Welcome to the site of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles. These pages contain detailed information on the Parthenon (Elgin) Marbles, together with the case for their return to Athens, Greece. If you would like to find out about the various ways to get involved with the campaign, or simply to learn more about the subject, then please read on.
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Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill and the Parthenon Marbles
31 October 2016 and The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Karen Bradley) states: "We have waited a long time to be able to ratify the 1954 Hague convention and accede to its two protocols. The need for this Bill is paramount. In recent months, we have seen the wanton destruction of cultural heritage.
Heritage, monuments and cultural artefacts are part of what makes a country great, educating and inspiring people, and bringing them together as a nation."
And indeed it is a welcomed Second Reading. For the full debate, click here.
Brendan O'Hara (Argyll and Bute) (SNP) suggested:"While The Hague convention is specific to times of armed conflict, the work of protecting cultural heritage must also continue in peacetime. In the spirit of the convention, we urge the Government to take this opportunity to return the Parthenon marbles—the Elgin marbles—to Greece where they belong. The passing of the Bill and the ratification of the protocols give the Government an excellent opportunity to lead by example and celebrate the ratification of the convention with a highly appropriate and long overdue gesture."
Campaigners were grateful for this support from Brendan O'Hara and not surprised by Ed Vaizey response - although as ever one questions the real reasons for anyone wishing to keep a peerless work of art fragmented between two great museums - the Acropolis Museum in Athens and the British Museum in London.
Tmes like this we reflect on BCRPM campaigners such as the late Chris Price who spoke of cultural mobility and tried to meet with Ed Vaizey. Not least Eddie O'Hara, Chairman of BCRPM from 2010-2016 who also campaigned for what he believed in:
The Parthenon Gallery in the Acropolis Museum, is the one place on earth where it is possible to have a single and aesthetic experience simultaneously of the Parthenon and its sculptures
Mikhail Borisovich Piotrovsky speaking at the Acropolis Museum on conservatism and innovation
The Acropolis Museum has organised a presentation by the Director of the State Hermitage Museum, Mikhail Borisovich Piotrovsky, which will be held on Monday, 31 October 2016, at 6 pm, in the Auditorium of the Museum, entitled "Conservatism and innovation at the Hermitage".
The presentation will be made in English. Admission to the talk is free.
Mikhail Borisovich Piotrovsky in an interview with the Guardian in February this year described the loan of the river god Ilissos in 2014 as showing how much trust there is between the British Museum and the Hermitage Museum, adding that culture was always above politics.
New family backpack at the Acropolis Museum
28 October 2016
Today is a significant Greek National holiday* and to commemorate this day, the Acropolis Museum invites families with children aged 8 to 12 to discover the Parthenon Gallery with the aid of the new backpack “The Parthenon Sculptures”. Through specially designed printed material and games, children will learn about the exhibits in a creative way, while discussing with their parents the story of the sculptures. The backpack is available in Greek and in English.
On 28 October the Acropolis Museum will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. with
free entry, and visitors will be able to enjoy the permanent exhibition areas but
also the temporary exhibition ‘Dodona. The oracle of sounds’.
Every Friday, visitors are able to participate the gallery talks
held by the Museum Archaeologist-Hosts: ‘Dodona. The oracle of sounds’
(at 1 p.m. in Greek and at 11 a.m. in English) and ‘A walk through the Museum
with the archaeologist’ (at 8 p.m. in Greek and at 6 p.m. in English).
The Museum restaurant on the second floor stays open until 12 midnight offering
special dishes based on traditional recipes and jazz live music from 8 p.m. onwards.
*28 October is the National Anniversary of Greek Independence or Ochi Day" in
celebration of Greece's refusal to yield to the powers of the Axis in 1940.
Neil MacGregor bemoans Britain’s narrow view of its own history
In an article in the Guardian on 07 October, 2016, Neil MacGregor bemoaned Britain’s narrow view of its own history, calling it “dangerous and regrettable” for focusing almost exclusively on the “sunny side”. We ask - has Neil MacGregor lost faith in the universality of the BM?
Neil MacGregor, OM, is a brilliant ambassador for Anglo-German relations - would that he were anything like half as good a one for Anglo-Hellenic relations too.
2016 is the 200th anniversary of an act (of Parliament) for which the British Museum's Duveen Gallery is what the Germans most expressively call a 'Mahnmal', a monument to past and present national shame.
There is a simple solution: restore the Parthenon Marbles that the Museum so shamefully retains to Athens and to the Acropolis Museum, and there will then no longer be cause for any national shame whatsoever - so far as the present and future condition and curation of the Marbles are concerned, at any rate.
For the article in the Guardian, follow the link.
Professor Paul Cartledge
The Jesus College cockerel in the news again
The Jesus College cockerel is in the news again (Daily Telegraph).
Prince Edun Akenzua quite rightly wants back what was stolen (along with hundreds of other priceless artefacts, most now in the B.M.), from his great-grandfather, Oba Ovoramwen.
There is a difference between the Benin snatch in 1897 and Elgin's robbery of Parthenon marbles: the latter at least had the veneer of diplomacy and legality, whereas the Benin episode was just a crude British imperialist reprisal raid! But the outcome is the same in both cases: cultural objects that belong meaningfully in their original locations have been forcibly removed and replaced in alien environments.
For the article in the Daily Telegraph, follow the link.
Professor Paul Cartledge
200 years of the Marbles
You wouldn't automatically think that Dr Ian Jenkins (chief curator at the British Museum) would naturally be a friend to the BCRPM (British Committee for the Reubification of the Parthenon Marbles), but he is not our enemy either, and he is a personal friend of mine, as well as an admired colleague and expert on Classical Greek sculpture and architectural sculpture.
In the article (September/October 2016 British Archaeology), which was written to mark 200 years since the British government's decision in June 1816 to purchase Lord Elgin's collection of Parthenon (and other) Marbles, and which starts off by noting the latest (July 11) Parliamentary bid to have them restored to their native Athens, he provides a most succinct and pointed resume of the current state of play: how they came into Elgin's possession and then the British Museum's custodianship, what they represent, and what pieces of the Parthenon are not in the British Museum (and not in the new Acropolis Museum, either...).
Of course Dr Ian Jenkins is not nearly harsh enough on the current, anti-historical mode of their display in the Duveen Gallery; for that, see Mary Beard's short book. But he doesn't disguise the ill treatment the marbles have suffered in the BM both deliberately and accidentally over the years. Altogether this is a very worthwhile short companion to his several scholarly articles and major monographs:
Charalambos Bouras, architect and architecture historian, Professor Emeritus and much more
Among all the friends of our cause, whether in Greece, Britain or other countries, Charalambos Bouras stood out not just for his high standing and dignity, but especially for his practical knowledge and expertise in the architectural field. Architecture has a central importance in the movement for reuniting the Marbles: it was the architecture of the Parthenon, perhaps even more than its sculptures, that suffered worst from Elgin’s vandalism.
So to have the friendship of this uniquely respected authority was a real boon.
That respect was based above all on his achievement in regard to the restoration of the Parthenon and the other Acropolis monuments. As President of the Committee for the Conservation of the Acropolis Monuments, Professor Bouras was involved in a whole series of enlightened decisions, taken after the beginning of the most recent programme of work in 1975. The enhanced status given to YSMA, the Acropolis Restoration Service, resulted in expediting the work to the point where completion could be achieved in most of its essential aspects.
Co-operation between a scholarly committee and a huge team of technical experts had brought about something that is secure against even the most jaundiced disparagement of Greece and its cultural policies. He was the natural choice to contribute a chapter on this work of rescue and restoration to the 2008 edition of the late Christopher Hitchens’s book, The Parthenon Marbles:The Case for Reunification.
Those of us who met him in person will always remember Charalambos Bouras for his wisdom and restraint: quite simply, he seemed to be operating on a higher level than the rest of us.
The Committee of the BCRPM has learned with great sadness of the death of Professor Charalambos Bouras, a leading light of the campaign to restore and conserve the monuments of the Acropolis. We send our deepest condolences to all Professor Bouras's family, friends and colleagues.
Paul Cartledge, Professor of Greek Culture emeritus University of Cambridge Faculty of Classics and Vice-Chair of the BCRPM
In addition to Charalambos Bouras many achievements and publications including the report of the 2013 international consultation on the future of the Acropolis, I will remember him - and miss him - as a generous friend.
I will treasure my own conversations with Charalambos but especially during a wonderful walk round the peripatos. Although he leaves a huge gap, am certain that all those working with the Acropolis Restoration Service will continue Professor Bouras great work.
William St Clair