Greece Offers Treasures to the UK for Parthenon Marbles

    Greece Offers Treasures to the UK for Parthenon Marbles
    Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • Greece is willing to loan the UK a number of works of antiquity to "fill the void" at the British Museum if the Parthenon sculptures — also known as the Elgin marbles — were returned to Athens, the country's Culture Minister Lina Mendoni has said.

    • "Our position is clear," said Mendoni in an interview with the Guardian published on Wednesday. "Should the sculptures be reunited in Athens, Greece is prepared to organize rotating exhibitions of important antiquities..."

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    The Parthenon marbles come from a site of huge historical importance to Greece. Britain continuing to possess the items is as ridiculous as if the Greeks were to possess and display Britain's Crown Jewels in their country. The marbles should be returned to their rightful home, where they can be enjoyed alongside the full collection.

    Narrative B

    Had Britain not taken the Parthenon sculptures, they would have undoubtedly fallen into a state of disrepair, just as the works that remained in Greece did due to the country's high pollution levels and acid rain. It's only because of the tireless work of staff at the British Museum that the sculptures are in pristine condition and are available for the public to enjoy. That's the way it should stay.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 0.7% chance that certain marble statues removed from Greece in the early 19th century will be moved back before 2024, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Articles on this story

    Sign up to our daily newsletter