The New York TimesThe New York Times

After 220 years, the fate of the Parthenon marbles rests in secret talks

By Alex Marshall

17 Jan 2023 · 8 min read

Editor's Note

It's been the subject of a long debate, but Britain and Greece are getting closer to a deal on returning the Elgin Marbles to Athens, the NYT reports. There's still a lot of work to be done, though.

When Lord Elgin, a British aristocrat, sailed home from Greece in the early 1800s, he also shipped to England some of the greatest treasures of antiquity: a collection that included statues of Greek gods and carved frieze panels depicting battling centaurs that once decorated the Parthenon in Athens.

Torn in some cases from the temple walls, ostensibly with the permission of the Ottomans who then ruled Greece, the so-called Elgin Marbles were later sold to the British government and became some of the most storied artifacts in the collection of the British Museum.

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