When Sean Connery Called for the Return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece



Sean Connery as James Bond in “Diamonds are Forever”. Credit: Rob Mieremet – Nationaal Archief/Wikipedia

The first time the now legendary actor Sean Connery visited Greece was in 2001. He was so impressed by his visit to Acropolis that he allegedly exclaimed, “Oh, my God, what an unbelievable place. Why it took me so long to visit?”

The man best known as Bond, James Bond made his first visit to Acropolis accompanied by Greek musician Vangelis Papathanassiou and French director Jules Dassen, husband of the late Melina Mercouri.

Connery was in Greece on the occasion of the opening of the exhibition of his painter wife Micheline Roquebrune – Connery, at the “Athinais” art center. His first visit was enough to make him fall in love with the country, its ancient monuments, its history, and natural beauty.

During his stay, the well-traveled actor had the opportunity to tour the famous archaeological sites of Delphi and Ancient Olympia but also to be introduced to the ascetic atmosphere of Mount Athos.

But what impressed the most the famous actor was Parthenon and its monuments. Yet, he expressed his disappointment that the sculptures missing from the Parthenon were somewhere else.

Connery discussed the issue of the stolen sculptures with the then Minister of Culture; Evangelos Venizelos and learned the whole story of their removal from the Acropolis 200 years ago. He then promised that he would do whatever he could for the cause.

“The return of the Parthenon Sculptures should be a common goal of all countries that will participate in the Athens Olympic Games in 2004. Until the Games begin, they must be in their place, where they belong. The British had the Sculptures for two centuries. Now they have to return them,” he told reporters.

One can imagine the great actor with his commanding voice in his Scottish accent uttering these words to the press as if it was an order and not a mere suggestion.

The great actor’s praise for Greece was not the standard PR words that every celebrity uses when they visit a place. Connery fell indeed in love with Greece and asked his staff to find a summer home for him in the beautiful country he visited for the first time.

His staff found a beautiful villa for him in Porto Heli, a secluded seaside spot in Peloponnese. It is a majestic house that is positioned next to the home of Netherlands’ King Willem-Alexander.