Boris Johnson said the Elgin Marbles should ‘NEVER have been removed’ from Athens in newly unearthed letter sent to Greek politician two months before the 2012 London Olympics
They were were taken from the Parthenon in Athens by the then British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Lord Elgin, 之间 1801 和 1812, and are now on display at the British Museum.
The Government has recently been under increasing pressure to return the marbles, with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis last week insisting that they were ‘stolen’.
然而, it has been the UK’s long-standing position that the Marbles were acquired legally. Mr Johnson also insisted last week after Mr Mitsotakis’s comments that any decision on returning them has to be made by the British Museum.
Around 260ft (80米) of the Marbles are in London, whilst Athens is home to a smaller 164ft (50米) 部分.
Boris Johnson once believed that the Elgin Marbles should ‘never have been removed from Greece’s Acropolis, a letter reveals
When serving as Mayor of London ahead of the London Olympics in 2012, 约翰逊先生 (pictured this week) wrote to a Greek official to say that ‘in an ideal world’ the marbles should never have come to Britain
在他的 2012 信件, which was revealed by 守护者 after originally being published in local Greek newspaper Proini, 约翰逊先生说: ‘This is a matter on which I have reflected deeply over many years.
‘In an ideal world, it is of course true that the Parthenon marbles would never have been removed from the Acropolis and it would now be possible to view them in situ.’
But he added that the ‘reality’ is that it is ‘impossible’ to restore the Marbles to their ‘original location on the template’.
The future PM said that, because the ‘glorious’ sculptures have been in London ever since they were removed and that they now form the ‘centre piece of the greatest museum in this city, it would be grievous and irremediable loss if they went elsewhere’.
They were were taken from the Parthenon in Athens by the then British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Lord Elgin, 之间 1801 和 1812, and are now on display at the British Museum
He finished his letter to Greek politician George Hinos by saying that whilst he sympathised ‘with the case for the restitution to Athens’, he felt ‘on balance’ that he had to ‘defend the interests of London’.
Mr Hinos, the then leader of the provincial New Democracy Party in Ilia, the one-time home of the ancient Greek city of Olympia, had written to Mr Johnson to plead for the Marbles to be returned.
He wrote the letter less than two months before the Olympic flame was set to be lit in Ilia before making it’s journey to London for the 2012 games.
He is said to have written: ‘In the name of justice and morality, we implore you to begin the procedure for the return of the Greek sculptures.’
上个星期, Mr Mitsotakis claimed that the Pm had promised ‘not to stand in the way of 希腊 establishing a formal dialogue with the British Museum over the future of the marbles’.
The Greek PM has offered to lend some of his country’s artefacts, such as the ancient sculpture the Artemision Bronze, to the UK in exchange for the 2,500-year-old Marbles.
Those opposed to returning them have warned that doing so would set a precedent and lead to the swapping of historic treasures all over the world.
A LONG-RUNNING HISTORICAL DISPUTE: WHAT ARE THE ELGIN MARBLES?
The Elgin Marbles are a collection of classical Greek marble sculptures, 大部分由菲迪亚斯和他的助手创作的铭文和建筑构件.
The 7th Earl of Elgin, 托马斯·布鲁斯, 在担任英国驻奥斯曼帝国大使期间，从雅典卫城移除了帕台农神庙大理石碎片 1799 至 1803.
在 1801, 伯爵声称已获得奥斯曼当局的许可，可以从帕台农神庙中移除碎片.
由于雅典卫城仍然是奥斯曼帝国的军事堡垒, Elgin 需要获得进入网站的权限.
他的代理人随后移除了一半幸存的雕塑, 以及来自 Propylaea 和 Erechtheum 的建筑成员和雕塑.
挖掘和拆除工作已于 1812 个人费用约为 70,000 英镑.
雕塑被运往英国, 但在希腊, 苏格兰贵族被指控抢劫和故意破坏.
他们被英国政府买下 1816 并置于大英博物馆. 他们仍然在专门建造的杜文画廊展出.
埃尔金从帕台农神庙中移除雕塑的许可的真实性引起了广泛的争议, 尤其是原文件已经丢失. 许多人声称这是不合法的.
然而, 其他人则认为，自从奥斯曼帝国控制雅典以来 1460, 他们对文物的主张是合法且可识别的.