Yesterday we paid a flying visit to the British Museum. It was on out route, and promised an Olympics Trail, where you can wander through the museum and check out their collection of antiquities that relate to the original events in Greece. One of the items in question was in a large gallery, the contents of which has left the British Museum at odds with the Greek government for decades. The Elgin Marbles – the sculptures that once adorned the Parthenon in Greece.
Should ‘we’ keep them? Well, ‘we’ did rescue them and save them from destruction. They were obtained as legally as could possibly have been done at the time. They might no longer exist had they not not been relocated. Or at least be in a much worse state – they are already all rather the worse for wear. They can’t ever be reattached to the Parthenon. And they are now located in possibly the greatest museum in the world, which allows five million people to see them, free of charge. every year. Also, ponder the precedent and what that might do to our planet’s great cultural collections.
Does any of this overcome the simple fact that these sculptures are Greek, and were sold by the Ottomans who were occupying Greece at the time? And whilst the Greeks do have a beautiful, shiny new museum built specifically to take all the Parthenon sculptures, what does the future hold? The economy isn’t terribly great in Greece, and the extra tourist dollars that might be gained from recovering all the marbles won’t save them from the troubles that lie ahead.
The Greeks are going to have to accept some harsh realities, one of them being that they might very well not be able to retire a decade or two earlier than the rest of Europe, and another reality being that pensions and social security payments might not meet their needs. In the UK when times get tough we’d look at a few options to get cash flowing again – perhaps an equity release from agepartnership.co.uk. With the value of properties still staying so high, it makes sense for a lot of us Brits to make the most of it. Perhaps the Greeks can do something similar. It appears that they have a willing investor in Germany. How long would they keep the marbles before selling them on again?
But this is a bit by the by. Should they stay or should they. If they go, there could be trouble. If they stay, well…it’ll make it much easier to visit them again, and post the photos. But what do you think? It really is still a hot topic. And whilst the ‘keep them’ side have always been the majority, the tide could be turning if the likes of Stephen Fry have anything to do with it.