Furniture From Ancient History

When you think about Rentan furniture, words like couch, sofa, and bed come to mind. Perhaps you are a little more sophisticated and you have also furnished your home with an ottoman or hassock or maybe you are more preferential to a recliner than an arm chair.  Obviously, this also includes things like desks and coffee tables, and more.

These are modern types of furniture, styles that have been around for maybe half a millennium.  But Mankind has been using furniture for about as long as the species has been on this planet: it is just that, of course, the earliest types of furniture was not something that was built as manufactured, so much as found.


We might think about furniture as something you craft, but prehistoric Man used natural objects as tables and chairs.  Obviously, the earliest humans might have used tree stumps as seats and flat-top rocks as tables; even mossy areas for soft, comfy beds.  As a matter of fact, some data suggests that as far back as the late palaeolithic or early neolithic periods (around 30,000 years ago), humans had already begun to fashion furniture by constructing and carving materials like wood, bone, and stone.  


Obviously, one of the earliest evidences of human construction have come out of Egypt. Thanks to the monuments and shrines that the ancient Egyptians built, we have been able to determine just how long ago they lived here. For example, we know that ancient Egyptians first started clearing out the banks of the Nile river around 6,000 BC.  We also know that this community began to use mortar around 4,000 BC.  The Egyptian dynastic period, however, began around 3,200 BC and it is during this time that we can see they started to build furniture using wood and even leather.


You can’t really talk about ancient societies without mentioning Greece. Various sources give us all kinds of details about ancient Greece and we know that they used clay, metals, bronze, marble, stone, wood, and all kinds of materials to construct not only furniture but also sculptures, statues, terracotta, and literature.  The Greeks used technology like the lathe to carve ivory, tortoise shell, and more.


And, of course, you can’t have Ancient Greece without also looking into Ancient Rome.  Roman furniture, after all, was heavily influenced by Greek sentiments.  Furniture of this era was also made primarily from wood—citron, beech, maple, oak, holly—as wlel as stone, marble, and limestone.  


James Stone

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