“Elgin’s marbles”

Greece toughens its tone towards Britain

In order to recuperate sculptures from the Parthenon, currently exhibited at the British Museum, Greece is playing the diplomatic card. A case in the hands of lawyer Amal Alamuddin-Clooney, wife of the famous actor, and her team. The ancient sculptures in question are the Elgin Marbles. Greece had previously decided not to embark on legal proceedings against the British Museum, given its low chances of winning. Indeed, Great Britain acquired the sculptures in 1816 following a vote in Parliament in favour Thomas Bruce, the 7th Earl of Elgin at the time. To recuperate these major pieces of its cultural heritage, Greece is counting on pressure from public opinion to back up the legitimacy of its request. Meanwhile, within the Greek government, the minister of culture Aristides Baltas has declared: “We are trying to develop alliances which we hope would eventually lead to an international body like the United Nations to come with us against the British Museum.” Although the legal framework is not favourable, the minister does not despair: “As there are no hard and fast rules regarding the issue of returning treasures taken away from various countries, there is no indisputable legal...

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