Pantermalis: The British Museum is not the owner of the Parthenon Sculptures – We want a permanent return


Parthenon Sculptures, photo: apimages

In his broadcast on “Anti-piracy on the Acropolis plunder”, the German public radio (Deutshclandfunk) interviewed the director of the Acropolis Museum. The following are listed on its website:

“At one time, the sculptures adorned the Parthenon on the Acropolis until Lord Thomas Elgin had transported them from Athens to London 200 years ago. Dimitrios Pantermalis, director of the Acropolis Museum, says on the German radio: ” Full return is the only solution . All that is inextricably linked to the monument must be united “.

The short name for more than 50 marble sculptures and reliefs that once adorned the Parthenon on the Acropolis and which the British Lord Thomas Elgin carried in the early 19th century from Athens to London are Elgin Marbles. He sold them to the British Museum for a fraction of the price he had paid to the Ottoman authorities. The fact that the frieze can not be admired in its entirety is a long-time cause for a return campaign but also a cause of legal disputes between Greece and Great Britain. The British Museum does not have the power to decide – this is what Parliament has to do – but the recent statements by the director of Harvich Fischer in a Greek newspaper sparked the debate on the demand for the return of works of art. According to them,

For Dimitrios Pantermalis, head of the Acropolis Museum, however, the issue is clear: The British Museum is not the owner of the sculptures. That is why there is no question of borrowing them, but returning them . The fact that the sculptures were set aside to expose a place in London was not the right way to treat the monument because it is an integral part of it, as Mr Pantermalis said, who later added that his museum would gladly offer something to the Londoners in exchange.

Currently, the reimbursement of campaign Return ( “Bring them back”) tries to collect the necessary number of one million signatures to submit a request for reimbursement to the European Court. 
Asked whether, ultimately, it really needs an international court to decide on the issue, Mr Pandermalis replies: “Personally, I think we can – with perhaps difficult but constructive – discussions between us find a solution. It’s not about winning or losing someone. “


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