March 22, 2012

Old documents reveal new details of the history of the Elgin Marbles

Posted at 2:01 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

More coverage of the newly published letters relating to the history of the Elgin Marbles in the British Museum. The letters are particularly interesting, as they reveal how long standing Greece’s attempts to secure the return of the sculptures have been.

GR Reporter

21 Documents About the Return of the Parthenon Marbles Revealed after 200 Years
By Areti Kotseli on March 22, 2012

Since its establishment in 1821, the Greek state has declared its intentions to return to Athens the sculptures from the Parthenon held by the British Museum. This is what twenty-one documents, under the title “The Acropolis of Athens”, revealing the correspondence between the ministers of education and foreign affairs, and reports of the Greek Ambassador in London at that time, have proved. The publishing house “Alitia” has published the documents for the first time and the luxury collection is available only in the souvenir shop of the Acropolis Museum.

“This record is a great weapon in the hands of the Greek state in the negotiations with the British Museum, because it shows the earliest efforts to restore and protect the Athenian Acropolis and to clear it of any foreign intervention,” said the publisher Kostas Tsaruhas.

The publication was presented on Monday, March 19th, in the Acropolis Museum, in the presence of Professor Dimitris Pantermalis, Director of the museum, and the portrait of the unforgettable Melina Merkouri, who is greatly remembered for her efforts to take the Marbles back.

“The documents are interesting not only for historians but also for ordinary people and the similarities with the present time are really startling,” says the director of the Acropolis Museum Dimitrios Pandermalis.

The ambition of the scientists was for the edition to resemble the original documents as much as possible, but it was difficult. Photographer architect Velisarios Voutsas took on the task and did his best to that end.

Several eminent historians attended the presentation.

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