Saturday, April 26, 2008

Greek Cultural Heritage Crusader Runs Afoul of Greek Cultural Property Law

The AIA's Archaeology Magazine online news recently reported that, "Costas Carras, founder of the Hellenic Society for the Protection of the Environment and Cultural Heritage, has been accused of owning illegal artifacts. 'It is ludicrous that authorities should attack the one person who has spent a lifetime preserving the items and ideas that the authorities themselves are supposed to protect,' said former politician Stefanos Manos.'" For more, see

This is only the latest dust-up within the Greek cultural property world. Back in January, Greece appointed a new Secretary General of its Culture Ministry following a sex and potential corruption scandal that culminated in the attempted suicide of the prior Secretary General.
For more, see

In my opinion, these scandals seriously undercut the Greek Government's moral authority to demand repatriation of Greek artifacts long held abroad. One would hope this would lead to some soul searching on such issues, but something tells me these scandals will only encourage Greek cultural bureaucrats to ramp up repatriation efforts as a diversion from problems at home. Indeed, the Greek government has recently announced its plans for even more aggressive repatriation efforts and even more stringent domestic cultural property laws.

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