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Τhe Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles

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The sculpture of the Parthenon, even in the condition they have been preserved so far, through the successive adventures and destructions of the temple-out of earthquakes, fire, blasting due to the making pf the monument evidences pf the incomparable art of Pericles era.

These works made of Pentelic marble by Pheidias, formed an integral part of temple. Which was dedicated to Athena, the patron goddess of the city of Athens.

The Temple started being built up in 447and was completed and consecrated in 438BC during the festivities of the Great Panathenaea.

The Parthenon, temple of Dorian order, work of the architects Ictinus and Callicrates, is undoubtedly the peak of set in the known, according to the Dorian order, places. The two pediments and the metopes surrounding the four sides of the building, is in addition characterized by the unique innovation of also combining an Ionic element, a frieze with relief depictions adorning the upper part of the central sections of the temple.

The subjects of all the sculptures of Parthenon came from the Greek mythology and were related mainly to goddess Athena. Especially the subject that was opted for by Pheidias to unfold along the relief frieze (160 meters long) was the magnificent Panathenaic procession, the great feast in honor of goddess Athena.

The greater part of the frieze is preserved in the British Museum; likewise, a big number of the metopes and great deal of the sculptured pediments.

The affair of the detachment from their initial position by Lord Elgin is more or less known. In 1815 the lord, ambassador of Great Britainin Constantinopole in those days, managed to obtain a firman (Sultan’s Decree) granting him the clearance to draw the sculptures of Parthenon, to conduct excavations round the temple and to detach a few stones and inscriptions. Instead of doing this, Elgin detached the greater part of the sculptural decoration of the monuments and sent it to England.

In 1816 the British Government bought the marbles from Elgin and later on donated the whole collection to the British Museum, where the marbles have been exhibited since 1877, being the main attraction of millions of visitors from all over the world who, filled with awe and admiration, stand in front of the masterpieces if the ancient Greek art.

Thus, the last two centuries of the Parthenon’s 2.500 years of existence the situation of the sculptural decoration has been as follows:

Of the 97 surviving blocks of the Parthenon frieze, 56 are in Britain and 40 in Athens.

Of the 64 surviving metopes, 18 are in Athens and 15 in the British Museum.

During the two centuries of the Marbles’ exile, the intelligentsia and leading figures of Britain and Europe have consecration.

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