February 14, 2009

Arguments for & against the return of the Elgin Marbles

Posted at 6:03 pm in Elgin Marbles

A summary of the key arguments / points on both sides of the Parthenon Marbles debate.

The First Post

Should Britain return the Elgin Marbles?


Cultural treasures from ancient civilisations belong in the places they come from. Museums in Sweden, Germany, America and the Vatican have already acknowledged this and returned items taken from the Acropolis. The British museum should follow suit and put an end to more than two centuries of bad feeling in Greece.

Since 1975 Greece has been carefully restoring the Acropolis. Athens now undoubtedly has the facilities to look after the sculptures properly – the specially designed New Acropolis Museum would display the marbles exactly as they appeared on the original temple.

The marbles have suffered considerable damage while in London. In the 19th century, pollution seriously harmed the sculptures and the British Museum’s attempts to clean them, using sandpaper, chisels and acid, also caused irreparable damage.

It is still doubtful whether Lord Elgin was ever truly granted permission to take the marbles. The existing English translation of the 1801 document supposedly signed by the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire has often been denounced as a fake. Furthermore, even if it is genuine, the royal decree gives permission mainly “to examine and view, and also to copy the figures remaining there”. So it is unlikely that the Sultan ever thought that Elgin would actually remove entire frescos and sculptures.


If all restoration demands were met, many of the world’s greatest museums would be emptied of their trademark exhibits. The British museum thinks it best to house the Elgin Marbles in “an international context where cultures can be compared and contrasted across time and place”.

Even if the treasures were returned to Athens, many more of the original sculptures are lost forever, meaning the set will never be complete.

The British protected the marbles from being damaged during the Greek war of independence between 1821 and 1833 when the Parthenon was used as an Ottoman munitions store and subsequently attacked. By and large, the marbles have been better looked after in the specialist Duveen Gallery than they would have been in highly-polluted Athens.

The British Museum’s legal charter states clearly that the institution cannot legally return items from its collection: “The Trustees of The British Museum hold its collections in perpetuity by virtue of the power vested in them by The British Museum Act (1963).”

Before Elgin took the marbles he gained a royal decree from the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire saying that he could do so. While the original document is lost, a version translated into Italian and then into English says: “when they wish to take away any pieces of stone with old inscriptions or figures thereon, that no opposition be made thereto.”

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  1. Mikayla L said,

    12.04.12 at 3:05 pm

    I feel that the Elgin Marbles should be returned to Athens. The Athenian people are very loyal to their patron deities and the Marbles are part of their religion. If we were to take away statues of crosses, or figures of Buddha, other religions would be upset and asked for the items to be returned. It is the same with the Elgin Marbles. No matter what condition they are in, and how they are being cared for, they rightfully belong to the Athenian people, and should be returned to the Parthenon.

  2. Nicholas said,

    01.28.13 at 3:08 pm

    Yes without a doubt the Elgin Marbles should be returned back to the rightful owners, Greece.

  3. Nick Papadakis said,

    06.12.14 at 2:52 am

    The dispute started when soon after the Greek revolution the first Greek governor Ioannis Kapodistrias asked Lord Wellington to help Greece liberate more territories and Lord Wellington refused. Greece then demanded the marbles back but the British refused and went on to call them a British national treasure.
    Since then the progress made was insignificant, even though the latter day British governments did indeed help Greece regain some of its territories that were occupied by the Ottoman Turks and even though Greece did help Great Britain in world war 1 and world war 2.
    Greeks do of course believe that the Greek nation are the owners of those ancient marbles, because when they were taken in 1815 Athens was occupied by the Turks.
    Nowadays the issue remains alive as an archaeological vendetta and those who are happy with it are only the extremist political parties here and there.
    A simple solution exists and it is to display the marbles alternately in Athens and in London.

    The marbles do of course belong to Greece, no matter which museum displays them, because they were made in Greece, not in a lost country that does n’t exist today.
    But sharing is a good solution and puts an end to the useless vendetta, if only practical ways of implementing it are found.

  4. Serena L. said,

    10.29.14 at 6:14 pm

    I most definately believe that the Elgin Marbles should be returned to Greece. Regardless of how they are being taken care of, who has them know or what great museums were created because of it, they are originally part of Greeces culture and society, and need to be put back where they belong. I feel that works of art not being in there own land, which they were created in, gives the art less “aww”, and not given a change to be greatful and have a true experience.

  5. Paris miliopulos said,

    10.31.14 at 10:38 pm

    Elgin was England’s biggest thief???lord of the thiefs.

  6. MPM said,

    12.05.14 at 9:03 am

    Laws ensure that opinion counts for nothing.

    It is right and proper that the legal process that was in place at the time be enforced today. The law is both black and white, and enforceable and therefore must be seen to be – throughout history, otherwise we are in danger of undermining society.

    As I understand it Elgin legally (under international law) acquired the marbles and therefore was the rightful owner of the items. Therefore he had the right to decide how the items would be treated in the future. This is nothing to do with Greece.

    For example I own a house that was built by someone else.

    I acquired the house legally by purchasing from a seller who had the rights to sell. The law now protects me from someone trying to take back the house – such as the builders grandchildren who might decide they should inherit – and try to take my property back.

    With respect to the marbles the law is the same. Someone purchased the marbles from a seller who at the time had the right to sell the items – regardless whether you agree or not – Elgin bought them in good faith and is the legal owner. He then decided to give them to the British museum.

    Therefore they do not belong to Greece and your opinion in law is not important or taking into account.

  7. Matthew said,

    12.05.14 at 9:30 am

    I believe your argument is not entirely correct (and if it was, highly qualified lawyers would not be wasting time looking at this case).

    Elgin never gave particularly convincing evidence of a right to ownership of the sculptures – only 2 versions of a so called Firman, in different languages, not of which appeared to be the final version. There werre slight differences between the two documents &for that matter, both were closer to a formal letter & did not bear any of the hallmarks of an actual firman.

    Even if the documents Elgin submitted to parliament were in order & gave the authorisation from the correct authorities, it is still did not give authorisation to physically remove the sculptures from the building, only to move stuff that was already lying on the ground, and to make sketches & casts.

    Further to this, George Canning (Elgin’s successor in Constantinople) remarked in a letter that he was unconvinced of Elgin’s right of ownership to the sculptures – I did a recent blog post on the subject.

  8. Greg said,

    12.06.14 at 7:32 am

    Why not give them back but charge them for storage.

    The same fee that they charge for an impounded foreign car in Athens per day seems reasonable to me.

  9. David Wright said,

    01.13.15 at 5:04 am

    The Age of Imperialism ended 100 years ago and it is time for the British to enter the 21st Century by returning treasures to the country of origin, whether taken illegally or legally. It would take moral strength, and hopefully other countries would follow suit. Does Greece possess historical works of art created in Britain? Does any country? Has Britain created works of art comparable to the Egyptians, Greeks, or Romans? Or is Britain a nation of takers due to their naval strength and goal of power, profit, and prestige from the 1500s to the 1800s, trying to hold on to the remnants of past dominance around the world? Britain, please step into the 21st Century and demonstrate leadership by returning historical artifacts to their country of origin.

  10. Emma Tattersall said,

    03.25.15 at 5:13 pm

    if the elgin marbles are part of their religion then I think they should be returned to Athens but England did buy it fair and square so there is a good argument for both sides

  11. Matthew said,

    03.27.15 at 9:55 pm

    These are quite weird arguments. England did not buy it fair and square – Lord Elgin had a permit only to make casts & take pieces of stone that had already fallen to the ground. Similarly, nobody in Greece (well, no sensible people) are trying to suggest that the sculptures should be returned, because they are a part of their religion.

    I think you need to do more research into the case.

  12. paul said,

    07.13.15 at 4:36 pm

    I think you’ll have a hard time convincing the Greeks that a document signed by the Sublime Porte is legally binding.

    The marbles are part of Greece’ heritage, and that is where they belong.

    However, they should be kept in a museum and not put back on the Parthenon to protect them from corrosion. Perhaps replicas can be put up, like the Florentines did with the David and other sculptures.

  13. Bob said,

    02.11.16 at 11:01 am

    I don’t think that the Elgin marbles should be returned to Greece.

    If one country is to ask for items on museum display to be returned and have their demand met, then what is to stop all other countries from doing the same? In this scenario all museums on the planet would be stripped of hundreds of artefacts which originally came from other counties. This opens a metaphoric ‘Pandora’s Box’ and if returning Elgin’s marbles is justifiable then so is the removal of all international artefacts. This would create significant damage to hundreds of worldwide museums.

    In conclusion, even if the British museum feels inclined to return Elgin’s marbles, huge parts of museums would have to be returned and the toll would damage international heritage and ruin the finances of hundreds of museums.

    Now that they are at the British Museum little can be done about it without significant damage being caused.

  14. Celeste Rangel said,

    02.19.16 at 1:54 am

    I am seventh grader, the age of 12, and am doing a debate on this subject. I think that the British Museum does not have to give back the Elgin Marbles. They are well taken care in the hands of the British, and the museums they are being kept in are free for tourists and visitors. The Greeks feel self-entitlement toward the Parthenon Sculptures, and the museums that they would be put in, if the Greeks received them from the British Museum, are not free. To conclude this short paragraph, the Parthenon and the Elgin Marbles are in god hands and the that the British really deserve them.

  15. Matthew said,

    02.19.16 at 2:16 pm

    But is being free the best thing for a museum? Or is it more important how something is displayed and looked after.
    You say that the Greeks feel self entitlement – surely this is their prerogative, as they were the ones who created the sculptures in the first place?

  16. Matthew said,

    02.19.16 at 2:18 pm

    The issue of the return of the Marbles setting a precedent has already been challenged many times.

    Even if it was the case, should you be too timid to do the right thing now, on the basis that you may have to repeat this action and do the right thing again in the future?

  17. Ally said,

    04.04.16 at 8:45 am

    I agree that they should be returned.
    I’m seeing a lot of arguments based on the fact that, as Lord Elgin ‘legally’ went through the ‘right processes’ and because he ‘saved the marbles from further destruction’ (but we won’t mentioned that they were damaged anyway by the British Museum) it’s okay and they should stay.
    Let’s mention that when Elgin appealed to have them removed, he was asking the Sultan for approval, NOT the Greek government who would be much more concerned and sensitive with the subject. They were taken out without any approval or discussion from the Greeks, a symbol of their history.

    Let’s take the example that I really think that the British are doing a terrible job at looking after Big Ben, or that the French aren’t handling the Eiffel Tower right, so I come in at the dark of the night, right under their noses, and steal away the monuments. I put a huge fence around Big Ben or the Tower saying “Property of Me”, lots of guards, and bring in the tourists. They’re well cared for and everyone is recognising me for them.
    But in the morning, I get a call from Britain or France and they’re very upset. “You’ve taken our monument! What the heck?! Give them back!”
    “Nope. Why? I took them because you were not looking after them correctly, they look great with me, and they have my name on them, and my economy is splendid with these new tourists.”
    “What! They’re part of our heritage, for over 200 yea–”
    “Oh, and I have a warrant from this overruling power. Nice chat, you can try to take it out with UNESCO but you’ll probably get nowhere. Thanks for building them, by the way.”

    Obviously this is a little theoretical, but this is what I’ve observed from Lord Elgin and the British Museum–the good old finder’s keepers. Lord Elgin removed them over concerns for their maintenance; Athens has found a suitable place to store them, in their correct context, so that issue is resolved.

    The Marbles, also, would be an essential reference in order to correctly attempt to restore the Parthenon and the Acropolis, as they are a splendid example of the architecture, and would also provide further historical and archaeological evidence as to how it was built, the sources of marble etc.

    The British Museum has built some of its arguments on the basis that the Marbles have been in the Museum for so long, they are in fact, part of Britain’s culture. Firstly, weighing the sentimental and patriotic connections of the British to the Greek people, it is clear that the Greeks win out, as they are hugely proud of their country, and in a pole conducted in 2002 (in response to the upcoming Olympics, I’m sure), 40% of the British population agreed that they should be returned, with an 18% disagreeing. I’m sure that almost all Greeks will want them back. Therefore, the Greeks identify with the Marbles are being part of their heritage much more than the British, and in fact, the Parthenon itself was constructed to celebrate Greece.

    And also on that argument that, because not all the Marbles are found, the collection would never be complete, so just leave them in Britain. Okay, well we’ll just leave your mutilated child on the battlefield because you’ll never have their arms or foot. (What logic!) Let me say that everyone would rather have something than nothing, and an appeal by the Greek Minister of Culture in 2000 specified that they are just asking for the Marbles, nothing else from the Museum’s Greek collection.

    Any thoughts?

  18. Matthew said,

    04.04.16 at 2:23 pm

    Great comments – its a shame how many people only want to see the story from their side of the fence and do not stand back and think how they would feel if they were in the situation of the aggrieved party.

  19. kevin said,

    05.11.16 at 2:04 am

    I believe they should be returned so as to keep the history of the Greek culture going.

  20. Terry said,

    06.08.16 at 6:23 am

    The marbles belong to Greece lots of reasons to many to mention, the Greeks have given enough to the world to many to mention we all forget or we don’t want to admit that even today’s form of life replicates the ancient times and people who are in the know understand what this is leading to. Give them back because we should all be greatfull what the Hellenic culture has done for the western world.

  21. babygirl said,

    12.04.16 at 10:21 pm

    come on now they should just return them and get it over with

  22. John Lewis said,

    02.16.17 at 4:09 pm

    I’m inclined to support the return of the Parthenon Marbles now that the Acropolis Museum can provide a safe and suitable home for them. However, these are very complicated issues with implications for all museum collections, internationally. In Athens alone there are galleries – including the Benaki and the National Archaeology Museum – that feature artefacts plundered from all corners of the former Greek Empire. That includes priceless antiquities from places that are now Turkey, Macedonia, Albania, Ukraine, Egypt, Libya, Italy, Spain, Syria and so on, even stuff from as far away as Afghanistan and Iran. Should they be returned to their respective countries? If not, why not?

  23. Yr5 said,

    02.28.17 at 11:50 am

    We should keep it cause it’s much safer in the muesum

  24. harold said,

    03.18.17 at 6:29 pm

    I think the potential damage of a return–legitimizing the concept that national “ownership” of treasures (and ideas–are ideas not as much a part of culture as artifacts?) is ” the right thing to do”. California should be returned to Mexico?.. the possibilities are endless once we start rewriting history. A more universalist rather than tribal attitude toward culture would be preferable (we see where tribalism is taking us in today’s world). The entire world, particularly the Western world honors and even revers the contributions of ancient Greek culture…and has helped to preserve it. The writings of Aristotle might have been lost were it not for the Arabs; more of the great plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides might have been lost if outsiders had not intervened. There are many more examples. What if the Church had not protected the Roman Pantheon? Or some of the ideas of the ancients by incorporating them into their own. (I am not prepared to debate this last point too strenuously). Many if not most of the Greek sculpture, made of bronze, has been melted down and would have been lost were it not for prior Roman copies. The Romans respected and admired Hellenic cultural achievements and helped preserve them. We see what is happening in Iraq when this does not happen. Possibly more thousands of square miles of rain forest would be gone now had there been no outside intervention. We should celebrate contemporary and past interventions to save what is valuable in the world rather than fight a legalistic and tribal battle over ownership.

  25. harold said,

    03.18.17 at 7:05 pm

    I would say to Ally that it is pretty clear that the modern Greeks can take good care of the Marbles and to have them located at the base of the Parthenon would be a spectacular display! But the example of Big Ben or the Eiffel Tower being allowed to fall into disrepair by their respective owners needs to be tweaked a bit: It would be more accurate to suppose that outside invaders had taken over London and Paris and were not particularly into preservation (or maybe thought the towers were hubristic affronts to their religion and wished to destroy them). If there were an opportunity for an individual or state to save these treasures in this hypothetical, should they give up the chance to help and prefer that instead that the new “owners” do what they will? I feel that the greater issue is preservation, not ownership. A lot of preservation has taken the form of financial assistance so local officials can do more and that may be the best, if not always possible, way to go. I think the Parthenon and its Marbles are a great preservation success story Regardless of where physically located the artistry and architecture are shared by the world.

  26. Everett Smith said,

    07.05.17 at 8:04 am

    Because, I have had bad experiences in the past allow me to make this disclaimer, I am in no way related to the British Museum, government , or the British Archaeological society. In fact if I were I could lose my membership over the following post, as members are not allowed to comment on the Elgin marble controversy.

    I feel the marbles should stay in the British Museum. At first blush there appears to be a good legal reason. At the time of the removal of the marbles from the Parthenon, both it and all of Greece actually was part of the Ottoman Empire. Therefore, under international law if the documentation Sublime Porte gave Elgin is authentic and gave him the right to remove the statues, then Elgin has legal title and him giving the British Museum is legal and the museum now has legal title. Therefore if all the above holds true, than Greece has no legal claim to the marbles.

    Secondly, I have had the luxury of visiting both the Acropolis Museum and the British Museum, it is beyond clear that the British have preserved the marbles in much better shape. Not only protecting them from the Greek war of independence, but also from over 200 years of air pollution. All acropolis marble held by Greece have had the entire faces of the statues eaten away by the pollution not so to the Elgin marbles (for visual prove look at Wikipedia page caryatid and compare the photo of a Caryatid in the British Museum vs the Porch of the Caryatids on the Erectheion in Greece). As a lover of ancient Greco-Roman history those who can preserve the objects in question best seems to me to be the proper guardian of the object.

    Also, the brand new Acropolis Museum in Athens does not have the same ability to preserve the marbles. During my tour of that museum in Athens it was possible for visitors to touch and therefore damage a statue of a Caryatid from the Acropolis. Granted it may not be allowed but at least in my experience the museum staff either cannot or will not stop such an occurrence from happening. Not so with the British Museum. As such, as mentioned in the preceding paragraph so long as the Brits have better ability to preserve and protect the statues I believe the statues should stay put.

    I know that the preservation reason does not hold much weight with some as the marbles are Greek, and therefore, belong to Greece. I would challenge that assertion. The Greeks who built the statues no longer exist. In fact biological studies show a closer genetic relationship between the Turks and modern day Greeks, than the likes of Pericles. As such, I strongly feel that the objects are of a common human history that needs to be preserved and in that case should belong to those who can best preserve the objects for humanity.

  27. Everett Smith said,

    07.05.17 at 8:19 am

    By the way, I also have little sympathy for the Greek cause after a former professor of mine who as an Archaeologist focusing on Ancient Greece, and living in Athens at the time, mentioned the following tidbit to me. . According to this professor, at the time of the completion of the new Acropolis Museum, the Brits offered the marbles back to the Greeks under the following terms. The British Museum would loan the marble back to the Greeks in perpetuity i.e they would never have to be returned, all the Greeks had to do was place a little plaque mentioning the piece were on loan from the British Museum. As the marbles still reside in London clearly the Greeks refused the offer. In my opinion anyone who refuses that type of compromise over pride which seems to be the case, is an idiot and deserves no sympathy for their plight. I will admit this is a bit of second hand evidence and maybe false, but I do not believe this to be the case.

  28. Matthew said,

    08.29.17 at 4:20 pm

    During my tour of that museum in Athens it was possible for visitors to touch and therefore damage a statue of a Caryatid from the Acropolis

    Surely this is worse in the British Museum, where the Caryatid can also be touched, but is hidden from view in a gallery not directly monitored by staff?

  29. Sarah-Jane said,

    09.28.17 at 2:48 am

    Britain should return in part, if not all the Elgin Marbles. I agree with the earlier comments by David Wright, in particular, “imperialism is over”. Britain may benefit by taking an appeasing approach in its international relations, particularly, towards the Greeks who are the poor cousins of the European Union.
    The British Museum Act (1963) applies to British Law, it has no jurisdiction on Greece’s Laws of the land. I find the comments by Paris Miliopulos that refer to Lord Elgin as thief to be a relevant point and a matter that could be put to a legal body for discussion.
    Britain’s subjects have produced a plethora of artistic brilliance, the creativity shown in the medium of painting are the best in the world. I have a acquired copy of the excellent John William Waterhouse painting ‘The Lady of Shalotte’. Surely any gaps in the British Museum collection, IF some of the marbles were returned to Greece, could be filled by items that celebrate British culture: costume, sculpture, technology and the recreations of literary, drama, and film scenes.

  30. Sexybeard the Pirate said,

    10.20.17 at 6:55 pm

    Yar… I be Sexybeard the Pirate. Durin’ me plunderin’ o the Seven Barber Shops, I took a lot o things that didn’t quite well belong to me. Havin’ changed me ways after hookin’ up with the Dungeon Busters an’ all I returned me booty to the barber shops an’ made what amends I could.
    I don’t know much o politics, ‘cept that Trump man’s hair gives me the shivers. But I be thinkin’ that what the Brits did at the time was sensible. They weren’t in it fer money or glory, which is what I woulda’ done, ’tis true. They only sought to preserve an’ protect Greek Treasures. But that age o’ war is over an’ they don’t need protectin’ no more. So if Britain could just return th’ marbles back where they came from, with no fuss or negotiatin’, I feel like th’ Greeks could owe ’em a thank you. An the Brits could say yer welcome, too. I don’t quite get why everyone’s got a mizzenmast up their arse. Th’ situation is really quite simple, even fer a washed up ol’ pirate like meself.

  31. caleb said,

    10.30.17 at 6:23 pm

    i think they should be returned as great Britain has been getting attacked by isis and another reason Britain has been damaging the marbles by sand paper and acids also using chisels

  32. Penny said,

    04.12.18 at 6:30 pm

    British damage to Elgin marbles ‘irreparable.
    In some cases “excessive rubbing and polishing” had not only destroyed the sculptures’ historic surfaces but “deformed” them to a shocking degree.

  33. Uppernorwood said,

    09.06.18 at 8:06 am

    Many of the arguments for and against appeal to emotion and generate anger rather than being rational. The weakest is the marbles should be returned to make amends for Britain’s Imperial past. Virtually every country has colonised another at some point. How did Athens create the wealth to build the Parthenon in the first place? War, pillaging and exploitation that’s how! A much better argument is to return the marbles as a gesture of goodwill and solidarity, in recognition of shared cultural heritage. It could be made clear that this is a special case, so doesn’t apply to other artefacts.

  34. Poop Sniffer said,

    02.20.19 at 1:58 pm

    I think the marbles should be returned to the Parthenon

  35. Mark S said,

    06.25.19 at 3:31 am

    Lord Elgin Was Scottish, not English as stated (“England’s biggest thief”). Sharing is a good idea. Translating a document through two languages is never going to portray all the nuances of the original document. The last time I visited the Acropis museum it stated that several Acropolis marbles were held by the Vatican, are those being sought too? Upernorwood states my sentiment exactly. No nation is exempt from profiting from their past, but it’s now the future and we must work together.

  36. Yorgo Valyrakis said,

    06.16.20 at 1:56 pm

    the fact is that these sculptures (“marbles” is such a dismissive and insulting term), are an integral element of an edifice that still stands in defiance of the ravages of time, wars, occupations, human stupidity and indifference. It is a magnificent monument to human ingenuity and nobility that we can aspire to and strive for. The imposing scale and splendor of the Parthenon is only felt and experienced in situ.
    The return to the place that they belong to is absolutely inarguable.
    Laser copies may be retained by the British Museum and placed also if deemed appropriate by archeologists, on the Parthenon as well.
    The originals should be housed in the Acropolis museum that has been organized to exhibit the statuary and friezes that adorned the Acropolis temples in an approachable and comprehensive level that allows one to experience the sublime artistry and magnificence of the sculptures.
    The argument that their return would open up claims for the return of all antiquities from museums to their place of origin is silly at best. The sculptures and artifacts in the collections of museums are mostly individual items and not integral parts of monuments as the Parthenon sculptures and the Erechtheion Karyatids.
    These in particular have a resonance of immense significance to all of humanity and Western culture specifically as they represent the ideals of Democracy and aspirations to nobility and harmony gained through struggles and principles of justice and freedom.
    The colonial mentality of superiority and entitlement, the appropriation and theft of cultural and intellectual property of historical achievements of peoples can not be tolerated or defended any longer.
    Especially arguments on racial purity and continuity, religion and stewardship.
    Shame on the proponents of the delusions of “empire” and robber barons.

  37. Should Britain Return Its Stolen Artefacts? said,

    10.12.20 at 11:30 am

    […] British Museum argues that artefacts should be in “an international context where cultures can be compared and […]

  38. Buried • VAN Magazine said,

    06.02.21 at 7:12 am

    […] Carter papers are not the Elgin Marbles; Carter was well aware of the foundation’s policies when he made the decision to sell his papers, […]

  39. martin Micheal dunne said,

    12.01.21 at 11:38 am

    I’ve read through a lot of comments here and there are quite a few uninformed people.
    On arguments for the British keeping the Greek history in a British museum.
    The British bought them fair and square.
    The British did not deal with the Greeks but with the Turks and even then still cannot produce a document giving permission to remove pieces from the structure.

    The British museum is the safest place for them.
    In fact severe damage happened not only during the theft with saws, hammers and chisels but since then when “cleaning” efforts used harsh equipment that took a lot of details from the art and vandalism from victorian public on chipped off souvenirs for themselves. It appears that grabbing things that do not belong to themselves and causing unforgivable damage to priceless and irreplaceable art is not just in the British government but through the population.

    The slippery slope, if we give back the “Elgin” it will cause a snowball effect.
    If you claim is that we don’t want to give back your stolen property because then we may have to give back everyone else’s stolen property you have made a pretty good argument for giving back everyone else’s stolen property.

    The technology exists today to make a perfect copy of the art and keep a display in England that accurately shows the pieces while still reunites the art in it’s home. The British museum’s last argument for keeping them destroyed I can only finish by saying it’s just the right thing to do, something the British may be unused to but may enjoy once the get going

  40. bob said,

    02.02.22 at 10:42 am

    They should go back


  41. Robert Jones said,

    11.13.22 at 3:13 pm

    Visited Athens this autumn Parthenon still being renovated whilst marbles remain safe. Undoubtedly they should be in Athens when the Greeks are ready for them irrespective of who owns them. Many works of art are on loan all around the world.

  42. Malcolm M said,

    01.13.23 at 11:02 am

    Martin Michal Dunne said it;
    I feel the best solution, surely, is to make exact replicas & give the originals back. When I say ‘exact replicas’, I am not talking about ‘not bad, near enough’ done by the cheapest tender, I am talking about using the latest/best technology, done to the standard that even the experts have trouble telling which is which (you know, forgery standard).

  43. Matthew said,

    03.05.23 at 6:32 pm

    But they would not be going back to the Parthenon – they would be going to the Acropolis Museum which was completed in 2009 and has spaced ready and waiting for them.

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