I have so many reviews to catch up on!
This is the latest 888 reaching challenge book that I have finished. This book caught my eye when I first saw the title as had just been to Greece. Standing up on the Acropolis in Athens is a singular experience, and so much about it is stunning and incredible. I loved just about everything in Greece and can’t wait to go back soon, but I am also interested in learning more about its history. I find it so intriguing that this little country has so much history and so much turmoil.
The Elgin Marbles are of course a key part of both the history and the turmoil. While the buildings on the Acropolis are breathtaking even in their current state, I can’t even imagine what it would have been like to see them complete-the height, the design, the reliefs, the metal work, the colors, the detail. Even seeing what I can see know, I can imagine how a visitor would love to preserve what is left from further destruction. I can see how someone with the means might want to take some of this amazing art and move it from such a volatile, unprotected area of the world. I think that Elgin was motivated in part by this when he decided to take very large pieces of marble art from Athens and move them to England.
The thing about this book is that it really didn’t address the marbles themselves as much as I would like. I think Elgin wanted to preserve this part of history and art, but I sure think he wanted to make money and make a name for himself as well. And I have no idea what the Mistress really thought about it all.
So I enjoyed the book as an interesting look at the life of an ambassador’s family in the late 1700’s-early 1800’s. The Countess of Elgin was a remarkable woman, able to adapt to many challenging situations, meet the needs of many demanding people, and manage a vast amount of resources. The book also provides an look into the world of a Brit living in the land of the Turks, during the time of Napoleon-it brings many places and people together.
All in all, I enjoyed the book, but I will still have to find something else to shed more light on the Elgin Marble controversy. Elgin did move this art to England and then he sold it to the British Museum. I understand why England loves these pieces (and I have seen them in the British Museum, too) and wants to keep them. But I understand why the Greeks want the real marbles back in their country too. 🙂