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to think it outrageous that Britain refuses to give back the Elgin Marbles

(40 Posts)
itwasntme Sat 20-Jun-09 15:09:07

So Greece has built a museum that it hopes will safely house the Elgin Marbles, and the British Museum still refuses to hand them back.

The marbles are such an important part of Greece's history, they have no place in the British Museum. They were stolen by Lord Elgin, not saved.

I really think that there should be more pressure to give them back. This is the sort of thing that makes me embarrassed to be British.

apostrophe Sat 20-Jun-09 15:10:37

Message withdrawn

itwasntme Sat 20-Jun-09 15:16:01

Sorry I'm missing something.

What do starving people or Waitrose have to do with the Elgin Marbles?

MaryMotherOfCheeses Sat 20-Jun-09 15:18:45

No I think it's right to be passionate about heritage. I think where we have come from shapes where we go in the future. And who we are now. I care about that. And occasionally I shop in Asda.

I can't remember the argument though about the rest of the BM collection. What would happen to that if we had to start returning everything to its original home?

RumourOfAHurricane Sat 20-Jun-09 15:20:06

Message withdrawn

hobbgoblin Sat 20-Jun-09 15:22:49

I don't know the history, were they stolen?

Anyway, is it right that one should only be able to appreciate the history first hand by getting on a plane and going to Greece?

Also, to be fair many items have been preserved in a way that simply would not have happened had items remained in their country of origin...

MaggieBeau Sat 20-Jun-09 15:23:04

I agree wtih you OP, ok, so there are people dying, aren't there always, but a British Museum should hand back something that belongs to Greece. That's obvious.

CoteDAzur Sat 20-Jun-09 15:23:59

Have you been to the British Museum?

If you were in the habit of giving back things BM has accumulated from foreign lands, it would be empty. Really.

(Which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.)

itwasntme Sat 20-Jun-09 15:26:57

I can't think of any other countries that have been so vocal in asking for their artifacts back.

The BM always said that the Marbles would be damaged by the pollution in Athens. Other countries have recently returned other stolen parts of the Parthenon to Greece.

Britain should do the right thing and follow suit.

hobbgoblin Sat 20-Jun-09 15:29:49

itwasntme, you raised the issue of pollution but then haven't addressed it? What do you think about that?

I'm not sure that 'following suit' is good justification.

itwasntme Sat 20-Jun-09 15:30:52

Anyway, is it right that one should only be able to appreciate the history first hand by getting on a plane and going to Greece?


No, one should get on a plane and come to Britain to see Greek history first hand.

MaryMotherOfCheeses Sat 20-Jun-09 15:34:36

The Trustees of the British Museum warmly welcome the opening of the New Acropolis Museum which will allow the Parthenon sculptures that are in Athens to be appreciated against the backdrop of ancient Greek and Athenian history. The new museum, however, does not alter the Trustees’ view that the sculptures are part of everyone’s shared heritage and transcend cultural boundaries. The Trustees remain convinced that the current division allows different and complementary stories to be told about the surviving sculptures, highlighting their significance for world culture and affirming the universal legacy of Ancient Greece

Statement from the BM website. Just out of interest.

I'm not convinced that telling "different and complementary stories" should override the importance of place and telling those stories in their original place. Lots of museums value that more these days.

TheUnstrungHarp Sat 20-Jun-09 15:34:46

The argument for keeping them here is certainly not looking very robust any more. I expect they will be returned. Or we might end up going to war with Greece.

MaryMotherOfCheeses Sat 20-Jun-09 15:36:30

Hobbgoblin, I think the point about the pollution is that with this new building, Athens have resolved any conservation issues. We don't have that excuse any more which is why we should follow suit.

hobbgoblin Sat 20-Jun-09 15:36:57

Yeah, but the Parthenon doesn't have disabled access does it?

<thinks back>

itwasntme Sat 20-Jun-09 15:37:36

The pollution has been addressed, they have built a museum where they hope to house the marbles eventually.

Maggie, why are you talking about people dying? Are we not allowed to care about anhything else?

MaryMotherOfCheeses Sat 20-Jun-09 15:39:40

Re Maggie, I think that comment was to apostrophe and in agreement with you itwasntme.

itwasntme Sat 20-Jun-09 15:42:06

Whoops, thanks, I see that now.

hobbgoblin Sat 20-Jun-09 15:42:09

Ok, re. pollution. I am seriously ignorant on this topic which is why I joined the thread. I've been lucky enough to visit several ancient architectural sites including the Acropolis so am interested in the debate.

MaryMotherOfCheeses Sat 20-Jun-09 15:46:40

I'm no expert either, really. blush

And tbh, I've never been to the BM. Really don't fancy it. I just imagine lots of bits of pottery in glass cases. Would much rather see stuff in its original context.

itwasntme Sat 20-Jun-09 15:53:54

The British Museum is fantastic, it's really not just pottery. The Egyptian rooms are amazing, with all the mummies, etc.

But the Greeks have been asking for the marbles to be returned for years. They are such an important part of their heritage.

Imagine the uproar if they had part of Stonehenge in one of their museums!

charis Sat 20-Jun-09 16:45:11

I love the British Museaum. And I think they should send the marbles back, on permanenent loan if they are worried about ownership. They are completely out of context in a cellar in London. The trustees don't have a leg to stand on.

Meglet Sat 20-Jun-09 16:54:37

Yanbu. They should go back. They are too important to be in this country.

katiestar Sat 20-Jun-09 18:37:36

If they were playing for keepsies then Elgin should get to keep them.

MachuPicchu Sat 20-Jun-09 19:08:12

I think quite a lot of damage was done by 19th-century pollution in London anyway and the BM's attempts to restore them. No idea if that's more or less than would have been in Athens.

OTOH it's possible they wouldn't have survived the Greek war of independence so perhaps just as well they were in Britain.

I don't actually have an opinion about whether they should be returned or not (I seem to remember there's some sort of charter that prohibits it from the BM's point of view?) I think the prevailing opinion in Britain is that they should be returned, though.

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