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The Truth Behind the Elgin Marbles - Essay Example

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The Truth Behind the “Elgin Marbles” A lot of people have only heard about the “Elgin Marbles” being one of the most famous sculptures associated with the Greeks. However, there is a lot more to it that has influenced what Greek history is today. First of all, “Elgin marbles” are actually what people called a collection of stone objects, sculptures, and architectural features that is owned by Lord Elgin during his reign as the ambassador of the Ottoman Empire to the Sultan in Istanbul…
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The Truth Behind the Elgin Marbles
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Download file to see previous pages With all these in mind, Elgin marbles indeed represented rich scenes of Athens history. His controversial acquisition of which happened in Athens between 1801 and 1805, when he claimed to have obtained a permit from the Ottoman authorities to remove some of which from the Parthenon (British Museum, n.d.). The issue on the Elgin Marbles came about when Elgin starts to remove about half of the remaining Parthenon sculptures by transporting it by sea to Britain. The collection which includes objects from other buildings of Acropolis such as the Erechtheion, the Propylaia, and the Temple of Athena Nike were housed in the Elgin Room at the British Museum where it remained until the Duveen Gallery was built. Here, he faced some criticisms, associating his actions to vandalism or stealing. On the other hand, there were some people who supported him. This resulted to the growth of a public debate reaching the courts of the Parliament as to whether the Marbles should remain in the British Museum since it was purchased by the British government or to be returned to Athens (British Museum, n.d.). ...
However, though Elgin claims that he was given permission by the Sultan to do so, he is not able to show the original document that proves the truth to it, although there are said to be translated versions of which in Italian, the authenticity of which are being doubted upon. To confirm the legality of Elgin’s action, he requested to have an examination of the documents that would make the purchase authorized. In the process of doing so, they found out that the claimed document was an accurate translation of an Ottoman firman that is dated July 1801. According to Elgin, he took this as an authorization to remove the marbles from Athens. Now, the question is if any of the Ottoman’s party was informed by this activity of Elgin when it is alleged that the said Italian copy of the firman was not presented to them by Elgin or anyone from his party. According to one of his associates, named Rev. Philip Hunt, he was not able to bring the document because he was not informed that he was going to testify as a witness to this agreement. The issue gets trickier when William St. Clair, a biographer of Lord Elgin attests to have Hunt’s Italian document and guarantees the accuracy of the English translation when the document presented to the committee actually did not have any signature or the Ottoman’s firman that automatically nulls its validity. Also, the lines contained in the document pertaining to the removal of the marbles in fact only holds a permission for Elgin’s team to fix scaffolding, make drawings, and measure the remains of the ruined buildings and nothing was said about taking it all away (British Museum, n.d.). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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