Elgin Marbles

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The Acropolis was at that time an Ottoman military fort, so Elgin required special permission to enter the site, the Parthenon, and the surrounding buildings. He stated that he had obtained a firman from the Sultan which allowed his artists to access the site, but he was unable to produce the original documentation. However, Elgin presented a document claimed to be an English translation of an Italian copy made at the time. This document is now kept in the British Museum. Its authenticity has been questioned, as it lacked the formalities characterising edicts from the sultan. Vassilis Demetriades, Professor of Turkish Studies at the University of Crete, has argued that "any expert in Ottoman diplomatic language can easily ascertain that the original of the document which has survived was not a firman". The document was recorded in an appendix of an 1816 parliamentary committee report. 'The committee permission' had convened to examine a request by Elgin asking the British government to purchase the Marbles. The report said that the document in the appendix was an accurate translation, in English, of an Ottoman firman dated July 1801. In Elgin's view it amounted to an Ottoman authorisation to remove the marbles. The committee was told that the original document was given to Ottoman officials in Athens in 1801. Researchers have so far failed to locate it despite the fact that firmans, being official decrees by the Sultan, were meticulously recorded as a matter of procedure, and that the Ottoman archives in Istanbul still hold a number of similar documents dating from the same period.

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Photogallery Elgin Marbles:


Elgin Marbles


Elgin Marbles


Elgin Marbles


Elgin Marbles


Elgin Marbles


Elgin Marbles


Elgin Marbles


Elgin Marbles


Elgin Marbles


Elgin Marbles


Elgin Marbles


Elgin Marbles


Elgin Marbles


Elgin Marbles


Elgin Marbles


Elgin Marbles


Elgin Marbles


Elgin Marbles


Elgin Marbles


Elgin Marbles


Elgin Marbles


Elgin Marbles


Elgin Marbles


Elgin Marbles


Elgin Marbles


Elgin Marbles


Elgin Marbles


Elgin Marbles