Quote of the Day

In the new museum of Athens, there will be a room, awaiting the return of our marbles... with only numbers on the wall, to represent the pieces that are in London.

Professor Demetrios Pandermalis, Chair of OANMA

May 13, 2004

Debate on Elgin Marbles restitution stirs up controversy

Posted at 5:14 pm in Elgin Marbles

An Oxford Union debate on the Elgin Marbles has stirred up controversy, after many of the speakers against restitution dropped out.

The Oxford Student

13th May 2004
Elgin Marbles Debate mired in controversy
Gemma Varley

A prominent speaker dramatically pulled out of a Union debate on Sunday amid accusations that it was rigged.

Michael Daley, a leading archaeologist and campaigner for the protection of British Museum collections, refused to speak in the debate with the motion, “This house believes the Elgin Marbles [as they are commonly referred to] should be returned to Greece”. He claimed that the organisers were trying to force the debate in favour of the marbles repatriation to Greece.
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May 8, 2004

Boris Johnson wants Greeks to have replica of Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 5:19 pm in Elgin Marbles

After being made shadow Arts minister, Boris Johnson listed a six point programme of what he would do if the Conservative party got into power. One of his proposals was that the Greeks should be given an indistinguishable replica of the Elgin Marbles to stop any further arguments on the subject. Boris Johnson has spoken out a number of times in the past against campaigns to return the sculptures to Greece.

The Guardian

Tory spokesman Johnson spells out arts plan
Nicholas Watt, political correspondent
Friday May 7, 2004
The Guardian

With his tousled blond hair and jolly appearances on Have I Got New For You?, Boris Johnson was once written off as a political lightweight.

But the man who was told by Michael Portillo to “choose politics or comedy” strode forth yesterday as a Tory big beast of the future when he was appointed shadow arts minister.
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May 6, 2004

Parthenon Lost – A Socratic dialogue

Posted at 5:25 pm in Elgin Marbles

Philosopher & playwright Constantine Sandis has written a Socratic Dialogue about the Parthenon Sculptures. This play, Parthenon Lost is due to be performed in Oxford, as part of the Oxford University Greek festival.

Oxford Greek Festival news

Parthenon Lost
A Dialogue about the Parthenon Sculptures
By Constantine Sandis

Parthenon Lost is a one-act playlet of intelligence and revealing humour, which uses the form of Socratic dialogue to illuminate the moral and philosophical questions raised by the Parthenon marbles.
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May 3, 2004

The delays to the New Acropolis Museum

Posted at 5:33 pm in New Acropolis Museum

A somewhat misleading article by the Daily Telegraph about the New Acropolis Museum in Athens. The article accuses the Greeks of destroying archaeological remains on the site, but anyone who studies the case in detail will see that every possible action was taken to avoid such a thing happening. Wherever you dig in a city as old as Athens you are going to be close to important remains – in this case though, they have been turned into a political argument, both between the three largest Greek parties & between Greece & Britain.

Daily Telegraph

Is Athens’ Olympic dream turning to dust?
(Filed: 03/05/2004)

The city is still a giant building site as many projects for this summer’s games, including the stadium’s crowning glory, remain uncompleted. Giles Worsley reports

There are two things you notice as you arrive in Athens late at night. The first is an impressive motorway, completed earlier this year, which whisks you into the city from the large new airport opened in 2001. The second is that all the cars parked along the side of the streets seem to be covered in dust. Athens has become a vast building site as the Greeks race to make the city ready for the Olympics, which open in less than four months. What you do not see from the motorway by night, though they are prominent landmarks by day, are the two great arches that should already support the Olympic Stadium roof. Whether that will be finished for August 13 will probably be the most nail-biting race in the whole games.
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April 20, 2004

Plans to finish the Edinburgh Parthenon

Posted at 9:26 pm in Acropolis

Around the world there are a number of replicas of the Parthenon, most notably one in Nashville. Edinburgh (a city that sometimes describes itself as “the Athens of the North”) has the beginnings of a replica which was never completed.
Now an architect has put forward a proposal to complete it using flagpoles to finish the remaining columns.

Edinburgh Evening News

Tue 20 Apr 2004
Architect flags up plan to finish ‘Edinburgh’s Disgrace’

FOR almost 200 years it has stood as one of the city’s best known and best loved landmarks despite being only half-built.

But now one of Scotland’s leading architects has unveiled plans to complete the unfinished “Parthenon” on Calton Hill.
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Return of Elgin Marbles would “rip heart from museum”

Posted at 9:02 pm in Elgin Marbles

Tory MPs have claimed in a recent debate that returning the Elgin Marbles would be like ripping the heart out of the British Museum. I wish they would explain how the removal of the marbles from the Parthenon does not count as a far worse act.

The Scotsman

Mon 19 Apr 2004 5:21pm (UK)
Marbles Return ‘Would Rip Heart from Museum’
By Vivienne Morgan, Political Staff, PA News

Returning the Elgin Marbles to Greece would “rip the heart out of the British Museum” and must be resisted by ministers, Tories urged today.

Museums minister Estelle Morris said the historic dispute – a source of friction between Greece and Britain for more than 200 years, was not a matter for Government.
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April 19, 2004

Parliamentary questions on the exchange of artefacts

Posted at 8:44 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

On a fairly regular basis, some sort of specific reference is made to the Elgin Marbles in parliament, whether through an EDM or parliamentary questions etc. In this instance, Ansdrew Dismore (Hendon, Lab.) asks the minister for the minister for the arts whether she has been involved in any discussions with the Greek government.
Once again Timothy Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham, Con.) makes arguments about decontextualisation, missing the point that the move to the British Museum was a far worse case of decontextualisation than any which he might be referring to.


19 Apr 2004 : Column 13
Museum Exchanges (Greece)

7. Mr. Andrew Dismore (Hendon) (Lab): What discussions she has had with the Greek government over exchanges of artefacts for exhibition in museums. [166146]

The Minister for the Arts (Estelle Morris): Neither my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State nor I have had discussions with the current Greek Government about such exchanges.
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April 15, 2004

More delays for New Acropolis Museum

Posted at 9:34 pm in New Acropolis Museum

The New Acropolis Museum is a project that has dragged on for well over 10 years with various architects. The latest problem is that many local property owners are using the courts to slow the construction process, in the hope that the site without the museum on will increase the value of their property.

Arts & Antiques

Stalemates in Greece
Joel Groover
May 2004

ATHENS, GREECE—Greek officials hoped the empty galleries of a much-anticipated New Acropolis Museum would shame Britain into returning the Elgin Marbles in time for the 2004 Athens Olympics. But the architect of the half-built museum—a glass and steel box on the slopes of the Acropolis—now says it cannot open in time for the Games (August 13–29).
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April 11, 2004

Bringing back old riches to India

Posted at 9:40 pm in Similar cases

The Times of India is arguing (in a somewhat over-optimistic way) that India should emulate the campaigns for the return of the Elgin Marbles in an attempt to retrieve many of their own artefacts that are held by foreign museums.

The Times of India

New duty for the neo-rich: Bring back old riches
MUMBAI: It seems that nothing less than a relentless battle and extreme perseverance will help us recover our lost antiquities. And Greece can sure provide us with some tips.

Agrees R Nagaswamy, Tamil Nadu’s former director of archaeology and vice-chancellor of Kancheepuram University , “Look at how Greece is keeping the pressure on the British to return the Elgin marbles by the time of the Athens Olympics. They’ve succeeded in getting many countries on their side—the British public as well—and who knows, soon the British Museum may succumb too. Why Greece , even smaller countries such as Nigeria and Sri Lanka are fighting to get their stolen art treasures back. India should start mobilising international opinion to recover some of its great antiquities,’’ says the veteran archaeologist.
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March 31, 2004

Carolina Kluft as part of the Elgin Marbles?

Posted at 9:16 pm in Acropolis

Reebok is creating a sculpture of Swedish heptathlete Carolina Kluft posed to match one of the figures on the Parthenon Frieze. This sculpture will be used as part of Reebok’s advertising campaign during the Olympics in Athens this summer.

The Independent

31 March 2004 13:53
Athletics: Kluft cast in a classical pose on road to Athens
By Mike Rowbottom

Something unusual happened at yesterday’s publicity appearance in London by the world heptathlon champion, Carolina Kluft. The flaxen-haired darling of the Swedish nation and wider sporting world produced a false smile.

In the circumstances, it was forgivable – the circumstances being that she was standing spotlit on a stage surrounded by television cameramen, photographers and reporters all striving to appear neutral about the fact that another woman was daubing her body with purple-coloured liquid rubber.
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March 24, 2004

Acropolis scaffolding to remain for Olympics

Posted at 9:36 pm in Acropolis

Despite many people’s hopes that the Acropolis restoration might be completed by the start of the Athens Olympics, the works are currently nowhere near to the stage where they can remove the scaffolding that currently enshrouds the building.

Kathimerini (English edition)

Wednesday March 24, 2004
Acropolis to keep its braces

The most famous building on the Acropolis will still be partially obscured by scaffolding during the August Olympics, while half of another important temple on Greece’s top tourist attraction will be missing, officials admitted yesterday.

During a visit yesterday to the ancient citadel, where a massive and painstaking conservation project is under way on the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike and the Propylaea, Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis was given an outline of the time schedules involved.
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Pangalos calls for resignation over Acropolis Museum lawsuit

Posted at 9:31 pm in New Acropolis Museum

Theodoros Pangalos, the former Culture Minister of Greece has called for the current deputy minister, Petros Tatoulis to resign because of the lawsuit he filed intending to stall the construction of the New Acropolis Museum.

Kathimerini (English edition)

Tuesday March 23, 2004
Ex-minister calls for resignation of current deputy over museum suit

PASOK deputy and former Culture Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday called for the resignation of the current deputy culture minister, Petros Tatoulis, for his having lodged a suit — before he entered the Cabinet — against officials involved in plans to build the new Acropolis Museum. The charges were linked with the alleged destruction of antiquities to allow preliminary construction work. “Now Tatoulis is ordering his own legal advisers to fight the suit which he himself lodged,” Pangalos declared in Parliament.