June 2019

Viola Allegranzi, Aux sources de la poésie ghaznavide. Les inscriptions persanes de Ghazni (Afghanistan, XIe-XIIe siècles), Paris, Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle, 2019, 2 vols. ISBN: 978-2-87854-981-2



The Ghaznavids (977-1186) takes their name from the capital city of the dynasty, Ghazni, located in today’s Afghanistan. These Muslim rulers traditionally hosted at their court men of science and letters. Among these were numerous poets praising their patrons’ deeds through compositions in Persian. Therefore, the poetic inscriptions carved onto the marble slabs once adorning a royal palace and other monuments in Ghazni, constitute a first‑hand source on Ghaznavid culture and society. The present study offers an analysis of such Persian inscriptions, collected by the Italian Archaeological Mission in Afghanistan (1957-), but only partially available to the public to date. The fresh evidence presented here encourages a reassessment of the cultural history, the political ideal and the artistic outcomes of the dynasty within the context of the Medieval Persianate world. A catalogue containing all the recorded inscriptions has been included in this publication as part of the effort to safeguard the archaeological material now dispersed and listed within the endangered cultural heritage of Afghanistan.