OLYMPIAN IDEAL

Sir, If London is determined to stage the Olympic Games in 2012, it might now behove Her Majesty's Government to make a suitable propitiatory sacrifice to the gods.

To return the Elgin Marbles at this juncture would be a gesture of generosity consonant with the ancient Greek understanding of hospitality.

At the same time the Government might consider sending back the great frieze from Bassae that Charles Cockerell removed in 1811.

The difference between Greece and the British Museum is that whereas sites in the former are open daily at advertised times, rooms in Bloomsbury are closed off at a daily rate without notice. My own visits to the British Museum always seem to coincide with the basement galleries housing the Greek inscriptions being locked. Perhaps the Government might fund staffing costs for the museum, or refund my travelling expenses.

NICHOLAS CRANFIELD
Blackheath, London