Bring the Marbles Home – Once and For All ~ By: Maria A. Karamitsos

With the opening of the new Acropolis Museum, Greece has stepped up its efforts in the campaign to return the Parthenon Marbles – and rightly so. Following a visit four years ago to the British Museum, and viewing these artifacts and reading notes of “the head is on display in Athens,” or “the hands are on display in Austria,” really lit my fuse. To me, separating them in that manner was like dismembering a body. Sacrilege! The time is long overdue to bring these treasures back to their rightful home.

For years, the British contended that they purchased the Marbles, which they refer to as the “Elgin Marbles,” named for Lord Elgin who first procured the controversial artifacts, then later sold them to the British government. Others, particularly the Hellenes, correctly refer to them as the Parthenon Marbles. Whatever you call them, they belong to Greece and should be returned without further ado, because the British did not purchase them from their rightful owner. Stolen goods are stolen goods, even if you’ve paid for them.

The British then insisted that there wasn’t a proper home for the marbles in Athens. Well, thanks to the ongoing efforts of former culture minister, actress Melina Mercouri, that argument is no longer valid. The brilliant, state-of-the-art Acropolis Museum opened recently, and according to the Greek News Agenda, received more than 90,000 visitors in the first seven days and more than 260,000 visitors from 169 countries viewed the website.

Just why won’t the Brits relent? Bottom line is… well, “the bottom line”. While Ian Jenkins, senior curator for the department of Greece and Rome at the British Museum was quoted as insisting that in Greece, the marbles are viewed “simply as part of the history of Athens,” whereas in Britain, they are viewed as “part of the history of the world,” the fact remains that the collection brings many visitors to the British Museum. In fact, that was the primary reason for my visit there in 2005. The museum makes a ton of money on souvenirs, books and tours that accompany the exhibit. There is so much there, that if they were to give them back to Greece, there would be a massive hole in their museum, not to mention their revenue streams.

With the opening of the new Acropolis Museum, a new worldwide attention has been garnered with respect to the return of the Marbles. British citizens are beginning to weigh in as well: according to a poll taken at, 94.8% of Brits believe the Marbles should be returned. I wonder what Prince Philip thinks? He is Greek, after all, and he does have the Queen’s ear. Hmmm….

There’s a major effort underway via Here, one may sign an online petition, stating their belief that the Marbles should be returned to Greece. The organizers of this campaign assert that the Marbles are being “held hostage” in Britain, and they are working toward their release. Thousands of people around the world have already added their names to the petition.

Join in the effort and show your support for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece. Visit and add your name to the petition. Perhaps Athena can bestow some wisdom to those blocking the return, and we can summon the power of Zeus to make it happen. The fact remains; we are all stewards of Greece’s magnificent cultural heritage. Let our voices be heard. This reunion would not only be phenomenal, but also of great historic proportions. Give the Marbles back to Greece – once and for all.

By: Maria A. Karamitsos

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Last 5 posts by Guest Writer