Libya's past held hostage

A  two-day conference of the Council of Antiquities in Cairo, with representitives from 25 countries including Libya, say that they want antiquities returned from abroad. The conference ended on Thursday with a wish list of priceless relics housed in Western museums. Many of the countries are former colonies who say their heritage has been stolen. Among them was Libya which requested the return of a statue of Apollo from the British Museum and a marble statue of a woman from the Louvre.

I haven't any information about the statue in Paris, but there is an article with a beautiful image of the Apollo statue on the British Museum's website. I'd have put the image on this post but it's a big 'modowah' (as Libyans would say) to go through to request the permission from the British Museum to use the image. So please have a look at the link.

I hope Libya is able to recover these artifacts from their past.  

Comments

  1. Libya's past? Shouldn't that be Rome's past? Or Greece's past, since Cyrene was a Greek colony?

    I think the statue should be returned, because just based on general principals I think artifacts should remain where they were found to give context, but I kinda object to the language you are using... especially the "hostage" thing, since this statue is more closely related to Italy's past and Italy's culture than Libya's. It's a statue of Apollo, you know? At what point were North Africans worshiping Apollo? :)

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  2. craig... Interesting point of view, but what's on Libyan soil would be Libya's past. And this statue would have been pre-Islamic, so quite possible that Libyans would have worshiped Roman deities.

    I was reading recently that during the Italian colonization of Libya the Italians only made up about 12% of the Libyan population. Libyans and Italians led very separate lives and lifestyles. I wonder what the ratio of Romans to native Libyans would have been? Of course we will never know. But it is a fact that many Libyans were Christians in the past before the spread of Islam to north Africa, so why couldn't it be possible for them to have followed Roman or Greek beliefs at that time?

    Hostage really isn't a harsh word to use... they are keeping the statues and don"t want to let them go. But I hope they return them because they belong here.

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  3. The Carthaginians and other North African phoenician city states and their own deities and would have been unlikely to adopt Roman ones, considering the bad history between them. I'm not sure about other North African peoples, but I assume Roman customs were not adopted there any more than they were on other regions that the Romans added to their empire.

    But I hope they return them because they belong here.

    I agree :)

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  4. key word here: LIBYA
    The statue isn't part of Italy's culture, because Italy today is only a part of the greater ancient Roman empire. The Romans described those Romans who were born here and lived most or all of their lives in Libya as Libyans,and these families were here for several generations. These artifacts weren't removed by their owners and taken home to Rome. They were stolen by unscrupulous archaeologists, soldiers, and even diplomats.

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  5. Anon,

    The statue isn't part of Italy's culture, because Italy today is only a part of the greater ancient Roman empire.

    I think it's a little more than that :)

    The Romans described those Romans who were born here and lived most or all of their lives in Libya as Libyans...

    I'm fairly sure that all Roman Citizens were referred to as "Romans", regardless of where they lived. And that everyone else was called "slave" or "hey you!".

    These artifacts weren't removed by their owners and taken home to Rome. They were stolen by unscrupulous archaeologists, soldiers, and even diplomats.

    I agree, the British certainly have no claim on this statue. They should return it.

    I'm just a bit sensitive about Arabs claiming their history has been stolen (or held hostage) after seeing so many Arab Muslims claim the scientific and cultural advances of nations and empires they conquered as their own. This statue is a remnant of one of those civilizations. It is neither Arab nor Muslim. It isn't even North African in origin.

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  6. @craig
    Roman citizens were the upper class of Rome -the nobility- the myriad of other tribes surrounding Rome were considered plebeians -common. So too in their Empire, those other tribes might be from what is now Italy but then they were just the lower echelons of society fit only to serve the Romans. As for the original inhabitants they found in Libya, those became the 'barbarians,.Sometimes the 'Roman' slaves united with the Barbarians to fight the Roman forts and farms.
    I didn't claim that these artifacts were Arab or Muslim. I said they were Libyan. There's a huge difference ancient history-wise.the emperor Septimius Sevirus was often referred to as a Libyan, and he considered the city of Leptis Magna -where he was born- his native city.

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