Parution : Ebba Koch, The Planetary King. Humayun Padshah, Inventor and Visionary on the Mughal Throne, Mapin Publishers, 2022


The Planetary King
Humayun Padshah, Inventor and Visionary on the Mughal Throne

Ebba Koch






A seminal inquiry into Humayun’s personality and his remarkable cultural achievements, The Planetary King restores the second Mughal emperor to his rightful place.

Humayun, the son of Babur and the second Mughal ruler, reigned in Agra from 1530 to 1540 and then in Delhi from 1555 to 1556. Until now, his numerous achievements, including winning back the throne of Hindustan, have not been well recorded. Humayun neither wrote an autobiography nor had a historian to glorify him; the eccentric accounts of his historian Khwandamir elude general comprehension.

The Planetary King follows Humayun’s travels and campaigns during the political and social disturbances of the early sixteenth century. It delves into Humayun’s extraordinary social and intellectual life; demystifies his magico-scientific world view, draws attention to his deep involvement with literature, poetry, painting, architecture, mathematics, astronomy, astrology, occultism and extraordinary inventions; and offers a new analysis of Humayun’s mausoleum as the posthumous sum of his visions and dreams.

Bringing this fascinating exploration to life in vivid detail, this volume includes hundreds of beautifully reproduced photographs and illustrations—from reconstructions of Humayun’s buildings to depictions of live events. The book accompanies the new site museum at Humayun’s tomb created by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture upon the culmination of two decades of conservation work on the World Heritage Site.

“This is a truly extraordinary book. Professor Koch has brought her unparalleled knowledge of Mughal history and artistic culture into a sharply penetrating focus on Humayun’s career and his many contributions to architecture, science, and literature…”

—R. D. McChesney, Professor Emeritus, New York University 


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