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Engraving of the British Museum's first display of the Elgin Marbles in the early 19th century

In 1816 the 'Eglin Marbles' (the parthenon frieze as well as the statues) were purchased by Great Britain for £35,000 (which is considerably below their estimated cost to Elgin, estimated to be £75,000). The Elgin marbles then went on display in the British Museum, London where they still are today. This engraving shows their first display at the BM.

 

I strongly believe that -- regardless if they were in Britain for safekeeping or not -- it is time that the Parthenon frieze pieces are returned to Athens to join their 'brothers' in the New Acropolis museum.

 

Cold is the heart, fair Greece, that looks on thee,

Nor feels as lovers o’er the dust they loved;

Dull is the eye that will not weep to see

Thy walls defaced, thy mouldering shrines removed

By British hands, which it had best behov’d

To guard those relics ne’er to be restored.

Curst be the hour when their isle they roved,

And once again thy hapless bosom gored,

And snatch’d thy shrinking Gods to northern climes abhorr’d!

 

Canto XV from 'Childe Harold's Pilgrimage' by Lord Byron, 1812

  

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Taken on March 28, 2010