Should the Elgin Marbles be returned to Greece?

The remaining Marbles, which originated in the Parthenon, were removed from their birth place by Lord Elgin (the British Ambassador for the Ottoman Empire which Greece had been in for several years) in the early 1800’s. He then placed them in the British Museum (London) and called them the Elgin Marbles. A debate has arisen on whether the Elgin Marbles should be returned to Greece.

People argue that the Elgin Marbles should stay in Britain; the arrival of them transformed Europe’s understanding of ancient Greek art. Moreover, it would cost too much to ship them back to Greece. Due to recent pollution issues, the British Government does not have the money to return them to Greece. If Britain sends them back, less people will see them. Furthermore, in Britain they are viewed by approximately over 6 million people each year. In Greece they would be seen by approximately 2 million people; Greece is not a popular tourist destination anymore.

However, people argue that they should be returned to Greece. They consider Lord Elgin as a greedy Englishman who stole the Marbles. Furthermore, the Marbles should not be called the Elgin Marbles; they originated in Greece. Greece considers Lord Elgin’s agreement with the Ottomans dubious at best. Moreover, they claim that the sultan was bribed and that, as an occupier, he had no authority over the Parthenon in the first place. The marbles are Greek not British. They should be returned to their rightful owner. In addition, the British damaged them when they were cleaning them in the 1930’s. This shows that the British Museum is not responsible enough to look after them.

In conclusion, to solve this and keep both sides satisfied, the British Government could halve the remaining quantity of the Marbles and send half of them back to Greece. The British Museum could replace the other half with replicas. However, they are viewed by approximately 6 million people every year. Where do you think they belong? Who should own them?



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