Could the Parthenon Marbles Return to the Parthenon?
After the latest National Museums of Scotland (NMS) decision, pressure from the Greek government increased for the British Government and PM Boris Johnson regarding the repatriation of the famous Parthenon Marbles.
Little more than two centuries have passed, since the 7th Earl of Elgin, Thomas Bruce, removed (and transported to Britain) almost half of the sculptures that used to grace the Parthenon temple, probably the most iconic ancient monument and symbol of the Hellenic Nation. To this day Greeks have been weary, striving to restore their treasured artefacts, the taking of which is still deemed illegitimate by the Greek State.
The ongoing dispute between Greece, the United Kingdom and the British Museum has attracted international attention over the years. More and more countries, organizations, and prominent celebrities in Greece are choosing to call for the return of the Parthenon Marbles.
Most recently, the National Museums of Scotland’s (NMS) decision to reverse its policy opposed to the repatriation of items from its 12-million strong collection, came as an unexpected twist, as it is the first to break of the until recently common four-nation approach. Also following the UK’s PM Boris Johnson’s definitive dismissal of Greece’s reattempted urges and calls in March, the NMS has now stated:
“NMS’s collections reflect its diverse history and multidisciplinary nature, spanning the arts, humanities, natural and social sciences. Each of the five collections departments contains some objects that originate from outside of the United Kingdom. In exceptional circumstances, NMS will consider a request made by claimants located outside the UK to transfer a specific object or group of objects where the request meets certain criteria.”
Notably, while the UK remained within the European Union there was little chance of pressure from other countries, forcing the repatriation of the Parthenon Marbles, although, as per The National Scot, for a post-Brexit Britain that is no longer the case.
For now, it remains unclear as to the impact this new policy will have on the British Government’s immovable stance. Although what seems to be undeniable is that with increasing international pressure, following the example of Scotland, the Parthenon’s Marbles, as well as thousands of looted artefacts longed for by many different countries, such as Egypt, Iran, India, and China, could be one step closer to returning home.