The Vatican returns to Greece the fragments in its possession from the Parthenon frieze in Athens. The press service of the Church State announced on Monday that the antique marble sculptures will be delivered on Tuesday. Most of the fragments of the frieze are kept by the British Museum in London, but do not want to hand them over to Greece.
The frieze associated with the name of the ancient architect Phidias was allegedly demolished by the third Ottoman. It was authorized by Sultan Selim in 1801, when Greece was also under his suzerainty. The British ambassador to Constantinople, Lord Elgin, obtained “some blocks of stone with inscriptions or figures” in this reference. However, Elgin removed the entire frieze from the Parthenon for transport to London, but some pieces were already sold en route.
The collection of the University of Heidelberg was the first institution to return the relief fragments belonging to the Parthenon from its collection in 2006. This past May, the Archaeological Museum of Palermo returned the fragments of the ancient temple to the Acropolis Museum.
Last December, Pope Francis announced that the Vatican Museums would be given to the second Orthodox Archbishop of Athens. Relief fragments were given to Lerumos.
There were three pieces in the Vatican collection: the head of a horse, a portrait of a boy, and the head of a bearded man.
The horse comes from a fragment of the frieze depicting the controversy between Athena and Poseidon. The boy is the bearer of the bread presented in a procession organized in honor of the goddess Athena. The bearded man’s head is one of the details of the fighting centaurs on the frieze.
Athena has been demanding the return of the frieze statues from the British Museum for decades, and has offered to loan other ancient Greek historical and cultural artifacts to the British Museum in exchange for eventual delivery.
However, from the outset, London ruled out the possibility of permanently giving away the Parthenon frieze pieces: According to the foundation, the marble statues were legally acquired, and UK law does not allow the collection to be dismantled, MTI reports.
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