In this article we will discuss the penetration of Megalith people to fertile river basin of Kaveri delta by the end of 2nd Century.This phase of expansion includes three important kingdoms, their literature, political and social life, etc.
The Sangam Age
By the third century BC the Megalith people moved from upland portion of Peninsula into fertile river basin of the Kaveri delta, i.e, region comprises of Tamil Nadu and Eastern Andhra Pradesh. As per tradition there were three Sangams under the patronage of “Pandyan King”
Three Early Kingdoms of Sangam Age
The first century AD witnessed the formation of three states respectively under the Cholas, Cheras and Pandyas. Now we will discuss each of them briefly.
- The Chera kingdon occupied the region of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
- Cheras are also known as Keral Putra.
- Their capital was Vanjji.
- One of the earliest and better known among Chera rulers was Udiyangeral, but the greatest king was Senguttavan.
- The Cheras were at constant conflict with Cholas and Pandyas.
- The Chola kingdom called as Cholamandalam was situated to the North-East of Pandya Kingdom between Pennar and Vellar Rivers.
- This kingdom corresponds to the modern Tanjore and Tiruchhirapalli districts.
- Its inland capital was Uraiyaur, later Puhar identical to Kaveripattnam became the Capital which was the main port of Cholas for trading of cotton.
- The important ruler of Cholas was Karikal who was considered as the most powerful ruler of Sangam period. Karikal was the master of seven nodes of music.
- Construction of dam on Tungabhadra river during the Cholas period was the major achievement.
- The Pandyas territory included modern districts of Tirunelvelli, Ramand and Madurai in Tamil Nadu.
- The earliest known Pandyas ruler was Mudukudumi, while the important ruler of that kingdom was Nendunjeliyan.
- Nenduljeliyan established trade relations with Roman Empire thus sent his ambassador to King Augustus & Trojan.
- The Pandyas were first mention by Magesthenese.
Sangam was an assembly of Tamil poets held under royal patronage of Pandyan kings in Madurai. The word Sangam was first used by Tirunarukkarasu Nayannar also known as Appar. The Sangam literature gives important information about Political, social and economic condition of South during Sangam period. Here is the list of three Sangam(s) with their place of event and the president.
- The first Sangam was attended by Gods and legendary sages.
- Of the second Sangam, the only surviving work is Tolkapiyyam. an early work on Tamil grammar written by Tolakapiyyar.
- Of the third Sangam, mostly works are surviving. List are given below.
The Sangam Administration
- The King was the center of administration. He was called ko, Mannam, Vendan Korravan or Iraivan. King’s birthday was celebrated every year and was k/a Perunal (the great day).
- Avai was the court of crowned Monarch.
- The Kingdom was divided into Mandalam/Nadu (Province), Ur (Town), Perur (big village), Sirur (small village).
The Political- Social and economic condition of South during Sangam Age
- The three kingdom had trade contacts with west. The important items of trade were spices, ivory, pearls, precious stones, cotton clothes etc.
- For the first two and a half century A.D the southern kingdom carried on lucrative trade with the Romans.
- The major source of Income was the agriculture, chief product was rice.
- Life of a widow was very hard, ‘Sati’ system was common but not universal.