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The Elgin Marbles in 1890

In a change from looking at current news articles, I have come across two interesting pieces about the Parthenon Marbles from the New York Times in 1890.

If you skim over the rather sycophantic writing style used in the articles, there are a number of interesting aspects to these pieces – firstly, most of the arguments then are exactly the same as they are now – & are answered just as clearly then as they are now.

Interestingly, the two papers in the UK pressing for the return of the marbles were the London Standard (now the Evening Standard) & the Daily Telegraph – two of the papers that are now generally seen as opposing restitution.

Finally, the argument at that time seems in many ways more admirable than it is now – there was no consideration that anything should be asked for in return, & it was suggested that Britain ought to bear any costs of the return – that they were the ones to be doing the honourable thing, rather than getting bogged down in negotiations & exchanges.

The fact that similar argument for return were being used over one hundred years ago ought to finally convince those people who suggest that the clamours for the restitution of the marbles is only a recent phenomenon (with the implication being that if they ignore it then it will go away again).

Read scans of the original articles by following the links below.

New York Times, 21st December 1890 [1]

New York Times, 29th December 1890 [2]