British government dashes Greek hopes: “The Parthenon statues belong to the UK”

Greece has been trying for nearly 40 years to stop the so-called Elgin marble recovery. Marble sculptures have adorned the Parthenon, the great temple of the Acropolis in Athens, for more than 2,000 years.

Until Lord Elgin, a British diplomat to the Ottoman Empire, brought them to London in the early nineteenth century. Elgin said he got permission to do so from the Ottoman rulers, who were then occupying Greece. In total, he took about a third of the sculptures with him.

Greece has always viewed the issue as a plundered art. Some Britons also share this opinion. There were contemporaries of Lord Elgin who accused him of vandalism or plundering. One of them was none other than the poet Lord Byron.

When Lord Elgin ran into financial trouble in London, he sold the marble sculptures to the British state, which displayed them in the British Museum, where they can still be admired today. Since the opening of the new Acropolis Museum in Athens in 2009, Greece has been striving more than ever to restore the “Elgin Marbles”.

Meanwhile, a government spokesperson expressed himself more cautiously. “We are still far from any final declaration or agreement,” he said.

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Sophie Baker

"Award-winning music trailblazer. Gamer. Lifelong alcohol enthusiast. Thinker. Passionate analyst."

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