BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Entertainment  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Monday, 11 November, 2002, 23:26 GMT
Greek minister on Marbles mission
The Elgin Marbles in the British Museum, London
The British Museum acquired the sculptures in 1816
The Greek culture minister has stepped up his campaign for the return of the Elgin Marbles, with the suggestion of a deal to the British Museum.

Evangelos Venizelos asked for the sculptures to be loaned permanently to a specially-built gallery in Athens, for display during the 2004 Olympics.

But the director of the museum, Neil McGregor, said they should stay put.

The marbles are ancient friezes from the Parthenon in Athens and have been at the centre of a tug-of-war between the UK and Greek authorities for years.

The Parthenon, Athens
The marbles once adorned the front of the Parthenon
Mr Venizelos, on a visit to the museum on Monday, said: "Now is the moment for a Great Britain gesture for the marbles.

"We prepare the Olympic Games of 2004 in Athens, and we must respect this great opportunity."

Mr Venizelos said the issue for Greece was no longer who owned the marbles - about half of which remain at the Parthenon - but their location.

"For us the problem is not the ownership, the historical rights of the British Museum," he said, but "to present the sculpture as a totality."

He added: "I respect very well the global character of the British Museum but now we live in a new era and the globalisation is a very important element also for us."

Pollution

In return for the permanent loan of the sculptures, Athens is offering the rolling loan of other Greek antiquities to the museum.

British Museum
The British Museum is currently 6m in debt
But Mr McGregor said: "The Parthenon Marbles in the British Museum are in the best possible place for them, and they must remain here if the museum is to continue to achieve its aim, which is to show the world to the world."

On Tuesday Mr Venizelos will visit the culture minister Tessa Jowell to continue his campaign.

The marbles depict the most formal religious ceremonies of ancient Athens - the Panathenaea procession.

Although they once adorned the Parthenon, they were taken to England by the seventh Earl of Elgin and given to the British Museum in 1816.

A recent campaign, Parthenon 2004, backed by more than 90 UK MPs and public figures, called for the marbles to be returned to Athens in time for the Olympic Games.

Groups opposing their return say they have been saved from deterioration from Greek pollution by the museum.

See also:

11 Nov 02 | Entertainment
10 Nov 02 | Entertainment
06 Nov 02 | Entertainment
15 Oct 02 | Entertainment
17 Jan 02 | Entertainment
31 Jul 02 | Entertainment
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Entertainment stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Entertainment stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes