Quote of the Day

The request for the restitution of the Parthenon Marbles is not made by the Greek government in the name of the Greek nation or of Greek history. It is made in the name of the cultural heritage of the world and with the voice of the mutilated monument itself, that cries out for its marbles to be returned.

Evangelos Venizelos, Former Hellenic Republic Minister of Culture

September 9, 2004

Acropolis restoration exhibition in Ohio

Posted at 11:08 pm in Acropolis

Following its display at the Benaki Museum & at University College London, the exhibition of photos of the Acropolis restoration by Socratis Mavrommatis is appearing at a gallery in Fairfield County, Ohio.

From:
Fairfield County Weekly

Polishing History

by Mike Sembos – September 9, 2004

And you thought I-95 construction was taking a long time… The restoration of the Acropolis in Athens began in 1975, and though evidence of continuing projects were well hidden for the Olympics, it continues indefinitely. Socratis Mavrommatis , the chief photographer of the Acropolis Restoration Service (ARS), has been documenting the progress on film. The 100 or so black and white photos that will be on exhibit at Fairfield U’s Thomas Walsh Gallery starting Wed., September 15, are organized into four sections–the Acropolis before restoration began, the preparation, the work itself and the monuments throughout the process. Peruse up-close architectural shots, views of the Parthenon’s marble floor and frieze and a large color photograph of the Acropolis taken from the nearby hill of the Pnyx, among others.

Support required to clean historic artefacts

Posted at 1:35 pm in Elgin Marbles

Behind the scenes at the Acropolis, a complex cleaning program is restoring the sculptures that have been removed from the Parthenon. The technologically advanced methods such as LaserACT being used in this & other restorations throughout Europe require funding, at the same time as governments are trying to cut back on funding.

From:
Nature

Nature
Published online: 08 September 2004

Conservers plead for funds to protect Europe’s heritage
Alison Abbott

Money to preserve historic objects in decline

London

Tens of millions of tourists visit Europe each year to enjoy its cultural heritage. And if they were aware of it, they would no doubt cheer the work of the scientists who are preserving that heritage — fighting the harm caused by pollution, by the natural processes of decay and by the tourists themselves.

But at a meeting in London from 1 to 3 September, the European network of these interdisciplinary researchers declared that its support is diminishing.
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September 1, 2004

North slopes of Acropolis open to public

Posted at 1:58 pm in Acropolis

Following years of excavations, the north slopes of the Acropolis (the area above Plaka) are open to the public once more.

From:
Kathimerini

Wednesday September 1, 2004
North slopes of Acropolis open

For the first time in years, the entire Acropolis hill has become accessible to visitors after the Culture Ministry opened the north slopes of the ancient citadel to the general public.

A ministry announcement said yesterday that the area — which was closed off during the 1990s but had not been officially accessible before that — will acquire its own entrance before the end of October from Theorias Street, on the upper reaches of the Plaka district.

Until then, visitors can reach the north slopes from the entry to the Theater of Dionysus and the ruins on the south slope, on the corner of Dionysiou Areopagitou and Thrassylou streets.

The newly opened area, which is dominated by the Erechtheion Temple at the top of the craggy Acropolis rock, includes a series of caves which served as shrines in ancient times, including a cave of Pan which figures prominently in “Ion,” a tragedy by the playwright Euripides.

Greece repeats demands for return of Elgin Marbles

Posted at 1:30 pm in Elgin Marbles

Following the successful Olympics in Athens, there is an interesting article, repeating Greece’s demands for the return of the marbles.

From:
Digital Journal

August 31, 2004
Greece Demands Return of 2,500-Year-Old Parthenon Sculptures

By Roger Wilkison

ATHENS (voa) – While Greece celebrates the successful return of the Olympic Games to their land of origin, there is one more homecoming it would like to see: that of the 2,500-year-old sculptures that were removed from the Parthenon, Athens’ most famous landmark, early in the 19th century. But, the sculptures, known as the Elgin Marbles, are likely to remain in the British Museum in London.

The demand for the return of the marbles, which took up about 60 percent of the west frieze of the Parthenon, goes back to the founding of the Greek state in 1832.
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August 27, 2004

The Greeks still want their marbles back

Posted at 7:28 pm in Elgin Marbles

Prompted by the attention on Greece & Athens brought about by the Olympics, many papers have carried articles about the Elgin Marbles & Greece’s campaign to have them returned.

From:
The State.com (South Carolina, USA)

Posted on Fri, Aug. 27, 2004

The Greeks still want their Elgin marbles back

By MATTHEW SCHOFIELD

Knight Ridder Newspapers

ATHENS – Aggelos Papandropoulos points to the east pediment of the Parthenon ruins, one of the man-made wonders of the world, and by far the most enduring symbol of his country.

“There is much that is missing from here that is very beautiful,” the historical preservationist explains. “It is the politicians who have to bring back what is missing. I merely work here. But there is much missing, and it is very beautiful.”
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August 26, 2004

Why the Marbles must stay in Britain

Posted at 2:02 pm in Elgin Marbles

Spiked, the online magazine, has an article (not their first) about the Elgin Marbles & why they believe that they should remain in Britain. The article repeats the same points that are often made by the retentionists however.
Firstly, they comment that the marbles are better displayed in the context of the other artefacts in the British Museum – but this ignores the fact that they were designed to be seen in a different very specific context, one which the British Museum makes no attempt to try & replicate. Surely in the New Acropolis Museum, you could also see the marbles in the context of other sculptures, but it would be a context much closer aligned to the story of the marbles, with other sculptures from the same period, along with other sculptures of different periods from the same site. One would be able to see the evolution that led to the marbles. Surely this is at least as important, & arguably far more important, than seeing the marbles in the context of other artefacts from far corners of the world with which they had no geographical or historical connection. Do you learn something more from seeing the Elgin Marbles followed by a native American totem pole or 16th century Chinese jade jewellery?
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Ancient art at centre of dispute

Posted at 1:50 pm in Elgin Marbles

The Marbles might not be back for the Olympics, but the event has created a lot of additional publicity worldwide for the case for their return.

From:
USA Today

Posted 8/25/2004 3:22 PM
Ancient art at center of dispute
By Patrick O’Driscoll, USA TODAY
ATHENS — At the foot of the Acropolis, a construction hole bigger than the Parthenon has come to symbolize empty diplomatic dreams, as broken as the hilltop ruins.
With the opening of the Athens Olympics, Greece hoped to open a new Acropolis Museum as well. Its crowning feature: A top-floor gallery of glass to display the reunited “Parthenon Marbles,” the priceless friezes and sculptures that once adorned the walls of the 2,500-year-old temple of Athena.
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August 16, 2004

British government refuses to intervene in Elgin Marbles case

Posted at 11:55 pm in Elgin Marbles

One of the promises from the Greek government in their requests for the return of the Parthenon Marbles, was that in return, museums around the UK would be lent other Greek exhibits. A point that was picked up by many of the regional museums in England, although the British Museum has thus far not acknowledged the potential benefits this would have.

From:
icWales

Minister refuses to play marbles game
Aug 16 2004
Martin Shipton, The Western Mail

AS THE Olympic Games get under way in Athens, Greek campaigners for the return of the Elgin Marbles can take comfort from the knowledge that one Welsh council is on their side.

Monmouthshire County Council backed the campaign after being told there was a possibility other artistic treasures from Ancient Greece could be sent as a quid pro quo to local museums.
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Jules Dassin requests that the Elgin Marbles are returned

Posted at 11:45 pm in Elgin Marbles

Melina Mercouri might be gone, but her husband, the French film director Jules Dassin & the Melina Mercouri Foundation still strive for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures that she spent the later years of her life fighting so hard for.

From:
Reuters

Greece says give marbles back
Sun 15 August, 2004 10:55
By Paul Majendie

ATHENS (Reuters) – Film director Jules Dassin has made an impassioned plea for Britain to give Greece back the Elgin Marbles — their return to the Parthenon would be the perfect memorial to his late wife, Melina Mercouri.

“It is so wrong. It doesn’t make sense anymore,” said the frail 92-year-old, recovering at his Athens home from a bout of double pneumonia but determined to keep fighting to the end for the cause that so fired his wife.
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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.

From:
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

MITCH POTTER

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.

From:
Reuters

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.

From:
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
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
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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