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image of Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient

The fourteenth- through seventeenth-century A.D. Vijayanagara empire of south India spanned a vast area and incorporated diverse ethnic, linguistic, socioeconomic and political groups. Beyond the imperial bounds, Vijayanagara was also part of complex subcontinental political and cultural nexus, with cooperative and antagonistic relations with neighboring states and empires. In this paper, I examine both scales of these relations: the local responses to empire and the nature and creation of an imperial identity within the broader framework of subcontinental politics. As inhabitants of incorporated regions within the empire maintained aspects of their regional identities, they were also drawn into the broader polity through both economic and symbolic practices. And even as it incorporated local traditions of conquered states, Vijayanagara's court also forged a distinctive imperial identity by adopting and adapting cultural, political, and military elements from a larger subcontinental framework.


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