The controversy of whether the Elgin or Parthenon Marbles should be kept in Britain, or returned to Greece, has been a frenzied dispute since the early 1800’s. Lord Elgin originally took possession of the Marbles to either salvage them from being further destroyed, or he bought them and re-sold them to the British Museum. Whether Lord Elgin, ambassador to the then ruling Ottoman empire, had the authority to handle the Marbles presents great confusion, “[a]s to whether Elgin had legal authority to remove the marbles, the Ottomans being the ruling power, as the British maintain… “The problem is not legal,” he [Mr. Pandermalis] decided. “It’s ethical and cultural” (Kimmelman).The British can return the Marbles to Greece, where they originally belonged, or Greece can be satisfied with the casts of the Marbles. Despite the casts of the real Marbles in the Acropolis Museum in Greece, there are still requests by the Greek government to return the Marbles from Britain. Lord Elgin’s decision to salvage the Marbles finds a way to appear as vandalism in the eyes of others. Britain has a strong argument as to why they should remain the owners of the Marbles, but because of Greece’s ownership of the Marbles before Britain, and their capability of protecting the Marbles in the new Acropolis Museum, it is perfectly understandable as to why Greece believes the Marbles should be returned.
In 1983, Greek’s representative of the government, Melina Mercouri, requested the return of the marbles. The request was declined a year later, but Mercouri’s fight remained steadfast as she continued to protest outside of England as well. The construction of the Acropolis Museum was completed in the early 2000’s and opened up to the public in 2009, with an area specifically built for the Parthenon Marbles. “We have fought with you in the second war. […] Give them back and they will be in good hands”. As she spoke at the press conference where she argued that the Marbles...
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*“Acropolis Museum is Greece’s top site: official data” International News
Kimmelman, Michael. “Elgin Marble Argument in a New Light.”The New York Times. Web. 11 Oct. 2011.
Merryman, John Henry. “Thinking About the Elgin Marbles.” Michigan Law Review Aug. 1985: Vol. 83, No.8. 1880+. Jstor. Web. 10 Oct. 2011
Wiersma, Lindsey L. "Indigenous lands as cultural property: a new approach to indigenous land claims." Duke Law Journal Feb. 2005: 1061+. General OneFile. Web. 4 Oct. 2011.
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