Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures
- Author(s): Kuhlmann, Klaus P.
- et al.
By today’s definition, a “throne” is the seat of a king or sovereign. In ancient Egypt, a plethora of terms referred to the throne, but none apparently carried this specific connotation. Explicit reference to the seat of a king or god was made by addressing the latter’s “elevated” position (wrr, aA). There were two major types of thrones: a basic (“sacred”) one of the gods and of pharaoh as their heir and successor that had the shape of a square box (block-throne) and a “secular” one that incorporated a pair of lions into a stool or chair (lion-throne) and depicted pharaoh as powerful ruler of the world. Thrones usually stood on a dais inside a kiosk, elevating the ruler well above his subjects and displaying his supreme social rank. At the same time, the arrangement was meant to evoke a comparison with the sun god resting on the primordial hill at the moment of creating the world. The enthronization of pharaoh was thought to be a perpetuation of this cosmogonic act, which was referred to as “the first time” (zp tpj). As an object, which could be desecrated (for example, by usurpation), the Egyptian throne underwent purification rites. There is no evidence, however, of it ever having received cultic reverence or having been deified (as the goddess Isis).