Inter-Asia Research NetworksSanskritizing the Persian Cosmopolis: A Case Study from the Monetary History of the DeccanPhillip B. WAGONER(Professor of Art History and Archaeology, Wesleyan University, USA)This paper examines the interaction between Persianate and Sanskritic political culture in the Deccan region of peninsular India, focusing on the period from approximately 1300 to 1650. This period saw the rise of two major political formations in the region: the Persianate Bahmani sultanate (and after 1500, its successor states), holding sway over the lands north of the Krishna and Tungabhadra rivers, and the Sanskritic kingdom of Vijayanagara, the paramount power in the southern Deccan and most of the Tamil country still further south. These two polities vied with each other for domination of the entire region, a competition that has often been misunderstood in our day as expressing a fundamental opposition and incompatability between Islam and Hinduism, the respective religions of their ruling classes. My colleague Richard M. Eaton and I have recently proposed a different paradigm to make sense of this competition, one that sees the Bahmani and Vijayanagara states not through the communal lens of two essentialized and mutually hostile religious systems, but rather, in terms of the complex interaction between two parallel cultures of rulership that were grounded in different prestige languages̶ a “Sanskrit cosmopolis” and a “Persian cosmopolis.” In the Deccan, these two cultural formations first began a sustained mutual encounter toward the middle of the fourteenth century, as the Bahmani and Vijayanagara states came into conflict with each other, but the nature of their interaction was varied, oscillating between moments of conflict and periods of openness and receptive exchange.What is most striking about this shifting relationship is the way the two cosmopolises gradually converged over the course of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, until by the middle of the seventeenth century they were so tightly interwoven that the notion of two distinct types of polity ceases to hold much explanatory power. On the one hand, many of the established Indic ideas and practices of the Vijayanagara elite began to yield to newer ones appropriated from the Persianate realm of the neighboring Bahmani kingdom̶as, for example, in architecture, court dress, and administrative methods, as Vijayanagara’s rulers began styling themselves as “sultans among Hindu kings.” On the other hand, many of the ideas and practices of the Bahmani sultanate and its successor states yielded to Sanskritic analogues, enabling the Persian cosmopolis to become more deeply rooted in the region. Thus, Persian farmans and inscriptions gradually became bilingual, brahmans were given positions of influence in the state administration, and key concepts of kingship within the Sanskritic system̶such as the doctrine of the chakravartin and his rule over Jambudvipa, the central continent of Indian cosmogrpahy̶received approving expression in Persian and Dakhani texts of the period.Much of this convergent development resulted from social interaction at the elite level, as members of the military-political classes migrated back and forth between the courts of the Bahmani successor states and Vijayanagara, seeking the best opportunities for military service. What has been less fully explored is the contribution of non-elites to the process, and this paper aims to rectify that situation by examining the use of Figure Selected Coin Types Circulat ing in the Northern Deccan, c. 1520. Center: Vijayanagara Gold Hons; Outer Circle: Bahmani Silver Tankas and Copper Ganis (Private Collec-tion).065