Should the Parthenon Marbles Be Returned to Greece?

Topics: British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Parthenon Pages: 2 (725 words) Published: December 4, 2007
Much debate has been seen on returning antiquities to the country of origin. It seems as though most outsiders side with the country of origin, but are they correct in their opinion? Just as stated, it is their opinion. The following gives way to my beliefs that the Elgin Marbles should stay at the Duveen Gallery in Britain. The first section seeks to credit Lord Elgin and a legitimate purchase. The second section revolves around the Elgin Marbles as a symbol of Greek identity and why keeping them in Britain makes sense. Finally, the third section focuses on the location of the antiquities in relation to the accessibility by scholars and world-travelers.

The first point to be debated revolves around Lord Elgin, British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire in Constantinople. Elgin received a firman from the Ottoman Sultan to make sketches and casts of the Parthenon's sculptures, to deconstruct buildings if it was necessary to view the antiquities, and to remove sculptures from them. His plan was to take these ideas back to Britain and use them to "improve artistic appreciation and taste among his countrymen", and to preserve what was left of Greek architecture. He employed local people to detach the sculptures from the building itself, collected pieces from the ground, and bought some other smaller pieces from local people. The sculptures removed by Elgin and his crew were purchased by British Parliament for £35,000, and have been on display in Britain's Duveen Gallery ever since. Contrary to these views, some scholars argue the original firman was never produced, and only a copy written from memory has been seen. This leads some to believe there was never any direct documentary proof of the right to remove the antiquities from the location. However, these disputes came after Greece became a free state and even further after these antiquities were removed from the location.

Another point to be debated is Greece's view that, "Parthenon's sculptures are...
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