Letters from BCRPM to: Times, Independent and Telegraph


The British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles responds and justifies the reunification of the sculptures from the Parthenon.

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In response to Jeremy Paxman, The Telegraph, 25/10/14

27 October 2014

The Elgin Marbles belong in Britain, Mrs Clooney


Please allow me to respond to just some of Mr Paxman's most egregious excesses.  He suggests that Elgin saved these works of art from a fate as building rubble.  He must know that it was standard practice until very recently for older buildings to be raided for building materials.  The foundations of the Parthenon itself were recovered from a predecessor temple.  However I am not aware that the Parthenon itself was so raided, nor that Mary Beard said so.  The Parthenon and its sculpted elements are a single artistic entity.  Their integrity is compromised as long as they are divided.  Clearly the sculptures can no longer be replaced on the building, but the Acropolis Museum is unique in being the only place where these sculptures can be viewed in line of sight with the Parthenon itself.  

UNESCO recognises the Parthenon's exceptional importance not only with World Heritage Status but by basing its own logo on it.  We campaign only for this single restoration.  It is surely unique.  It offers no precedent for other returnist demands.  

Finally, our case has nothing to do with the legitimacy or otherwise of Elgin's acquisition of his collection.   After such a passage of time and change we believe that it is impossible to get a conclusive judicial determination, either way.  Anyway to us a legal determination would be unworthy of the case.  The moral and cultural case for reunification is overwhelming and enough.


Eddie O'Hara
Chairman, the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles

In response to Dominic Selwood, The Telegraph 22/10/14

The 7th Lord Elgin: hero or villain

22 October 2014


Dominic Selwood's article was interesting not least because it is rare nowadays to find someone defending the 7th Lord Elgin in such detail.  However his article is littered with inaccuracies and categorically stated non-truths which require correcting,  and contentious opinions which deserve a response.  Perhaps in the interests of fairness you might give us space in your columns to reply in full.  For the moment however let us just point out:

1. Whether or not Elgin "rescued" these sculptures, that is no excuse for holding on to them now;
2. The Greeks fought their war of independence in the name of Hellenism, a concept and a spirit preserved and transmitted through their language throughout centuries of conquests and occupations;
3. The Parthenon is a monument of unique significance not just for Greece but for western civilisation;
4. It is fixed monument and it is in Greece;
5. The sculptures are integral architectural elements of it;
6. Both the Parthenon and it's other sculpted elements lack artistic integrity while they are separated;
7. Admittedly, the sculptures can no longer be re fixed to the Parthenon or indeed displayed anywhere in the open.  However in the glass walled Parthenon Gallery of the magnificent Acropolis Museum, glassed walled and in line of sight of the Parthenon, and only there, they can be viewed simultaneously with the building to which they belong.  Thus the case for reunification of the Parthenon marbles is not a legal one about rights of ownership, current or historic, but cultural and ethical.  The onus of justification should be on those who resist restoring the integrity of the sculptures from the Parthenon - the Parthenon a UNESCO World Heritage monument, the very emblem of UNESCO itself.




Eddie O'Hara
Chairman, British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles

In response to Nathalie Haynes, The Independent, 14/10/14

14 October 2014

Would returning the Elgin Marbles be the thin end of the repatriation wedge?


Let us start with where Natalie Haynes is correct:  Yes, the British Museum did acquire the Parthenon marbles in good faith.  Yes, the 7th Lord Elgin was a chancer.  He exploited Nelson's victories over Napoleon's navy to seek personal favours as British Ambassador to the Ottoman court.  He exceeded his licence from the Ottoman authorities to collect bits and pieces ("qualche pezzi di pietra") lying around on the acropolis.  His purpose was to adorn his country home.  He displayed his collection for profit and only sold it to the nation in a fire sale when his wife divorced him and took her money with her.  His actions were criticised at the time, not least by Lord Byron, as plunder and vandalism.Now to where Natalie is wrong:  the Duveen gallery is a relative dungeon where the marbles are displayed inside out  compared with the glassed walled Parthenon Gallery gallery of the  Acropolis Museum where they are displayed in the correct configuration AND in line of sight with the Parthenon itself.That they are a jewel in the crown of the British Museum is no more relevant than the fact that the Boscotrecase frescoes are such to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  It does not justify their presence there.  The question is: should the aesthetic integrity of the sculpted elements of the Parthenon, a UNESCO World Heritage site, the most important such site in Europe and the very emblem itself of UNESCO, remain impaired by their display in two museums 2,500 miles part?

The overwhelming verdict of public, academic and professional opinion, when it is canvassed, is overwhelmingly 'No'.  Would it be the thin end of the wedge?  Hardly likely. The ethical and cultural case for this reunification is overwhelming and unique.  Not much precedent there.

Eddie O'Hara
Chairman, The British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles

In response to the Leading Articles in The Times 14/10/14

No Losing the Marbles, The Parthenon sculptures should remain at the British Museum

14 October 2014

Whose marbles are they anyway?


Where to start with the errors and misconceptions in your leader on the sculptures of the Parthenon?  Perhaps with that, their correct description.  They are integral, sculpted architectural elements of the Parthenon, sawn off by Elgin's agents who thereby mutilated and destroyed the artistic integrity of what is now recognised as the prime UNESCO World Heritage Monument in Europe, in fact the very emblem itself of UNESCO.  He did not have the "keen agreement" of the Ottoman authorities but far  exceeded the licence which they had given him to remove "qualche pezzi di pietra" lying on the ground.  His actions were criticised at the time, not least by Lord Byron as both plunder and vandalism.  Nor was this an expensive act of altruism.  He wanted them to adorn his country home, displayed them initially for profit and sold them to the nation only when he was bankrupted by the consequences of his divorce.  Your comparison with the Folger collection of First Folios is also misconceived.  Folger was a collector of copies of books which were originally published as editions for the open market.  His service to the world is to have collected and preserved them for public view and study.  Nor is it the case that Greek politicians have been interested in these sculpted pieces only since the 1980s.  There is published evidence of demands for their return from the very inception of the modern Greek nation state.  

Finally it is specious to say that some of these sculptures are in the Louvre.  The Louvre has one metope and one slab of the frieze.  The BM has 15 metopes, a major portion of the pediments and over 50% of the surviving length of the frieze.  Successive polls of professional and public opinion have overwhelmingly supported the reunification of the sculptures of the Parthenon.   

Britain is shamed in the eyes of millions of visitors from around the world when they see the ghostly representations in the magnificent Acropolis Museum of the pieces absent in London.  It is time for the British Museum and the British Government to open their eyes, raise their sights and respond appropriately.  And, please, no more cheap jibes about losing our marbles.


Eddie O'Hara
Chairman, British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles

Lessons from antiquity


What lessons can we draw from antiquity?

"No, it seems to me that what we need right now is some ancient Greek wisdom, “sophia.” Not some idealized image of the Greeks, not Brad Pitt as Achilles, but the realism of ancient Greeks, the skepticism of the ancient Greeks, the bracing and for me life-affirming pessimism of the ancient Greeks, the tragic Greeks, the Greeks that Nietzsche rightly loved.

I want to say something that I said the last time I was in Greece, in Athens last summer, and I promise to say it every time I visit Greece until things change. Although I live in New York, I am still a British citizen, and as a British citizen I think it is shameful, absolutely shameful, limitlessly shameful that the Parthenon Marbles stay in London and are not returned to Athens. It seems to me to be an example of limitless ignorance and stupidity not to return the marbles. It should be done now, today, right now. Let’s call David Cameron right now or maybe e-mail the Queen." Simon Critchley

More about Simon Critchley

and in conversation with Fiona Shaw

Simon and Fiona Shaw


London and Athens

Athens International Conference, 26 June 2014

'PARTHENON. The Integrity of a Synbolic Monument. The Role of the Citizen. An International Campaign' organised by the Marianna Vardinoyannis Foundation in association with the Melina Mercouri Foundation 

ACROPOLIS St Clair 26.06.2014 William St Clair


Author of Lord Elgin and the Marbles revised edition 1998, The Elgin Marbles, Questions of Stewardship and Accountability, 1999, That Greece Might Still Be Free, the Philhellenes in the War of Independence, new edition in open access, 2008, and other works. He is Senior Research Fellow at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, and of the Centre for History and Economics, Cambridge and Harvard.His essay on 'Looking at the Acropolis of Athens from Modern Times to Antiquity' will be published later in the summer.


First let me say how much I feel honoured and delighted to have been invited and to have the opportunity of offering some ideas. Many people here know far more than I do and I have to be severely selective, but I hope to pick out points that may be relevant to question of what is best to do now.

With written records on the Acropolis of Athens back to Homer and archaeological evidence even earlier, there is no site in the world in which the long view is so long, the ways of seeing so different, the stories told and the claims to legitimacy so varied, and the evidence available for building an understanding so complete.

This experience, that is retrievable, and therefore transferrable, is, I would say, an inheritance as precious as the marble.

In that long history, the question of return is quite recent, just over two hundred years, but in terms of modern notions of cultural property, with only a few scattered predecessors, it covers the whole age, and provides the paradigm for all the arguments.

I can begin with ideas based on legality

cartoon 2

The cartoon above, that shows the Ottoman governor of the Acropolis remonstrating with Elgin is from 1824, but the complaints began earlier, with doubts being cast on the legitimacy of the firman, the letter from the highest official in the Ottoman government writing in the name of the Sultan.


There has been much writing about the legal force of this document. But there are risks in applying present day law and modern legal concepts to historical situations in which very different laws and customs applied. The reason Elgin needed the Sultan's permission was that the Acropolis was a military fortress. There are other firmans in which the Sultan allowed removals of antiquities from fortresses, that I have seen. And it is worth recalling that international law included right of conquest as well as treaty transfer at least until the late nineteenth century. If you look at the website of the British Royal family you will see that it includes both as the legal foundation for its historical legitimacy. As far as the Acropolis is concerned, we have well documented records of legal transfer back to 1205 and probably earlier. But my main point is this. The whole approach of trying to build a legal case is backward looking. So I would say it would be better to look forward from the historical moment in which we find ourselves

Another set of arguments relate to claims of Hellenic continuity. I was among those lucky enough to be invited to meet Melina Mercouri when she came to London as Minister of Culture in 1986. I was quite seduced, but although I was in favour of return, I could not go along with her nationalist myth-making, such the story she told of the Greeks at the time of the Revolution offering to share their bullets with the Turks if they would spare the Parthenon. And that remains my view. We cannot honour classical Athens by disregarding, setting aside, or compromising with their intellectual achievements, that include separating a search for truth about the past from telling stories about the past to serve the present.

We should, I suggest, be wary of using antiquities for 'nation-building' that can easily slip into myth making. As Plato and Socrates knew, the aspiration to 'make the mute stones speak' is an illusion. The stones can only speak when some human being speaks on their behalf. And questions therefore arise about who deserves to be accorded that privilege, and on what intellectual, including historical, authority do the offered stories rest?

It was on the same trip to London that Ms Mercouri made her famous remark, 'There are no Elgin Marbles!' She was picking up on a point of language that the act of re-naming can be an appropriation, an annexation, and an attempt at legitimation of a new status. Since Mercouri's speech, the phrase 'Elgin Marbles' has become politically incorrect, and is now seldom heard.

However, the phrase 'The Sculptures of the Parthenon', which has replaced it, is also unsatisfactory. It too tends to legitimate a particular way of seeing, namely, that the sculptural components of the ancient buildings of the Acropolis are of greater value than the architecture of which they formed a part, that the buildings are more important than the site, and that they can be separated from the social and cultural purposes to which they were put. The phrase, 'The Sculptures of the Parthenon', that rides on nineteenth century western romantic notion of autonomous 'works of art', and its conceptual hierarchies, itself concedes much to the opponents of return. The current phrase would therefore be only partially corrected if it were modified to, say, 'The Sculptures from the Parthenon.'

It is well know that in the ancient authors, the Parthenon is seldom mentioned. In ancient times, from Homer to Julian, it is the Acropolis that is appealed to, whether to warn, to shame, to educate, or to celebrate. And it is the whole visible Acropolis rock, slopes and summit, buildings and freestanding statues and dedications, myth and history, the natural as much as the man-made.

The collection of antiquities brought from the Acropolis by Elgin included substantial pieces of all four of the classical buildings on the Acropolis summit, and of the Monument of Thrassylos on the south slope. I took a few photographs in the British Museum in preparation for this occasion.

Here is part of a Parthenon capital with a column drum that comes from elsewhere and does not fit.

capital mock up 2

It has had to be replaced on the building by a replica


And part of the Erechtheion

And of the Nike temple

Nike South Frieze

So what arguments are deployed by upholders of status quo, of whom, incidentally there are vanishingly few in the UK? The old 'rescue and stewardship' that was in standard use from Elgin's day until the late 1990s has been largely withdrawn from, rendered unsustainable by the revelations of the damage done to the Marbles in the 1930s, and by the even more damaging revelations of the extent of the officially sanctioned systematic misleading of the public and scholarly world, and of the long-persisted-in illegalities. It was hurriedly replaced by a newly invented justification, called the 'universal' or 'encyclopedic' museum, and the labels have been altered to fit.

london and athens

The separated parts of the frieze in London and Athens, we are now told in a phrase dreamed up by some PR guru or spin doctor, tell 'different but complementary stories.' And in support of this new narrative we see attempts to downplay classical Hellas. Who would have guessed that the main labels in the Parthenon gallery would now refer to Persia? Including the Cyrus cylinder that is being paraded both on this label and round the world's museums as a 'declaration of human rights'.

label persian

What we are seeing here is a new danger in addition to the others mentioned so far, a kind of cultural relativism allied with a commercial consumerism. Essentially the thought seems to be 'tell the punters what they want to hear', a modern form of myth-making as damaging as the nationalism of Melina Mercouri.

And, since UNESCO are here, this may be the moment to make a wider point. The Venice Charter, now half a century old, has provided a framework for an intergenerational ethics on the conservation of sites and monuments, essentially that it is wrong to alter the built heritage to serve the ideological aims of the present. What we lack, and increasingly need, is a code of ethics that subjects the stories that are officially invented and presented to make the mute stones speak to a similar set of ethical limitations.

So how should the claim now be presented? As it happens we now have the documents for the first claim for return made in 1835 immediately after independence.

It is notable that the claim, for the Nike temple friezes, was presented in terms of what was best for the monument, for an anastelosis.

In my view that is how the claim should now be presented in the re-launch. What is best for the monument, for viewers, and for the scholarly world, and for the visitor experience, categories that coincide and reinforce one another. And by the monument here I mean the whole Acropolis.

In support of the claim I would recommend preparing a clear statement, that is forward looking and drafted to show that the claim is intended to meet the needs and opportunities of today and the future. It should celebrate the achievement of classical Hellas and Athens in particular, emphasising its historical uniqueness. Although Hellas was influenced by its neighbours, and influenced them, as nobody doubts, it is historically misleading, as well as consumerist, to imply that it was just one civilization among many.

In Athens for the relaunch I would recommend a studied attempt to avoid condescending to visitors, as is already well under way in the excellent labels here. The public deserve the best. And they are interested in the ideas not just the stones, and in the most up to date knowledge. They would, in my view, prefer to be told that Athens was one of - at the last count - forty four Hellenic cities that had forms of democratic institutions and was not the first- than that it was 'the cradle of democracy.' And the Acropolis Museum can develop further its modern information technology to present alternatives and imagined reconstructions as is already happening

Acropolis Museum digital display

These are not guidance of the 'some say this, some say that' type that, as we see elsewhere, open the way both to old myth-making and to modern cultural relativism and consumerism. They are dynamic attempts to enable visitors to comprehend alternatives where there is room for genuine debate within the traditions of science and evidence-based humanities that our predecessors revived from ancient Hellas. One of the main roles of the ancient Acropolis was to serve as an education in stone, a paideia, for citizens and visitors. You have the opportunity to set out an updated vision of that ideal in the relaunch documents and, as the pieces are returned, to make it ever more real.

william st clair and pandermalis


Acropolis Museum and celebrating National Independence Day

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On Tuesday, 25th March 2014, to celebrate Greek National Independence Day, the Acropolis Museum opened free of charge from 9 am to 5 pm and offered visitors a host of exciting and informative presentations on the Parthenon.  

As a unique world cultural heritage site, the Parthenon has fascinated visitors for countless centuries and for this year's celebrations of Greece's National Independence Day, provided a great opportunity for visitors  to find out about the monument's decoration and architecture, its symbolism and rich history.

The presentations took place in Greek, English and French respectively  with up to 30 visitors per thematic presentation. 

 restaurant terrace copyright acropolis museum 0-240x160

On the same day the restaurant on the second floor of the Museum also welcomed its visitors with ' Greek traditional dishes'.


'Ochi Day' 28 October was celebrated at the Acropolis Museum with free admission plus lots more

Monday October 28, 2013

The Acropolis Museum today, 28 October celebrated ‘Ochi Day’ with free admission and special events

October 28 is a Greek national holiday which commemorates the rejection by Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas of the ultimatum made by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini on October 28, 1940.

Today to commemorate this annual national holiday, the Acropolis Museum was open free of charge from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The museum also presented a talk for adults entitled “The Other Gods of the Acropolis” and an interactive workshop for children, entitled “Myths in Images.”

Although Athena was the patron goddess of their city, the Athenians also worshipped a host of other deities, among them Zeus, Asclepius, Dionysus and Aphrodite. “The Other Gods of the Acropolis” addresses the cult practices and monuments associated with these other gods.

“Myths in Images” gave children the opportunity to create their own artistic impressions of ancient Greek myths. Participants drew and painted the mythological heroes of Greek antiquity.


Letter from British Ambassador to Constantinople (Istanbul), Robert Adair to Thomas Bruce, the seventh Earl of Elgin

Theodore Theodorou's web site is dedicated to a letter from R. Adair to Lord Elgin concerning the legality of his removal of the Parthenon marbles.

The letter was written in 1811 by the British Ambassador to Constantinople (Istanbul), Robert Adair, and addressed to Thomas Bruce, the seventh Earl of Elgin. 

It suggested the earl had no right to buy the 5th Century marbles.

The handwritten note was sold at Dominic Winter Auctions in Wiltshire on 6 November, 2002 for £7,000. 

Thank you Theodore for also pointing out that when I posted this item on the BCRPM's web site at lunchtime today, the 23 September 2013, I wrongly quoted £50 as the amount paid for Adair's letter.

In fact lot 370 was another letter sold on the same day at Dominic Winter Auctions, also by Adair regarding the poor policing in Brussels. This letter sold for £50.

The letter by Adair to Lord Elgin regarding the Parthenon marbles, lot 408, sold for £7,000! 

Clearly lot 370 not as important as lot 408 or indeed centuries after the events that spurred the Adair letters, the most valuable document was that regarding the 'removal' of the Parthenon sculptures. 



As Christopher Hitchens wrote in July 2009, still stands true today, July 2013


July 2009

Acropolis Now

The Lovely Stones

Among the first to visit Greece’s new Acropolis Museum, devoted to the Parthenon and other temples, the author reviews the origins of a gloriously “right” structure (part of a fifth-century-b.c. stimulus plan) and the continuing outrage that half its façade is still in London.

The British may continue in their constipated fashion to cling to what they have so crudely amputated, but the other museums and galleries of Europe have seen the artistic point of re-unification and restored to Athens what was looted in the years when Greece was defenseless. Professor Pandermalis proudly showed me an exquisite marble head, of a youth shouldering a tray, that fits beautifully into panel No. 5 of the north frieze. It comes courtesy of the collection of the Vatican. Then there is the sculpted foot of the goddess Artemis, from the frieze that depicts the assembly of Olympian gods, by courtesy of the Salinas Museum, in Palermo. From Heidelberg comes another foot, this time of a young man playing a lyre, and it fits in nicely with the missing part on panel No. 8. Perhaps these acts of cultural generosity, and tributes to artistic wholeness, could “set a precedent,” too?

The Acropolis Museum has hit on the happy idea of exhibiting, for as long as following that precedent is too much to hope for, its own original sculptures with the London-held pieces represented by beautifully copied casts. This has two effects: It allows the visitor to follow the frieze round the four walls of a core “cella” and see the sculpted tale unfold (there, you suddenly notice, is the “lowing heifer” from Keats’s Ode on a Grecian Urn). And it creates a natural thirst to see the actual re-assembly completed. So, far from emptying or weakening a museum, this controversy has instead created another one, which is destined to be among Europe’s finest galleries. And one day, surely, there will be an agreement to do the right thing by the world’s most “right” structure.


Does the New Acropolis Museum in Athens encompass successfully the archaelogical and ancient past?

Published by
Undergraduate Awards

The New Acropolis Museum in Athens

I visited the new Acropolis Museum in August 2010 on two occasions when I was involved in an Archaeological Study Tour of Greece. I was so impressed by the magnitude and force of the structure and what it housed that I returned again to spend a day there in mid September, before returning to Ireland.

Three years earlier in October 2007 I had sat in the theatre of Dionysos and watched the tower cranes slowly hoist the historic artefacts from the old museum on the Acropolis rock to the new museum. It took four months and required the use of three tower cranes to move the artefacts a distance of two hundred and eighty metres without mishap.

It was certainly a moving and a historical moment and I pondered on the fact that these profoundly ancient artefacts, imbued with the history of the ancient past, were being moved with a modern crane to be carefully situated within a modern space. This experience inspired me to write about the museum, its artefacts and displays, and the fact the ancient past was being incorporated into the present day, through the symbolism of a new modern museum. Because I witnessed the artefacts being transported to the new museum, and then visited it years later, I felt a link with the whole process.

Read the full article HERE.



Giving back by Cavafy

'Give back the Elgin Marbles'

Please use the link to read the full article.



............it is not dignified in a great nation to reap profit from half-truths and half-rights; honesty is the best policy, and honesty in the case of the Elgin Marbles means restitution. If the latter, and he wrote merely in order to outrival the eloquent, clever and sensible article of Mr. Harrison, it is much to be regretted that he did not consider the great French author’s wise warning: «Qui court après l’esprit attrape la sottise».


On the duty to repatriate “exiles”?

The author argues that, beyond the archaeological and aesthetic evidence, the return of the Elgin Marbles is a fundamentally ethical issue.


The European crisis, financial in appearance, is in reality profoundly social, even societal. The problems that Greece has faced and those she is made to face are only the tip of the European iceberg. The number, types and levels of dishonourable shameless attacks on the birthplace of our civilisation should remind the thinking public = you, that Aesop’s lesson (the dogs and the fox) “it is easy to kick a man that is down”,13 is sadly relevant to the situation, in particular to the support from Britons, who pay or don’t pay income tax but advise Greece that if they want to stay in the Eurozone, they should accept the consequences and get on with it! Therefore we Europeans need to reflect on the meaning of the word ‘community’ and start building the group that calls itself the “European Community”. This research report on the Parthenon, a perennial issue since the 1816 parliamentary debate, now needs to be made accessible to a wider audience in the hope that the claims which attempt to justify the retention by Britain of goods received from an occupying power are, at last, seen to be what they really are...

Copyright . Michelle Pépratx-Evans

June -2012

The Parthenon, before its destruction in part by fire during the Venetian siege, had been a temple, a church and a mosque. In each point of view it is an object of regard; it changed its worshippers; but still it was a place of worship thrice sacred to devotion: its violation is a triple sacrilege.4 (G G Byron, 1812)

Download the full article (PDF)

Museum's Journal poll June 2012, 73% for returning the Parthenon sculptures to Greece and 24% against

Ahead of the London Colloquy 19 & 20 June, the Museums Journal poll, join the bebate


Final poll result 73% for returning the Parthenon sculptures to Greece and 24% against.

The Parthenon sculptures: a legal perspective



The Parthenon sculptures: a legal perspective By Andrew Dismore

1 Ownership: who do the sculptures belong to, in law?


The issue of ownership of the Parthenon Sculptures (PS) has vexed politicians, museum curators, campaigners and the public for decades: but does it matter? The way the PS came into the possession of the British  Museum (BM). is a matter of relatively settled historical record. Lord Elgin removed them from the Parthenon under an Ottoman firman, the legal effect of which has been hotly disputed ever since. The first argument is that the firman did not extend to the wholesale removal effected by Lord Elgin; and secondly, the Ottoman firman could not and did not lawfully allow the removal of the sculptures anyway. Be that as it may, Lord Elgin shipped the sculptures to his London home. His expenses were substantial, and his subsequent financial difficulties led him to negotiate for the sale of his collections to the BM In 1816, a House of Commons Select Committee considered the authority by which Lord Elgin's collection was acquired, the circumstances under which that authority was granted, the merit of the sculptures and the importance of making them public property and their value as objects of sale. It adjudged the sculptures to have been properly acquired,  both fit for and worthy of public purchase, and recommended a purchase price of £35,000, less than half the expenditure claimed by Lord Elgin.

Read more: The Parthenon sculptures: a legal perspective



Adv George Bizos SC (A member of Johannesburg Bar and The British Committee for the Reunification Of the Parthenon Marbles) 16th Floor, Bram Fischer Towers 20 Albert Street JOHANNESBURG

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The Modern Greek state is the successor in title to the territory of Greece that was under control of the Ottoman Empire at the turn of the 19th Century and where the marbles were located prior to their removal by Lord Elgin.  Greece believes that it is legally entitled to the return of the Parthenon Marbles.  Furthermore, it has a clear interest in its cultural heritage, as is reflected in Law 30228 on the Protection of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage in General.  In particular that law makes clear that Greece has a duty, to itself and to its citizens, “to care, within the context of international law, for the protection of cultural objects, which are connected historically with Greece wherever they are located.”