Greece hopes marble foot will get UK to return sculptures

Greece hopes marble foot will get UK to return sculptures

10, 2022. The 2,500-year-old fragment is formally on loan from Sicily’s A. Salinas Archaeological Museum, but both sides have said it could well end up permanently in Athens. Greek officials hope the move could encourage the British Museum to return its own extensive collection of sculptures from the Parthenon Temple on the Acropolis a decades-old Greek demand that the London museum has so far rebuffed. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the Sicilian museum’s gesture “opens the way, I believe, for other museums to be able to move in a similar direction.”

“Most importantly, of course, the British Museum, which must now realize that it’s time for the Parthenon marbles . to finally return here, to their natural home,” he added, voicing gratitude to Italy for the loan.

The fragment was part of a 160-meter-long (520-foot) frieze that ran around the outer walls of the Parthenon Temple on the Acropolis, dedicated to Athena, goddess of wisdom. Much was lost in a 17th-century bombardment, and about half the remaining works were removed in the early 19th century by a British diplomat, Lord Elgin. They ended up in the British Museum, which has repeatedly rebuffed Greek demands for their return.

Officially, Sicily’s A. Salinas Archaeological Museum is only lending the foot of Artemis, goddess of the hunt, to Greece for a maximum of eight years. But the ultimate aim, Italian and Greek officials say, is its “indefinite return” to Athens. Read more

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