September 12, 2012 at 6:36 pm #27500
I think that's different. They weren't "owned" by any particular person or museum.
I think that the argument is that they were rightfully the Greeks' sculpture, but the ruling Ottomans at the time allowed Lord Elgin to take them in the early nineteenth century. However, it seems that the permission to take them was dubious to begin with. From what I recall, there was some frowning upon Lord Elgin after he had taken them, and eventually he donated them to the state where they made their way to the British Museum.September 12, 2012 at 9:26 pm #27501skiguyModerator
What I meant was that the British Museum now lays claim to them. Not sure about the legality of it, but if they did have them illegally I would imagine Greece could sue for their return. These Buddha statues weren't owned or claimed by anyone other than UNESCO calling them a protected site.September 13, 2012 at 2:50 am #27502AethelingParticipant
From what I recall, there was some frowning upon Lord Elgin after he had taken them, and eventually he donated them to the state where they made their way to the British Museum.
Elgin didn't donate them but were purchased by the British government in 1816.September 13, 2012 at 2:54 am #27503
Well, I can tell you that international law is somewhat murky to begin with, so it wouldn't exactly be clear cut (I imagine there's been some legal action taken already). If one nation occupies another, does the occupier have the legal right to sell off the occupied nation's goods? How about the nation's cultural heritage? Does it matter if the occupier intends to be there temporarily or permanently? Basically, there are a bunch of questions which become more and more complex and difficult to answer. It gets into the area of legal rights and moral rights, and if there isn't clarity in an area it ends up a stalemate (like now). This is why it's better to come to a resolution through diplomatic channels.One potential realistic solution I could see happening - the Elgin Marbles could be returned in exchange for long term loans of other Greek items to the British Museum. We live in a politically correct, post-colonial world which I think favors the Greeks at the level of political opinion in the left-leaning land of Britain. This is something that could happen in the next 5-10 years (assuming the Greek economic crisis settles down soon).September 13, 2012 at 3:00 am #27504
Elgin didn't donate them but were purchased by the British government in 1816.
From what I recall, it was somewhat forced, even though it was a sale (i.e. it was inevitable). Here, it says that Elgin had to petition the government to value and buy the marbles, and from the sound of it they were valued at a low amount.April 28, 2022 at 12:43 am #60456
Well, it’s about 10 years later, and the Elgin Marbles situation hasn’t changed. Looks like they’ll stay in the British Museum for a nice long time.
Interestingly, you can google “Elgin Marbles” at any point in time and see news stories about the latest happenings in the ongoing drama. Here, for example, is from less than a day ago:
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