Royal Architecture Portrayed in the Tarīḫ-i Masʻūdī and Archaeological Evidence from Ghazni (Afghanistan, 11th-12th c.)

Abstract : As widely known, the extant volumes of the chronicle compiled by Abū ʻl-Fażl Bayhaqī (385-470/995-1077) provide, among other information, a vivid description of the organization of the Ghaznavid court under the rule of Masʻūd I b. Maḥmūd (421-32/1031-41). Being a court secretary in Ghazni, Bayhaqī was well acquainted with the royal palaces and gardens where official ceremonies were held, although the description of architectural structures was not his prime target. This paper aims at analysing the information issued from Bayhaqī’s narrative about royal architecture in the Ghaznavid capital, investigating the specific features and functions of the several structures included in the royal complex. Some parallels will be drawn between Ghazni and the other cities of the Sultanate (Balkh, Bust, Herat, Nishapur …) in order to gain better knowledge about Ghaznavid urbanism. The final attempt of the study is to complement historical information with archaeological data resulted from the excavations of the Italian Archaeological Mission in Afghanistan (1957-68), partly unpublished, as well as from some recent researches currently conducted by the Islamic Ghazni Project (IsIAO, Rome; “L’Orientale” University of Naples). Both the Tarīḫ-i Masʻūdī and the archaeological investigations bear witness to intense building activities patronised by Ghaznavid rulers. They entailed the achievement of new architectural projects as well as the restoration of pre-existing structures. Despite the fact that only few buildings mentioned in Bayhaqī’s History have actually survived up to the time of modern excavations, the crossing of textual and archaeological data may enable us to locate some of them on a reconstructed map of mediaeval Ghazni.
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Contributor : Viola Allegranzi <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - 11:23:15 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, June 4, 2019 - 6:58:01 PM

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Viola Allegranzi. Royal Architecture Portrayed in the Tarīḫ-i Masʻūdī and Archaeological Evidence from Ghazni (Afghanistan, 11th-12th c.). 8th European Conference of the Societas Iranologica Europaea, Societas Iranologica Europaea, Sep 2015, Saint-Pétersbourg, Russia. ⟨hal-01585947⟩

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