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For nearly 200 years, the collection known as the ‘Elgin Marbles’ has been in the care of the British Museum. Removed by Lord Elgin in 1801 at a time when Greece was a stateless nation under the Ottoman Empire, he later sold them to the British Museum – who have always maintained that they were acquired legally with all the necessary permissions. The Greek government is optimistic that a combination of a troubled British PM, growing public support, the promise of loans of other priceless antiquities, not to mention the threat of legal action could finally reverse two centuries of cultural piracy. Public opinion appears to be in favour of returning the collection – but if they are sent back to Greece, what other antiquities should be considered for repatriation? Where is the line between fair claims of ownership and ‘heritage nationalism’?
editor and invited experts
Historian; Barrister; Author of ‘Anatomy of a Nation: A History of British Identity in 50 Documents’
Dr Errol Francis
Artistic Director and CEO, Culture&
Greek born economist and author of ‘Greekonomics’