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Artefact – Royal Throne From Salamis

November 9, 2013

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One of my favourite pieces in The Cyprus Museum Nicosia is this reconstruction of an 8th century B.C. Royal Throne. It was discovered by the Department of Antiquities in 1966 at the necropolis of Salamis. Unfortunately the original wood had decomposed beyond preservation but the ivory sheets that adorned it were intact and in place. This enabled The Department of Antiquities to undertake a complete restoration of the throne with a new wooden frame.

Unfortunately I was unable to take a photo of the back of the throne but the museum guide provides a description, it ‘is decorated with bands of spirals and anthemia’ (Karageorghis, 1989:68). In the spaces between the arms and seat ivory decorations were set. The decorations consisted of sphinxes and lotus flowers; these panels have been removed for preservation purposes and are kept separately within the museum.

The Department of Antiquities have suggested that the throne is similar to the furniture recorded on the Linear B tablets found near Pylos (Karageorghis, 1989:68).  In addition to this it is also noted that the similarity extends to Penelope’s chair described by Homer (Odyssey 56), ‘inlaid with spirals of ivory and silver’. Considering this evidence I would suggest that, much like the baths found on the island, the throne provides further evidence of the arrival of Mycenaean Greek settlers. When settling Cyprus they brought the artistic skill and technological ability that enabled the construction of beautiful objects such as these. 

I find the links between mainland Greece and Cyprus of particular interest when viewing and analysing artefacts such as this, but also on an aesthetic level the exceptional skill and attention to detail demonstrated in the work of the craftsman is exceptionally impressive.

Bibliography

Primary Sources

Homer The Odyssey Translated by A.T. Murray London: William Heinemann, 1919.

Secondary Sources

Karageorghis, V. The Cyprus Museum Nicosia Epiphaniou Publications: Nicosia, 1989.

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