Brostowsky-Gilboa Dana, and Nea Liat. The Ancient Throne: The Mediterranean, Near East, and Beyond, from the 3rd Millennium BCE to the 14th century CE. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences Press, 2020.
The Ancient Throne provides readers with a collection of articles that either study specific thrones known from historical texts, artistic depictions or excavations, or offer an overview of the role of thrones from as early as ancient Mesopotamia in the 3rd millennium BCE to as late as Iran and China in the 14th century CE. The volume thus collates the work of scholars who specialise in diverse cultures and who have all found thrones to be helpful vehicles for promoting unique inquiries into such issues as royalty, society, ritual, and religion within their areas of expertise. The breadth of their collective efforts offers a comparative view through which the dissemination of political and ideological concepts may be better explored. The following collection of articles, however, does not attempt to provide a single answer to the question of what a throne is or is not, but instead presents the authors’ individual – and sometimes conflicting – outlooks. While the volume is far from being a comprehensive survey of thrones in Eurasian cultures across the ages, it nevertheless offers readers a specialised bibliography and draws attention to scholarly trends that will be useful to future studies on thrones in general. Most of all, the volume cohesively suggests that thrones have been a meaningful category of material culture throughout history, one that may inspire both inter-cultural and intra-cultural studies of the ways in which types of chairs can embody, execute or induce notions of kingship and a range of concepts pertaining to the religious, ideological, and social spheres.