Italy returns Parthenon marble fragment to Greece, setting precedent

Greece hopes to create a movement to recover the stolen Parthenon marbles which are in the British Museum

The so-called Fagan Fragment, a piece of the Parthenon Marbles that the Antonio Salinas Museum in Palermo, Italy, returned to Greece in January, will be kept by the Greek Acropolis Museum as a permanent installation.

Greece hopes to create a movement to recover the stolen Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum, which acquired them 200 years earlier from a Scottish diplomat, Lord Elgin.

He stripped them of the famous monument with the permission of the occupying Ottoman Empire, which did not own them, but the British Museum declared, although they were stolen, that they had been acquired legally.

The UN’s cultural arm, UNESCO, says the UK, which had refused to intervene, has now agreed to start talks to return Greece its own treasures, without mentioning how long that might take. to take.

When the Fagan Fragment – the feet of Artemis – was loaned earlier this year, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said there was “a momentum building, step by step” for the repatriation of the marbles from the Parthenon in Greece, the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph said.

The Greek Ministry of Culture and the Regional Government of Sicily, in a joint statement, said the Artemis fragment once again belongs to Greece after being kept by Robert Fagan, a former British consul for Sicily and Malta.

According to the Ministry of Culture, the regional government of Sicily has received approval from the Italian national authorities to return the fragment permanently. Formal approval is expected soon.

“The procedure followed by the Government of Sicily and the Ministry of Culture of the Italian Republic for the definitive repatriation to Athens of the fragment of Fagan shows the clear and moral path for the return of the Parthenon sculptures to Athens”, declared the minister. of the Lina Culture. Mendoni.

The fragment depicts the foot of the goddess Artemis, emerging from a beautifully crafted tunic. It was taken from the eastern frieze of the Parthenon, which depicts the Olympian gods seated as they watch the handing over of the veil to Athena.

The fragment belongs to the eastern frieze of the Parthenon which shows the seated gods of Olympus watching the annual Panathenaic procession in honor of the patroness of the city, Athena.

The procession included the transfer of a woven veil to the statue of Athena on the Parthenon. In the “Fagan fragment” are represented the lower legs of Artemis, goddess of forests and hunting, whose body is shown from the side.

But the return has a price. The Acropolis Museum will send to Sicily, for four years, an acephalous statue of Athena from the end of the 5th century BC. AD and an amphora from the first half of the 8th century BC.

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