Event — Lecture

Poets in the shadows of time: the Ḍiṇḍima family of Vijayanagara

Lecture by David Pierdominici, IIAS fellow from the Italian Institute of Oriental Studies, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy.

The impossibility of recovering historical or, at least, reliable data about the classical writers in Sanskrit is a matter of regret in the history of literary studies, as it is known.

Surprisingly, the history of the Ḍiṇḍima poets, who served the empire of Vijayanagara (1336-1565) for more than two centuries, is far from being uncertain and hypothetical, due to surviving narrations from which it is possible to coherently trace the origin and establishment of this scholarly family.

Among the available sources, the Vibhāgaratnamālikā, “The Garland of Gems of Partition”, represents the most systematic exposition about the origin of this group. This anonymous work gives some glimpses about the ancestors of the clan, but it is devoted to the celebration of the principal and most representative figure, namely Aruṇagirinātha Ḍiṇḍimakavi, the court poet of the emperor Devarāya II (1422-1446), whose life and achievements are curiously described in picturesque way.

This lunch lecture will be devoted to an overview about the available attestations concerning the members of the Ḍiṇḍima family, which come from very heterogeneous realms, mostly connected to the epigraphical, literary and historical ones in Sanskrit, Tamil and Telugu languages. The anlysis of the unusual genealogical accounts as presented in the works of Aruṇagirinātha, Rājanātha I, Rājanātha II and Kumāra Ḍiṇḍima Aruṇagirinātha (15th -16th centuries) will also allow to examine the formation of the literary identity and auto-perception of poets who unhumbly referred to themselves as Sārvabhaumakavis, “the Emperors among Poets”.

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About IIAS Lunch Lectures

Every month, one of the IIAS affiliated fellows will give an informal presentation about his/her work-in-progress for colleagues and others interested. Lunch lectures are sometimes also organised for visiting scholars.

IIAS organises these lectures to provide the research community with an opportunity to freely discuss ongoing research and exchange thoughts and ideas. Anyone with an interest in the subject matter at hand is welcome to attend and join the discussion.