Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is trying to revive the case that the UK should return the 2,500-year-old marbles from the British Museum that were taken from the Acropolis in the 19th century. Known as the Elgin Marbles for the British diplomat who removed them, the stones once comprised roughly half of a 500-foot frieze on the Parthenon.
The Elgin Marbles have been the subject of an intense repatriation debate over the years. Greece has repeatedly asked for their return to no avail, but Tsipras could be hoping to capitalize on a wave of recent high-profile repatriations, including property returned from the US to Lebanon and Greece.
Tsipras’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Greece has stepped up its campaign for the marbles since 2009, when it opened a new museum at the foot of the Acropolis hill. In 2014, a previous Greek government hired a legal team including human rights lawyer Amal Clooney to advise it on the issue, Reuters has reported. This latest request coincided with Tsipras’s first official visit to London since he was elected in prime minister 2015, according to Reuters. He raised the issue during a meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May and told reporters: “The Marbles belong to the world cultural heritage but their natural place is the Parthenon.”
But British experts have often claimed that Greece lacks a suitable place to preserve the marbles. When asked for a response to Tsipras’s latest request, the British Museum referred artnet News to a statement from its trustees on its website: Read more