One of our Global Greeks, renowned film producer Costas Gavras, producer of 'Z' and 'Missing' produced the magnificent video which we have embedded below for the Cultural Olympiad of Athens, 2003 - 2004. It eloquently depicts the history of the Parthenon and it's trial and tribulations through the centuries. During the video you can hear the following excerpt from 'The Curse of Minerva' written by Lord Byron in 1811 being recited.
Byron passionately opposed Lord Elgin's removal of the Parthenon marbles from Greece and denounced it at every opportunity.He wrote this poem, The Curse of Minerva, castigating Elgin's shameful actions in removing the friezes and metopes so integral to the Parthenon.
"Mortal!" -- 'twas thus she spake -- "that blush of shame
Proclaims thee Briton, once a noble name;
First of the mighty, foremost of the free,
Now honour'd less by all, and least by me;
Chief of thy foes shall Pallas still be found.
Seek'st thou the cause of loathing? --look around.
Lo! here, despite of war and wasting fire,
I saw successive tyrannies expire.
'Scaped from the ravage of the Turk and Goth,
Thy country sends a spoiler worse than both.
Survey this vacant, violated fane;
Recount the relics torn that yet remain:
These Cecrops placed, this Pericles adorn'd,
That Adrian rear'd when drooping Science mourn'd.
What more I owe let gratitude attest--
Know, Alaric and Elgin did the rest.
That all may learn from whence the plunderer came,
The insulted wall sustains his hated name:
For Elgin's fame thus grateful Pallas pleads,
Below, his name--above, behold his deeds!
Be ever hailed with equal honour here
The Gothic monarch and the Pictish peer:
arms gave the first his right, the last had none,
But basely stole what less barbarians won.
So when the lion quits his fell repast,
Next prowls the wolf, the filthy jackal last;
Some calm spectator, as he takes his view,
In silent indignation mix'd with grief,
Admires the plunder, but abhors the thief.
In 1812, Lord Byron went on to write 'Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, with the same reproach and recrimination for such an ignoble deed on the part of his countryman!
Cold is the heart, fair Greece, that looks on thee,
Nor feels as lovers o’er the dust they loved;
Dull is the eye that will not weep to see
Thy walls defaced, thy mouldering shrines removed
By British hands, which it had best behov’d
To guard those relics ne’er to be restored.
Curst be the hour when their isle they roved,
And once again thy hapless bosom gored,
And snatch’d thy shrinking Gods to northern climes abhorr’d!
We at Global Greek World are grateful that Greece has had such wonderful friends, truly great men and women, and that Philhellenes such as Lord Byron were outspoken critics of Elgin's actions and condemned these actions so vehemently!
We continue to consider Elgin's action criminal and those of the British Museum, which like an ostrich hiding it's head in the sand determined to ignore the international wave of protests, self-centred at the very least! To the British Government, the only body with any real power to do something about it - we reiterate:
There are no excuses anymore!
Bring the Parthenon Marbles home!!
We thank Global Greek writer, Alexis Mantheakis, for allowing the use of his oh so evocative photo of the British Museum. Alexis recently launched a new initiative for the Repatriation of the Parthenon Marbles , gathering more than 100,000 members on Facebook! To read about this Campaign Click here