January 10, 2011

Greece maintains that their demand is for permanent return of the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 2:10 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Despite earlier reports to the contrary suggesting Greek position on the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles might have changed, statements since then by the Greek Culture Ministry state that this is not the cases & that the report in The Times misrepresents their position.

Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Greece remains firm in demand for permanent return of marbles
Dec 6, 2010, 20:55 GMT

Athens – Greece remained steadfast Monday in its demand for the permanent return of the Parthenon Marbles to the new museum in Athens, denying newspaper reports that said it would forgo its claim for a long-term loan of the artefacts.

In a recent report, The Times newspaper said: ‘Greece was trying to break decades of stalemate with Britain over the Elgin Marbles by dropping its long-standing claim to ownership of the sculptures in return for the British Musuem sending the Acropolis artefacts back to Athens on a long-term loan.’

The report said that Greece, in return, would offer the British Musuem some of its best classical artworks, ‘changing the exhibition every few years to give London one of the richest permanent displays in Western Europe of sculpture, carvings and art from ancient Greece.’

The Athens News Agency quoted the Greek Culture Ministry as saying that the ‘permanent return of the Parthenon Marbles to the new Acropolis Museum remains the steadfast demand of the Greek state.’

The statement said: ‘Greece is prepared to offer the British Museum classic masterpieces of the country for periodical exhibitions.’

The marbles are a 160-metre long strip of marble that adorned the Parthenon until 1801, before being removed and shipped to Britain by British diplomat Lord Elgin after gaining permission of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, which then ruled Greece.

The artifacts were sold to the British Museum, which has since refused to relinquish the sculptures, insisting the transaction was legal. The sculptures include depictions of religious and mythological scenes.

At a cost of 120 million euros (160 million dollars), the new museum is the Greek government’s key argument for the return of the Parthenon, or Elgin, marbles from Britain.

Located at the foot of the ancient Acropolis in Athens, the new 20,000-square-metre museum was planned as the new home for the marbles.

London has long argued that Athens lacks a proper display space to ensure the safety and preservation for the priceless antiquities.

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