australia to the United States, significant celebrities from the political and cultural scene as Stephen Fry are in favor of the Parthenon Sculptures’ Restoration in Athens. The European Parliament,  and UNESCO some  have formally supported that aim too.

The Athens Parthenon is definitely European unique monument with historical, political and cultural symbols of democraty. It is an  European matter to be solved as soon as possible.


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