Sangam Age of Ancient Indian History – Informative Article

Sangam Age of Ancient Indian History

Sangam Age of Ancient Indian History The Sangam was characterized by school of poets and bards, who thrived in three different periods under the patronage of the Pandyan kings. The Sangam literature speaks highly of three south Indian Kingdoms: the Chola’s, Pandya’s and Chera’s. The initial reference that we find about this era is conserved in form of Sangam Literature and the accounts in ‘Indica. read full history of Sangam Age .

Three Early Kingdoms

Sangam Age of Ancient Indian History - Informative Article

• The land south of Krishna River was divided into three kingdoms: Chera, Chola and Pandyas.
• The mentioned by Pandyas Megasthenese who speaks of the Pandya kingdom being ruled by seven year old mothers were found in the Pandya country.
• The three kingdoms together with Satiyaputra are referred to as independent states by Ashoka in his inscription with which he maintained friendly relations. The name yet to be identified.
The Cholas
• The Chola known ‘Tondaimandalam’ or ‘Cholamandalam their chief centre of political power was at ‘Uraiyur’, a place famous for cotton trade.
• The Chola were the most powerful of all three kingdoms.
• In the middle of the second century B.C. a Chola king named Elara conquered Sri Lanka and ruled over it for nearly 50 years.
• A firmer history of the Cholas begins in 2nd century A.D. with their famous king Krikala, who founded the port city of Puhar (identical with Kaveritam) and constructed 160 km of embankment along the Kaveri River.
• Karikala, literal meaning ‘Man with Charred Leg’
• In Sanskrit Karikala means Death of Kali’ or ‘Death of enemy’s elephant’.
• Karikala fought the ‘Battle of Benni anddefeated 11 kings. He was the greatest of
Chola kings.
• The Chola maintained an efficient navy.
The Cherns
• The history of the Cheras was marked by continuous fighting with the Cholas and the Pandyas. The capital of the Cheras was or Karur.
• Nedunjral Adan is the first known Chera king. He is said to have fed both the armies of Kurukshetra war and so fiadearned the Gule of Udiyanjeral’
•Senaguttuvan, the Red Chera or Good Chera, according to the Chera poels, was the greatest
chera king.
• Senaguttuvan invaded the north and crossed the Ganga. He is remembered for building a temple of ‘Kannagi’, the goddess of chastity. The worship of Kannagi is known as ‘Pattini cult’, which was establishcd by him.
The Pandyas
• The Pandayan kingdom occupied the southern most portion of Indian peninsula, with Madurai as its capital. Legendary and traditional accounts mention the loss of many Sangam texts on the occasion of a deluge, which compelled the Pandayan king to shift their capital first from Madurai to Kapatapuram and then to Madurai.
The Sangam Literature
• The word Sangam is associated with a college assembly of Tamil Scholars and poets flourished under the royal patronage of the Pandyan kings at Madurai. The Sangam Age extends roughly between 300 B.C.-300 A.D.
c Three Sangams are supposed to have been held.
1. The first Sangam was held at Madurai and gods and goddesses but its works has not survived.
2. Second Sangam only Tolkappiyam, a Tamil grammer by Tolkapiyam, survives.
3. Third Sangam from which comes virtually the entire corpus of Sangam literature.
4. The available Sangam literature produced by these assemblies was complied in circa A.D. 300 – 600. But some of its work dated back to 2nd A.D.
5. The Whole literature has been divided into two groups – narrative nd didactic, the former is called Melkannakku or Eighteen Major works and the later Kilkannakku or Eighteen Minor Works.
Important Sangam works are as follows:
•Tolkappiyam by Talkappiyar Tamil grammar, literary tradition (poetics) and Sociology. It is the foundation of all literary conventions of Tamil literature.
• Tirukural or Kural by Tiruvalluvar is sometimes called the ‘fifth Veda’ or ‘Bible of the Tamil land’. It is a compound of dharma, artha, kama and moksha.

Region Term God

1. Hill region Kurunji Murugamn or Shiva
2. Desert region Pallaii Kornaval or Durga
3. Forest region Muliai Menar or Vishnu
4. Agriculture region Marudam Indra
5. Coastal region Neyttal Varuna
• Silappadikaram literally The Jewelled Anklet’ by Ilango Adigal is an epic, deals with
love story of Kovalan and Madhavi.
• Manimekalai is one of the two greatest epics and a squal to Silappadikaram; written by Sattalai Sattanar, considered as the Odyssey of Tamil poetry’.
• Jivage Chintamani a third epic by a Jaina Tiruttakkadevar
•Aggatiyam a magnum opus and grammar of letters and life in three parts by Saint Agatiyar.
• The whole Sangam Age is also called Golden or Augustan Age in Tamil literature. According to tradition the father of Tamil literature is Agastya. The third Sangam was presided over by ‘Nakkirat’.
Miscellaneous Facts
• Sangam Age corresponds to the post Maurya and pre-Gupta period.
• Roman king built a temple of Augustus at Muziris.
• Murugan was the god par excellence for Tamils, also known as Subramanya.
• The first literary evidence about the South Indian kings is found in Megasthenese’s ‘Indica’
• Yavanpriya, a Sanskrit term for pepper.
• Muslin, gems, pearls and spices were the most important items of export to Roman Empire.
• IInd and XIII rock edicts of Ashoka give
• Agriculture was the main occupation; chiefcrops were rice, cotton, ragi, sugarcane, pepper, ginger, Cardamom, turmeric, cinnamon and fruits.
• Army consisted of chariots drawn by oxen, of elephants, cavalry and infantry and also navy.
• The Tamil Brahmanas took meat and wine.
• Civil and military offices were held under both the Cholas and Pandyas by Vallalas or rich peasants.
• The ruling class was called Arasar and its members had marriage relations with the Vallalas who formed the fourth caste.
• Agricultural operations were generally carried by members of the lowest class, Kadaisiyar.
• The Periyars, were agricultural labourers who also worked in animal skin and used it as mats.
• People offered paddy to the dead. Cremation was introduced, but inhumation followed in
the megalithic phase
• Institution of Virakkal or Nadukal (Hero stone) was in practice.
Additionally ‘The Periplus of the Erythrean Sea’ written by an unknown Greek, mentions trade relations betwecn Tamil Kingdoms and Western countries.

Sangam Age of Ancient Indian History

Also Read: Post-Mauryan Period of Ancient Indian History

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