Sir Thomas Roe, sent as an official ambassador from King James I of England to the Mughal court of Jahangir in 1615, was a prolific writer during his time in the Mughal Empire. In Roe’s writings, he vividly portrays the importance he associated with his position as a royal ambassador, the stress he placed on his position at the Mughal court, and the self-perceived intimacy of his relationship with Jahangir. By examining Roe’s journal and letters, the contemporary autobiographical memoirs of Emperor Jahangir, and significant examples of contemporary Mughal painting, this article will investigate the reasons for Roe’s self-perceived importance to Jahangir, and Jahangir’s corresponding take on Roe and England. It will conclude that while Roe purposefully projected an image of self-importance at the Mughal court in his writings to enhance his status in England, his perceived reception by Jahangir was not the reality of the situation. Roe’s time at Jahangir’s court did not enhance the political status of England within the Mughal Empire; instead, his embassy served to increase the span of Jahangir’s visual imagery of power.


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pp. 263-284
Launched on MUSE
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