Elgin Marble Going On Loan To Russia

Maybe Greece can steal it back while it’s on loan. Yes, it’s true: the British Museum has lent one of the Elgin Marbles for the first time. A headless depiction of the river god Ilissos has been sent to Russia—despite tensions over Ukraine—to go on display in St Petersburg’s State Hermitage Museum, which is celebrating its 250th anniversary, until mid-January. It is one of a number of relics acquired by Lord Elgin in Athens in the early 19th Century, now known collectively as the Elgin Marbles. Ownership of the artefacts, once part of the 2,500-year-old Parthenon temple, is disputed by Greece, which maintains that Elgin removed them illegally while the country was under Turkish occupation as part of the Ottoman Empire. The items have remained in the British Museum ever since.

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