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The Elgin Marbles & the 2012 Olympic bid

There was an interesting letter in The Times yesterday about the return of the Elgin Marbles. The writer is suggesting that Britain’s bid for the 2012 Olympics would be the ideal time for Britain to return one part of Greek culture at the same time as they are hoping to represent another part of Greek culture.

The Times (London) [1]

June 10, 2005
Olympian ideal
From the Reverend Dr Nicholas W. S. Cranfield

Sir, If London is determined to stage the Olympic Games in 2012, it might now behove Her Majesty’s Government to make a suitable propitiatory sacrifice to the gods.

To return the Elgin Marbles at this juncture would be a gesture of generosity consonant with the ancient Greek understanding of hospitality.

At the same time the Government might consider sending back the great frieze from Bassae that Charles Cockerell removed in 1811.

The difference between Greece and the British Museum is that whereas sites in the former are open daily at advertised times, rooms in Bloomsbury are closed off at a daily rate without notice. My own visits to the British Museum always seem to coincide with the basement galleries housing the Greek inscriptions being locked. Perhaps the Government might fund staffing costs for the museum, or refund my travelling expenses.

Blackheath, London