Kingship, Courts and Capitals: Sultanate Delhi in the 13th and 14th Centuries
Talk by Sunil Kumar, University of Delhi
Friday, February 08, 200812:00 PM - 2:00 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095
By all accounts the Delhi Sultans were great builders: other than their frequent 'renovation' of each other's structures, they constructed seven capitals in the plain of Delhi during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The frequent shifts in capitals are sometimes interpreted as grandiose statements of ceremonial authority required by insecure kings, or irresponsible expenditure by incompetent city designers who had not planned for the consequences of rapid urbanisation. As the paper argues, Sultanate construction activity was actually very carefully and systematically orchestrated. Its study provides a fascinating insight into the political culture of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the historical backgrounds of the leading protagonists, court ceremonial and kingship.
Sunil Kumar is one of the best-known younger historians of medieval India. He is author most recently of The Emergence of the Delhi Sultanate 1192-1286 (2007).