June 29, 2022

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How the British took the Parthenon sculptures trying to recover Greece | Pop & Art

Parthenon, the magnificent temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, who crowns the Greek capital, the Acropolis, still amazes the world 2,000 years after its construction.

It continues to generate debate about the true owners of its archaeological remains.

In October of this year, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, during a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Griagos Mitsotakis, stated that it was not up to the British government to return the Parthenon fries on display at the British Museum. London – But, yes, to the company.

Taken from Parthenon Fries Greece In the early 19th century Thomas Bruce was known as the Earl of Elgin – hence the name Elgin Marbles.

In all, there are 15 panels and 17 marble sculptures that are part of the original decoration of Parthenon, which was built about 2,500 years ago and many Greeks point to the country’s major cultural heritage.

BBC Infographics Shows Data About Elgin Marbles – Photo: BBC

Johnson’s response to the Greek Prime Minister’s request to look for options to return the marbles.

The British government has in many cases indicated that it will not withdraw parts Greece.

In March of this year, Johnson himself ruled out the possibility of a return or transfer.

“I understand the strong feelings of the Greek people on this issue, but the government United Kingdom Has long held a firm position on the sculptures – legally acquired by Lord Elgin under the laws in force at the time and has been the legal property of the British Museum’s overseers since their acquisition, “the British prime minister told the Greek newspaper Ta Nea.

The museum, for its part, said the marbles were legally acquired and that “the Parthenon sculptures are an important part of the global interconnectedness within the museum because they contain elements of Greek, Egyptian, Persian and Roman.”

But how did the famous fries reach the British Museum and what other efforts were made to bring them back? Athens?

The story of a great monument

Fries taken from the Parthenon in Athens in the early 19th century – Photo: Getty Images via BBC

Parthenon is estimated to have been completed in 430 BC and has always aroused admiration among locals and foreigners alike.

For many years, however, it remained a temple to the worship of Athena and became part of the ruins.

Impressive architecture suffered great damage over time, especially in the 16th and 17th centuries. Greece It was ruled by the Ottoman Empire.

The monument was attacked by the Ottoman-Venetian War in the late 17th century, when it received an artillery shot that caused a large explosion and destroyed its roof.

Later, during the 18th century, most of the remaining pieces were gradually destroyed or plundered.

It was not until the early 19th century that the Earl of Elgin entered the scene. At the time, he was the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, which controlled Greek territory.

According to the edition provided by several directors of the British Museum, Lord Elgin knew not only the immense artistic value of fries, but also their history, and wanted to take them with him. United Kingdom To protect them from destruction.

In this way, he allowed the Ottoman authorities to carry the prizes and capital. London.

The transfer process was carried out with great pain – many missions suffered significant damage during the voyage United Kingdom. It took them almost four years to achieve London.

Elgin marbles are one of the treasures of the British Museum – Photo: Getty Images via BBC

In fact, the initiative was criticized by some United Kingdom From the beginning: The famous poet Lord Byrne opposed the idea of ​​removing the famous marble. Greece And called Elgin “Vandal”.

In 1805, as many historians have pointed out, contradictions were also found in Elgin’s speech. Count told the Ottomans that was one of the reasons the fries were removed Greece It should be enjoyed by people all over the world.

But the first thing Elgin did was take home the famous sculptures.

The enormous cost of the transaction and the divorce bankrupted Earl – and in 1816 he was forced to sell fries to the British Museum for $ 438,000.

They have been on display since 1839.

However, it is worth clarifying that these are not the only Parthenon pieces. Athens.

After the end of the Ottoman occupation Greece In 1832, a campaign to search for monuments taken from the country began.

In 1925, several Greek organizations indicated that pieces taken by Count Elgin should be withdrawn. Greece, Its origin and place of ownership.

They noted that the company that Lord Elgin had given permission to carry the famous Prize was an invading agent and therefore had no authority to grant such permission.

But in 1983 there was an official claim. Melina Mercury is the first woman to be appointed Minister of Culture Greece, Made a formal request to the British Government to return the fries Athens.

She did it in front of the Elgin marbles in the center of the British Museum.

“What is the Taj Mahal? India? What is the Sistine Chapel Paintings Italy? Parthenon marbles are our pride. They are our identity. Their current connection with the Greek specialty. They are our cultural heritage. Our soul, ”she argued at the time.

But again, both British museum directors and the government have argued that the company is the legitimate owner of these works.

In recent years, campaigns to repatriate Fries to Greece have dragged on – Photo: Getty Images via BBC

Another argument that has been repeated London It’s been decades Greece There is no suitable place to store the famous marbles. But that demand faded with the opening of the modern Acropolis Museum in 2009.

Although Mercury’s request did not have the desired effect, it led to a series of campaigns by organizations such as the International Union for the Reunification of Parthenon, and in many cases, the Greek government sought to recover the works.

The current initiative, promoted by Mitsotakis, thinks of a kind of exchange between works that will never give up. Greece The fries should be on display in exchange for a refund at the British Museum.

Renowned human rights lawyer Amal Clooney also appealed to international law, recommending how the country could reclaim Fries.

Mass Greece He said he was not going to file any legal action and would limit himself to diplomatic efforts to decide the future of the coveted lovers.

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