Elgin Marbles (ĕl´gĬn), ancient sculptures taken from Athens to England in 1806 by Thomas Bruce, 7th earl of Elgin; other fragments exist in several European museums. Consisting of much of the surviving frieze and other sculptures from the Parthenon, a caryatid, and a column from the Erechtheum, they were sold to the British government in 1816 and are now on view in the British Museum. Since then, the Greek government has sought the return of the marbles. Although British claims are based on Elgin's purchase of the sculptures, Greece has contested this, and its position has many supporters.
See T. Vrettos, The Elgin Affair (1997).