The Return of the Elgin Marbles to Greece
November 9, 2012
Return of the Elgin Marbles to Greece
One of the most interesting predicaments known to the cultural and artistic world today has been the acquisition of the Elgin Marbles from Athens by Thomas Bruce, the seventh Earl of Elgin, during the early 19th century. The way that these marbles were acquired by Elgin, the impact that this has on the national and cultural pride of the Greeks and the preservation of the marbles in Britain is the centre of attention in this argument. The marbles have been said to be the most sacred and important monuments in Greek history and therefore need to be ...view middle of the document...
In my opinion it was not in the best interest of the Ottoman Empire to keep these marbles in Greece because they had no reason to care for them, as the marbles never came from their homeland of Turkey. This made it easy for the officials to accept bribes as they didn’t see the marbles as part of their culture. The marbles were not fairly taken away from Greece as people who were really suffering from the removal of the marbles had no say in the matter. Since Greece has now separated from the Ottoman Empire they have every right to ask for their marbles back since they are in fact a part of Greek history.
The fact that the Elgin Marbles were sculpted and then later found in Greece is enough evidence to prove that they belong in Greece and should have never been removed from the country in the first place. The Greek Minister of Culture, Melina Mencouri, states that the marbles are a symbol and the blood and the soul of the Greek people, and that they fought and died for the Parthenon and the Acropolis (Merryman, 1985). In saying these words she makes the argument very personal and we realize how much these marbles really mean to the Greek people. Without having personal possession of the marbles the Greeks have lost a piece of their national heritage.
Britain Claimed that they wanted the marbles to preserve them and keep them from getting damaged, but the removal of them by Elgin’s workmen severally damaged them in the first place. Not only was Elgin responsible for damaging them but in 1937 and 1938 the British museum ordered that the marbles be cleaned and whitened and this damaged the marbles even more by removing the surface patina and their original paint (Fitz Gibbon, 2005). It has also been said that Greece has never had a proper place to show off the marbles (Petrou,...