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Greek culture minister rules out legal action over the Elgin Marbles

In articles published today, Greek Culture Minister Antonis Samaras appears to have ruled out that any form of legal action will form part of the government’s strategy to reclaim the Parthenon Marbles. It is not clear from this whether or not it is an option that they have seriously considered.

Having seen the success of legal action by Italy [1] in securing the return of disputed artefacts, ignoring this option completely seems like a mistake. Whilst it is clearly not an appropriate solution in every instance, it was only once the Italian Government began proceedings involving various institutions that the restitution claims were taken seriously. If there is no pressure in a claim, it is all to easy for institutions such as the British Museum to hang on to artefacts whilst making little effort to even respond properly to return requests.

The Press Association [2]

Legal fight over marbles ruled out
11 hours ago

Greece’s culture minister said he is not planning to go to court to get back the Elgin Marbles from Britain.

Antonis Samaras says the new Acropolis Museum will boost Greece’s bid for the Parthenon sculptures, which British diplomat Lord Elgin took from the site 200 years ago.

Mr Samaras says he will “make the greatest effort possible” to repatriate the 2,500-year-old sculptures but rules out any kind of lawsuit.

He said on Monday that “at this moment I have nothing of the sort in mind”.

Originally part of the ancient Parthenon temple, the marbles are in the British Museum, which says it legally owns them and will not give them back.

Greece claims that the sculptures were looted from a work of art so important that its fragments should be shown all together in the new museum, which opened this month.