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South Indian History

Sangam Age [300 BC – 300 AD]

Sangam Age is earliest known phase of civilized South Indian History. Sangam literature forms important source to reconstruct history of the period. Chola, Chera, Pandyas ruled during Sangam Age. Lates Pallavas established themselves for quiet some time. South Indian rule reached its Zenith under Chola rulers.

Sangam literature.

Word Sangam means a group of persons or an association. (Academy of Tamil bards & poets). Sangam literature flourished under Royal patronage of Pandyas. (3rd Cent BC – 3rd Cent AD). It was in 3 different periods and 3 different places.

1stMaduraiAttended by Gods and legendary sages. Unfortunately no literature is left from this period.
2ndKapathapuramOnly TOLAKAPPIAM by Talkappiar is left. It is oldest available Tamil grammar book.
3rdMaduraiAlmost all of the text is available.

The Sangam tradition was started by sage Agastya. It is also called Augustan age of Tamil literature. It reveals to us, how secular minded people engaged in day to day life refusing to yield to religious fanaticism.

Sangam literature is divided into Aham/Agham and Puram.
Agham /Aham (love) – talks about inner feelings, conjugal love, private thoughts, domestic life.
Puram (valour) dealt with public and social activity like government, war, charity, worship, trade, agriculture etc.

Literature from 3rd Sangam.

1] Ettutogai – Eight anthologies.

2] Pattupattu – A collection of 10 poems. Idylls.
3 of these belong to Aham – Mulaipattu, Kurinjipattu, Pattinapallai.
Rest 7 poems are Puram.

3] 18 Killkkanakku – belong to both Aham and Puram groups.
They are anthologies. (One book, where different writers are writing.)

4] Pathinekilkanakku – 18 works mainly dealing with ethics and moral.
Tirukkural authored by Tiruvalluvar is imp part of it. It  is often compared with Kautilya’s ARTHASHASHRA because it talks about Sangam polity, kings, his qualities, associates, their qualifications and functions, ideal code of behaviour etc.

5] Two epics
SILPPADIKARAM – written by Elango Adigal. It is a love story of Kovalam (ruler) and Madhavi.
MANIMEGALAI– written by Sittalai Sattanar. Manimekalai is sequel to Silppadikaram and talks about love story of daughter of Kovalam and Madhavi.

Murugan was the most favourite God of Tamils during Sangam age.
Goddess Kannagi was worshiped widely in South India and was goddess of Chastity.

Sangam Literature, South Indian History
Tirukkural by Tiruvalluvar is an important text dealing with morals and ethics.

Sangam Age Rulers

Sangam Age Map

1] Cholas
They Ruled in the lower Kauveri valley.
Greatest Chola king was Karikala Chola. In the first battle of Veni, near Tanjore, he defeated the kings of Pandyas and Cheras. In 2nd battle of Veni, he established himself as the greatest ruler by defeating federation of 9 kings.
During his rule, the capital was shifted from Uraiyur to Kaveripatanam.
He was the patron of literature and performed many Bramhinical sacrifices.
Please note that these Cholas are different from Imperial Cholas of later period.

2] Cheras
Probably the earliest of these three kingdoms.
Their capital was Vanchi (present Karur) and their rule was to the western coastal strip in the modern Malabar district and Travancore and Kochin.
Earliest ruler was Udayan Cheraladan. He said to have defeated Satakarni II.
Greatest Chera ruler was Cheran Senguttuvan. Muziris port (Kerala) developed under him.

3] Pandyas
They ruled in extreme south. Their capital was Madurai, on bank of river Vaigai.
The greatest Pandya ruler was Nedumcheliyan. He said to have defeated the combinPallavas of Kanchi [550 AD – 875 AD]ed army of Cheras and Cholas. He also beautified the city of Madurai and encouraged foreign trade and improved agriculture.

Please visit next page for history of Pallavas of Kanchi [550 AD – 875 AD]

Posted in Ancient Indian History

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