SEND THEM BACK | Intelligence Squared! Debate on the Return of Parthenon Marbles to Greece

The sculptures on the facade of the Parthenon, also known as the Elgin Marbles, consist of a large collection of marble sculpture, which was transported in Britain in 1806 by Thomas Bruce, ‘Z Count of Elgin, ambassador in the Ottoman Empire from 1799 till 1803. Taking advantage of the Ottoman reign of the Greek territory, Lord Elgin managed to obtain permission (the firman) by the Ottoman Sultan to remove the marbles in order to enumerate and register them in schemes, but later he moved on to their abstraction and their exportation out of the country.

The UNESCO World Heritage Center included the Parthenon as part of the wider monument complex, recorded in the catalog of world heritage monuments since 11th September 1987. However, the Parthenon is beyond the numbers of a World Monument Record. As a grand achievement in architecture, engineering and aesthetic context, the Parthenon stands as the most credible witness to an ancient Western civilization which hassignificantly influencedthe development of the modern Western world.

The Parthenon is the greatest monument of the Athenian State and the apex of the Doric order. Its construction began in 448/7 B.C., whereas the opening was held in 438 B.C. at the Panathenean Games and the sculpture decorations were finished in 433/2 B.C. According to sources of antiquity, the architects who worked for the construction of the Parthenon were Iktinos, Callicrates and possibly Pheidias, who was also responsible for the sculpture decoration. It is one of the Greek temples that is entirely built of marble as well as the only Doric temple with anastatic metopes. Many parts of the sculpture decoration, the architrave and the coffers of the ceiling were drawn with red, blue and gold colour. Pentelicon marble was used, except from the stylobate, which was built of limestone.

From a total of 97 surviving stones of the frontispiece of the Parthenon, 56 are in London and 40 in Athens. From a total of 64 surviving metopes, 48 are in Athens and 15 in London. From a total of 28 surviving figures of the frontispieces, 19 are in London and 9 in Athens.

The video is a British televised debate on the return of the Parthenon Marbles back to Greece, held in London in 2012.

Seeing the Parthenon through ancient eyes | PBS

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