Football fans in Nicosia support the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles

On Tuesday 26 September in Nicosia, Cyprus, APOEL faced Tottenham Hotspur in a UEFA Champion League group stage match when Spur's Harry Heane scored a hat trick winning the game.

Although local team APOEL lost the match on Tuesday, they did win the hearts of campaigners all over the globe when they unfurled two banners which when read together stated:

"History cannot be stolen. Bring the Marbles back!"

APOEL

William G. Stewart, a generous and candid supporter

Our movement has always been fortunate in recruiting politicians, academics and journalists to the cause. But as a supporter in the world of broadcasting, William G. Stewart was a name out on his own. With a long and successful career as director / producer of popular sitcoms behind him, he found greatest fame as quizmaster in ‘The Price is Right’ and ‘Fifteen to One’ on Channel 4. Trusting in his channel’s independence from the establishment, in 2001 he delivered a personal talk on the ‘Elgin Marbles’, advocating their return to Athens and following this up with an opinion poll that revealed 92% support for his case. This result was widely attributed to the persuasiveness of his talk, but it shook the establishment all the same, to the point where Channel 4 was censured by the regulator for partiality.  The poll was just the first of a series of much more widespread soundings of opinion by MORI and other agencies, which without exception have shown a majority of British opinion in favour of return, if never by the same devastating margin.

William started a second undertaking that has also made a big contribution to our cause. It was his idea to take a head-count of a whole day’s visitors to the Marbles in the Duveen Gallery, and compare that at the end of the day with the Museum’s own count of all visitors.   A comparison of the two figures showed a proportion of less than a quarter visiting the Gallery, and later repetitions have confirmed this.   Once again, the outcome came as a surprise. Besides undermining the British Museum’s boasts of the numbers who came see the Marbles in London, it also revealed a wider truth:  that Classical Greek art no longer exercised a magnetic appeal to a British public, after the end of the Neo-Classical movement, at least when seen far away from its natural context  -  certainly nothing to compare with the genuine passion that it can arouse, to this day, among Greeks and many more nationalities at all levels of society.

In retirement, William still sometimes re-emerged in the press as a champion of our cause. This generous, candid man died on 21st September, 2017 and we shall always miss him.  

Professor Anthony Snodgrass

Honorary President for the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles

2 museums

The Parthenon Gallery in the superlative Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece, with views to the Acropolis and the Parthenon which still stands. The other Parthenon Gallery in the British Museum in London, United Kingdom is home to the fragmented sculptures removed from the Parthenon by Lord Elgin. It is over 200 years since this peerless work of art was forcibly divided and it is eigth years since the opening of the Acropolis Museum. The Greek nation has requested the return of these Marbles since it's independence in the nineteen century and continues to do so. The British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles was started by British architect James Cubitt in 1983 and continues to campaign for the reunification. The Committee's Honorary President is Professor Anthony Snodgrass, who served as Chairman from 2002 to 2010 and the current Chair is Dame Janet Suzman and Vice-Chair is Professor Paul Cartledge.

Letter in the Times 21 September 2017

MARBLES DEADLOCK
Sir, The Greek government has made clear that it is determined to break the deadlock caused by the refusal of the British government to return the Parthenon Sculptures to their country of origin. To this end, the reunification of the sculptures is kept high on Greece's agenda. Contrary to your assertion that Greece is "threatening to sue" Britain for the return of the sculptures (report, Sep 18), Greece is at present using diplomatic channels and alternative means of dispute resolution — but without having excluded any possible use of judicial means in the future.
Paul Cartledge
A G Leventis professor of Greek culture emeritus, University of Cambridge
Vice-Chair for the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles

This letter was printed in the Times on 21 September, the entire version of the original letter sent to the Editor of the Times can be read here:

Dear Sir

Your correspondent Anthee Carassava ('Greece threatens legal action ...', September 18, 2017) seems to have got hold of the wrong end of the stick, perhaps due to the original message's becoming lost in translation. At any rate, I can assure you that she has very seriously and culpably misrepresented the current and longstanding position of the Greek Government regarding the proper location of the Parthenon Marbles, as most recently expressed by its distinguished Culture & Sports Minister, Ms LydiaKoniordou:

Greece is determined to break the deadlock caused by the continuous refusalby the British Government to return the Parthenon Sculptures to their country of origin, and, to this end, the issue of the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures is constantly kept high on its agenda. Greece is at this stage pursuing the strategy of using both diplomatic channels and alternative means of dispute resolution, without however having excluded for the future any possible use of judicial means.

Grossly to misrepresent that as 'Greece is threatening to sue Britain for
the return of the Elgin Marbles' does neither the very complex and
sensitive issue, nor your paper, any favours whatsoever.

Yours sincerely

Paul Cartledge

A.G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture emeritus
University of Cambridge

A.G. Leventis Senior Research Fellow

Vice-Chairman, British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon
Marbles

 

Acropolis Museum in Trip Advisor Awards, 8th in top 10 Museums of the World

The superlative Acropolis Museum moved up a place to rank 8th in Trip Advisors 2017 Travelers' Choice Awards for Museums. Winners of TripAdvisor's Travelers' Choice awards are determined using an algorithm that takes into account the quantity and quality of reviews as well as ratings for museums worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period.

tripadvisor travelers-choice-2017

Top 10 Museums in the World
1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art — New York City, New York
2. The National WWII Museum — New Orleans, Louisiana
3. Musée d'Orsay — Paris, France
4. Art Institute of Chicago — Chicago, Illinois
5. State Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace — St Petersburg, Russia
6. The National 9/11 Memorial & Museum — New York City, New York
7. National Museum of Anthropology — Mexico City, Mexico
8. Acropolis Museum — Athens, Greece
9. Prado National Museum — Madrid, Spain
10. V&A – Victoria and Albert Museum – London, UK

The Acropolis Museum is third on the list of Europe's 25 best museums for 2017 and also topped the list of Greece's 10 best museums.

Top 10 Museums — Greece
1. Acropolis Museum, Athens
2. Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Heraklion
3. National Archaeological Museum, Athens
4. Museum of the Royal Tombs of Aigai (Vergina), Vergina
5. Delphi Archaeological Museum, Delphi
6. Pavlos Vrellis Museum of Greek History, Ioannina
7. Archaeological Museum at Ancient Olympia, Olympia
8. Achilleion Museum, Gastouri, Corfu
9. Cyclades Olive Museum, Pitrofos, Andros
10. Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki

Two awards for two dedicated women

22 June 2017, the Hellenic National Commission for UNESCO, held an event entitled "Protection of Cultural Goods from illegal trafficking and armed conflicts through the conventions of UNESCO: An assessment of the Greek presence and contribution". The event was held in the Auditorium of the Acropolis Museum and opened by the Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr. Ioannis Amanatidis and the Minister of Culture and Sport.
Speeches were made by the President of the Board of the Acropolis Museum, Mr Dimitrios Pantermalis, President of the Greek National Committee for UNESCO, Mrs. Catherine Tzitzikosta and the Deputy Director-General of UNESCO for culture, Mr Francesco Bandarin. After these speeches, the Deputy Director-General of UNESCO for culture, Mr Francesco Bandarin and Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr. Ioannis Amanatidis awarded two ladies. The first Dr. Maria Andreadaki-Vlazaki, General Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Sport, for her significant contribution during her Chairpersonship to the 1970 Convention on the prevention and Preventing the illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property and Dr. Artemis Papathanassiou also for her significant contribution during her Chairpersonship to the 1954 Hague Convention for the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict and the second Protocol of 1999.

Maria and Artemis

From left to right:Dr Maria Vlazaki, General Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Sport withDeputy Director-General of UNESCO for culture, Francesco Bandarin and Dr. Artemis Papathanassiou, Legal Advisor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Greece and Chairperson 2nd Protocol to the 1954 Hague Convention, member of the Hellenic Committee for the Reunification of the Parrthenon Sculptures.

Eight years and over eleven million visitors

On Tuesday, 20 June 2017, the superlative Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece will celebrate 8 years since it was first opened to the public in 2009.

Over eleven million Greek and international visitors have visited the Acropolis Museum since 20 June 2009.

Members, including the founder of the British Committee Eleni Cubitt, were present for the opening in June 2009 and have since travelled back to visit again and again.

8th

"The Acropolis Museum and its exhibits are special. We wish to congratulate Professor Pandermalis and the entire team at the museum for all of their passionate dedication to providing a memorable experience for over 11 million visitors to date.

11 million visitors and the 8th anniversary

All the members of the BCRPM have enjoyed memorable personal visits over these 8 years, as well as attending conferences to speak on the cause that is at the heart of our campaigning - the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles" commented Vice-Chair Professor Paul Cartledge.  

On Tuesday, 20 June 2017, the museum will hold a special video presentation showing the Acropolis caves and the findings unearthed on the Acropolis.

At midday there will be a press conference and at 9 pm the Orchestra of the Centreof Arts & Culture of Dion will perform renowned Greek songs in the courtyard of the Museum's entrance. Soloists Vassilis Lekkas, Alexandra Gravas, Babis Velissarios and Filio Servou will participate, and the concert will be conducted by Nikos Patris.

The museum's exhibition areas and the restaurant will be open from early in the morning until midnight. Admission will be free from 8 pm onwards.

 

 

 

The Sculptures of the Parthenon deserve to be seen in the Attica light

According to the British Committee, the sculptures from the Parthenon deserve to be seen in the Attica light, reports Athanasios Gavos

IMG 2223

Keeping the issue of the reunification of the Parthenon marbles on the agenda of public debate in Britain is no simple task. This difficult task has been kept alive successfully for 33 years by the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon marbles. Dame Janet Suzman, the BCRPM's Chairperson notes that the sculptures are yearning for the Attica light.

Since its formation, BCRPM has welcomed British members from the fields of literature, art and politics. "We are a particular and enlightened project. We participate in literary festivals, organize special events and opinion polls, but we also support international initiatives formally and informally. Above all, we support the efforts of the Greek authorities, both of the Government and academic institutions", explains Vice-Chairman Professor Paul Cartledge.

paul

"The British Museum could become a truly moral, world Museum of the 21st century, recognizing that Athens, having built a home for the Parthenon sculptures, is worthy of exhibiting the surviving fragmented pieces in the Acropolis Museum" comments Dame Janet Suzman. She strongly feels the sculptures should be seen in the context for which they were intended, namely as the pinnacle of glory of the Parthenon, which still stands, just a glance away from the windows of the Parthenon Gallery in the new Museum.

The debate of the sculptures and the option to pursue a legal route for their return to Athens recently returned to prominence after the proposal made by well-known lawyer Geoffrey Robertson for the request to be made prior to the Brexit negotiations for a possible exchange of concessions between Britain and Europe.

"We see no value in unilateral demands such as those proposed by Mr. Robertson," answered the Vice-Chairman of the Committee Paul Cartledge. "This legalistic approach to the reunification of the marbles was looked into by the Greek Government and was rejected."

Janet Suzman

Dame Suzman adds that the presence of sculptures in London sends the wrong message. "What lessons are we giving to young people visiting the British Museum on a school trip?  That it is OK to take something that doesn't belong to you? It's OK to cause damage to the sculpture and building they belonged to and then go on to keep them for over 200 years as an inspiration for Western art and that this can only be done in the British Museum?" 

"Modern Athens also has millions of visitors from around the world and these incomparably pieces seek to exposed with views to the Parthenon, beneath the blue attic sky and not in a gloomy gallery of Bloomsbury", concludes Dame Suzman.

However, there is always optimism. In response to the question what would the reunification of the marbles in Athens mean, Professor Cartledge effortlessly replies with one word "Bliss!" And "for the Greeks it would correct a 200 year old error, and for mankind the chance to finally see all the surviving Parthenon marbles together in a specially built Acropolis Museum - in view of the building they once belonged to, the Parthenon."

"For the rest of the world and especially for visitors to the British Museum, there would be the opportunity to see ancient Greek artefacts that have not travelled outside of their country of origin. For academics this would be the opportunity to study all of the remaining original sculptures in a single space."

Dame Janet Suzman stresses the moral issue, which lies at the core of the Greek argument's favour of the reunification of the Marbles: "an adopted child is allowed by law to search for its biological parents once it becomes of age. Surely 200 years of separation is long enough for these 'adopted objects' to at last be reunited with the rest of their family."

 

19 April 2017

The original article can be viewed here. We apologise for any misinterpretations to the translation of the original article, which is written in Greek.