So-called throne of King Dagobert I, bronze, from the treasury of Saint-Denis, Paris, probably 8th —Courtesy of the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris
Chair of state set on a dais and often surmounted by a canopy, representing the power of the dignitary who sits on it and sometimes conferring that power. In Greek history, thrones were identified as seats of the gods; soon the meaning of the word included the symbolic seats of those who held religious or secular power, a meaning common to virtually all cultures. The oldest surviving throne was built into the walls of Knossos (c. 1800 BC). Probably the most magnificent was the jewel-studded Peacock Throne of the rulers of Delhi, stolen from India by Persia in 1739 and thereafter the symbol of the Persian/Iranian monarchy. In the late 17th and 18th century, thrones were often made of silver, but later versions tend to be of gilded wood.