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Politics

Reps. Maloney, Bilirakis, and Payne, Jr. Call for Resolution on Parthenon Marbles

February 6, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Congressman Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), and Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), leaders of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, requested on Monday, Feb. 5 that the Committee on Foreign Affairs hold a hearing on their House Resolution expressing the sense of the Congress that the Parthenon Marbles should be returned to Greece.

In their request, the Members wrote to Chairman Ed Royce and Ranking Member Eliot Engel, “These sculptures are ancient symbols of Greek heritage, culture, and art. Greeks and visitors should be able to experience and enjoy the entire frieze in Greece in the way it was intended and originally designed around the Temple of Athena.”

Full text of the letter follows:

Dear Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel,

We write to respectfully request that the Committee on Foreign Affairs hold a hearing on H. Con. Res. 51, expressing the sense of the Congress that the Parthenon Marbles should be returned to Greece. This resolution encourages negotiations between the United Kingdom and Greece to come to an agreement to ensure the rightful return of these historical treasures.

As you know, between 1801 and 1816 Thomas Bruce, a British nobleman, removed over 100 sculptures from the Parthenon and subsequently sold them to the British Museum, were they have been housed ever since. Since 1830, Greece has sought the rightful return of the Parthenon Marbles. The Acropolis Museum in Athens currently houses the remaining Marbles that were not taken by Bruce and displays them alongside plaster replicas of the Marbles that were removed. These sculptures are ancient symbols of Greek heritage, culture, and art. Greeks and visitors should be able to experience and enjoy the entire frieze in Greece in the way it was intended and originally designed around the Temple of Athena.

The Greek government has pledged to work diplomatically with the British government to reach an agreement regarding the Parthenon Marbles. Furthermore, British Members of Parliament across the political spectrum have supported legislation to authorize the return of the Marbles. Passing this resolution would send a clear signal to both countries that the United States is committed to the fair return of these invaluable historical artifacts.

As leaders of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, we look forward to working with you to advance H. Con. Res. 51. Thank you for considering holding a hearing regarding this important matter that has gone unresolved for too long.

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