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Old 01-24-2013, 06:38 PM   #1
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Difference between Throne Room and Great Hall

Is there a difference between the two rooms? Or is the Great Hall just the Throne room with massive dining tables brought in/out of it.
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Old 01-24-2013, 06:45 PM   #2
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If you're talking about a specific, historical palace the difference might be important. If you're making up your own fantasy world, it can be what ever you want. Personally, I'd make them separate, but that's just my preference.
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Old 01-24-2013, 06:45 PM   #3
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In many cases they can be one in the same as the throne platform is brought in for special occassions.
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Old 01-24-2013, 06:48 PM   #4
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I always thought they were separate rooms. Found this:

http://www.castles.me.uk/rooms-in-a-medieval-castle.htm
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Old 01-24-2013, 06:59 PM   #5
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In Game of Thrones it shows them as one in the same: http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/...%28Red_Keep%29
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:02 PM   #6
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The Throne Room is whatever room you set up your throne in. Thrones generally weren't permanent fixtures - instead, whenever you needed one, you'd put it where you wanted it. (Typically there would be a platform & maybe drapery to emphasize the specialness of the chair & its occupant.) Sitting in state was a function of the event, not the location or the furnishings.

The Great Hall is an architectural feature. It was a multi-function room that could be used for whatever you needed a big room for -- you might set up the throne there, or have dinner, sleep, duel, dance, etc. In earlier medieval times, it was pretty much the only room in the building. Later on, you got private living quarters & special-purpose rooms too, so the Great Hall was less essential & eventually disappeared.
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benbenberi View Post
The Throne Room is whatever room you set up your throne in. Thrones generally weren't permanent fixtures - instead, whenever you needed one, you'd put it where you wanted it. (Typically there would be a platform & maybe drapery to emphasize the specialness of the chair & its occupant.) Sitting in state was a function of the event, not the location or the furnishings.

The Great Hall is an architectural feature. It was a multi-function room that could be used for whatever you needed a big room for -- you might set up the throne there, or have dinner, sleep, duel, dance, etc. In earlier medieval times, it was pretty much the only room in the building. Later on, you got private living quarters & special-purpose rooms too, so the Great Hall was less essential & eventually disappeared.
So they'd just take the King's Throne out of the room and place a table there instead for a gathering?
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:49 PM   #8
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So they'd just take the King's Throne out of the room and place a table there instead for a gathering?
Most likely, yes.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:54 PM   #9
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So they'd just take the King's Throne out of the room and place a table there instead for a gathering?
Yep.

And the table probably would not be a big piece of furniture, but a set of boards and trestles that were easily set up and taken away. Big heavy permanent tables didn't really exist till the 15-16c. And most people would be sitting on benches, which were also easily disassembled & moved.

And the king's throne was probably a folding chair.

Why? Because kings & other nobles in the middle ages had to be on the move frequently, because otherwise they & their household (servants, soldiers, courtiers, officials) would have eaten up every morsel of food in the neighborhood and then everybody starves. They had to shift about the countryside to spread the burden. And they had to pack up and move all their furniture with them, and set it up again wherever it was needed. Only when the transportation & commercial network developed to the point that large quantities of food could be moved around to where and when they were needed did courts settle down in fixed locations -- in the 15-16c. That's when furniture stopped being temporary too.

It's no coincidence that there's very little surviving furniture from the middle ages, but a great deal beginning in the Renaissance.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benbenberi View Post
Yep.

And the table probably would not be a big piece of furniture, but a set of boards and trestles that were easily set up and taken away. Big heavy permanent tables didn't really exist till the 15-16c. And most people would be sitting on benches, which were also easily disassembled & moved.
Even in the early 17th century, even at court entertainments, the tables could be pretty fragile as when James I of England got upset during the moralizing segments of a masque and screamed some obscenities (something like God's bloody devils take them, why don't they dance?) and asked why they weren't dancing and somehow caused the food tables to collapse during his royal rage. One hopes he was very drunk.
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:16 PM   #11
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A Throne Room should have a throne in it. That's about it.
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:19 PM   #12
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If you've ever used an old-fashioned trestle table like we had in the village hall, it's easy to see how that can happen. Picture a door about 20 feet long. Take three sets of waist-high frames with a hinge at the top (or sawhorses, which seem to be similar). Balance the door on the frames. They're very easy to knock over, especially if the frames and the floor don't agree about what 'level' means.

As for throne room vs. great hall - I was under the impression that a throne room has a specific bit of kit in it, i.e. a throne. A great hall is just a very big room in a secular structure. Add throne to great hall, get throne room...
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:53 PM   #13
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ClareGreen - absolutely! Trestle tables were often used to set up an eating/feast area in a hall.

Quote:
I was under the impression that a throne room has a specific bit of kit in it, i.e. a throne. A great hall is just a very big room in a secular structure. Add throne to great hall, get throne room...
This!
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:00 AM   #14
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Yep.

And the table probably would not be a big piece of furniture, but a set of boards and trestles that were easily set up and taken away. Big heavy permanent tables didn't really exist till the 15-16c. And most people would be sitting on benches, which were also easily disassembled & moved.

And the king's throne was probably a folding chair.

Why? Because kings & other nobles in the middle ages had to be on the move frequently, because otherwise they & their household (servants, soldiers, courtiers, officials) would have eaten up every morsel of food in the neighborhood and then everybody starves. They had to shift about the countryside to spread the burden. And they had to pack up and move all their furniture with them, and set it up again wherever it was needed. Only when the transportation & commercial network developed to the point that large quantities of food could be moved around to where and when they were needed did courts settle down in fixed locations -- in the 15-16c. That's when furniture stopped being temporary too.

It's no coincidence that there's very little surviving furniture from the middle ages, but a great deal beginning in the Renaissance.
Marvelous historically accurate information, thanks for sharing this.
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:56 AM   #15
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Just as an addendum (not castle-related, but I thought it interesting anyway) - the reason there's so few non-castle/non-manor house buildings that survive from the middle ages? (Noting that most surviving farmhouses from the middle ages were originally built to house the lord of the estate, not the peasants in the village...)

Because village houses in the middle ages had a very short life-expectancy in the first place. Scholars who have studied the matter have found frex that a typical village house in 13c England stood for about 20-30 yrs, then it was too dilapidated to use and was replaced by a new house close by (preferrably before the old one actually collapsed on the occupants). Village "streets" didn't therefore look much like what we think of as a street, since none of the buildings lined up (or even necessarily faced in the same direction). Why were houses so temporary? They were built out of the materials at hand, mostly sticks and mud, and nobody expected them to last long so nobody much bothered to improve on what they knew. Only special buildings got special treatment.

Tables, btw, were very rare in peasant houses right into the 18c. When you ate dinner, you ate out of the common pot sitting around the hearth, or else ate out of your lap. No chairs either - benches or stools if you were lucky. Sucks to be a peasant!
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Old 01-25-2013, 10:39 AM   #16
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When you ate dinner, you ate out of the common pot sitting around the hearth, or else ate out of your lap. No chairs either - benches or stools if you were lucky. Sucks to be a peasant!
Hmm. According to this, either I live in some previous century, or I'm a peasant.
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:33 PM   #17
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Is there a difference between the two rooms? Or is the Great Hall just the Throne room with massive dining tables brought in/out of it.
I'd say the Throne Room is where the king receives visitors, even other kings, and gives orders etc.

The Great Hall is where the banquets and dances are held.

So different things happen in each location.
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:40 PM   #18
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From my (admittedly incomplete) understanding, anyone could have a great hall. In fact if you led men, you were expected to have a 'great hall' of some sort, whether it be a mead hall, a feast hall, a barn used on special occasions or a specific room in your castle. In some periods/places the lord's family slept on the dais in the great hall, while in others it was more the big room everyone ate in when eating together happened.

A throne room requires a throne, though, and those only tend to come with crowns.
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Old 01-25-2013, 06:16 PM   #19
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I'd say the Throne Room is where the king receives visitors, even other kings, and gives orders etc.

The Great Hall is where the banquets and dances are held.

So different things happen in each location.
Not really. As I explained above, "Throne Room" is a functional description of any room where the throne was placed. Whenever the monarch needed to sit in state (whether to receive ambassadors, issue judgements, promulgate laws, etc.) the Throne Room would be set up for the ceremony and the monarch would do their thing.

The Great Hall is just a designation for the biggest room in the building where people would do stuff. Any stuff. That might include banquets and dances. It would probably include everyday eating and sleeping for many of the residents, and a lot of other day to day activities. Plus it could be dressed up as a Throne Room for ceremonies.

If you want a permanent Throne Room that's always on standby and doesn't do anything else, you're looking at the 19c. Not earlier. And by the 19c, of course, the Great Hall was an architectural curiosity of very old buildings that had long since lost its functional purpose.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:32 AM   #20
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I believe that with really old castles, the great hall was very much a general purpose room. People ate there, the lord or king received visitors, and some people even slept there. I think of a messy, noisy room with straw, or perhaps rushes, on the floor, a raised platform around the outside, and dogs rolling beneath the tables with the brats
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