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Kerala PSC Indian History Book Study Materials Page 507Book's First Page
came to be identified with the Puranic Kartikeya, but he was still essentially the Tamil god of war and fertility and was worshipped with the offering of rice and blood and the performance of orgiastic ritual dancing. Sangam Literature Meaning A college (sangam) of Tamil poets flourished for a time under royal patronage in Madurai. But the earliest account of it is enveloped in legend. It refers to three sangams which lasted, at long intervals, for 9,990 years altogether and included 8,598 poets (including a few gods of the Saiva sect) as members and 197 Pandyan kings as patrons. Some of the names of the kings and poets, such as Kadungon and Ugrapperuvalludi, are found in inscriptions and other authentic records, showing that some facts have got mixed up with much fiction. It is believed that the first sangam was attended by gods and legendary sages, but all its works have perished. The second, attended by several poets, produced a large mass of literature, but only Tolkappiyam (the early Tamil grammar) has survived. The third, attended by several poets, had also produced vast literature, but only a fraction of it has survived. It is this fraction which constitutes the extant body of Sangam literature. Composition Sangam literature consists of the earliest Tamil works (such as the Tolkappiyam), the Ettutogai (Eight Anthologies), the Pattuppattu (Ten Idylls), the Padinenkilkanakku (Eighteen Minor Works), and the three epics. Earliest Tamil Works Tolkappiyam, acknowledged as the earliest surviving Tamil literary work, supposedly written by Tolkappiyar (one of the 12 disciples of saint Agastya), is a work on Tamil grammar of the aham or agam (love) and puram (war, government, etc.), orthography, construction, prosody, figures of speech, social practices, literary conventions, and the like. It is divided into three sections, each consisting of nine iyals (sub-chapters) and has a total of 1,612 sutras. Other earliest Tamil works were the Agattiyam (a work on grammar of letters and life) by saint Agattiyar, Pannirupadalam (a grammatical work on puram literature) by the 12 disciples of saint Agastya and the Kakkipadiniyam (a work on prosody) by an unknown writer; but all these are practically extinct today.