The Hellenic Studies Foundation in Australia became involved in the decades-long debate regarding the return of the ancient Greek Parthenon Marbles to Greece from the British Museum over a year ago. The Foundation created a social media campaign with the hashtag #ReturnTheMarbles, receiving great support and over 70,000 supporters on Facebook.
“After collaborating with the Greek government in late October 2015 we managed to secure fourteen replica pieces – including one ‘Karyatis’ – to be displayed for 100 days during the Festival of Arts 2015 hosted by the Adelaide Festival Centre, which is South Australia’s principal performing arts venue,” said Harry Patsouris, one of the foundations’ directors.
The Parthenon Marbles, also known as Elgin Marbles are a collection of Classical Greek marble sculptures, created by Greek sculptor Phidias, inscriptions and architectural pieces that were originally part of the temple of the Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis of Athens. Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin claimed to obtain in 1801 a controversial permit from the Sublime Porte, which then ruled Greece.
From 1801 to 1812, Elgin’s agents removed about half of the surviving sculptures of the Parthenon, as well as sculptures from the Propylaea and Erechtheum. The Marbles were transported by sea to Britain. Nowadays, they are displayed at the British Museum, while a debate has started over the last years, after Greece requested the return of the marbles to their rightful place.