Disputed Antiquities

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Ian Berry / Magnum

The Elgin Marbles
At the British Museum, tourists walk past a line of statues that once adorned the east pediment of the Parthenon. The Elgin marbles, which also include pieces of the temple frieze and other sculpted slabs, constitute roughly half the surviving figures from the Parthenon. (Most of the rest remain in Athens.) They were removed to London in the early 19th century by Lord Elgin, the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, which ruled Greece at the time.

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