Welcome to Elgin-Marbles.com: This site promotes a return to Athens of the Elgin Marbles. It is made thanks to the support of Mrs. Larisa Leonidovna Drozdova of Athens.
The Elgin Marbles or more correctly Parthenon sculptures that originally adorned the top of the exterior of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece, and are now in London, England. It is time to bring them back to their home to the Parthenon. One should note that OTHER PARTS of the Parthenon Frieze (Sculpture) are located across Europe in smaller fragments at several locations. **
The greatest and finest sanctuary of ancient Athens, dedicated primarily to its patron, the goddess Athena, dominates the centre of the modern city from the rocky crag known as the Acropolis.
The most celebrated myths of ancient Athens, its greatest religious festivals, earliest cults and several decisive events in the city’s history are all connected to this sacred precinct. The monuments of the Acropolis stand in harmony with their natural setting.
These unique masterpieces of ancient architecture combine different orders and styles of Classical art in a most innovative manner and have influenced art and culture for many centuries. The Acropolis of the fifth century BC is the most accurate reflection of the splendour, power and wealth of Athens at its greatest peak, the golden age of Perikles.
When the Parthenon was built between 447BC and 432BC, three sets of sculptures, the metopes, the frieze and the pediments, were created to adorn it. Of these, the metopes and the frieze were part of the structure of the Parthenon itself. They were not carved first and then put in place, high up on the Parthenon, but were carved on the sides of the Parthenon itself after it had been constructed. (source: greece.org)
The metopes were individual sculptures in high relief. There were 92 metopes, 32 on each side and 14 at each end and each metope was separated from its neighbours by a simple archtitectural decoration called a triglyph, The metopes were placed around the building, above the outside row of columns and showed various mythical battles. The north side showed scenes from the Trojan war; the south side showed a battle between the Greeks and the Centaurs — part man, part horse; the east side showed the Olympian gods fighting giants and the west side showed a battle between Greeks and Amazons. (source: greece.org)
The frieze , 160 metres long, was placed above the inner row of columns, so it was not so prominently displayed. It is one long, continuous sculpture in low relief, showing the procession to the temple at the Panathenaic festival. (source: greece.org)
At either end of the temple, in the large triangular space, the pediment statues in the round were placed. These were designed to fill the space so that those at the highest point of the triangle are enormous. The pediment sculptures have been so badly damaged that we only know what they represent because of the writings of the Greek writer and traveller Pausanias, who was active around 150 AD. According to him, the sculptures in the east pediment represent the birth of Athena from the head of Zeus and the sculptures in the west pediment represent the struggle between Athena and Poseidon for the land of Attica. (source: http://www.greece.org)
The real glory of the temple, however, was housed inside. The statue of the goddess Athena was about 40 feet (12 metres) high, and gold and ivory was used to decorate it. This statue was damaged by fire as early as 200BC and it is thought that a new statue replaced it in 165-160BC. Unlike the Parthenon Marbles, the statue did not survive antiquity. (source: greece.org)
Not all of the Parthenon Marbles, however, survive down to the present day. There were originally 115 panels in the frieze. Of these, ninety-four still exist, either intact or broken. Thirty six are in Athens, fifty-six are in the British Museum and one is in the Louvre. Of the original ninety-two metopes, thirty-nine are in Athens and fifteen are in London. Seventeen pedimental statues, including a caryatid and a column from the Erechtheion are also in the British Museum. So the Parthenon Marbles are almost equally divided — half in London and half in Athens. (source: greece.org/)
It is precisely because the surviving sculptures are to be found in two countries 1500 miles apart that the Greek government has requested the return of the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum so that they can be reunited in one collection, in the museum which has now been built at the foot of the Acropolis Hill on which the remains of the Parthenon temple stand. (source: http://www.greece.org/parthenon/marbles/pmarb.htm)
The Elgin Marbles
These were part of the frieze and pediment of the Parthenon of Athens, sent to England by the 7th earl of Elgin. While British ambassador in Constantinople, he obtained authority from the Turks first to study, then to remove some of the antiquities. In 1816 Elgin received £35, 000, much less than his expenses, and the marbles were placed in the British Museum. Since the early 1980s Greek governments have argued for the permanent removal to Athens of all the Parthenon sculptures in the British Museum.
- Read about the impact of a return <
IN MORE DETAIL:
Make sure to see these two videos
MAP OF THE AREA:
** Parthenon Sculptures in other museums than the British Museum:
National Museum, Copenhagen
University Museum, Würzburg
And other locations