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“Socrates” seeks Royals’ help to return Elgin Marbles

Media Release

Thursday, April 10 2014

“Socrates” seeks Royals’ help to return Elgin Marbles

Mid-way through a sell-out tour of New Zealand, Greek philosopher Socrates, played by Emmy-award winner, Yannis Simonidis, has asked the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to help facilitate the return of the Parthenon Marbles.

The marbles which once graced the Parthenon in Athens were looted by the British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Thomas Bruce, the 7th Earl of Elgin, between 1801-1812 and their return has been the subject of bitter dispute between Britain and Greece ever since.

Britain has argued that the marbles, often referred to as the Elgin Marbles, should remain in the British Museum.

It is widely accepted that Socrates’ father, Sophroniscus, was a stonemason who worked on the Parthenon marbles, and Socrates had apprenticed with him.

Mr Simonides, who has played Socrates on more than 300 occasions, says if the philosopher was alive today, he would be agitating aggressively for the return of Greece’s stolen antiquities.

“Socrates would have used his powers of argument and reason to seek the young Royals’ direct intervention. I believe Prince William, given his reputation as a humanitarian and a defender of the environment and the creative arts, would have some sympathy for the marbles’ plight.

“Under the hat, or mask, I wear as Socrates, I would urge the world’s press to ask the Duke and Duchess for the marbles’ return. These are items of World Heritage which hold the same significance as the Crown Jewels to the British and taonga to Maori.”

These comments are echoed by Unitec Pae Arahi, Hari Paniora, who is welcoming Mr Simonides with a special Powhiri at the Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae tomorrow.

“Maori share the same sense of grief when taonga is removed from its birthplace. Everything stolen should be returned. I think the Royals should lend their support to the return of the Elgin antiquities. Their rightful home is Greece.”

Mr Simonides joins actors George Clooney and Bill Murray who have also been campaigning recently for the marbles’ return.

The one-man play, Socrates Now, continues its tour of New Zealand with a final performance at the Auckland Town Hall this Saturday night.

Tickets are available through Eventfinder.


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