Why The British Museum Should Return The Marbles


1 The sculptures are an integral part of the Parthenon, which is regarded as the architectural wonder of the world.  No other building has ever equaled its beauty, symmetry and symbolism.
2 The Parthenon, on the Acropolis of Athens, is the symbol of Western civilization the sculptures are an integral part of the building and such a symbol is not divisible.
3 When we speak of the Parthenon we aren‘t speaking of a single column or a single statue, it is a complete and unique, it is the symbol of Greece
4 The British Museum, despite the building of a special display room with funds from Lord Duveen, has not protected the sculptures.  In the period 1936-1939 irreparable damage was caused to the sculptures when they were scrubbed back to make them white, destroying their patina of ancient colours. Today the sculptures in the Athens museum are in far better condition than those in the British Museum, they have also been cleaned but with the latest laser technology that retains their ancient patina.
5 The British Museum does not display the sculptures in a manner that is meaningful to the world at large.  They are displayed as mere specimens, as curiosities, completely out of context and in a manner that does not permit a full understanding of their contribution to civilization.
6 Anyone, especially people of Greek origin, who visits both the Acropolis and the British Museum for the first time is immediately aware of the injustice of the British Museum and Government’s refusal to return the sculptures.  This refusal is despite many British opinion polls and surveys showing strong support for their return.
7 Britain can show leadership in addressing cultural property disputes by returning the sculptures as this is the greatest cultural property dispute of our time
8 Lord Elgin was only given permission to make architectural drawings and plaster castes from the Parthenon in order to improve the fine arts in Great Britain. He was only permitted to expose the ancient foundations and to remove fragments lying on the ground following the 1687 explosion. He wasn’t granted permission to remove anything from buildings on the Acropolis.
9 They were taken from Greece while the country was under Turkish occupation at a time when larger powers were pillaging antiquities of smaller countries, including Egypt.  Greece had no say in the matter.
10 The new Acropolis museum, built to house the sculptures, is an example of the world’s best practice in museum development. Not only does it have an ideal environment but it places the sculptures in a location close to the Parthenon and aligned as they were on the Parthenon.

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