The long-running battle over the return of the Elgin Marbles to Greece will take another turn next month when a purpose-built museum near the Parthenon opens. Antonis Samaras, the Greek Minister of Culture who follows in Singer Melina Mercouri’s footsteps as a strong advocate of the return of the Parthenon Frieze statues is quoted in the Telegraph:
“I, along with every other Greek, wants the marbles reunited, just as Melina did,” he said. “The argument against was that there was no deserving museum in Greece to house them. Now, this argument is off the table – it cannot stand anymore. The Acropolis Museum was Melina’s dream, and now we see it standing.”
Greece retains 36 of the 115 panels in the Parthenon frieze. With the reproduction in its glass-walled upper gallery of the exact dimensions of the Parthenon temple, the building allows the marbles to be represented in their original configuration and context, in a way that could never be done in the British Museum.
The Greeks have also taken heart from polls that have shown that the majority of Britons support the return of the Marbles. The fight for the return of the Marbles has led to committees being set up in 14 countries to lobby for their return.