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Greece has once again appealed to Britain for the repatriation of the controversial Parthenon [PAHR-thuh-non] Marbles.
In a recently held conference, Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos [pro-KOP-is pav-LAW-poo-laws] addressed the long-standing dispute concerning the custody of the statues, which are currently on display at the British Museum. The president claimed that the sculptures rightfully belong to Greece’s Acropolis Museum, calling the British Museum a prison that holds the marbles captive.
The sculptures originally adorned the Parthenon temple in Athens, which was built to honor the Greek goddess Athena. In the 19th century, while Greece was still under the Ottoman empire, then British ambassador Thomas Bruce removed some of the sculptures and brought them to Britain. Currently, only 40% of the sculptures remain in Greece.
On many occasions since 1832, Greece has campaigned for the return of the marbles. Britain, however, has always argued that Greece did not have a suitable place to display the sculptures. To quash this argument, the Greek government built the Acropolis Museum, which has a view of the actual temple that once held the statues.
Despite Greece’s appeals, the British Museum has again refused to return the marbles. Museum representatives stressed that the sculptures were legally acquired from the Ottoman empire. Furthermore, a British Museum spokesperson underscored the importance of keeping the marbles in London. The representative said that the sculptures are a memento of ancient Greece’s cultural impact all over the world, and having the surviving pieces in two different places allows for diverse discussions about the country’s legacy.