The Sangam literature refers to the 3 dynasties of Cheras, Cholas and Pandyas who fought with each other and competed with each other for political sovereignty and tried to establish their connection with Mahabharata. They also fought regularly with Sri Lanka. The available sangam literature which was produced by three assemblies was compiled in Circa A. D. 300-600. But parts of this literature look back to at least the second century A. D. The Sangam literature can roughtiy be divided into two groups, narrative and didactic. The narrative texts are called Melkannakku or Eighteen Major works. The didactic works are called Kilkanakku or Eighteen minor works.
Some Important Sangam Works
- Talkappiyam: by Tolkappiyar is a work on Tamil grammar, literary tradition and sociology. It is the fountain of all literary conventions in Tamil literature.
- Tirukkural or Kural: by Tiruvalluvar is sometimes called the Veda of the South or Fifth Veda. It is a compound of dharma, artha, kama and moksha.
- Silappadikaram: Literally The Jewelled Anklet by liango Adigal is an epic; deals with the love story between Kovalan, a merchant of Puhar and a courtesan Madhavi; a good deal of social and historical information is found in the book.
- Manimekalai: is one of the two greatest epics and a sequel Silappadikaram; written by Sattanar; deals with the adventure of the daughter Manimekalai born of the union of Kovalan and Madhavi. Its main aim seems to be to expound the excellence of the Buddhist religion through the medium of the travels of Manimekalai consequent on the loss of the city of Puhar, when the sea eroded into the coast. Sivaga Sindhamani; by a Jaina Tiruttakkadevar is the third Sangam epic.
- Aggatiyam: a magnum opus and a grammar of letters and life in three parts written by Saint Agattiyar survives only in quotation form by the subsequent medieval commentators.
- Pattupattu (The Ten Songs): are long poems.
- Ettutogi (Eight Anthologies): They make a vast body of peotic literature.
- Naladiyar and Palamoli: written by Mannururai Araiyur.