Elgin Marbles

Topics: Parthenon, British Museum, Elgin Marbles Pages: 4 (1222 words) Published: December 19, 2012
Imagine if a country took the Declaration of Independence from our country and put it in their own museum for visitors to see. This document has so much importance to the United State of America and it just would not be right for someone else to be showing it off. This is the issue that has risen with the Elgin Marbles. These marbles hold such a large part of Greek history and art but they are being seen by others in the British Museum. The Greeks have tried for decades to get these important items returned but the British Museum just does not want to let them go.

Of all of the temples that were placed on the Acropolis, an over crop that looked over Athens, the Parthenon was the most important (Bangs 2004). It was built between 447 and 438 B.C. and dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena. Athena is the goddess of wisdom, the goddess of craft, and a war goddess. The Ancient Greeks were a culture that took their gods very seriously and did whatever they could to keep them happy. Throughout the Parthenon there were elaborate sculptures made out of marble. These sculptures, which were a part of the Parthenon frieze, are what the Elgin Marbles debate is all about.

Throughout the years, the sculptures were damaged. A lot of the damage was done when the Parthenon was being used as a gunpowder store (The British Museum). There was an explosion which blew the roof of the Parthenon off and caused significant damage to the sculptures. (The British Museum). Beginning in 1801 to 1805, Lord Elgin, who was the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, received permission from the Ottomans to remove the remaining sculptures on the Parthenon (The British Museum). That permission has been questioned, which will be discussed later. After removing the marbles, Lord Elgin had them moved to Britain and they were put on display in the British Museum in1817 (The British Museum). Some believe that the moving of the marbles done by Lord Elgin potentially saved the...

Cited: Bangs, Jessie. "The History of the Elgin Marbles: Past, Present and Future." The Art and Architecture of the British Renaissance. Nicholls State University, n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2012. <http://www.nicholls.edu/art-dhc/2004essay2.html>.
Lacayo, Richard. "Who Owns History? ." TIME Magazine Arts. TIME, 21 Feb. 2008. Web. 17 Sept. 2012. <http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1715290,00.html>.
"Should the elgin marbles be returned to Greece?? | Debatewise." Debatewise. Debatewise, n.d. Web. 17 Sept. 2012. <http://debatewise.org/debates/684-should-the-elgin-marbles-be-returned-to-greece/>.
"The Parthenon Sculptures." The British Museum. Trustees of the British Museum, n.d. Web. 17 Sept. 2012. <http://www.britishmuseum.org/about_us/news_and_press/statements/parthenon_sculptures.aspx>.
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