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Should the Elgin Marbles be returned to Greece?

Some backround info below.  Many feel they were stolen and should be returned.  Some feel they should be reinstalled on the Parthenon Others feel that that is out of the question as the air quality would be devastating to the sculptures.  What do you think?


Elgin Marbles

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Elgin Marbles
Parthenon Marbles
Year circa 447–438 BCE
Type Marble
Dimensions 75 m (247 ft)
Location British Museum, London

The Elgin Marbles (pron.: /ˈɛlɡɪn/ EL-gin),[1] are a collection of classical Greek marble sculptures (mostly by Phidias and his assistants), inscriptions and architectural members that originally were part of the Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis of Athens.[2][3] Thomas Bruce, the 7th Earl of Elgin obtained a controversial permit from the Ottoman authorities to remove pieces from the Parthenon while serving as the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1799 to 1803.

From 1801 to 1812, Elgin's agents removed about half of the surviving sculptures of the Parthenon, as well as architectural members and sculpture from the Propylaea and Erechtheum.[4] The Marbles were transported by sea to Britain. In Britain, the acquisition of the collection was supported by some,[5] while some critics compared Elgin's actions to vandalism[6] or looting.[7][8][9][10][11]

Following a public debate in Parliament and subsequent exoneration of Elgin's actions, the marbles were purchased by the British government in 1816 and placed on display in the British Museum, where they stand now on view in the purpose-built Duveen Gallery. The debate continues as to whether the Marbles should remain in the British Museum or be returned to Athens.

How far you go in life depends on your being: tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of both the weak and strong.  Because someday in life you would have been one or all of these.  GeorgeWashingtonCarver


by on Feb. 8, 2013 at 12:32 AM
Replies (21-30):
Momniscient
by Ruby Member on Feb. 8, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Yes.

lol I would elaborate but you've nailed how I feel too. I have a degree in archaeology and we had years of classes dealing with repatriation and resource management.

Quoting NWP:

I have mixed feelings about this....And it isn't just the British Museum, although they are highlighted, primarily because of all the artifacts they "acquired" under British Colonialism. Many museums around the world "acquired" artifacts in such aggressive manners in the 19th centuries and earlier.

Yes, I believe that these artifacts belong to the country of origin, unless they have/had a very legal agreement to have them. An example of a good agreement is the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC and the agreement they have held for nearly a century with Egypt. The Met provided the experts and expenses to excavate sites with the permission of the Egyptian govt who could not afford nor had the expertise to do so. In exchange, artifacts would be split 60/40 (Egypt would get the 60% AND first choice, the Met got to keep the rest)

As for those acquired illegally, many are being returned to the countries of origins, with Greece being the primary benefactor and most aggressive in pursuing this.

But, IMO, there is value to having this history spread all over the globe and not just located in the country of origin...

1. More people are exposed to the culture and history than could ever travel to the country of origin.

2. Having these artifacts spread all over the world helps avoid the total annihilation of a country/culture's historical artifacts in the event of a natural or man-made disaster...Such as happened to much of the Persian collection in Iran during the war, which was allowed to be looted and was not protected.



NWP
by guerrilla girl on Feb. 8, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Thanks for letting me know you could understand that. I felt it rambled. LOL...

BTW, I am STILL upset with what America let happen to that museum in Iraq (I said Iran, but it was a typo/brain blurb...I meant Iraq) There are those in the museum community that felt the military had the intent to let this collection be looted and destroyed as a means of cultural warfare.

Quoting Momniscient:

Yes.

lol I would elaborate but you've nailed how I feel too. I have a degree in archaeology and we had years of classes dealing with repatriation and resource management.

Quoting NWP:

I have mixed feelings about this....And it isn't just the British Museum, although they are highlighted, primarily because of all the artifacts they "acquired" under British Colonialism. Many museums around the world "acquired" artifacts in such aggressive manners in the 19th centuries and earlier.

Yes, I believe that these artifacts belong to the country of origin, unless they have/had a very legal agreement to have them. An example of a good agreement is the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC and the agreement they have held for nearly a century with Egypt. The Met provided the experts and expenses to excavate sites with the permission of the Egyptian govt who could not afford nor had the expertise to do so. In exchange, artifacts would be split 60/40 (Egypt would get the 60% AND first choice, the Met got to keep the rest)

As for those acquired illegally, many are being returned to the countries of origins, with Greece being the primary benefactor and most aggressive in pursuing this.

But, IMO, there is value to having this history spread all over the globe and not just located in the country of origin...

1. More people are exposed to the culture and history than could ever travel to the country of origin.

2. Having these artifacts spread all over the world helps avoid the total annihilation of a country/culture's historical artifacts in the event of a natural or man-made disaster...Such as happened to much of the Persian collection in Iran during the war, which was allowed to be looted and was not protected.



North West Passage

NWP
by guerrilla girl on Feb. 8, 2013 at 1:30 PM

A link to the Iraq National Museum page with statement of why it is soooo important to us all, and some links to what happened:

Welcome

In many ways, the history of Iraq is the history of all humanity. The Iraq Museum's huge collection tells the epic story of human civilization, from the earliest settlements to the rise and fall of vast empires. These artifacts, some of them more than 10,000 years old, show the development of everything from hunting and writing implements to mathematics, art, law, religion, and industry — and ultimately — humankind's best and worst impulses. Learn more about the museum

Latest News

News RSS Feed
VIDEO: Restoring Looted Artifacts from the National Museum of Iraq
September 16, 2010VIDEO: Restoring Looted Artifacts from the National Museum of Iraq

KTLA: Assignement Iraq: Restoring Looted Artifacts from the National Museum of Iraq... more

Looted Treasures Return to Iraq
September 07, 2010Looted Treasures Return to Iraq

Iraq announced the return of hundreds of antiquities that had ended up in the United States, although 632 pieces repatriated last year were now unaccounted for.... more

North West Passage

furbabymum
by on Feb. 8, 2013 at 1:45 PM

 The return of these marbles would be a revenue stream for Greece as people would travel to see them. Greece needs money. The initial investment in the building of a safe place to keep them would probably negate much of the benefit for many years. That's my uneducated opinion on it. So I guess my opinion is that I don't have a huge opinion.

mikiemom
by Ruby Member on Feb. 8, 2013 at 1:46 PM
1 mom liked this

Well how far back do we go. Officials in the ruling empire at the time gave the person permission to remove the marbles. I believe they should stay right where they are for all the world to see. Of course I think the Greek government is corrupt so my opinion is biased.

slashteddy
by Bronze Member on Feb. 8, 2013 at 1:47 PM
Send them back to Greece.
mikiemom
by Ruby Member on Feb. 8, 2013 at 1:50 PM

Let me tell you something beautiful antiquities and being allowed to crumble to dust in Greece because they don't have the funds to preserve them. NO they can not and should not get these back.

soonergirl980
by Silver Member on Feb. 8, 2013 at 2:07 PM


100% agree

Quoting mikiemom:

Well how far back do we go. Officials in the ruling empire at the time gave the person permission to remove the marbles. I believe they should stay right where they are for all the world to see. Of course I think the Greek government is corrupt so my opinion is biased.



Bigmetalchicken
by Silver Member on Feb. 8, 2013 at 2:43 PM
1 mom liked this

I am reading a biography about the wife of the Earl of Elgin.It was actually her that obtained the permission. He was considered a fuddy dud, but she was quite persuasive.  She also was the one with all the money.

yourspecialkid
by Platinum Member on Feb. 8, 2013 at 9:42 PM

 They were legally removed via permit.  The British Museum is where they ended up.  What would happen if everyone started demanding to have things that were removed hundreds/thousands of years ago returned. 

I am not in favor of the people of today being penalized for what the people of yesterday did....nor am I in favor of the people of today getting a payday for something that happened to their ancestors.

I think it would be a nice gesture if the British gave replicas that could stand up to the climate.

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