Shivadharma - Translocal Identities. The Śivadharma and the Making of Regional Religious Traditions in Premodern South Asia

European project H2020 - Excellent Science - ERC-2018-STG (Starting Grant)

This project aims at examining the impact of the spread of the Śaiva religion on the formation of regional religious identities in South Asia from the Middle Ages to premodern times. In order to tackle this issue, the research team will examine the historical evidence (literary, epigraphical and iconographic) connected with a still little studied but highly influential tradition of Sanskrit texts collectively called “Śivadharma” (= “Śaiva Religion”), which have been transmitted in some of the most representative regions of South Asia: Nepal, the Deccan area (with connections to the Andhra coast), the northeastern area of the Bay of Bengal (present-day West Bengal and Odisha), Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The Śivadharma texts, composed around the 6th to 7th century, are mostly related to the institutional and cultural facets of lay religion, thus offering access to information on the material and practical aspects of Śaivism at a time corresponding to its rise to monarchical patronage in South and Southeast Asia. The main focus of the team’s research will be on the process of how these texts were adapted to the different regional contexts in which they are transmitted, as well as the assessment of the impact that their knowledge had on the formation of local Śaivism.

Project duration

1/12/2018 - 30/11/2024

Unibo Team Leader, Scientific responsible for the Department
Marco Franceschini

Other departments involved

Classical Philology and Italian Studies (FICLIT)
Coordinator, National responsible

Principal Investigator: Florinda De Simini (Università degli studi di Napoli L’Orientale)

Principal beneficiary: Università degli studi di Napoli L’Orientale


Università degli studi di Napoli L’Orientale (UNO)

École française d'Extrême-Orient (EFEO)

Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna (UNIBO)


Euro 1.499.348,75
2nd level ERC sectors **:
Primary ERC Review Panel: SH6 - The Study of the Human Past

Secondary ERC Review Panel: SH5 - Cultures and Cultural Production