Sicily returns the Phagan fragment of the Parthenon to Greece

Sicily returns to Greece a fragment of the Parthenon frieze as part of a cultural agreement of great international importance.

Known as the Fagan Fragment, it depicts the foot of the goddess Peyto or Artemis peeking out of a beautifully sewn tunic. Refunds are made in the context of the Greek-Italian exchange agreement, with the option of permanently returning the piece to the country of origin.

The piece is part of a collection that once belonged to Robert Fagan, former British Consul in Sicily and Malta, and his current home is the Regional Archaeological Museum of Antonino Salinas in Palermo.

According to an exclusive report from the Italian news agency ansa, the head of the Sicilian department of the Italian Ministry of Culture, Alberto Samona, worked diligently on the agreement, which is of great symbolic significance for Greek culture and was welcomed by the Minister of Culture and Sports of Greece, Lina Mendoni.

This makes Sicily a pioneer in the return of Parthenon fragments to Greece and contributes to a long international debate on this issue, when the UK rejected Greek calls for the return of marbles stored in the British Museum.

The agreement signed by the A. Salinas Regional Archaeological Museum and the Acropolis Museum, following a fruitful dialogue between the administration of Sicily’s Governor Nello Musumeci and Minister Mendoni, provides for a multi-year transfer and exchange of artifacts between the two cultural institutions.

Under an agreement that is valid for four years and can only be renewed once, the Salinas Museum will donate to the Acropolis Museum a fragment of the Parthenon that the University of Palermo bought from Fagan’s widow in 1820.

In return, two important items will be donated from the Acropolis Museum for four years – a headless statue of Athena from the late 5th century BC and an amphora from the first half of the 8th century BC. There is also an agreement on partnership between museums to organize joint cultural initiatives of international importance.

Sicily really wants to finally return the work to Greece, and the regional government has asked the Italian Republic’s Ministry of Culture to choose the path that will lead to this result. The issue is under consideration by the “Commission of the Ministry for the Seizure and Return of Cultural Property”.

The return of the fragment confirms the brotherly relationship between Sicily and Greece, based on their common Mediterranean roots, ancient and deep ties between the two lands.

The agreement came at the end of the year celebrating the anniversary of the start of Greece’s struggle for independence, and just over three months after the UNESCO Intergovernmental Commission for the Return of Cultural Property to Countries of Origin (ICPRCP) called on the United Kingdom to “reconsider its position and begin negotiations with Greece”. which, since 1984, has been demanding the return of the Parthenon sculptures kept in the British Museum in London, the ANSA report says.

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