South Indian Kingdoms Samgam Age : Chera Chola Pandyas
South Indian Kingdoms
- The Asokan edicts (c. 270-30 BCE) present for the first time a picture of the political condition in south India.
- Rock Edict II lists Cholas, Pandyas, Keralaputras and Satiyaputra as neighbor rulers, lying beyond his domain
- The Mauryan empire at that time included northern parts of Karnataka and Andhra while the Tamil kingdoms were treated as independent neighbors
- The Satavahanas emerged in the first century BCE in the Deccan region
- They ruled over parts of Andhra, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.
- The Satavahana Empire declined around the 3rd century CE
- Replaced by the Ikshvakus, followed by the Pallavas, in Andhra and the Kadambas in northern Karnataka.
The Sangam Age
- The period from 300BC to 300AD are widely accepted as the Sangam period
- The information for this period is mainly derived from the Sangam literature.
- Ancient Tamil Nadu and Kerala and parts of Sri Lanka (then known as Tamilakam)
- The region ranging from Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh to Kanyakumari.
- It was named after the famous Sangam academies of poets and scholars centered in the city of Madurai.
- The ancient Tamil songs provide more information about the human life in the ancient Tamilakam.
- The collection of these ancient Tamil songs is known as Sangam literature. Sangam literature is the most ancient among the available Tamil literature.
- It is believed that these were compiled in the period between BCE 300 and CE 300.
- Muvendar, ‘the three crowned kings’, Three royal families Cheras, Cholas and Pandyas controlled major agrarian territories, trade routes and towns.
- The Cholas (300s BCE–1279 CE) controlled the central and northern parts of Tamil Nadu.
- Their core area of rule was the Kaveri delta, later known as Cholamandalam.
- Their capital was Uraiyur (near Thiruchirapalli town) and Puhar or Kaviripattinam was an alternative royal residence and chief port town.
- Karikalan is portrayed as the greatest Chola of the Sangam age
- Karikalan’s foremost military achievement was the defeat of the Cheras and Pandyas
- The emblem of the Cholas was ‘tiger’.
- The Cheras controlled the central and northern parts of Kerala and the Kongu region of Tamil Nadu.
- Vanji was their capital and the ports of the west coast, Musiri and Tondi, were under their control.
- Chera King Chenguttuvan mentioned in Silappathikaram (Tamil Epic)
- Senguttuvan (2nd century CE) was the prominent ruler of the Chera dynasty.
- The emblem of Cheras is the ‘bow and arrow’.
- The Pandyas reigned over the Southern region of modern-day Tamil Nadu.
- Madurai was the capital of Pandyas.
- Their emblem was the twin ‘fish Carp’.
- They invaded Southern Kerala and controlled the port of Nelkynda, near Kottayam.
Social Formation during Sangam Age
Sangam poems help us understand the social formation of the time.
According to the thinai concept, Tamilagam was divided into five landscapes
Hunting and collecting of forest resources were the means of livelihood of the people in the hill Kurinchi. Some songs indicate that they engage in shifting cultivation as well. Pepper and other spices were cultivated here.
Rearing of cattle was the major occupation of the people of Mullai, the grassland.
In order to increase the 'cattle wealth', the practice of seizing cattle prevailed. Those who chiefly engage the stealing cattle were the people from Palai, the dry lands.
Rice and sugarcane were cultivated in the wetland Marutam. There are evidences for the use of iron ploughshare affixed to plough in that period.
Fishing and salt production were the major
occupation of the people in the coastal region
Neytal. Salt was made by evaporating the sea water held in the salt pans.