“Whatever is Greek, wherever in the world, we want back.”

Why does the idea of cultural property have so many advocates? “It seems to establish a bulwark against the plunder of antiquities.” And yet how quickly it’s turned into a way of looting premodern artifacts from Western owners whose claim of title is stronger than that of foreign governments or indigenous/Indian tribes. “But if cultural property really did exist, the Enlightenment museum would be an example of it: an institution that evolved, almost uniquely, out of Western civilization. And the cultural property movement could be seen as a persistent attempt to undermine it. And take illicit possession.” (Edward Rothstein, “Antiquities, the World Is Your Homeland”, New York Times, May 27).


  • I got a week-old gyro here. You guys want that too?

  • Plundering by other means. E.g. the recent Spanish claim to an admittedly Spanish ship’s contents, found in waters off Portugal (not Spain), as being of heritage value[s] to Spain. The contents? Silver and gold looted from inhabitants of The New World, whom Spain would certainly fight if say, Peru, claimed it as having special historical value…