When the British Empire ruled much of the world, many artifacts and artworks, including reliefs and statues from the Parthenon in Athens known as the Elgin Marbles, were taken to Britain. These have been a point of contention for sometime and are amongst the most controversial items held by the British Museum with the Greeks having requested their return.
Thomas Bruce, the Earl of Elgin, was responsible for their acquisition when he was ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1799 to 1803. He is said to have claimed to have received permission from the Ottomans to take the artworks.
In 1983, Melina Mercouri, the then Minister of Culture for Greece, requested the return of the sculptures, and the debate over their return has raged ever since. In October 2015 Prokopis Pavlopoulos the Hellenic Republic President declared that the only place for the Marbles was in their homeland.
A group of 15 British MP’s agree and have put forward a Bill proposing that the Parliament should annul what it did 200 years ago. In 1816 Parliament effectively state-sanctioned the improper acquisition of these impressive and important sculptures from Greece. To put right a 200-year wrong.