Online Encyclopedia

THRONE

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V26, Page 892 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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THRONE, a royal, viceregal, or episcopal chair of state standing upon a dais or platform. Formerly the platform, with the steps leading up to it, was comprised in the significance of the word—hence the familiar expression to " mount the throne." The ceremonial induction of a sovereign into his throne is one of the usual solemnities of a coronation, while enthronization of the bishop in his cathedral is the final observance in the making of a diocesan. The throne, which is of immemorial antiquity, is the universal ancestor of all chairs, which were for long symbols of authority and rule. In early days and in Oriental countries thrones were of barbaric magnificence. Solomon's was of ivory " overlaid with the best gold." There were two figures of lions at the sides, with two other lions on each of the six steps. The remains of a throne in rock-crystal were found in the ruins of Sennacherib's palace. The Persian throne made for Abbas the Great was of white marble. This monarch appears to have had a nice taste in thrones, for in 16o5 he presented one to the Russian tsar Boris which is covered with sheets of gold and decorated with precious stones and pearls. Tsar Michael Feodorovitch, grandfather of Peter the Great, outdid even this magnificence, for his " golden throne" is set with eight thousand turquoises, fifteen hundred rubies, four great amethysts and two large topazes. One of the glories of Delhi, until it was sacked by Nadir Shah, was the " peacock throne," the vajue of which was estimated, perhaps with some Eastern exuberance, breast, hopping over the grass for a few yards, then pausing to at twelve millions sterling. It was ascended by silver steps and detect the movement of a worm, and vigorously seizing the stood on golden feet set with jewels. It obtained its name from same a moment after, is one of the most familiar sights. Hardly the two open peacocks' tails composed of magnificent diamonds, less well-known is the singular nest built by this bird—a deep rubies, and other stones which formed part of its appurtenances. cup, lined with a thin but stiff coating of fragments of rotten Apparently it was made for Shah Jahan by the French designer wood, ingeniously spread, and plastered so as to present a of the Taj Mahal. According to that veracious chronicler, smooth interior—in which its sea-green eggs spotted with black Sir John Mandeville, the seven steps of the throne of Prester are laid. An early breeder, it builds nest after nest during the John were respectively of onyx, crystal, green jasper, amethyst, season, and there can be few birds mole prolific. Its ravages sardonyx, cornelian and chrysolite. They were bordered with on ripening fruits, especially strawberries and gooseberries, gold and set with pearls. The throne itself was of gold enriched excite the enmity of the imprudent gardener who leaves his with jewels. Ranjit Singh's golden throne—it is of wood crops unprotected by nets, but he would do well to stay the covered with plates of gold—is in the possession of the British hand of revenge, for no bird can or does destroy so many snails, Crown. European thrones were usually more modest in concep- as is testified to the curious observer on inspection of the stones tion and less barbaric in execution than those, real or legendary, that it selects against which to dash its captures—stones that of the East. The medieval emperors of Byzantium had, how- are besmeared with the slime of the victims and bestrewn with ever, imbibed a good deal of the Orient, and their famous the fragments of their shattered shells. Nearly all the young throne, which is supposed to have been imitated from, as well thrushes reared in the British Islands—and this expression as named after, that of Solomon, was guarded by golden lions, includes the storm-swept isles of the Outer Hebrides, though which rose to their feet and roared when some artful mechanism I not those of Shetland—seem to emigrate as, soon as they are was set in motion. An exceedingly ancient chair of state is the so-called throne of Dagobert (see CHAIR). The most recent writers on this remarkable relic suggest that it is a bronze copy of Dagobert's golden throne. However that, may be, there can be no doubt that it possesses at least one illustrious modern association, for Napoleon sat in it when he distributed the first decorations of the Legion of Honour in his camp at Boulogne in 1804. The throne which Napoleo' had made for himself was a heavy gilded chair with an abundance of Egyptian ornament, lions' heads and imperial eagles. One of the many curiosities of a conclave for the electing of a Pope is that every cardinal present occupies a throne, since, during the vacancy of the Holy See, each member of the Sacred College is a potential sovereign. When the election has taken place the canopy of every throne is lowered, with the exception of that occupied by the new pontiff. The palaces of the great Roman nobles contained—and still in some cases contain—a throne for use in the event of a visit from the pope. The papa] throne itself is an antique bronze chair which stands in St Peter's. Embassies frequently contain a throne for the use of the sovereign in whose territory the building technically stands. No ancient throne-chair pertains to the British monarchy; the coronation chair is not, properly speaking, a throne, since it is used only during a portion of the coronation ceremonies. The actual throne of Great Britain is the oaken Gothic chair in the House of Lords occupied by the sovereign at the opening and prorogation of parliament. THRUM-EYED, a botanical term for flowers which occur in two forms, one of which shows the stamens in the mouth of the Corolla, as in the primrose, contrasted with pin-eyed (q.v.).
End of Article: THRONE
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