New Acropolis Museum Restores Mention of Christian Vandals

ATHENS, Greece (AP) Greece Greeces new Acropolis Museum said Tuesday it would restore references to early Christians vandalizing the ancient Parthenon temple, which were deleted from a film shown to visitors for fear of angering the countrys powerful Orthodox Church.
The decision last month to delete the short segment angered the films creator, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Constantin Costa-Gavras, and was criticized in the Greek press as an act of censorship.
The controversy came just over a month after the opening of the new museum, where Greece hopes one day to display the Elgin — or Parthenon — sculptures if the British Museum ever accedes to a Greek demand for their return.
Museum Director Dimitris Pantermalis said the film will be shown uncut, as the Greek-born French filmmaker told him the segment implied no official involvement of the church of the day in the vandalism — some 1,500 years ago.
*quot;Following this obvious clarification … the film will continue to be shown,*quot; Pantermalis said Tuesday.
The animated segment showed figures clad in black climbing up ladders and destroying part of the Parthenon frieze. It belonged to a nearly two-minute segment by Costa-Gavras depicting damage done to Parthenon over the centuries — from marauding Germanic warriors in 267 A.D. to the removal of a large part of the sculptured frieze by British diplomat Lord Elgin in early 19th century.
The works taken by Elgin remain in the British Museum, which says they are better off there than in Athens.
Pantermalis said Costa-Gavras told him the black-clad figures were not meant to represent members of the clergy.
Church officials say they discussed the issue but made no complaint, formal or informal.
Archaeologists believe Christian zealots mutilated many figures on the frieze — a 162-meter sculptured band that ran round the 5th century B.C. temple on the Acropolis — and removed other sculptures in the 5th or 6th century A.D. when the marble building was converted into a church.
Costa-Gavras, known mainly for French-language films with political themes, such as *quot;Z and *quot;State of Siege*quot;, shared an Academy Award in 1983 for best screenplay adaptation for the English-language film *quot;Missing,*quot; a film Costa-Gavras also directed.


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