As Europe Returns Artifacts, Britain Stays Silent on the Parthenon Marbles

LONDON — In 1984, Neil Kinnock, then leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, did something few politicians here have dared: He pledged to return the Parthenon Marbles.

Those classical sculptures, often called the Elgin Marbles after the British aristocrat who removed them from the Parthenon in the early 1800s and brought them to London, were “a moral issue,” Kinnock told reporters during a visit to Athens. “The Parthenon without the marbles is like a smile with a missing…

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