May 28, 2012

Why Greece deserves the return of the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 1:12 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

A response to last week’s article by Henry Porter about why the Elgin Marbles ought to be returned to Athens.


The Observer, Sunday 27 May 2012
Greece deserves its marbles

Henry Porter (“The Greeks gave us the Olympics. Let them have their marbles”) has the balanced view, which ought to be adopted by the British Museum. The new Acropolis Museum displays the fragments that remain in Greece magnificently, in the exact lay out of the Parthenon, giving a better understanding to the visitor than is possible in the BM. To have all the marbles united, even for a loan exhibition, would enhance that and give an opportunity for artistic completion unrivalled in 200 years. Further, Greek expert conservation continues in the museum visible to the visitor: at present, laser work is cleaning one of the caryatids and is displayed on a monitor.

It was appropriate that on the day of the Olympic flame hand-over ceremony, two of the previous “stops” on the way to the Panathenaic stadium were on the Acropolis and outside the new museum. Also, at the ceremony, thousands of balloons with the words “Greece can” on them were released; for this British philhellene, it was a moving tribute to Greek pride and dignity; is the BM not able to respond?

Tim Street


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  1. Aliki said,

    05.28.12 at 1:29 pm

    It used to be the excuse that the Greeks do not have the appropriate museum and equipment to diplay the marbles. Though things have change for the past years and there is a new museum. The U.K. governement simply refuses to return or even let the marbles. The reason is simple if the marbles return to Greece all the antiques that are housing to museum accross the world should be return to their country of origin. So returning the marbles back to Greece set this precedent. Though, the return of the marbles would empower the move ‘Greece Can’ and recognise all efford made by the Greeks towards this.

  2. Matthew said,

    05.28.12 at 1:37 pm

    But is something is arguably the morally right thing to do, then is the fact that you may have to do the right thing again at some point in the future an excuse for not doing it now?

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