character. The most important among these are the Tirukkural (known as the
‘Bible of Tamil land’) by Tiruvalluvar (a series of brief metrical proverbs on
many aspects of life and religion), the Palamoli by Munrurai Araiyar (adopts
the novel method of exemplifying morals by proverbs), the Naladiyar
(contains verses of much merit and high ethical conduct), and the
Acharakkovai (prescribes the daily routine for an orthodox Hindu). All these
works clearly show the growing influence of the Aryan religious ideas and
practices over the Tamil people.
The Epics
Silappadigaram (The Jeweled Anklet) It was the earliest and greatest of
the epics of the Sangam Age. Supposedly written by Illango Vadigal
(grandson of Karikala, the great Chola king) in the second century AD, it is
the tragic story of a merchant, Kovalan of Puhar who falls in love with a
dancer, Madhavi, neglecting his own wife, Kannagi, who in the end revenges
the death of her husband at the hands of the Pandyan king and becomes a
goddess. It marks the beginning of Kannagi cult or pattini cult, that is
worship of Kannagi as the ideal wife. It contains a great deal of social and
historical information about the Sangam age.
Manimegalai Supposedly written by poet Sattanar of Madurai, it is a sort
of Buddhist supplement to the Silappadigaram. It is the story of Manimegalai
(the daughter of Kovalan and Madhavi of the earlier epic) —how she
preserves her chastity from Prince Udaya Kumaran and becomes a Buddhist
nun to preach its doctrines. Besides containing a good deal of social and
historical information, it is the only important ancient work which gives
glimpses of the development of the fine arts in the Sangam age.
Sivaga Sindamani Written by Tiruttakkadevar, a Jaina, it is the story of
Sivaga or Jivaka, a superman who excels in every field and wins a new bride
for his harem with every feat, only to become a Jaina monk in the end.
    The three epics show the gradual penetration of Aryan′s influence into the
Tamil land. The Silappadigaram, being the earliest, is still very different
from Sanskrit poetry, while Sivaga Sindamani, the latest of the Sangam epics,
shows the dominance of the Sanskrit style over the indigenous style. Besides,
the Tamil version of the Mahabharata           was composed by Perundevanar