AHC

Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles

The exquisite Parthenon Marbles (also known as the ‘ Elgin’ Marbles) were removed from the Acropolis in Athens by Lord Elgin, then British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, over 200 years ago, and today reside in the British Museum. Elgin claimed that he had the permission of the Ottoman authorities to strip the sculptures from the Parthenon, however doubts were raised about this as early as 1816, when the British Parliament debated the issue before finally deciding to purchase the sculptures.

 

The importance of the sculptures to Greece as a nation and to people of Hellenic descent throughout the world, including Greek-Australians, cannot be overstated.

The marbles comprise huge pedimental figures, friezes, metopes, parts of columns and other pieces representing over half of all the surviving sculptures from the Parthenon, and are an integral part of the most important building in Greece, which is also the pre-eminent symbol of Hellenic culture and identity.

The Australian Hellenic Council has campaigned for many years, along with many other organizations and individuals throughout the world, for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to their rightful home in Athens.

The campaign was given a boost last year with the completion of the New Acropolis Museum, a $200-million, 226,000-square-foot facility, purpose-built at the base of the Acropolis for the display of artefacts from the site including the Parthenon Marbles.

On the occasion of the opening of the Museum, the Australian Hellenic Council called on the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia to adopt a resolution supporting the restitution of the Parthenon Marbles to the Museum.

Download AHC Parthenon Marbles position paper

Advice by Geoffrey Robertson QC, Prof. Norman Palmer QC and Amal Clooney, 31 July 2015

See the links below for more information on the history of the Parthenon Marbles and the case for returning them to Athens.