Dimitris Pantermalis, a professor and the curator of the Acropolis Museum, debunked on Monday claims that the Earl of Elgin had obtained permission from the Ottoman Sultan to transport the Parthenon Marbles from Athens to London.
Speaking at the international workshop entitled “Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures,” which is being held in the auditorium of the Acropolis Museum, Pantermalis noted that for the first time, we now know the Ottoman side of the story of the Parthenon Marbles rather than just the English side.
According to Pantermalis, a thorough search of the Ottoman archives between 1800 and 1830 has uncovered that the Ottoman Sultan gave permission to Lord Elgin only to conduct excavations around the Parthenon.
The Sultan, who was the absolute ruler of Greece at the time, and did not grant, by any means whatsoever, permission to transfer the ancient, priceless sculptures outside of the Ottoman Empire, to which Athens then belonged.
The British Museum still claims to this day that Elgin did not ”steal” the artifacts, and that they are their rightful owners.
The museum insists that Elgin had the statues chipped away from the facade of the ancient building and took them to Britain with the complete knowledge and permission of the Ottoman authorities.
The “Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures” workshop was organized by the Presidency of the Hellenic Republic, Greece’s Ministry of Culture and Sports, the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures and the Acropolis Museum.