A Scot against destiny?
Elgin was Scottish. Scotland can help deliver justice.
The notion of heritage is one that transcends cultures. It’s importance reaches everyone’s heart. The Scots have a history rich in fighting for their land and identity. The Scottish identity is inherently linked with Scotland’s history, traditions and heritage. Buildings, objects, places… What would Edinburgh be without Calton Hill, Scott Monument or the Castle? What does the Wallace Monument resonate in the Scots’ hearts?
The Parthenon sculptures are connected with Greek identity. They are part of the Greek history and culture. Ironically, it was a Scotsman, Thomas Bruce the 7th Earl of Elgin, commonly known as Elgin, who, without legitimate authority, removed a large piece of Greek heritage from occupied Athens in the 19th century. His intention was to adorn his mansion in Scotland with pieces of the Acropolis, some of which may still be in Broomhall House in Fife (for more information please refer to this article: “Scotland’s role in an Elgin Marbles mystery…“). However, the issue extends beyond the fragments that might be in Scotland. Today, the British authorities refuse to return to Athens the Acropolis sculptures – that is, the sculptures and architectural members that Elgin took from the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, the Propylaea, and the temple of Athena Nike. How important is this to the Greeks? Is there not a kindred spirit shared with the Scots? Was it not the Stone of Scone that resided in England which was returned to the Scots after many years of injustice? And is it a coincidence that the Scots chose to construct a Parthenon overlooking their capital?
The Acropolis sculptures are to the Greeks what the Stone of Scone is to the Scots. It is this strong historical, symbolic, emotional link between both countries and pieces of heritage, coordinates in time and space, that help us define our life experience and sense of self. Scots, Greek, all nationalities – we are citizens of a world! Sharing space and time makes it important that we respect the diversity and richness of this world. People, values, history, feelings. Our common destiny is to learn to love and respect life, in all of its forms and expressions; be together and make good things happen. This is what the fight in all of us is about. History is the timeline. Heritage is the trigger. We have our will. The Stone of Scone is also called the Stone of Destiny…
Scots! When it comes to the sculptures of the Acropolis, whose destiny do you see in them? When will you have your heart heard in yet a faraway land?