Calamos Supports Greece
GreekReporter.comAncient GreeceGreek Antiquities Repatriated From Switzerland

Greek Antiquities Repatriated From Switzerland

Greek Antiquities
An inscription carved in stone and marble Ionic column capital were repatriated to Greece. Credit: Ministry of Culture

Two fragments of ancient Greek antiquities that were illegally removed from Greece were repatriated from Switzerland, the Culture Ministry said on Thursday.

One fragment bears an inscription carved in stone, dating from late 3rd century BC to early 2nd century BC, while the other is part of a marble Ionic column capital dating to Roman times, 1st to 2nd century AD.

According to the Culture Ministry, the piece of the stone inscription, measuring at just 186mmX169mmX086mm, seems to list five lines of names and originates from the Dodecanese island of Kos.

The capital fragment, measuring 228mmX228mmX17mm, seems to originate from the ancient Agora, or marketplace of Corinth, located on the Peloponnese peninsula.

The ministry has said that the fragments were given to the archaeological service of Switzerland’s Grisons canton by Swiss citizens and later identified to be of Greek origin. The fragments were repatriated following a bilateral agreement between Athens and the Swiss Federal Council.

“The repatriation of the two ancient objects demonstrates the effectiveness of bilateral agreements that Greece has pursued with many states to prevent the illegal trafficking of cultural antiquities,” the Culture Ministry said, making reference to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

“At the same time, it is proof of the impact of the various actions implemented both at national and international level to raise awareness among citizens on the issue of antiquities and the need to protect cultural heritage,” it adds.

Greek Antiquities repatriated from Switzerland and the Vatican

In February 2023, fifteen Greek antiquities that were illegally in the possession of a well-known antique dealer were ordered by a Swiss court to be repatriated to Athens.

They included clay and copper vessels, jewelry, armor, and other items. The global trade in antiquities and art is worth billions, and it passes through legal channels, yet an estimated five percent is illegal.

A month later, Vatican Museums returned three fragments of the Parthenon to Greece.  The fragments were repatriated to Greece as a donation by Pope Francis to the Archbishop of the Orthodox Church of Athens and all Greece, His Beatitude Ieronymos II. The Parthenon fragments are now exhibited at the Acropolis Museum in Athens.

For decades, the Greek government has been at pains to repatriate pieces of the Parthenon that were appropriated without Greek consent.

The return of these fragments from the Vatican’s collection represents a significant milestone, but dozens of pieces remain in foreign collections, most controversially with the British Museum.

Furthermore, in March 2023, the US returned twenty-nine antiquities to Greece that were smuggled out of Macedonia, Epirus, Central Greece, the Cyclades, and Crete. They had ended up in the US.

Key pieces returned include a bronze calyx krater dating to 350 BC that was seized in January; the Eid Mar coin, minted in 42 BCE to commemorate the assassination of Julius Caesar; and the Neolithic Family Group which dates to 5000-3500 BC and is valued at $3 million.

See all the latest news from Greece and the world at Contact our newsroom to report an update or send your story, photos and videos. Follow GR on Google News and subscribe here to our daily email!

Related Posts