The Throne/Altar Principle is a sub-set of the Magistrate/Mandarin Principle. The latter principle states:
The state is a maleficent symbiosis of enslaving brigands (magistrates) and corrupt intellectuals (mandarins). Throughout history magistrates have used mandarins to manufacture consent (through propaganda and indoctrination) and administer resources (technocracy). In exchange the mandarins get to share with the magistrates the power, prestige, and pelf of statecraft.
The Throne/Altar Principle simply states that mandarins are often clerics (priests). Clerics are distinguished from other mandarins in that they fulfill their role in manufacturing consent primarily via superstition. The manner in which clerics "administer resources" as technocrats and "share with magistrates the power, prestige, and pelf of statecraft" is often distinct from other mandarins, in that they are tied up with the rituals and traditions of cult.
Stolen wealth administered by clerics will often be stored as temple finery which the clerics themselves enjoy and which can be used for trade in times of need.
The earliest recorded incident of this is in perhaps the "war of nerves" conducted by Enmerkar, ruler of the Sumerian city-state of Erech (Uruk), against Aratta, an Elamite city-state in what is now Iran. Enmerkar demanded that the people of Aratta use its own mineral wealth and labor to construct shrines and temples at Erech, and proclaimed that this was commandment from Innana, an important goddess.