Sangam Literature

  • Sangam was a gathering of Tamil poets held at Madurai under the royal patronage of Pandyan monarchs. The conference, lasted 9,990 years and was attended by 197 Pandyan rulers and 8,598 poets.
  • Gods and legendary sages attended the first Sangam. All of its creations were lost.
  • Tolkappiyam, an early work on Tamil grammar written by Tolakapiyyar, is the sole work from the second Sangam that has survived.
  • The works that have survived from the third Sangam mostly consist of eight anthologies known as Ettutogai, ten idylls known as Pattupattu, and eighteen didactical texts known as Patinenkilakanakku.
  • Ettutogai and Pattupattu are called Melakanakku (18 major works) and narrative in form.
  • Patinenkanakku is called Kilakanakku (18 minor works) and didactive in form.
  • Kural or Muppal, a part of Patinenkilakanakku and written by Tiruvalluvar is called ‘The Bible of Tami Land’. It is treatise on polity, ethics and social norms.
  • Silappadikaram, the story of the Anklet written by Ilango Adigal, the story of Kovalan and Madhavi of Kaveripattinam.
  • Sittalai Sattanar wrote Manimekalai, which narrates the escapades of Manimekalai, the daughter of Kovalan and Madhavi, and serves as a continuation of Silappadikaram.
  • Classical Sangam literature consists of Tolkappiyam, the eight anthologies (Ettutokai), Pattupattu.
  • Tolkappiyam is attributed to Tolkapiyar. It is the earliest Tamil grammatical text dealing not only with poetry but also the society and culture of the times.
  • Ettutokai and Pattupattu were composed by panar, wandering bards and pulavar, the poets.
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