Essay on Who Owns The Elgin Marbles Precis

1137 WordsDec 11, 20145 Pages
“Who Owns the Elgin Marbles?” – The Précis “Who Owns the Elgin Marbles?” this question continues to linger in some minds today, and just so happens to be reviewed in the respectfully titled article written by John Henry Merryman in 1986. In this article, Merryman, in the most unbiased way possible, assesses both Britain’s and Greece’s side of the argument pertaining to the ownership of the Elgin Marbles and whether they should be returned to Greece after being removed from the Parthenon by Lord Elgin in the early 19th century. Within the article, the main points discussed regard the morality and legality of the removal of the marbles. Merryman goes on to discuss three more main concerns dealing with the marbles and where they belong:…show more content…
Britain wins the legality argument with no question. Morality of the removal is the point most frequently visited in the ownership argument. Did Elgin remove the marbles morally? Did he take them with good intentions? Was it his place to take them? These are all arguments that grant Greece the sympathy card, but unfortunately for the Greeks, legality overrules emotion in the setting of a courtroom. However, the Greeks are adamant about making the morality of this case known. Melina Mercouri spearheaded the emotional argument, stating that the marbles were made by the Greek, for the Greek and therefore, belong to the Greek. Byron, a poet of the time, was unfair and depicted Lord Elgin as an “…exploitative, unfeeling despoiler of a helpless Greece.” These two bring with them a large fan base and powerful case of emotion, but ultimately, the morality question cannot be fully answered; this point, when all said and done, is based on opinion and cannot be used in a court of law. Continuing with morality, people want to know if it is morally right to keep the marbles in Britain. This is where preservation, integrity and distribution come into play. For obvious reasons, preservation of the marbles takes priority to both the Greek and the British. Integrity and distribution rely on the preservation of the marbles, therefore everyone

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