In the article “Elgin Marble Argument in New Light” by Michael Kimmelman it is discussed how the Elgin Marbles should be in Greece and not in England because of cultural reasons. The Elgin Marbles contribute to the art of the Parthenon, which is currently in ruins due to destruction of the Persians. The British took these pediments from Greece in 1816 when Lord Elgin was ambassador of the Ottoman Empire. Since then, Greeks have been trying to get their works back but the British refuse to hand over the pieces, meanwhile the Greeks had to work with the remaining of the Parthenon, contained in a ramshackle museum.
These pieces are part of the Greek culture and since they were created in the country, they belong to Greece. The British have been strong defending their point, saying that the Greeks do not have a good place for the pieces, or that the Elgin Marbles became part of British history for being there more than two decades and being part of the neo-classicism. Even though the British say that the Elgin Marbles belong to them, they offered Greece a chance to have them on loan but under one condition, “that Greece recognizes Britain’s ownership”. The British are not thinking about the Greeks’ point of view here, which is a cultural one.
It is important for the Greeks because the Elgin Marbles were made in Greece and are part of their history. This is offensive for the Greeks and their culture minister, Antonis Samaras, who says that this would never happen. The British have a good point saying that the Marbles have been on British ground for a lot of time and this has obviously influenced in multiple things, as mentioned already, neo-Classicism or Philhellenism. On the other hand, Greeks disagree with all the British points used against them on why the Marbles belong to them. First of all, the Greeks have a perfect area to place the Marbles, a new museum near the Acropolis.
This museum is both big and near the Acropolis, which makes a tourist understand better why the Marbles were made in the first place. Greeks are very sensitive about their culture and history, and this is the reason why Mr. Samaras would not even think about giving the British the ownership of their Marbles. The British say that the Marbles have been with them for a long time, but they have been for longer in Greece. Again, contradicting the British points. The Euphronios Krater is a case similar to the Marbles. The vase belongs to Greece but is held in a museum in Rome, Italy. Here again, the work of art belongs to the Greeks.
As mentioned in the article, this is a cultural problem and not a legal one. Mr. Samaras says that taking the marbles is like a family portrait with the loved ones missing. He would probably say the same thing about this Krater that is in a place where it does not belong. Greece has the perfect points to have the Marbles back in their country. They have the museum to preserve them there and the history behind them. The British are disrespectful towards the Greeks for keeping their works of art in their country when they should hand them over to them because it is considered by the Greeks part of their culture.