Culture is a significant aspect of any society. It is marked by both tangible and intangible facets. Elgin Marbles are a crucial part of the Greek civilization brought to London, the UK. They have existed there since 1821. Lord Elgin took them from Greece and gave them to one of the greatest museums in the world which is located in London. There exists a controversy as to whether the marbles should be returned or not. The phase is adequate to have led them to a befitting element of the British customs. Some people sought and insisted for sending the Elgin Marbles back to Greece; however, their attempts to return the pieces of art were not successful. This paper will explore the issue of the ownership of the Elgin Marbles from the author’s as well as my perspectives.
According to Merryman, the Elgin Marbles are rightly placed in London as opposed to Athens, Greece. The British did not have an ill intent to hide the fact that the Elgin Marbles belong to the Greeks. Keeping them in the museum being labeled as the culture of Ancient Greece presupposes that the Marbles were not stolen. Lord Elgin took them as he realized that it was vital for them to be preserved. It is also crucial to note that even if Elgin had taken all the Greek Marbles that time, depriving Greece of its heritage would not have occurred (Merryman, 2006). A great number of museums in the United Kingdom still keep the traditions of Ancient Greece.
The author claims that cultural nationalism has both benefits and disadvantages. Since the year 1821, the Elgin Marbles have stayed in England. Over the years, they have become incorporated in the British culture and become an aid in its definition. The Marbles have given the British community an identity and enriched the British art. It is obvious that the Greeks have a powerful claim as compared to the British (Merryman, 2006). Nevertheless, it would be inappropriate to state that there is equivalence in the positions of ownership of this artwork.
Merryman supports the restoration of the Elgin Marbles to Greece. The assert is that under a notable American law, the museums received a requisite to do publishing of the inventories belonging to the Hawaiian and Indian funerary stuff, being remains, cultural patrimony, and holy objects they hold. The reason for it was that on request, the artifacts are returned to the places they originated (Merryman, 2006). The respective nations would get enriched since they would have something tangible to reveal their cultures. Based on such laws and claims, there is sufficient reason to have the Elgin Marbles returned to Athens as it is the place of their cultural origin.
It is also vital to emphasize that according to NAGPRA, cultural artifacts must be returned to the culture that created them. The essence is to get such incorporated into the original cultures and have them put to the same use they were before being taken away. Such objects were of great significance to ceremonies and religious functions (Merryman, 2006). It means that people apply the same traditional objects into the things they still practice. The application of the ancient artifacts aids in the preservation of cultures that their ancestors practiced.
There are also other crucial factors that explain the reason for the Marbles to be taken back to Athens. Political nationalism considers it offense to have the Marbles elsewhere apart from Athens. The push to have them returned is founded on national pride. The 1954 Hague Convention was categorical dictating that each individual has interest in preserving as well as enjoyment of the cultural source it derives (Merryman, 2006). Museums are indicated as educational institutions that aid to comprehend, respect, and appreciate cultures that belong to different nations. The Marbles kept in a museum in Athens enrich the Greek culture (Merryman, 2006). The artifacts would most likely to find better preservation in Greece because of the ownership attached to the nation. According to Merryman, integrity plays a major role in the Greeks claiming of having the Marbles returned which can have advanced preservation in Athens.
In my opinion, the Elgin Marbles should be restored to Athens. To commence with, the Marbles belonged to Greeks (Merryman, 2006). It is their rightful heritage. The British have no right on the Elgin Marbles as the country of their origin did not give its permission to take them away. There is practically nothing between the two nations to discuss or take to tribunal courts. Therefore, the Elgin Marbles should get returned. It is also worth noting that when Lord Elgin collected the Marbles, the Greeks were not enlightened enough to understand the significance of preservation. The most positive step the British have made was to assist the Greeks in preserving their cultural heritage (Merryman, 2006). Taking the Elgin Marbles away meant that they comprehended their significance that can be distinguished as stealing. Thus, the British should return the artifacts to their creators, namely the Greeks. Finally, since the United Kingdom recognizes that the Marbles at the Museum of London are of Greek origin, it would be justified to return the pieces of art to the country where they were created. Therefore, Greece has an advantage with regard to their possession.
In conclusion, the Marbles belong to the Greek origin. They were taken by Lord Elgin and are currently located at the Museum of London indicated as of Greek culture. Merryman claims that both nations have some rights of possessing the Marbles. The author has offered several arguments that support that idea of the artifacts remaining in England as well as being returning to Athens. Nevertheless, the Greeks are placed in a better position as compared to the British. My opinion is categorical that the later have no right to possess the artifacts that should be enriching the Greek culture. They came from Greece, and hence they should be relocated there. The Greeks’ rights violation would be terminated. Thus, a person or a nation cannot give any considerable reason to hold the pieces of art that do not belong to them.
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