Having the Elgin marbles in Britain has
advantages and disadvantages.
Among the advantages we may say that the British have had an opportunity
to discover the ancient classical world from a close-up perspective.
Besides, both British architecture
and civil society have gained from the influence of the classical
style as seen in churches, buildings and houses erected at the beginning
of the 19th century. So, on the one hand,
there are several arguments (the ones I have just mentioned and
many others) that support the view that Elgin did a favour to western
Europe by shipping the marbles towards Britain.
On the other hand,
though, we may analyse the disadvantages
of it all. Among the cons we see the
great dissatisfaction that this stripping of the Parthenon has always
caused among the Greek people who have been deprived of the beauty
and the pride of the "most beautiful sculptures on earth". Also
this conflict has caused diplomatic and human frictions over the
years because neither the British rulers nor the Greek have intended
to give an inch in their demands.
In short we may say
that the taking of the Elgin marbles from Greece to Britain has
had its positive and its negative aspects. For some it is
clear theft. For others, however it
is meant a way of taking good care of these beautiful treasures
which, otherwise, would have been profoundly damaged by the never-ending
war conflicts of Greece throughout history.
We all should take a side on the
long-running question of the Elgin Marbles. Some
people have argued that the
British Government have kept the statues in the famous and fee-free
British Museum in order to protect them from irreversible damage.
It is true that Greece has unfortunately
suffered from endless wars over the centuries but
this does not give a right to, first,
take a country's artistic and cultural heritage away and, second,
keep it until today. To date, the British
government has not taken any step forward in the handing back of
the marbles and it is strikingly visible
that the Greek are now already prepared to safe-keep them.
In short, despite
all the pros and cons that have arisen
from this controversial issue it is evident
to me that the Marbles should
be returned to where they always belonged.