History of India - Sangam Age

Topics: Centuries, Tamil Nadu, 1st millennium Pages: 11 (3125 words) Published: June 13, 2013

Sangam Literature was written in the ‘Sangam Age’, which is not a concrete time range. Some literature may have been written as long ago as 10,000 BCE, but most was written from c. 400 BCE to c. 400 CE. of

Between 350 BCE to 200 CE, South India (mostly Tamil Nadu) was ruled by the three Tamil dynasties of Chola, Pandya and Chera.

The Cholas

The heartland of the Cholas was the fertile valley of the Kaveri River, but they ruled a significantly larger area at the height of their power from the later half of the 9th century till the beginning of the 13th century. The whole country south of the Tungabhadra was united and held as one state for a period of two centuries and more. During the rule of Rajaraja Chola I and his son Rajendra Chola I, Cholas were transformed into a military, economic and cultural power.  During the period 1010–1200, the Chola territories stretched from the islands of the Maldives in the south to as far north as the banks of the Godavari River in Andhra Pradesh. They conquered peninsular South India, parts of what is now Sri Lanka and some of the islands of the Maldives. They conquered the territories of the Pala ruler of Pataliputra in North India, and they conquered some kingdoms of the Malaysian archipelago as well. The Chola dynasty went into decline at the beginning of the 13th century with the rise of the Later Pandyas, who ultimately caused their downfall. The Pandyas

They were well known since ancient times, with contacts, even diplomatic, reaching the Roman Empire. During the 13th century AD, Marco Polo mentioned it as the richest empire in existence. The early Pandyan Dynasty of the Sangam Age faded into obscurity upon the invasion of the Kalabhras. The dynasty was revived in the early 6th century, pushed the Kalabhras out of South India. They again went into decline with the rise of the Cholas in the 9th century and were in constant conflict with them. The Later Pandyas (1216–1345) expanded their empire into Telugu country, conquered Kalinga (Orissa) and invaded and conquered Sri Lanka. They also had extensive trade links with the Southeast Asian maritime empires of Srivijaya and their successors. During their history, the Pandyas were repeatedly in conflict with the Pallavas, Cholas, Hoysalas and finally the Muslim invaders from the Delhi Sultanate. The Pandyan Kingdom finally became extinct after the establishment of the Madurai Sultanate in the 16th century.

The Cheras

During the time of Mauryas in northern India (c. 300 BC — 200 BC) the Cheras flourished in South India. The empire, at its peak, spread over most of modern day Kerala and Coimbatore, and the Salem and Dharmapuri districts of modern day Tamil Nadu. Some records suggest the possible annexation of Nagapattanam (southern part) and Thiruvarur districts of Tamil Nadu. The Cheras were in continuous conflict with neighboring Cholas and Pandyas. They also made battles with the Kadambās of Banavasi and the "Yavanas" (Romans) on the Indian coast.

After c.100 CE, the Chera power decayed rapidly with the decline of the lucrative trade with the Romans. The domination of first Chera dynasty lasted till circa 5th century AD. The Later Cheras ruled from the 9th century. The second dynasty ruled from a city on the banks of River Periyar called Mahodayapuram. Although they never regained their original power, they fought numerous wars with their powerful neighbors and went into decline c. 12th century CE.


The Maduraikkanci by Mankudi Maruthanaar contains a full-length description of Madurai and the Pandyan country under the rule of Nedunj Cheliyan III.

The Netunalvatai by Nakkirar contains a description of the king’s palace.

The Purananuru and Akanaṉūṟu collections contain poems sung in praise of various kings and also poems that were composed by the kings themselves.

The Sangam age anthology Pathirruppaththu provides the genealogy of two collateral lines for three or...

References: Vimala Begley – Arikamedu Reconsidered (in the American Journal of Archeology)
The Hindu - December 24, 2010 issue
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