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Scottish Government Declare That Parthenon Marbles Should Be Returned To Greece

Scottish ministers have declared that there is a clear right for the Parthenon Marbles to be returned to their place of origin, where they were 'removed' by Lord Elgin at the beginning of the 19th century.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "Ministers believe that Greece is perfectly capable of displaying and conserving the Parthenon Marbles appropriately, and support the view that the people of Greece have a right to receive back one of their most important cultural treasures."

There is now a suitable venue for them to be displayed - the new Acropolis Museum - below the Parthenon in Athens. Hopefully, the pressure will continue until the British Museum bow to the inevitable and return the stolen property to their rightful place.

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Most People Think Parthenon Marbles Should Be Returned To Greece

Photo: Urban (Creative Commons)
The Guardian newspaper in the UK set the question "Is it time to return the Parthenon Marbles?" to its readers and up to now the replies are Yes - 96.8%, No - 3.2%. An overwhelming vote in favour of the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece to be housed in the new Acropolis Museum. The online survey still has 3 days to run, so if you wish to vote, you can do so here.

As I mentioned in my previous post here, the British Museum is fast running out of arguments or excuses as to why they should keep the Marbles. Remember, they were stolen from the Acropolis in the early 19th century by Lord Elgin (which is why some people call them the Elgin Marbles) and then sold to the British Museum.

Over the years, the British Museum claimed that there wasn't a suitable venue for them to be displayed, but that argument no longer holds since the opening of the much-acclaimed Acropolis Museum earlier this week. So now all we can say to the British Museum is - Time to return the stolen goods to their rightful owner so that they can be displayed in their rightful setting - next to the Parthenon - for all the visitors to enjoy.

For more information on the Marbles and their return to Greece, you can visit The British Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles and you can also sign a petition, if you so wish, at Return The Marbles.com

10 'Firsts' In Corfu

Continuing the occasional series of Corfu Lists of 10, these are 10 firsts from the island of Corfu. These are by no means the only ones, but give an indication of the role that Corfu has played in Greece in various fields. We are talking about modern Greece, by the way.

  • The first theatre in modern Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean. The San Giacomo (now the Town Hall) in 1720.

  • The first Greek opera. In 1867 The Parliamentary Candidate became the first opera composed on an exclusively Greek libretto and was performed at the San Giacomo.

  • The first university in modern Greece in 1824.

  • The first governor in modern Greece - Ioannis Capodistrias.

  • The first library in modern Greece.

  • The first bank in modern Greece.

  • The first lighthouse in Greek waters. In 1822 the lighthouse was built in Corfu and in 1825 the first floating lighthouse was built at Lefkimmi in Corfu.

  • The first lady mayor in Greece - Maria Desilla-Kapodistria, 1956-59.

  • The first tennis club in Greece.

  • The first cricket club in Greece.

Athens Acropolis Museum Opening On Saturday

Photo: Christos Vittoratos

Finally, the new Acropolis Museum in Athens is opening. This Saturday, 20 June is the official opening and dignitaries from all over the world will be present. The museum is located at the bottom of the Acropolis hill, which has the Parthenon on top. Designed by Bernard Tschumi and Michael Photiadis, it has a total area of 25,000 sq. meters, with exhibition space of over 14,000 sq. meters, ten times more than that of the old museum on the Hill of the Acropolis.

The opening of the new museum brings back into focus the issue of the Parthenon Marbles, called by some the Elgin Marbles after Lord Elgin who stole them from the Parthenon in the early 19th century and then sold them to the British Museum because he needed the money.

One of the arguments the British Museum used to put forward for not returning the Marbles to Greece was that there wasn't a suitable place for them to be displayed in Athens. Perhaps there was some validity to this argument before, but now there is none. From what I have seen so far, it is a wonderful new museum and would be a more than fitting setting for the Parthenon Marbles. However, the British Museum do not see it that way. They allegedly offered to 'lend' the Marbles to the Athens Museum for a few months, if Greece renounced its claims to ownership!

Now this controversy has been going on for many years, but I have a feeling that the British Museum are now fighting a losing battle. To put it simply, if you buy stolen goods from somebody and then the original owner asks for them back, what right do you have to say 'No. They're ours' ?

Back to the Museum. If you want to find out more, you can visit the site www.theacropolismuseum.gr. You can even watch the opening live on Saturday via their website. For those of you who are going to be in Athens this year, the entrance tickets until the end of the year will cost ony 1 Euro. Fantastic value!

Photo: Fusslkop

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