Reblogged: Scotland’s role in an Elgin Marbles mystery

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The following post made me particularly mad. This has nothing to do with its writer, the lovely Marjory McGinn, who has done a remarkable job introducing the Elgin family and their renowned thieving practices. What made me mad was the typical arrogance with which Elgin’s descendants hold on to whatever plundered Greek antiquities they still proudly exhibit inside their lair of stolen goods. You may have noticed that I have not used the word ‘Lord’ before Elgin’s name as in my opinion such a title would suit somewhat, more honourable people.  It is no surprise that the Greeks think of Elgin as the devil, given the devastation he has caused to their most precious Parthenon and the great injustice that he has caused them to endure for centuries. As for the term ‘Elgin Marbles’, this is a British term which cleverly implies that Elgin was  the legal proprietor of the Marbles until the British museum purchased them from him. The Greeks, however, who know under what circumstances he snatched them from this end, know better than name them after him, prefering the P.C. term ‘Parthenon Marbles’. After all, if you wake up one morning and your telly has gone missing, whoever and wherever the robber may be, you can never refer to it as the robber’s telly, can you? It’s still your home telly, right?

Back to this excellent post though. I am pleased to introduce you to Marjory McGinn today, a Scottish girl who somehow has been surrounded by Greeks so much and for so long that inevitably, she got to love them. She tells me that when she was little, her family migrated from Scotland to Australia. Her first best friend there was a Greek girl. Later in life, she moved to Mani in Greece where she spent 3 years with her partner and her ‘crazy jack russel’. Her book ‘Things Can Only Get Feta’ is a humorous account of her Greek adventures during that time. You can find out more about her and her book on her website www.bigfatgreekodyssey.com.

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I AM standing within sight of Broomhall House in central Scotland on a bitterly cold day and marvelling at how this grey, slightly dour stately home has been at the centre of one of the most heated cultural debates of modern times.

This is the house built by Thomas Bruce, the 7th Earl of Elgin, which he planned to adorn with his vast heist of Parthenon sculptures, and other antiquities that are now known as the Elgin Marbles. It amounted to some 220 tonnes and nearly half of what the Parthenon was decorated with up to the late 18th century, as well as other significant items from the Acropolis and other sites around Athens.

Broomhall House, near the village of Charlestown, Fife, is fenced off to the public, so you can’t get too close, yet even from a distance the house seems vast: a huge frontage, Grecian-style columns at the entrance, large windows, but Downton Abbey it is not!

Visit Marjory’s ‘Big Fat Greek Blog’ to read the rest of the article.

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11 responses to “Reblogged: Scotland’s role in an Elgin Marbles mystery

  1. Thanks for reblogging this Effrosyni. I am glad you found the piece informative. My only regret, as a journalist, was that I wasn’t allowed to talk to the family about their ‘collection’ or get to see the items. The family are, as you can imagine, very guarded about things as far as the media is concerned. Never mind, one day…

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  2. I like the telly analogy as well. Only in this case when Elgin nicked the telly he had a dodgy foreign receipt for it in his back pocket that no-one has been able to translate properly or understand ever since. 🙂

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