A fragment of an ancient Greek marble relief was returned to Greece on Thursday by a Danish family that had owned it for over a century.
Carsten Dahl had contacted the Greek Ambassador in Denmark last April on his own initiative, informing him of the fragment's existence, because he believed that "antiquities should return to their country of origin."
The fragment was from a 4th century B.C. Attica carved relief shaped like a small temple that portrayed the goddess Athena. It had been given to the Dahl family in 1897 by a Danish writer and war correspondent working in Greece at the time.
It was officially received on Thursday by Culture Minister George Voulgarakis in a special ceremony at the culture ministry, though Carsten Dahl was unable to attend due to ill health and was represented by his nephew.
Voulgarakis thanked and publicly congratulated Mr. Dahl, stressing the "huge symbolic importance" of his decision to transfer ownership of the fragment to the Greek culture ministry.
"It vindicates our efforts and points to similar actions and initiatives," the minister said, repeating that the antiquities taken out of Greece were "lost pieces of our history".
"The culture ministry of Greece will serve in every possible way the building of the policy that will result in the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles," he added.
... is it my imagination, or does every article quoting Voulgarakis end -- Cato-like -- with that statement about the Marbles?