The Elgin Marbles

Chances are, followers have heard of the Elgin Marbles.

The EM are not marbles, in the round spherical sense. They are marble statues and other marble antiquities that were looted from certain Greek temples at the start of the 17th century. The related dispute between Greece and Britain hits the international headlines with some regularity. The EM dispute is a complex international dispute, but MB has written a short play on the subject, to enlighted followers on the various intricacies, as is his wont:

The Elgin Marbles – A SHORT Play by Playright MB

Greece: “You stole our marbles. Give them back at once.”

Britain: “We are British. You are Greeks. Go screw yourselves.”

The end.

Books upon books have been written on the EM saga, viewing the dispute from both sides. MB’s raw play goes to the very core of the issue and also looks at the true arguments from both sides!

But to delve a little deeper………………

Over a 12-year period, from 1801 to 1812, agents of the British 7th Earl of Elgin, one Thomas Bruce, looted approximately 50% of the remaining marble sculptures of the Parthenon, Propylaea, and Erechtheum buildings which are located on the Acropolis fortification in Athens. They were shipped back to Britain to the dastardly thieving Earl. To this day, they remain in Britain, in the British Museum in London, and are now referred to as the Parthenon Sculptures, by only the British, presumably (removing the stench of Elgin).

British PM Borris Johnson uses the following arguments in favour of the marbles retention in Britain:

  1. Greece was under Ottoman occupation at that time. See following further explanation; MB does not see any true merit in it. But in the interests of fullest clarity, the following is an extract from the website of the British Museum –

By the early 19th century, the Ottoman Empire had been the governing authority in Athens for 350 years. Lord Elgin was the British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire and successfully petitioned the authorities to be able to draw, measure and remove figures. MB Note – Elgin promised to help the Ottomans kick the French out of Ottoman Egypt of that time, hence his successful ‘marble’ petition to the Turks/Ottomans.

He was granted a permit (firman), and between 1801 and 1805 acting under the oversight of the relevant authorities, Elgin removed about half of the remaining sculptures from the ruins of the Parthenon. He also obtained permission to have removed sculptural and architectural elements from other buildings on the Acropolis, namely the Erechtheion, the Temple of Athena Nike and the Propylaia.

All of Elgin’s collection of antiquities was then transported to Britain. His actions were thoroughly investigated by a Parliamentary Select Committee in 1816 and found to be entirely legal, prior to the sculptures entering the collection of the British Museum by Act of Parliament.

2. The marbles were aquired legally by the British Museum. MB’s position is that any art with an illegal provinance (lurking somewhere in its past), is usually returned, eventually, to the rightful owners. Example – Looted Nazi art treasures.

3. There is nowhere in Greece to house them. Really?! See 2nd pic below.

The following photo, taken by MB two weeks back, shows a close-up of the Erechtheum building, part of the elevation which faces the Parthenon. Followers can see that the roof section of this structure is/was supported by six marble statues. Five of the original six statues were removed approx 15 years back to the nearby Acropolis Museum, to protect them from decay from the elements. The sixth was looted by Lord Elgin some 200 years ago.

The following is another MB shot – of the Acropolis Museum designed by Swiss-French architect Bernard Tschumi, which lies only a few hundred meters from the Acropolis itself. British PM Johnson is obviously unaware of its existence. MB promises to send him a copy!

And there you have it, dear followers. The unbridled truth of the story of the Elgin Marbles, according to MB.

One Comment on “The Elgin Marbles

  1. Pingback: The Elgin Marbles | HX Report | The Moment News

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