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Greece Hopes Return of Parthenon Fragments will Spur British Museum Action

Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Acropolis Museum General Director Nikos Stampolidis. Photo source: Greek Culture Ministry

Ten fragments from the Parthenon were handed over by the National Archaeological Museum to the Acropolis Museum as a gesture of good will setting an example Greece hopes the British Museum will follow with the Parthenon Marbles.

The 32cm artifacts stored in National Archaeological Museum warehouses were welcomed by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis during a special ceremony on Monday.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Photo source: @PrimeministerGR

“It is a first but very important step in the effort to gather here, at the Acropolis Museum, all the smaller and larger parts of the Parthenon that are now scattered in various museums around the world,” said Mitsotakis, adding that it sends a strong message for the reunification of the Marbles.

The Greek prime minister was sending a clear message to Britain and to British Museum authorities to return the Parthenon Marbles, which were illegally removed by Lord Elgin from the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Athens in the 1800s and sold to the museum.

Photo source: @PrimeministerGR

He went on to add that the National Archaeological Museum demonstrated “responsibility and scientific consistency”… “a course of action followed by the Greek state in advancing to the highest governmental level the return of the Parthenon sculptures by the British Museum”.

Mitsotakis said that Greece’s claim was also the request of UNESCO, the majority of public opinion in the UK, but also an issue “Prime Minister Boris Johnson personally understands.

Photo source: @PrimeministerGR

“With classical studies, an admirer of ancient Greece, I am sure that he will not block any possible future agreement, removing any possible political obstacles. If necessary, amending British law on museums in order to facilitate the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles,” Mitsotakis said.

There are no more “substantial arguments” to delay this important issue of Greek-British relations, Mitsotakis concluded.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni and Acropolis Museum General Director Nikos Stampolidis. Photo source: @PrimeministerGR

Speaking during the event, Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said the move was “not only symbolic, but absolutely essential”, noting that the Parthenon sculptures “are organic and integral parts of a complex architectural work and artistic creation as they constitute a single and indivisible physical, aesthetic and semantic entity”.

The event came to a close after conservation experts placed the returned Parthenon fragments in their spots in the museum.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Acropolis Museum General Director Nikos Stampolidis. Photo source: Acropolis Museum / Paris Tavitian

Last month, the culture ministry announced that a fragment of the Parthenon frieze on display at the Museo Archeologico Antonio Salinas in Palermo, Italy is scheduled to be returned to Greece under a long-term loan agreement.

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About the Author
Chicago-born and raised, Maria Paravantes has over two decades of journalistic experience covering tourism and travel, gastronomy, arts, music and culture, economy and finance, politics, health and social issues for international press and media. She has worked for Reuters, The Telegraph, Huffington Post, Billboard Magazine, Time Out Athens, the Athens News, Odyssey Magazine and, among others. She has also served as Special Advisor to Greece’s minister of Foreign Affairs, and to the mayor of Athens on international press and media issues. Maria is currently a reporter, content and features writer for GTP Headlines.
  1. john aleyiannis Reply

    good move hopefully the British Museum will do the right thing

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