- This article is about royal thrones, for the order of angels by the same name see Thrones.
A throne is the official chair or seat upon which a monarch is seated on state or ceremonial occasions. "Throne" in an abstract sense can also refer to the monarchy or the Crown itself, and is also used in many terms such as "the power behind the throne."
Thrones in ancient cultures
Thrones have been the symbol of monarchs and gods since ancient times. The throne was used for coronation ceremonies and to lift the king up above all others present. Thrones were since then directly associated with royal power.
The Greeks (according to Homer) were known to place additional, empty thrones in the royal palaces and temples so that the gods could be present when they wished to be. The most famous of these thrones was the throne of Apollo in Amyclae .
The Romans also had two thrones - one for the Emperor and one for the goddess Roma whose statues were seated upon thrones, which became centers of worship.
The Hittites considered thrones to be gods themselves.
Thrones and the Bible
The Bible mentions many thrones. God was seated upon a throne and so was King Solomon (as God's representative on earth): "Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold" (Kings 10:18).
In Medieval times the throne of Solomon was associated with Mary. The ivory of the throne represented purity, the gold represented divinity and the six steps of the throne stood for the six virtues .
In the New Testament, Jesus promised his Apostles that they would sit upon "twelve thrones", judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28). John's Revelations states: "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away"
The throne upon which the Pope was traditionally seated as pope was known as the Holy See of Saint Peter (cathedra Sancti Petri). The seat of the pope as Bishop of Rome is located in the Bishop's seat (cathedra) or cathedral, Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterno. Bishops and abbots are also traditionally seated upon thrones.
Thrones in modern times
In some countries today which retain a monarchy, thrones are still used and have important symbolic and ceremonial meaning. However many modern day monarchies have dispensed with the usage of such symbolism as crowns, thrones and coronations.
Among the most famous thrones still in usage are St Edward's Chair, on which the British monarch is crowned, and the thrones used by monarchs during the state opening of parliaments in the United Kingdom, Denmark, the Netherlands, Canada, and Japan (see above) among others.
Some republics use distinctive throne-like chairs in some state ceremonial. The President of the United States sits on a distinctive high-backed white-clothed chair in the Oval Office in the White House when meeting distinguished visitors in front of the media.(The visitor sits in a matching chair.) The President of Ireland sits on a former viceregal throne during his or her inauguration ceremony while Lords Mayor of many British and Irish cities often preside over local councils from throne-like chairs.
List of famous thrones
A common sit-down toilet is in slang also called a throne.
Last updated: 08-31-2005 06:12:18