British Museum Returns Stolen Ancient Greek Statue To Libya

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British Museum Returns Stolen Ancient Greek Statue To Libya

The British Museum in London has returned a statue of the Greek goddess Persephone to Libya.


The statue was looted from Libya in 2012 from the Shahhat World Heritage Site and was returned at the Libyan embassy in the UK capital. The statue is estimated to be worth around £1.5m ($2.1m).


The British Museum managed to obtain the piece and return it safely after it had been illegally taken by criminals. It is thought that the crooks had taken the statue to the UK in order for it to be sold on the black market. Many ancient artefacts were stolen in the midst of the Libyan civil war.


The statue had originally stood in the ruins of Cyrene, an important Hellenic city located in the north of what is now Libya. The statue is 4 feet tall and depicts the goddess as a hooded figure. It is thought to date from around the 3rd or 4th century BC, roughly 2,300 years ago.


Persephone was the daughter of Greek god Zeus and Demeter. Mythology states that she was kidnapped by Hades, with the approval of Zeus, and dragged to the underworld where she became Queen. She is known to have had a cult surrounding her linked to agriculture.


Libya, at the height of Ancient Greece, was inhabited by Greeks, and a large amount of Ancient Greek ruins can be found in Libya and the rest of North Africa. Cyrene, from where the statue was taken, was regarded as one of the 5 major Greek cities in North Africa. It first became inhabited by Greeks when, more than 2,000 years ago, a group of Greeks left from the island of Thira (now known as Santorini), and landed on the now Libyan coast. It was there they established their Greek colony.


As history progressed, Cyrene became a valuable trading port for Greek colonies in Greece, Italy, and the rest of the Mediterranean, upon which it became extremely wealthy. The Cyrene Amphitheatre and Cyrene Necropolis still stand to this day. Aristippus of Cyrene was one of the main Greek philosophers who were to hail from Cyrene. The Cyrenaic school of philosophy also emerged in the city, which put an emphasis on hedonism and sensuality, it is seen as a forerunner to modern existentialism.


Cyrene was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982.


[h/t: Greek Reporter]


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Thinking Humanity: British Museum Returns Stolen Ancient Greek Statue To Libya
British Museum Returns Stolen Ancient Greek Statue To Libya
The British Museum in London has returned a statue of the Greek goddess Persephone to Libya. The statue was looted from Libya in 2012 from the Shahhat
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