Tuesday , March 28 2023
Home / News / Culture / Archeology / Boris Johnson: Parthenon Marbles will not return to Greece, were obtained legally

Boris Johnson: Parthenon Marbles will not return to Greece, were obtained legally

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has dismissed Greece’s call for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to the country, arguing that the 2,500-year-old cultural treasures are “legally owned by the British Museum.”

In an exclusive interview statement to newspaper Ta Nea, Johnson said “I understand the strong feelings of the Greek people and of Prime Minister Mitsotakis on the issue.”

“But the UK government has a firm longstanding position on the sculptures which is that they were legally acquired by Lord Elgin under the appropriate laws of the time and have been legally owned by the British Museum’s Trustees since their acquisition,” Johnson underlined.

Ta Nea notes that this statement is the first time Johnson has spoken publicly on the issue since taking office. The last time was seven years ago, when, as mayor of London, he got involved in a verbal incident with George Clooney, because the American actor asked for the reunion of the Sculptures exhibited since 1817 in the British Museum.

The Greek newspaper adds: One could say  Boris Johnson is the most “Greek-loving” prime minister to cross Downing Street – of course, after Canning and Gladstone. He studied Classical Philology and Philosophy at Oxford, adores the ancient Greek literature, recites (with an erratic accent) verses from the “Iliad”, calls Homer “the greatest writer of all times” and has as his hero Pericles.

Furthermore, he visits Greece almost every year (before the pandemic), vacationing at his father’s two-storey villa in Horto of Pelion, where he tastes local specialties – with a particular preference for kleftiko and tzatziki.

Are these outbursts of “philhellenism” (and a bit of retsina above) enough for the British Prime Minister to satisfy the most urgent and constant bilateral request made for the first time in the early 19th century – the return of the Parthenon Sculptures to Greece? No.

Check Also

Weather Greece: Rainfalls, storms, temperature drop, gusty winds

Meteorologists in Greece have been warning of a weather deterioration with strong rainfalls and storms …


  1. I feel this is wrong, it’s like stolen goods. Bought from occupiers. If you have a grain of decency you would return them.
    I also dislike Gibraltar and other occupied land. That counts for every country that has something that is not theirs. In this day age it is appalling and childish. Shame on you Boris.

    • You would change the whole world map then -kick the French out from our lands ,i give england back to the danes, ignore votes of Gibraltarians etc -Get real !

  2. Fatboy Johnson is as bad an historian as he is a politician: third rate or worse. The historical record shows clearly that the British Parliament of the time was very sceptical about the legality of a missing firman in Ottomanl and only an unverified translation in Italian as evidence that Elgin had any permission from the Turks. Even the Italian “translation” gives only permission for him to collect fallen pieces from the ground, as opposed to what he did — namely, use powerful mechanical saws to remove numerous friezes from the Parthenon, which were in perfect condition and should never have been physically touched (let alone sawn off).

    Of course, the Parliament could see only a large can of worms (not to mention a Box of Pandora) if they dwelt on the legality of Elgin’s conduct: so they avoided dealing with it. Johnson does the same. This is the behaviour of cowards with third rate minds, so Johnson carries on that fine British tradition.

  3. Legally? How to define “legally” when it’s cristal clear to everyone – except to the colonialist Brits – that those sculptures belong to the Parthenon and should be put back there. But as always: once a thief, always a thief…..

  4. Lord Elgin is long dead. I’m Scottish and like many others think the Pathernon Marbles should be returned to Greece where they belong. Boris Johnson is such an embarrassment. No wonder there is a campaign in Scotland for independence right now.

  5. What can be expected from the country that is still probably number one in screwing up more of the world than any other nation? And continues to slavishly help the number two with the same mischief.

    • Don’t give the Brits too much honour which they don’t deserve. They are definitely not number 1 ANYMORE (!) in screwing up most of the world: since the second world war that ranking was obtained by the Yankees and they still own it. But hey, Brits live in the past, so actually they haven’t noticed yet that the world has changed 😉

  6. Boris Johnson has made his poiitical career on the issue of ‘Britain is best and the EU is bad’. There is thus no way politically that he could ever countenance returning the marbles to Greece at this time. It’s thus not a properly considered decision, it’s entirely political and, like so much in British politics these days, its a product of the nationalistic short-sightedness of Brexit. This is not the end, it’s just the only decision that British politics will permit at this time of anti EU sentiment.

  7. Boris Johnson apparently doesn’t know the true meaning of the words “legal” and “legally”. But then what can you expect from the PM of a country that is still living with the thoughts of having colonies (like Wales and Scotland for instance) and where the “upperclass” is looking upon everybody else as their slaves. Secondly of course there is still his retaliation towards the EU for the Brexit negotiations where he came out with much less in hand than he had promised his country.

  8. The UK is one of the biggest if not the biggest pillagers of the world. So no wonder there. But perhaps one day the UK will hold a fire sale of everything they have stolen in order to support their economy that will go down the drain now that many companies are leaving the UK due to Brexit. Of course, the Marbles should be for free. The EU was very reasonable with the UK regarding Brexit but with the whole vaccine business they have shown they are not to be trusted. Time to shut the door on them.
    Oh, and confiscate his father’s villa in Pillion.

  9. The vandalisation of one of the planet’s most important buildings can never be viewed as legal in any sense. Now that the UK has a corrupt government full of liars and charlatans perhaps a little φακελακι might ensure their return.