The Culture of War in the Mughal Empire

14. 06. 2023 | 11.30 Uhr - 12.30 Uhr

Bildquelle: Anonym [Abu'l-Hasan?]: Jahangir Shooting the Head of Malik Ambar, 19. Jh. Washington (DC), Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, South Asian and Himalayan Art, F1948.19a. Link:


This talk will explore the cultural dimensions of war in the Mughal Empire in early modern South Asia. It will discuss how Mughal political ideology understood, legitimised, and represented war, what the ethical needs and limits for exercising military violence were, and how warfare shaped notions of gender, service, and identity in the courtly milieu. Overall, it will highlight how military violence not only helped the Mughals create their South Asian empire in terms of territorial expansion, but also how it fundamentally shaped the cultural identity of the empire.


Pratyay NathPratyay Nath is Assistant Professor of History, Ashoka University. His research lies at the crossroads of environmental history, military history, and imperial history, with a focus on early modern South Asia. He is the author of "Climate of Conquest: War, Environment, and Empire in Mughal North India" (Oxford University Press, 2019) and, with Meena Bhargava, the co-editor of "The Early Modern in South Asia: Querying Modernity, Periodization, and History" (Cambridge University Press, 2022). Nath is currently writing his second monograph, which analyses the military campaigns during the reign of the third Mughal emperor Akbar, and their roles in the overall process of empire-building. His latest publications include "Pilgrimage, Performance, and Peripatetic Kingship: Akbar’s Journeys to Ajmer and the Making of the Mughal Empire", Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, (2022): 1-26 and "Looking beyond the Military Revolution: Variations in Early Modern Warfare and the Mughal Case", Journal of Military History 86, no. 1 (2022): 9-31. He is one of the editors of The Medieval History Journal

Prof Dr. Isabelle Deflers, Dr. Anke Fischer-Kattner
Professur für Geschichte der Frühen Neuzeit
online (Zoom)
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