London refuses to return Parthenon friezes to Greece

London claims that the Parthenon friezes were

London claims that the Parthenon friezes were “legally acquired” in 1802 by British diplomat Lord Elgin who sold them to the British Museum. – Credit:OLIVIER BOITET / MAXPPP / PHOTOPQR/LE PARISIEN

While Athens hoped for the return to Greece of the Parthenon friezes, which have been in England since 1802, London has opposed a refusal which seems definitive.

A firm and definitive decision. On Wednesday January 11, London announced that it would keep the friezes of the Parthenon on display in the British Museum, thus dampening the hopes of Athens, which so wanted the return of this treasure to its lands. “I’ve been very clear about this: I don’t think they should go back to Greece,” Culture Minister Michele Donelan told the BBC about the thorny issue at the heart of tensions between London and Athens. .

For decades, Greece has been asking for the return of a 75-meter frieze detached from the Parthenon as well as one of the famous caryatids from the Erechtheion, a small ancient temple also on the rock of the Acropolis, both key pieces of the British Museum.

London claims the sculptures were “legally acquired” in 1802 by British diplomat Lord Elgin who sold them to the British Museum. But Greece maintains that they were the object of “looting” while the country was under Ottoman occupation.

The restitution of the Parthenon friezes is a highly sensitive subject in Greece. In the Acropolis Museum, a space left empty is reserved for this frieze.

On January 4, the British newspaper The Telegraph awakened the hopes of the Greeks by revealing that the president of the British Museum George Osborne was in the process of concluding an agreement with Athens for the return to Greece of these treasures, within the framework of a long-term loan, a “cultural exchange” which […] Read more

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