Brit Museum Refuses to Lose Its Marbles

Museum refuses to sanction Elgin's deeds
By Amelia Atlas,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 14, 2009 2:20 PM CDT
Brit Museum Refuses to Lose Its Marbles
Workers set cobblestones on a pedestrian street outside the New Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece, on Wednesday, May 20, 2009, a month before the official opening of the grandiose building.   (AP Photo/ Petros Giannakouris)

Tension between Greek and British museum officials over ownership of the famous Elgin marbles bubbled over this week, reports the Guardian. With the New Acropolis Museum set to open in Athens, Greece is refusing to accede to British terms concerning the loan of the classical treasure. The British Museum offered a 3-4 month loan and an acknowledgment of their ownership, as is traditional for museum loans.

The Athenian culture minister, however, insisted that not only was this not enough time, but that acknowledging ownership would be equivalent to sanctioning their theft. "[A]greeing to the condition [of ownership] would be like sanctifying Elgin's deeds and legitimizing the theft of the marbles...No Greek government could accept that," he said. Top British officials, including the Queen, have declined to attend the museum's opening. (Read more Elgin marbles stories.)

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