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Friday, June 26, 2009

I SAY, PLEASE RETURN THE MARBLES

Parthenon Marbles

Elgin Marbles Museum Opens
Greek President Carolos Papoulias ramped up pressure on Britain to return priceless statues from antiquity taken over 200 years ago as the new Acropolis Museum was opened in Athens.

The Greek leader reiterated his country's long-standing call for the return of the Elgin Marbles at a ceremony on Saturday to inaugurate the $227 million museum, which had its origins in British jibes that Greece would have nowhere to display the Elgin Marbles if ever they were returned. Melbourne Herald Sun 22/6/09

Lord Byron strongly objected the removal of the marbles from Greece, as reflected in his poem, 'Childe Harold's Pilgrimage'.

Dull is the eye that will not weep to see
Thy walls defaced, thy mouldering shrines removed
By British hands, which it had best behoved
To guard those relics ne'er to be restored.
Curst be the hour when from their isle they roved,
And once again thy hapless bosom gored,
And snatch'd thy shrinking gods to northern climes
abhorred!

2 comments:

Derrick said...

Now, just a minute, Alaine. Whose marbles are you being so free with??!

Seriously, I have sympathy for both sides. Yes, Britain shouldn't have taken them in the first place. But having got them I do think they have had better care than they would have had in Greece - until perhaps now. And I could accept the British Museum's reasoning that returning them could provoke an avalanche of requests to/from museums all over the world that possess things someone else thinks they shouldn't have.

It is a dilemma - with no easy answer. But I'm still your friend!

Alaine said...

Yes, indeed, a dilemma and I agree that they would have had better care 200 years ago but now that Greece has got that new facility....

I understand the BM's reasoning but if a country's been looted (the pyramids of Egypt, for instance and the Koh-i-noor diamond, to name another), artefacts should be returned.

I'm glad you're still a friend. I think I'll steer clear of controversy in future. Perhaps you'll like my next post; a delicious stew for a cold day.