Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

The throne up through the history

Posted by Fredsvenn on October 26, 2014

Cultural continuity

The rise of patriarchy in the world came about with the diminished role of the Goddess in society. I’d like to say ‘Bring back the Goddess’ in regards to our present world circumstances but, you know, the Goddess never left – we either relegated her to sad diminished roles or did away with her altogether.

The word throne itself is from Greek thronos, “seat, chair”, in origin a derivation from the PIE root *dher- “to support” (also in dharma “post, sacrificial pole”).

Early Greek (Dios thronous) was a term for the “support of the heavens”, i.e. the axis mundi, which term when Zeus became an anthropomorphic god was imagined as the “seat of Zeus”.

In Ancient Greek, a “thronos” was a specific but ordinary type of chair with a footstool, a high status object but not necessarily with any connotaions of power.

The Achaeans (according to Homer) were known to place additional, empty thrones in the royal palaces and temples so that the gods could be seated when they wished to be. The most famous of these thrones was the throne of Apollo in Amyclae, a village in Laconia, southern Greece.

The Romans also had two types of thrones- one for the Emperor and one for the goddess Roma whose statues were seated upon thrones, which became centers of worship.

A throne is the seat of state of a potentate or dignitary, especially the seat occupied by a sovereign on state occasions; or the seat occupied by a pope or bishop on ceremonial occasions.

“Throne” in an abstract sense can also refer to the monarchy or the Crown itself, an instance of metonymy, and is also used in many expressions such as “the power behind the throne”.

When used in a political or governmental sense, throne typically refers to a civilization, nation, tribe, or other politically designated group that is organized or governed under an authoritarian system.

Throughout much of human history societies have been governed under authoritative systems, in particular dictatorial or autocratic systems, resulting in a wide variety of thrones that have been used by given heads of state. These have ranged from stools in places such as a Africa to ornate chairs and bench-like designs in Europe and Asia, respectively.

Often, but not always, a throne is tied to a philosophical or religious ideology held by the nation or people in question, which serves a dual role in unifying the people under the reigning monarch and connecting the monarch upon the throne to his or her predecessors, who sat upon the throne previously.

Accordingly, many thrones are typically held to have been constructed or fabricated out of rare or hard to find materials that may be valuable or important to the land in question. Depending on the size of the throne in question it may be large and ornately designed as an emplaced instrument of a nation’s power, or it may be symbolic chair with little or no precious materials incorporated into the design.

When used in a religious sense, throne can refer to one of two distinct uses. The first use derives from the practice in churches of having a bishop or higher ranking religious official (archbishop, Pope, etc) sit on a special chair which in church referred to by written sources as a “throne”, and is intended to allow such high ranking religious officials a place to sit in their place of worship.

The other use for throne refers to a belief among many of the world’s monotheistic and polytheistic religions that the deity or deities that they worship are seated on a throne.

Such beliefs go back to ancient times, and can be seen in surviving artwork and texts which discuss the idea of ancient gods (such as the Twelve Olympians) seated on thrones.

In the major Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the Throne of God is attested to in religious scriptures and teaches, although the origin, nature, and idea of the Throne of God in these religions differs according to the given religious ideologue practiced.

In the west, a throne is most identified as the seat upon which a person holding the title King, Queen, Emperor, or Empress sits in a nation using a monarchy political system, although there are a few exceptions, notably with regards to religious officials such as the Pope and bishops of various sects of the Christian faith.

Changing geo-political tides have resulted in the collapse of several dictatorial and autocratic governments, which in turn have left a number of thrones chairs empty, however the significance of a throne chair is such that many of these thrones – such as China’s Dragon Throne – survive today as historic examples of nation’s previous government.

Thrones were found throughout the canon of ancient furniture. The depiction of monarchs and deities as seated on chairs is a common topos in the iconography of the Ancient Near East.

Throne, the special chair for a king, queen, or other powerful person, or the seat of a deity, in Armenian is atʿoṙ (աթոռ-atʿoṙ +‎ -ակ-ak).

Aššur (Akkadian) (Ashur/Assyria, Assyrian / Aššur; Assyrian Neo-Aramaic / Ātûr), is a remnant city of the last Ashurite Kingdom. The remains of the city are situated on the western bank of the river Tigris, north of the confluence with the tributary Little Zab river, in modern-day Iraq, more precisely in the Al-Shirqat District (a small panhandle of the Salah al-Din Governorate).

The city was occupied from the mid-3rd millennium BC (Circa 2600–2500 BC) to the 14th Century AD, when Tamurlane conducted a massacre of its population.

Archaeology reveals the site of the city was occupied by the middle of the third millennium BC. This was still the Sumerian period, before the Assyrian kingdom emerged in the 23rd to 21st century BC.

The oldest remains of the city were discovered in the foundations of the Ishtar temple, as well as at the Old Palace. In the following Old Akkadian period, the city was ruled by kings from Akkad. During the “Sumerian Renaissance”, the city was ruled by a Sumerian governor.

Ashur (also, Assur, Aššur; written A-šur, also Aš-šùr) is an East Semitic god, and the head of the Assyrian pantheon in Mesopotamian religion, worshipped mainly in the northern half of Mesopotamia, and parts of north east Syria and south east Asia Minor which constituted old Assyria. He may have had a solar iconography.

Aššur was a deified form of the city of Assur (pronounced Ashur), which dates from the mid 3rd millennium BC and was the capital of the Old Assyrian kingdom.

As such, Ashur did not originally have a family, but as the cult came under southern Mesopotamian influence he came to be regarded as the Assyrian equivalent of Enlil, the chief god of Nippur, which was the most important god of the southern pantheon from the early 3rd millennium BC until Hammurabi founded an empire based in Babylon in the mid-18th century BC,after which Marduk replaced Enlil as the chief god in the south.

In the north, Ashur absorbed Enlil’s wife Ninlil (as the Assyrian goddess Mullissu) and his sons Ninurta and Zababa – this process began around the 14th century BC and continued down to the 7th century.

During the various periods of Assyrian conquest the Assyrians did not require conquered peoples to take up the worship of Ashur; instead, Assyrian imperial propaganda declared that the conquered peoples had been abandoned by their gods.

When Assyria conquered Babylon in the Sargonid period (8th-7th centuries BC), Assyrian scribes began to write the name of Ashur with the cuneiform signs AN.SHAR, literally “whole heaven” in Akkadian, the language of Assyria and Babylonia.

The intention seems to have been to put Ashur at the head of the Babylonian pantheon, where Anshar and his counterpart Kishar (“whole earth”) preceded even Enlil and Ninlil. Thus in the Sargonid version of the Enuma Elish, the Babylonian national creation myth, Marduk, the chief god of Babylon, does not appear, and instead it is Ashur, as Anshar, who slays Tiamat the chaos-monster and creates the world of humankind.

Ashur, together with a number of other Mesopotamian gods, continued to be worshipped by Assyrians long after the fall of Assyria, with temples being erected in his honour in Assyria (Athura/Assuristan) until the 3rd and 4th centuries CE, but by this time most Assyrians had adopted East Syrian Rite Christianity.

The city of Ashur, named in honour of the deity, was inhabited until the 14th century CE, when a massacre of Assyrian Christians by Tamurlane left it finally emptied. Ashur is still a common given and family name amongst Assyrians to this day.

Some scholars have claimed that Ashur was represented as the solar disc that appears frequently in Assyrian iconography. The symbols of Ashur include a winged disc with horns, enclosing four circles revolving round a middle circle; rippling rays fall down from either side of the disc; a circle or wheel, suspended from wings, and enclosing a warrior drawing his bow to discharge an arrow; the same circle; the warrior’s bow, however, is carried in his left hand, while the right hand is uplifted as if to bless his worshipers.

An Assyrian standard, which probably represented the “world column”, has the disc mounted on a bull’s head with horns. The upper part of the disc is occupied by a warrior, whose head, part of his bow, and the point of his arrow protrude from the circle.

The rippling water rays are V-shaped, and two bulls, treading river-like rays, occupy the divisions thus formed. There are also two heads—a lion’s and a man’s—with gaping mouths, which may symbolize tempests, the destroying power of the sun, or the sources of the Tigris and Euphrates.

Jastrow regards the winged disc as “the purer and more genuine symbol of Ashur as a solar deity”. He calls it “a sun disc with protruding rays”, and says: “To this symbol the warrior with the bow and arrow was added—a despiritualization that reflects the martial spirit of the Assyrian empire”.

Hathor (Egyptian: ḥwt-ḥr and from Greek: “mansion of Horus”) is an Ancient Egyptian goddess who personified the principles of joy, feminine love, and motherhood. She was one of the most important and popular deities throughout the history of Ancient Egypt.

Hathor was worshiped by Royalty and common people alike in whose tombs she is depicted as “Mistress of the West” welcoming the dead into the next life. In other roles she was a goddess of music, dance, foreign lands and fertility who helped women in childbirth, as well as the patron goddess of miners.

The cult of Hathor predates the historic period, and the roots of devotion to her are therefore difficult to trace, though it may be a development of predynastic cults which venerated fertility, and nature in general, represented by cows.

Hathor is commonly depicted as a cow goddess with horns in which is set a sun disk with Uraeus. Twin feathers are also sometimes shown in later periods as well as a menat necklace.

Hathor may be the cow goddess who is depicted from an early date on the Narmer Palette and on a stone urn dating from the 1st dynasty that suggests a role as sky-goddess and a relationship to Horus who, as a sun god, is “housed” in her.

The Ancient Egyptians viewed reality as multi-layered in which deities who merge for various reasons, while retaining divergent attributes and myths, were not seen as contradictory but complementary. In a complicated relationship Hathor is at times the mother, daughter and wife of Ra and, like Isis, is at times described as the mother of Horus, and associated with Bast.

The name Isis means “Throne”. Her headdress is a throne. As the personification of the throne, she was an important representation of the pharaoh’s power. The pharaoh was depicted as her child, who sat on the throne she provided.

The first secure references to Isis date back to the 5th dynasty. Her name appears for the first time in the sun temple of king Niuserre and on a statue of an priest named Pepi-Ankh, who worshipped at the very beginning of 6th dynasty and bore the title “high priest of Isis and Hathor”.

The cult of Osiris promised eternal life to those deemed morally worthy. Originally the justified dead, male or female, became an Osiris but by early Roman times females became identified with Hathor and men with Osiris.

The Ancient Greeks identified Hathor with the goddess Aphrodite, while in Roman mythology she corresponds to Venus.

In Mesopotamian mythology, Gugalanna (lit. “The Great Bull of Heaven” < Sumerian gu “bull”, gal “great”, an “heaven”, -a “of”) was a Sumerian deity as well as the constellation known today as Taurus, one of the twelve signs of the Zodiac.

The identification of the constellation of Taurus with a bull is very old, certainly dating to the Chalcolithic, and perhaps even to the Upper Paleolithic. Michael Rappenglück of the University of Munich believes that Taurus is represented in a cave painting at the Hall of the Bulls in the caves at Lascaux (dated to roughly 15,000 BC), which he believes is accompanied by a depiction of the Pleiades.

The name “seven sisters” has been used for the Pleiades in the languages of many cultures, including indigenous groups of Australia, North America and Siberia. This suggests that the name may have a common ancient origin.

Taurus marked the point of vernal (spring) equinox in the Chalcolithic and the Early Bronze Age, from about 4000 BC to 1700 BC, after which it moved into the neighboring constellation Aries. The Pleiades were closest to the Sun at vernal equinox around the 23rd century BC.

Taurus was a constellation of the Northern Hemisphere Spring Equinox from about 3,200 BCE. It marked the start of the agricultural year with the New Year Akitu festival (from á-ki-ti-še-gur10-ku5, = sowing of the barley), an important date in Mespotamian religion.

In the time in which this myth was composed, the Akitu festival at the Spring Equinox, due to the Precession of the Equinoxes did not occur in Aries, but in Taurus. At this time of the year, Taurus would have disappeared as it was obscured by the sun.

“Between the period of the earliest female figurines circa 4500 B.C. … a span of a thousand years elapsed, during which the archaeological signs constantly increase of a cult of the tilled earth fertilised by that noblest and most powerful beast of the recently developed holy barnyard, the bull – who not only sired the milk yielding cows, but also drew the plow, which in that early period simultaneously broke and seeded the earth.

Moreover by analogy, the horned moon, lord of the rhythm of the womb and of the rains and dews, was equated with the bull; so that the animal became a cosmological symbol, uniting the fields and the laws of sky and earth.”

In Babylonian astronomy, the constellation was listed in the MUL.APIN as GU.AN.NA, “The Heavenly Bull”. As this constellation marked the vernal equinox, it was also the first constellation in the Babylonian zodiac and they described it as “The Bull in Front”.

The Akkadian name was Alu. Alalu was a primeval deity of the Hurrian mythology. He is considered to have housed “the Hosts of Sky”, the divine family, because he was a progenitor of the gods, and possibly the father of Earth.

After nine years of reign, Alalu was defeated by his son Anu. Anuʻs son Kumarbi also defeated his father, and his son Teshub defeated him, too, while Alalu fled to the underworld. Scholars have pointed out the similarities between the Hurrian creation myth and the story from Greek mythology of Uranus, Cronus, and Zeus.

The word “Alalu” borrowed from Semitic mythology and is a compound word made up of the Semitic definite article “Al” and the Semitic supreme deity “Alu.” The “u” at the end of the word is a termination to denote a grammatical inflection. Thus, “Alalu” may also occur as “Alali” or “Alala” depending on the position of the word in the sentence. He was identified by the Greeks as Hypsistos. He was also called Alalus

Gugalanna was sent by the gods to take retribution upon Gilgamesh for rejecting the sexual advances of the goddess Inanna. Gugalanna, whose feet made the earth shake, was slain and dismembered by Gilgamesh and Enkidu.

Inanna, from the heights of the city walls looked down, and Enkidu took the haunches of the bull shaking them at the goddess, threatening he would do the same to her if he could catch her too. For this impiety, Enkidu later dies.

Gugalanna was the first husband of the Goddess Ereshkigal, the Goddess of the Realm of the Dead, a gloomy place devoid of light. It was to share the sorrow with her sister that Inanna later descends to the Underworld.

The death of Gugalanna, represents the obscuring disappearance of this constellation as a result of the light of the sun, with whom Gilgamesh was identified.

Baldr (also Balder, Baldur) is a god of light and purity in Norse mythology, and a son of the god Odin and the goddess Frigg. He has numerous brothers, such as Thor and Váli.

Apart from this description Baldr is known primarily for the story of his death. His death is seen as the first in the chain of events which will ultimately lead to the destruction of the gods at Ragnarök. Baldr will be reborn in the new world, according to Völuspá.

Enki is a god in Sumerian mythology, later known as Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian mythology. He was originally patron god of the city of Eridu, but later the influence of his cult spread throughout Mesopotamia and to the Canaanites, Hittites and Hurrians.

Early royal inscriptions from the third millennium BCE mention “the reeds of Enki”. Reeds were an important local building material, used for baskets and containers, and collected outside the city walls, where the dead or sick were often carried. This links Enki to the Kur or underworld of Sumerian mythology.

In another even older tradition, Nammu, the goddess of the primeval creative matter and the mother-goddess portrayed as having “given birth to the great gods,” was the mother of Enki, and as the watery creative force, was said to preexist Ea-Enki.

Benito states “With Enki it is an interesting change of gender symbolism, the fertilising agent is also water, Sumerian “a” or “Ab” which also means “semen”. In one evocative passage in a Sumerian hymn, Enki stands at the empty riverbeds and fills them with his ‘water'”.

This may be a reference to Enki’s hieros gamos, a sacred marriage where divine principles in the form of dualistic opposites came together as male and female to give birth to the cosmos, with Ki/Ninhursag (the Earth).

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