WASHINGTON, DC – Today, ahead of the 200th anniversary of Greece’s independence, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Co-Chair and Co-Founder of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, and Congressman Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, introduced a resolution calling on the United Kingdom to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.
The Marbles were removed from Greece 200 years ago by Thomas Bruce, seventh Earl of Elgin and transported to Great Britain. The Marbles were part of a frieze that wrapped around the Temple of Athena. In 1816, the British Parliament voted to purchase the Marbles and they now reside in the British Museum. Despite years of efforts by the Greek Government to reclaim the Marbles, it has been unable to negotiate an agreement with its British counterparts to return the Marbles to Greece.
“As we celebrate the bicentennial of Greek Independence from the Ottoman Empire this year, we cannot forget that Greece continues its fight to have the Parthenon Marbles – some of the country’s greatest examples of artistic expression and beauty – returned to their rightful home,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “The Parthenon Marbles are vital pieces of Greece’s history and the people of Greece and those who visit from all around the world to see the magnificence of the Acropolis should be able to enjoy the Marbles in their rightful home. This bipartisan resolution calls on the United Kingdom to finally return these treasures.”
“Art provides a window into history and its expression is liberty,” said Rep. Bilirakis. “The Parthenon Marbles were made by the citizens of Athens under the direction of renowned artist Phidias to celebrate the pride and majesty of the City of Athens. To not house and view these citizen contributions in the city they were originally intended does a disservice not only to the people of Athens, but also to the civilization that paved the path for modern democracy and freedom. I sincerely hope to see these original works and other important elements of Hellenic history finally returned to their rightful owner for future generations of proud Greeks to enjoy.”