The Elgin Marbles also known as the Parthenon Marbles, are a collection of Classical Greek art made under the supervision of the architect and sculptor Phidias and his assistants.
They were originally part of the temple of the Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis of Athens. Following a public debate in Parliament and the subsequent exoneration of Elgin, the marbles were purchased from Elgin by the British government in 1816 and were passed to the British Museum, where they are on display in the purpose-built Duveen Gallery. Since then the marbles are placed in London and the British Government never gave them back to Greece when they belong.
The British Museum claims that the removal of the objects saved them from destruction, as they were not being protected at the time. However, times have changed. If the marbles are returned to Greece, they will be in a museum. Greece has built the New Acropolis Museum featuring state-of-the-art design and technology which ensures protection of its collection. What’s more, the New Acropolis Museum is a mere 300 meters from the Acropolis, allowing the marbles to be seen as intended—basking in the Greek sunlight.
To fully appreciate the artistic and historical significance of the friezes, they should be viewed in their context of the Acropolis mount, a hillside covered with art venerating the gods watching over Athens. The British Museum has unequivocally stated that it will not return the marbles to Greece but, maybe the country has some options. Just as Italy leveraged its vast collections and archaeologically-rich resources against American museums, perhaps Greece could do the same. Over the past decade, museums across the U.S. returned looted objects to Italy after Italian officials threatened to withhold all Italian loans.
The fear of losing access to Italian objects pressured museums to comply with Italy’s demands. As Greece has a rich archaeological trove, bargaining may be successful. International fervor is rising over the dig at Amphipolis, an elaborate burial site in Northern Greece that may contain the remains of a relative of Alexander the Great. Prohibiting British archaeologists to access the site and barring any finds from going to British institutions may be one way to apply pressure for the return of some of the Parthenon Marbles. This type of action is necessary. The Parthenon is not just cultural heritage, but a symbol of Greece and the glory of Athens. They shouldn’t be in a different country than Greece.We can’t change the history and especially we can’t ‘’steal’’ history of other country.
In addition, following the global recession in 2008, Greece has found itself burdened by massive debts and forced to live under policies of austerity that the Financial Times has described as turning the country into a “quasi-slave" economy. Youth unemployed is about 50 per cent and suicide rates have soared. The country has also had to deal with hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the brutal war in Syria and desperate poverty and religious extremism in other countries. Returning the sculptures would boost public morale and also tourism, a mainstay of the Greek economy.In conclusion, the Elgin Marbles should and have to be returned to their ‘’mother’’ in Greece.