The Question of Return

William St. Clair

in Lord Elgin and the Marbles

Third edition

Published in print June 1998 | ISBN: 9780192880536
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191670596 | DOI:
The Question of Return

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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While Greece was still considered to be a part of the Ottoman Empire and until the country was able to achieve independence, returning the sculptures of the Parthenon to Athens would be pointless since the Ottoman authorities did not gave any value to these works, let alone provide these sculptures with the necessary protection. Although the Turks were in Greece by the power of force, theirs was a legitimate government which was internationally recognized and accepted. When independence was achieved, however, the Greeks perceived that the statues had been stolen by a foreign ambassador. It is important to note, however, that many view Lord Elgin's efforts as a rescue instead of merely stealing. The Greek government asked that the originals be returned to the Parthenon. This chapter looks into both sides of the argument, whether or not the sculptures were to be returned, or whether these would remain safer in London.

Keywords: Greece; Ottoman Empire; Parthenon; sculptures; legitimate government; Greek government; London; return

Chapter.  2053 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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