Andrew James John Mackenzie
an historiography
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Spartan economies? Ancient Greek monuments for hire

In light of the spiralling economy and with concerns mounting to safeguard its ancient monuments, Greece has begun procedures to allow advertising firms and other financial outlets the opportunity of renting its most treasured and instantly recognisable ancient icons. Beginning with the 2,500 year old Acropolis and followed by the Delphi, Greece shows signs of commercialising the entirety of its archaeological heritage.

The Greek culture ministry has stated that these measures are a better way to “facilitate" greater public access to its ancient monuments. Traditionally, the Central Council of Archaeology has monitored and restricted the vast majority of commercial interests operating at these sites. Indeed, only a few have been allowed to film including the Greek-Canadian filmmaker Nia Vardalos and the American director Francis Ford Coppola. However, with a budget that has shrunk by 20 percent since 2010, the culture ministry hopes that the change in policy will help in the maintenance and preservation of Greece’s historical heritage. Conversely, archaeologists and scholars have objected to the proposal, declaring it as "sacrilege".

As a part of this new proposal, the fees that are incurred by commercial enterprises will be reduced. Film crews will only be charged €1,600 (£1,333) a day as compared with €4,000 a day in 2005. Professional photographers will be expecting to pay €200 euros, a reduction from €300. Charges placed on the use of pictures taken at state-owned sites and museums in publications are also being downgraded to a mere €30-60 per shot as compared with €100 a day in 2005.

The decision taken is not expected to be a popular one, particularly within academic circles and institutions. However, there are many within the government and European community that are expected to applaud the imitative to reduce its debt. With a national debt that has reached €350 billion (£291 billion), which is two-thirds owned by private creditors, Greece still has much to do in securing its long-term economic prosperity.

This reasoning notwithstanding, the depths to which Greece has had to sink in coaxing some small measure of remuneration is abhorrent, particularly in a country whose tourism is dependent on its heritage and traditions.
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