While it has long been recognized that the premodern Islamic world (until ca.1500) following the fall of the Abbasid Caliphate (1258) was knitted together through trade networks, cultural connections, and a shared religion, political fragmentation still prevails in most scholarly narratives. The project here proposed postulates that there were also common political practices, allowing for an "international society" to emerge, most visible in its practice of diplomacy. In this, the project builds on recent work in political and new diplomatic history that has moved away from focuses on conquest and the head of state, in favour of an interest in state formation, legitimacy and the role of a wider set of political/diplomatic agents. Though it is well-known that patronage of certain individuals was a common tactic of the court to enhance its prestige and claims to power in processes of state formation, it has so far been understudied how the networks of these personae could actively serve in a state's search for legitimacy. This project thus investigates the interlinkage of diplomacy, legitimacy and (in)formal networks in the premodern Islamic world. Concretely, it does so through the analysis of the diplomatic letters in Persian and Arabic of the vizier Mahmud Gawan (r. 1463-1481), a premodern example of the networking politician, and how they served in attempts to advance diplomatically the Bahmani Sultanate's (Deccan, South Asia) legitimacy claims.