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wwarnout t1_jbayhyp wrote

Exactly how did the Vatican come to "own" those sculptures?


DeadFyre t1_jbcs773 wrote

They were acquired prior to the Greek War of Independence which freed Greece from the rule of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans didn't care very much about Greek heritage and culture, and sold permission to carry off artifacts to various European archaeologists.


ShillingAndFarding t1_jbblzqp wrote

During the Napoleonic wars, British archaeologists went to ottoman territories under the premise of making casts and buying some artifacts. The sultan made an announcement to make it easier for them to move the casts out. The archaeologists took advantage of the looser customs inspections to smuggle thousands of real artifacts out.

Seems these were gifted to the Vatican afterwards.


TheGrayBox t1_jbc0olw wrote

The British Empire, famously big fans of the Catholic Church /s


ShillingAndFarding t1_jbcdah0 wrote

The British Empire didn’t personally steal the artifacts. Individual British people, one of which must have either liked the Catholic Church or maybe was friends with a priest or whatever, stole the artifacts. The British Empire just saw it as a happy accident that they got the real stuff instead of copies.

These are apparently from the acropolis damaged during the Ottoman-Venetian wars. That makes it very very likely it was smuggled out by the British or a catholic working with the British.