Mitsotakis in Johnson: Seize the moment for the reunion of the Parthenon Sculptures

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A clear message to Boris Johnson about Sculptures of the Parthenon sent by Kyriakos Mitsotakis through an article in the British newspaper “The Mail on Sunday”.

THE Kyriakos Mitsotakis praised the British Prime Minister ‘s studies on culture, he referred to Acropolis Museum which has the specifications to receive the Sculptures, stressed that the Elgin acted illegally when he stole the monuments from Greece and recalled, among other things, the bonds of friendship between the two countries.

He also refers to his opinion many British for the return of the Sculptures while reminding that this is not only a Greek position but also the Intergovernmental Committee of UNESCO.

In fact, he states that the Hellas is ready to examine, for its part, to allow some of the to be exhibited in the British Museum more emblematic creations worldwide, works of art that have never been found abroad.

Full article by the Prime Minister:

Very few former British prime ministers have studied Classical Studies in university. Even fewer have spoken so emphatically about the influence of Ancient Greece in shaping their political thought. No one, I guess, has called one Athenian politician of the 5th century BC. one of his heroes.

And then came the Boris Johnson, always following his own path. The current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has done all three: Study Classical Studies at Oxford. He has a deep understanding of his offer culture of the classical era in contemporary people. He even has a bust of him Pericles, who is one of his heroes.

Boris Johnson understands him to a greater extent than most unique link which connects modern times with ancient history.

That’s why when I met him last week on Downing Street, he told me that he understood how strongly are the feelings of Greek of the people regarding one of the few dividing lines between Greece and the United Kingdom: what is to be born with the Parthenon Sculptures.

The Sculptures were created by the Greek sculptor Misery and have the form frieze which originally adorned the great temple. Most of the frieze is preserved today and remains in Athens. The part that was removed illegally by Lord Elgin remains, however, locked inside the British Museum, almost 2,500 kilometers away from his real home and cut off from both the city and the world monument to which he undoubtedly belongs.

Just wander for a few minutes the beautiful room with the transparent glass facade, on the third floor Museum of Acropolis in Athens, and it is not difficult to understand what I mean.

The museum is located just a few hundred meters south of the Parthenon itself and for most of the Sculptures is their home. It is the only place in the world where one can admire the Sculptures in a space that connects them to the monument, as it stands in front of 2,500 years history and faces the panoramic view of temple.

It is the right place, the best place and the only place where one can appreciate the cultural and historical importance of the Sculptures there where belong.

It is precisely the grace of this symmetry that makes the separation of the Sculptures in London from the main collection in Athens such a large gap. A gap that is impossible to ignore.

Their significance is universal and without the missing Sculptures one can not admire in their entirety the frieze but also the Parthenon itself.

Instead of Sculptures, plaster casts are in the places belonging to the original works -or, in some cases, the showcases are empty. A sad proof that a part of this invaluable part of the world cultural heritage is missing.


This year marks the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the revolution for independence from Ottoman Empire, a war in which Britain sided with Greece in fight for freedom.

What could be a greater proof of Prime Minister Johnson’s vision for a new, confident, open and truly “Global Britain” than for his government to do so? brave step forward and, together with the British Museum, return the Parthenon Sculptures?

In such a case, Greece is ready to consider, in turn, allow exposed in the British museum some of the most emblematic creations worldwide, works of art that have never been found outside Greece.

After all, more and more museums and galleries they return, are shared, they lend and cooperate.

Take for example the great new exhibition at the Museum of Science in London, “Ancient Greeks: Science and Wisdom”, which I opened last week. Within the framework of this exhibition, works have been collected not only from Greece and the United Kingdom, but also from many other countries and collections.

Of course, the reunion of the Sculptures is not just a position of the Greek government. It is also the unanimous position of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Commission for the Return of Cultural Property to Countries of Origin (ICPRCP).

Him September The Commission criticized the UK’s refusal to address this issue, saying “the case is intergovernmental and therefore obligation to return the Parthenon Sculptures it is up to you alone in government of the United Kingdom “.

Many Britons seem to agree. Polls show that in recent years more and more people are in favor of the return of the Sculptures to Greece. The British Museum would certainly argue that the return of the Sculptures would be only the beginning – a move that would force it to return other objects.

Would not be. We believe that the Sculptures are a special and unique case.

Indeed, ο Lord Elgin acted illegally. Using dynamite and iron crowbars, he literally broke the marble reliefs to remove them from their bases, caused damage to the Parthenon and sent the Sculptures out of Greece in the early 19th century.

At the end of the day, however, our disagreement is not limited to ownership or legality. Because we are talking mainly about an important case with a political and moral dimension, which also has a relatively simple technical dimension.

The reunification of the Sculptures would have been much easier if the British government had lifted the political restrictions on the British Museum, in the form of the 1963 British Museum Act.

Now that Prime Minister Johnson has told me that he will not prevent Greece from attempting to enter into a formal dialogue with the British Museum on the future of Sculpture, the My guess is that things will be different. That it will not hinder any future agreement.

And that, instead, the prime minister will seek to amend the relevant legislation to allow the return of the Sculptures.

One thing is for sure. The links that connecting Greece and the United Kingdom have a history of centuries.

This relationship is strong and resilient today. But we can not pretend to be complete. That’s why I hope so London and Athens will work together to restore this injustice that weighs on the hearts of all Greeks.

Your most important poet, Lord Byron, was one of many British who fought in our side for the Independence of Greece. In 1824 Byron died as a hero for Greece, after the second siege of Messolonghi.

Almost 200 years after Byron’s death, I believe that Boris Johnson, as a scholar of the classical era, realizes that he has a unique opportunity to seize this moment, and this generation, to be the one who will finally reunite the Parthenon Sculptures. Mr Prime Minister, it is time to seize this moment.

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