There is very little that is British in the British Museum, the joke goes, it was all stolen from other countries. Everyone in Britain jokes about it.
One comedian has made it part of his act.
He may not mention them by name but anyone who follows current events knows that James Ancaster is probably referring to the Parthenon Marbles in this hilarious clip.
He’s making fun of— in a very British way— how British have had the tendency to “steal” other people’s artifacts over the centuries and refuse to return them. British stubbornness, perhaps.
A British diplomat, Thomas Bruce, the 7th Earl of Elgin, directed workers to vandalize and loot one of the most important structures in history— the Parthenon of Athens.
Elgin hacked away about half the friezes from the upper walls of the temple and surrounding buildings in an act of desecration that lasted from 1801 to 1812, and then transported them by sea back to Britain.
Two centuries later and despite global pressure, Britain still refuses to return them. This intransigence was best expressed by Margaret Thatcher. When then Greek culture minister, the actress Melina Mercouri, celebrated for her role in the 1960 film Never On Sunday, called for the return of the Marbles in 1982, the UK prime minister responded, “Never on any day.”
Comedian James Ancaster has the final laugh, though.
Is The Pappas Post worth $5 a month for all of the content you read? On any given month, we publish dozens of articles that educate, inform, entertain, inspire and enrich thousands who read The Pappas Post. I’m asking those who frequent the site to chip in and help keep the quality of our content high — and free. Click here and start your monthly or annual support today. If you choose to pay (a) $5/month or more or (b) $50/year or more then you will be able to browse our site completely ad-free!