About Parthenon Marbles
“I should wish to have, of the Acropolis… everything in the way of sculpture, medals and curious marbles that can be discovered by means of assiduous and indefatigable excavation. This excavation ought to be pushed on as much as possible be its success what it may.”
Lord ELGIN (Letter to Lusieri, 1801)
Let’s screen the story of the Parthenon Marbles like never before
“The first on the list are the metopes, the bas-reliefs, and the remains of the statues that can still be found. In particular the figures on the pediment of the Parthenon as many metopes as you can obtain… I beg you therefore to put some on board ship. To sum up, the slightest object from the Acropolis is a jewel.”
Lord ELGIN (Letter to Lusieri, 1802)
By 1803, numerous pieces of sculpted marble, including a column from the Erechtheion, seventeen figures from the Parthenon pediments, and fifteen metopes, were carefully packed for transportation to Scotland. It wasn’t until 1812 that all the marbles were finally sent to England, enclosed in approximately eighty cases containing sculptures, vases, and medals. Overall, Elgin took possession of nearly all the significant pedimental figures that remained, a significant portion of the remaining friezes on the north, south, and east sides, and the finest metopes from the southern side of the Parthenon temple.
Parthenon Marbles at the British Museum
In 1816, faced with financial difficulties, Lord Elgin proposed selling the marbles to the British Government for the sum of £74,240. This amount covered the expenses incurred in dismantling, packaging, salvaging at sea, artists’ salaries, the construction of the gallery in Park Lane, and other costs associated with transporting the marbles. Interestingly, Elgin claimed that had he invested the entire sum, he would have earned £23,240! However, the British Government made an offer of £35,000.
The British Committee’s stance was simple: take it or leave it. Elgin chose to accept the offer, stepping out of history and leaving his name to be associated with both praise and criticism for his actions. Subsequently, the British government handed over the Parthenon Marbles to the British Museum, where they were first publicly displayed in 1817.
If you desire to delve deeper into the true story of the plundering of the Parthenon marbles, join us and add your voice to the thousands who advocate for their return to their rightful home. Together, let’s uncover the complete narrative and stand in solidarity for their repatriation.