WASHINGTON, DC – Today, just after Greek Independence Day, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, Congressman Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, and Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) introduced a resolution calling on Great Britain 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 retain the Marbles, it has been unable to negotiate an agreement with its British counterparts to return the Marbles to Greece.
“The Parthenon Marbles belong in Greece, with the Greek people,” said Rep. Maloney. “The marbles are some the country’s greatest examples of artistic expression and beauty and are vital pieces of Greek history. 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 resolution calls upon Great Britain to finally return these treasures.”
“Art provides a window into history and is the ultimate freedom of expression,” 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.”
“The Parthenon Marbles tell a story of celebration for Ancient Greece, and the marbles are important to Greek culture,” said Rep. Payne, Jr. “To best serve history and to ensure the world can enjoy ancient history in its proper context, the Parthenon Marbles should be returned to Greece.”