The Sangam Age in India witnessed the rapid development of literary works in the southern regions. The literature that was created during this time came to be known as Sangam literature. The great poets, writers, etc. of this age have left behind invaluable accounts of brilliant literature that continue to enthrall historians and scholars. The earliest literary work dates back to 200 B.C. Read more about the history of Sangham Age in India.
The word Sangam has most likely been derived from the Indo-Aryan word
Sangha, which means an assembly. This word was usually used for Buddhist
and Jain monks. Roughly around 470 C.E an academy called Dravida Sangha
was established by a Jain called Vajranandi. The members of this academy
had much interest in literature and Tamil language. In early Sangam age
poems, one finds the mention of Jain cosmology and mythology.
During the Sangam Age, the three empires that ruled the South of India
were that of Pandyas, Cholas and Cheras. Though there were constant wars
among the different kings for dominion of states and territory, they
were all promoters of literature and other classical literary works.
Under their rule, Indian art and culture flourished like anything. The
early Sangam literature mentions the kingdom of the Pandyas. It is said
that the kingdom became insignificant before emerging again during the
With the rise of the Chola dynasty, the dynasty of Pandyas again
declined. They were in constant conflict with the Cholas and fought for
their part of territory. However, the Pandyas found reliable allies in
the form of the Cheras and the Sinhalese and left no opportunity to
disturb the Cholas with them. By the late 13th Century, the Pandyas were
able to revive their position and gain back heir lost territories and
One of the earliest written scriptures in Tamil grammar is known as
Tolkappiyam. Another work known as Ettutogai or Eight Anthologies is
considered to be a fantastic product of the Sangam Age. Many poems were
composed during this age and some of the famous ones are Manimekhalai,
Shilpathikaram, Akananuru, Purananuru, etc. These poems speak about the
political, social, cultural and traditional aspects of life during the
Sangam age. Some poems also mention the fact that the Cheras formed a
vital trading center with Rome. Some of the great poets who deserve a
mention are Avvaiyar, Kapilar, Mamulanar, Paramer, Gautamanar, etc.