What should we campaign on together in the coming months?

Reunifying the Parthenon Sculptures (AKA Elgin Marbles) in Athens

For nearly 200 years, half of the surviving Parthenon Sculptures (Also known as the Elgin Marbles) have been displayed in the Duveen Gallery in the British Museum in London. Greece has repeatedly asked for their return, yet the British Museum ignores all such requests and maintains that the sculptures now form an "integral part" of their collection.
The Acropolis Museum in Athens opened in 2009 and forms a far more suitable home for them, situated in the context of the Acropolis, allowing them to be understood in relation to the other surviving sculptures.
Keeping them in London is a continuing embarrassment for Britain, with most attempts to justify it harking back to a colonial era when such actions were acceptable.
Whether or not there is a legal requirement to return them is undetermined, but most people who are given all the facts believe that there is an overwhelming moral obligation to return them.

Who can make the decision for their return?
The decision to return the sculptures is a matter for the director & trustees of the British Museum. They are limited by law however, which means any campaign should also target the British Prime Minister & the Secretary of State for Culture.

How can people be persuaded to change their minds?
The biggest issue is one of education – the more people know about the case, the more they are likely to support it. This involves no propaganda style exercises – merely disseminating the provable facts.

How can I help?
Organisations such as Marbles Reunited & the BCRPM already campaign for the return of the sculptures, but their resources are limited & the campaign needs to reach a wider audience with the assistance of an organisation such as 38 Degrees.

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    Matthew TaylorMatthew Taylor shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

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      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I disagree that the marbles should be returned. They are served best by remaining in the British Museum, where they can be cared for correctly and displayed to as many people as possible. The new Acropolis museum in Athens is very impressive and well run, but very few people visit it (at least when I was there) and so hardly anyone would see the marbles should they be returned there. As a Classicist myself I think the most important thing is allowing as many people as possible to view and interact with ancient artefacts as possible, generating interest in the ancient world and educating the public in the history of Western culture and society. The question of who the marbles "belong" to is much bigger that Britain or Greece. They belong to all of us, every Western society which has been moulded by the culture of Ancient Greece and Rome, and as such the debate as to where they should be should not simply be reduced to a matter of national pride or petty insult slinging. The marbles are best off in the British Museum, and that is where they should stay for the time being.

      • kostaskostas commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Anonymous so the marbles are well looked after at the BM?Is that so? Have you heard anything about the toxic disaster your ''specialists'' caused to the marbles some decades ago? The marbles need the Greek light to breath. They seem so miserable inside your gloomy British Museum. Dont you have any dignity as a nation to return them back? Dont you feel embarassed?

      • kostaskostas commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Anonymous if the parthenon marbles are just a piece of rock, why do you deny to give them back to Greece?

      • kostaskostas commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        many people express the argument that if parthenon marbles should be returned, when this should stop.It seems so difficult to some people to understand that the parthenon marbles were not buried under the soil.They are not independent items. They are parts of a monument that still exists. They are parts stolen from the Parthenon. What if we the Greeks had stolen the bell of Big Ben? Why dont you understand that? They are parts of a monument

      • kostaskostas commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Polly is nothing but a horrible liar. Not only theres no graffiti and decay in any archeological site around Acropolis but the new Acropolis Museum is the most proper and modern museum where specialists take care of any single detail concerning ancient monuments. Polly probably believes that the BM is the right place to host the marbles. Of course he doesnt mention anything about the toxic disaster the marbles had suffered by the BM ''specialists'' some decades ago..

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @Polly I cannot imagine what has inspired you to lie, but you have done just that. I have visited the Acropolis three times in the last year and I have not seen any graffiti anywhere near the temple. In fact the area surrounding the Acropolis and the museum is the furthest cry from the graffiti laden urban space you'd expect to find in Athens. If anything, Dionysiou Aeropagitou street is a peaceful stretch of cobbled road decorated by neo-classical buildings on the one side and green on the other just below the Acropolis hill. Greece is currently in the middle of a socio-political crisis and the Greek people are not entirely blameless, but we do not help things but exaggerating facts or creating them.

      • PollyPolly commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I used to think they should go back... until I visited Athens a few years ago. The lack of care for their historic treasures was truly shocking. Graffiti covered the route up to the Parthenon and was spread all over the ancient temples themselves. Treasures were badly cared for, badly displayed and allowed to decay. It was terrifying and I finally realised why the British Museum should hang on to them, for their safekeeping and preservation until Greece are really in a position to look after them properly (which they are not at the moment).

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I think we should send them back even if it is only on loan at first. Greece needs a bit of a leg up

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The Turks gave them to Elgin in the first place, not the Greeks. They were not the Turks' to give, so this case is unique and the marbles should be returned. The Acropolis museum is absolutely beautiful. They would have a fantastic home.

      • JackyMJackyM commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        They belong to Greece.

        Greece has been asking to have them returned for decades but in our usual arrogant Colonialist manner, we have refused and suggested that we know what is best. The difference between the Hellenic items in question and those from other cultures is that the countries of origin have not been petitioning for their return.

        And sorry Anonanonanon, but in my opinion (and it may only be my opinion) the vehicles in the Hellenic Motor Museum are irrelevant and of significantly lesser historical and cultural value. When all is said and done, a car is just a car, regardless of how many (or few) were made.

      • Marbles ReunitedMarbles Reunited commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Each case is treated on its own merits, as each has unique circumstances. This is a unique situation and the excuse of creating a precedence is one the British Museum has hid behind long enough! It is time for the Parthenon marbles to be reunited in Athens!

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The point is that of precedence. If we were to send them to Greece to display in undoubtedly the ideal setting what would we do with all similar artefacts whose origin is outside our Kingdom? Should we return all the Egyptian exhibits? All the South American sculptures? I do however believe that were a more suitable display is available and a viable copy can be made (and funded by the requesting nation) then all reasonable efforts should be made to return them.

      • Jerry SLATTERYJerry SLATTERY commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        They belong to Greece end of story . Would you like to trade The few stones that make up Stonehenge for them . Somehow I don't think you would well that's is how Important they are to Greece . Now please be civilized and give them back .

      • JacquiJacqui commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Couldn't this apply to any artifact in any museum? Where do we stop?

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