Quote of the Day

A building that is both an enlightening meditation on the Parthenon and a mesmerizing work in its own right. I can’t remember seeing a design that is so eloquent about another work of architecture.

Nicolai Ouroussoff, New York Times newspaper

August 16, 2004

Greece’s request for the return of the Marbles

Posted at 11:16 pm in Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum

Another article prompted by the Olympics, this also covers the construction of the New Acropolis Museum.

Toronto Star

Aug. 15, 2004. 09:08 AM
Going for all the Marbles
While Greece heralds the return of the Olympics, there is one more homecoming it would like to see


ATHENS—It was synchronicity of the highest order: an ancestral homecoming for the Olympics, coinciding with the repatriation of the famously controversial Parthenon Marbles, the most precious missing pieces of Greek antiquity.

Such was the scale of cultural ambitions as Greece mused through the various ways it might elevate art to stand alongside sport in its planning for Athens 2004.
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Greece urges gesture on Elgin Marbles

Posted at 11:10 pm in Elgin Marbles

Yet again, no one is available to comment at the British Museum when the press contact them about the Elgin Marbles.


Greece urges gesture on Elgin Marbles
Wed 11 August, 2004 21:42
By Dina Kyriakidou

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece has called on Britain to use the occasion of the Athens Olympics to promise to return the Elgin Marbles.

“The Olympics are starting now and we would very much like a commitment for their return,” said Culture Ministry official Elena Korka.

In London, no British officials were available for comment, but Britain’s line has always been it has no plans to hand back the 5th century BC masterpieces that were taken from the Parthenon temple by Thomas Bruce, the Earl of Elgin, in 1803.
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The Elgin Marbles belong in Greece

Posted at 10:47 pm in Elgin Marbles

Quite a lengthy article, looking at some of the issues surrounding the case in detail.

San Diego Union-Tribune

All the marbles
With the historic return of the Olympic Games to their birthplace, Greece hoped to showcase elaborate sculptures from the Parthenon. Britain won’t return them, igniting a spat for
By Mark Zeigler
August 10, 2004

ATHENS, Greece – In the residential neighborhood below the Parthenon is a nondescript building that houses the Center for Studies of the Acropolis. Inside is a long hallway lined with plaster copies and a few originals of the famous marble sculptures that once adorned the top of the Parthenon.

The building was closed to the public after a 1999 earthquake made the walls unstable. It was reopened last week.

And with it reopened one of the deepest scars in the Greek psyche.
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The Cultural rift behind the Olympics

Posted at 10:25 pm in Elgin Marbles

If nothing else, many more people around the world will know about the story of the Elgin Marbles as a result of the Olympics in Athens.

Manila Times

Sunday, August 08, 2004
By JCM Romero 3rd
Cultural rift behind 2004 Olympics

The Olympics of old goes back to where it started in antiquity with the architectural splendor of Athens glittering as host of the 2004 Games. But the symbolic torch-lighting for the inaugural rites next week isn’t enough to thaw a cold Greco-British cultural relations focused on prize sculptures the London government refused to return to Greece in time for the global sports festival.
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August 1, 2004

Mary Elgin & the Elgin Marbles

Posted at 11:00 pm in Elgin Marbles

At the same time as there is renewed interest in the Parthenon Marbles due to the Olympics, a book on the life of Mary Elgin, the wife of Lord Elgin is soon to be published.

Houston Chronicle

July 31, 2004, 9:30PM
Playing for all Elgin Marbles
Dispute between Greece, England resumes with Olympics Games

Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle News Service

With the Olympic Games soon to open in Athens, one of the more bitter rivalries in history is set to resume, and it doesn’t involve parallel bars or water polo. The Greek government is spending tens of millions of dollars on a museum atop the Acropolis in hopes that Britain will choose this occasion to return the Elgin Marbles, the elaborate sets of sculptures pried off the Parthenon and shipped to London two centuries ago. The British, unsurprisingly, have not complied.
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July 27, 2004

Who should own artefacts

Posted at 1:49 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

The Dja Dja Wurrung tribe of Australian Aboriginals have seized bark etchings while they were on loan from the British Museum & the Natural History Museum. following on from this case, the BBC have done an interesting feature on other disputed artworks, including the Parthenon Marbles, as well as other lesser known cases.

BBC News

Tuesday, 27 July, 2004, 10:58 GMT
Countries battle over artefacts
An Aboriginal group has prevented native Australian artefacts from returning to the UK museums from which they were loaned. BBC News Online looks at other disputed treasures and the growing calls to have them repatriated.

In 1810, a total of 56 sculpted friezes, depicting gods, men and monsters, were removed from the Parthenon in Athens by British ambassador Lord Elgin.
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July 26, 2004

Universal Museum?

Posted at 11:11 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

For some time now, Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, has argued the concept of a universal museum. It is a concept dating to the age of enlightenment & the founding of the British Museum. He uses this argument to justify the retention of a large number of disputed artworks from around the world, while ignoring the notion that there are other museological paradigms as well as that of the universal museum. The universal museum should not be somehow sacred above all other modes of operation. The world has moved on in many ways since the age of enlightenment, but many of the world’s museums seem reluctant to move with changing times. Why shouldn’t they instead be the first to lead the way, to create a new era of co-operation between museums, of a networked knowledge & co-existence in much the same way as the internet has transformed the ways in which academic institutions can now work together (although we should not that all to often, as with museums, this is merely the potential, rather than what necessarily happens).
Moreover, although the British Museum might be seen by MacGregor as a universal museum, at present there is little in the way of guidance there to help the visitor to understand it in this way, rather than as a series of unrelated galleries.

The Guardian

Saturday July 24, 2004
The Guardian
The whole world in our hands
Controversy over ownership of its treasures obscures the British Museum’s purpose. By offering everyone insights into cultural history, argues its director Neil MacGregor, the museum promotes a greater understanding of humanity

For many, the icon of the British Museum is the Rosetta Stone, that administrative by-product of the Greek imperial adventure in Africa. But I want to begin with an object from the other end of the continent. It is a chair, pieced together from fragments of weapons decommissioned in Mozambique after the amnesty that ended the civil war in 1992, by the artist Kester as part of the project Transforming Arms into Plough Shares. It’s almost the first thing the visitor now sees when entering the Africa Gallery at the museum and it is, I think, for any viewer, a disconcerting and thought-provoking object.
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July 20, 2004

The story of the Elgin Marbles

Posted at 12:22 am in Elgin Marbles

An article from the International Herald Tribune on the Parthenon Marbles, prompted by the Olympics.

International Herald Tribune

Monday, July 19, 2004
The Elgin Marbles
The Greek government is using the spotlight of the Olympics to press its case for the return of the Elgin marbles, now housed at the British Museum in London. Once an adequate exhibition space is ready in Athens, the museum’s trustees ought to restore these treasures to their rightful home.

The poet Byron did not think Lord Elgin, the British minister in Constantinople, had the right to remove the marbles from the Parthenon and take them to London in 1806.
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July 13, 2004

They’ve lost their marbles, and they want the world to know

Posted at 1:50 pm in Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum

The Boston Globe has an in depth article about the Greek case for the return of the Elgin Marbles in the lead up to the Olympics.

Boston Globe

They’ve lost their marbles, and they want the world to know
Greek exhibit presses Britain to return Parthenon sculptures
By Charles M. Sennott and Sarah Liebowitz, Globe Staff And Globe Correspondent
July 12, 2004

ATHENS — Art exhibits often have missions or political statements. But the goal of an exhibit opening next month at the Parthenon, the jewel of Athenian art and culture, is more specific than most: It is intended to provoke London’s British Museum into loaning its Parthenon sculptures to Greece.

Timed to coincide with the millions of tourists flooding into Athens for the Summer Olympics, the exhibit, which is expected to open Aug. 2, has been assembled to starkly illustrate what the Greeks see as an injustice. It occurred in the 19th century, when the British Lord Elgin and his team of excavators hacked nearly half of the marble sculptures and friezes off the Parthenon and toted them back to London, where they are housed in the British Museum.
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June 29, 2004

Reebok creates modern interpretation of Parthenon frieze

Posted at 9:08 pm in Acropolis

A part of their advertising campaign for during this summer’s Olympics in Athens, Reebok are creating sculptures of a number of Athletes posed to match the figures depicted in the Parthenon frieze.
It is a shame that this publicity for the frieze manages to completely ignore the division of the sculptures between two countries – a fact that is the only reason that the most people have even heard of the frieze.

The Running Network

Reebok “Freezes” a Moment in Athletic History With Modern-Day Versions of Athens’ Parthenon Friezes
June 28, 2004
From press release

London, UK (June 16, 2004) – To celebrate the Summer Games returning to their ceremonial Athenian home, Reebok will unveil sculptures of several premier athletes in poses reminiscent of the legendary Parthenon Friezes. Some of the most famous works of art, the Friezes were carved in Ancient Greece and adorned the famous Parthenon on the Acropolis. Sculptures of top Olympians Andy Roddick, reigning US Open Champion, Yao Ming, NBA superstar, and Carolina Kluft, World Champion heptathlete, will mirror the famed Parthenon Friezes. The Friezes will be unveiled on August 22nd at a special press event at the Reebok Center in Athens.
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June 26, 2004

Scottish museum to return Maori heads

Posted at 11:06 am in Similar cases

Following the return of the ghost-shirt to the Lakota Sioux Indians a few years ago, another Scottish museum has agreed to return the preserved heads of three Maori warriors to Wellington, New Zealand.

The New Zealand Herald

Maori win return of preserved heads from Scottish museum
1.00pm – By PAUL KELBIE

The preserved tattooed heads of three Maori warriors which have been hidden away in a Glasgow museum for decades are to be returned to their homeland.

The grisly relics of Britain’s imperial past were kept under lock and key at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery.
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London mayor backs return of Elgin Marbles

Posted at 10:56 am in Elgin Marbles

Ken Livingstone, the current mayor of London, has publicly stated that he backs the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

Macedonian Press Agency

FRIDAY, 25 JUNE 2004
London, 25 June 2004 (14:36 UTC+2)

London’s Mayor Ken Livingston stated, during a special ceremony held in the London City Hall yesterday on the occasion of PASOK President Giorgos Papandreou visit within the framework of the efforts for the promotion of the Olympic Truce, that his views on the issue of the Marbles are very clear, stressing that he believes that it is right for the Parthenon Marbles to return to the place of their heritage.

The Mayor of London expressed certainty that the Athens Olympic Games will enjoy an unbelievable success and stated that he is proud because he will have the chance to represent London in this great event.