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Reuniting the Sculptures of Parthenon Essay

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Updated: Sep 19th, 2021


It has been over 200 years since the completion of a devastating for the Athens Acropolis process of destruction and export to England of Parthenon’s and Erechteum’s sculptures under the command of the British ambassador in Constantinople, Lord Elgin. The issue of returning the marbles to Acropolis was brought up immediately following the formation of the Modern Greek state.

Return to their place of origin

I believe that the question of reuniting the sculptures of the Parthenon concerns all humanity, as the Parthenon is considered to be a part of world cultural heritage. After viewing the indicated websites, I also think that restoring the marbles is a matter of delicacy concerning the perception of a cultural phenomenon, and is not associated with historical and political issues. In my opinion, the marbles should be returned to their place of origin, however as a part of the British Museum, as they do belong to it. The British Museum should create its branch based on the New Acropolis Museum, where the antiques that it disposes of could be exhibited. This way, the British museum would retain the right of ownership and control over the sculptures, and by doing so the marbles of Parthenon could be again reunited, as the British artifacts would be displayed along with the sculptures that belong to the Acropolis Museum. Such cultural cooperation in this historical moment will be a sign of peace and partnership to all people on our planet during this difficult period. This is not just an issue of two governments, it is also a problem of relations between the two nations and their parliaments.

The British parliament that entrusted the sculptures of Parthenon into the hands of the British Museum appears to be the only authority that can alter this situation. The British government with its parliamentary majority can quickly achieve this. There should not be any winners or losers in the resolution of this problem. In this case, I am not talking about a lawsuit and court decision against somebody. The restoration of the Parthenon monument is a question of the partnership between the British and the Greek people in a much wider European context. The question of sculpture ownership is non-topical, unrelated, and insignificant. The most important fact is where are the marbles located, and where they should be located. Foremost, the wholeness and integrity of the entire monument of the Parthenon should be considered. This monument was built by Pericles, not as a depot for separately standing sculptures. The marbles of the Parthenon were planned and created as an inherent part of the temple. Their preservation away from the main part of the monument has stretched for over two centuries, and should not be tolerated any longer. If the sculptures would be returned to their homeland, the cohesiveness of the monument will be restored at its original site, and the sculptures will be exhibited against Parthenon to appear within visual contact of the temple.

The Greek presence in the British Museum

The return of the sculptures to Greece will not lead to a decrease in the Greek presence in the British Museum. For one thing, the full use of modern technology can create such absolute copies of the original that only a sophisticated chemical analysis would be able to tell a difference. There is also a possibility of conducting frequent exhibitions of valuable, rare, and outstanding Greek antiques provided by Greek museums, in London. The prestige and attractiveness of the great British Museum can grow even bigger if the proposition of returning the Parthenon marbles to Greece will be put into practice. The Greek people only desire those sculptures that were taken by Lord Elgin and do not bring forth claims for hundreds of thousands of Greek works of art that are preserved in museums all over the world. I believe that they simply strive to restore the solidity of a unique monument that is the symbol of not only Greek democracy and cultural heritage but also of the moving spirit and essence of the Greek people.


. 2004. Ian Swindale.

British Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles. 2007. Web.

British Museum. Trustees of the British Museum. 2007. Web.

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