The Odyssey
Base Camp
Trek Connect
Time Machine
Multimedia and Special Guests

Monica Dispatch
More Making a Difference Articles

I'm M.A.D. about the Acropolis

Click image for larger view
I'm M.A.D.

about the Acropolis
Wanted! The return, in good condition, of the Parthenon Marbles! The Parthenon is one of the most-recognized buildings in the whole world. It's facade was used in the logo design for UNESCO, which marks official World Heritage Sites around the world. Millions of people know what it is, even if they've never seen it or visited the Acropolis, in Athens, Greece, where the majority of the building is situated. The Parthenon stunningly displays the beauty and glory of Classical Greece. As the largest Doric-style temple in the whole country, it is also the only one built entirely out of Pentelic marble, a fine white marble from Attica. More than two thousand years ago, the Parthenon came into being. Created by the sculptor, Pheidias, with the help of architects Iktinos and Kallikrates, they commenced construction in 447 BC and completed it in 438 BC. However, in 1801, Lord Elgin, a British ambassador to Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) decided to expand his collection of ancient Classical artifacts by taking sculptures from the Parthenon. Using his contacts and standing with the Turks, he secured a permit and set out, with teams of workmen, to strip the Parthenon of its beautiful designs.

So, what does it look like? The temple has 17 columns on each side, and eight columns on either end. Each column is curved to counter optical illusions. There was a frieze all the way around the Parthenon, with 92 metopes (sculptured sections) and 44 statues depicting mythological deities, battles, and typical scenes of Greek life. The ceiling was painted blue, with stars. Small-scale models of the facade currently exist in the Acropolis Museum, based on descriptions of writers who traveled there before 1801.


frieze - any decorative band on an outside wall
deities - deus a god; akin to divine or divinity
Pentelic - Pertaining to Mount Pentelicus, near Athens, famous for its fine white marble quarries; obtained from Mount Pentelicus; as, the Pentelic marble of which the Parthenon is built.


Lord Elgin and his workmen took approximately 75 meters worth of the 159.5m long frieze back to Britain. At the time, the British Parliament accused Elgin of being an illegal antiquities dealer, but couldn't find adequate proof. Therefore, they purchased the so-called Elgin Marbles and presented them to the British Museum, in London, where they remain to this day. ***Where do these marbles belong?*** In London? In museums around the world? In Athens, their original home?
Click image
for larger view

of its marble
Melina Mercouri, Minister of Culture to UNESCO, first raised the question in 1982, at the UNESCO World Meeting, of the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles. "...We fully appreciate that museums cannot be emptied. But I would like to remind you that in the case of the Acropolis Marbles we are not asking for the return of a painting or a statue. We are asking for the restitution of part of a unique monument, the particular symbol of a civilization. And, I believe that the time has come for these Marbles to come home to the blue skies of Attica, to their rightful place [in Athens]..." Since 1982, Mercouri's original request has been echoed by UNESCO, British citizens led by the British Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles, the European Parliament, important artistic and literary figures, as well as people from all over the world. Only the British Parliament can vote on this decision.

Click image
for larger view
Looking up

toward England

for answers

So, whose side are you anyway?

What are the reasons for the marble to stay in England?

  1. There is the claim that Elgin bought and paid for the Marbles.
  2. Claims that the Ottoman Government gave permission to tear down the friezes
  3. Others say the Marbles are more accessible in London than in Athens
  4. Arguments that the Greek nation cannot take care of these friezes
Well, then why should they be brought back to Athens?
  1. Well, one is that the Parthenon, is a great work of art. And, it should not be kept in two parts 1500 miles apart.
  2. Another reason is that the Parthenon is a symbol of history and culture, not just to the Greek people, but to the whole world.
  3. A new museum built at the foot of the Acropolis can hold all the material found on the site for study and classification.

What do you think? Here's part of an open letter written to the Prime Minister of Great Britain.

"Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
The Parthenon Marbles may still be in a foreign land, far from their home, but the struggle to secure their return goes on. The Parthenon temple, the eternal symbol of the world cultural heritage, demands its moral and historical rights. The forceful removal of the sculptures by Lord Elgin in 1801 mutilated the monument and at the same time wounded civilization. The Greek Federation of Guilds in the Ministry of Culture... joins its voice with all those who are calling upon the British Government to return the Parthenon Marbles to their birthplace.
Click image for larger view
Thumbs up

for Making a

In the name of Civilization, we call upon the Prime Minister of Great Britain to consent to the return of the Marbles to Athens, not merely to satisfy the Greek demands, but also to rehabilitate this brilliant monument an eternal legacy and a work of artistic creation revered by all and for all."

If you believe the Parthenon Marbles belong in Greece, please copy this letter, sign it, and send it with your support to:

The Greek Federation of Guilds Ministry of Culture1B,
Dioskouron Str. 105 55


p.s. - Please e-mail me at

Monica - Sharing Food, Sharing Voices: Girls of the World Unite!
Jasmine - Valley of the Dead
Abeja - Egyptian Life, THEN and Now
Abeja - Egyptian Life, NOW and Then
Kavitha - Stay Tuned for More Egyptian Dynasty
Making a Difference - Just Do It

Meet Monica | Monica's Archive

Making a Difference Archive

Base Camp | Trek Connect
Time Machine | Multimedia and Special Guests

Home | Search | Teacher Zone | Odyssey Info

Meet Monica