Short Answer Questions
What is meant by the term 'the Sangam Age'?
The Sangam age refers to the period when bulk of Tamil literature was composed by a body of Tamil scholars and poets in three successive literary gatherings called Sangam. These gatherings took place between first century BC and second century AD in the kingdom of Pandyas.
Name any two kingdoms mentioned in the Sangam texts.
Two kingdoms mentioned in the Sangam texts are:
Who was the author of Tirukkural? Name the three sections into which the chapters of Tirukkural are categorised.
The author of Tirukkural was Tiruvalluvar, Tamil poet and philosopher.
The three sections into which the chapters of Tirukkural are categorised are:
- Aaram (Righteousness)
- Porul (Wealth)
- Inbam or Kamam (Pleasure)
What are Megaliths? Why are they so called?
The Megaliths are box-like structures erected with the stone slabs, resting on each other without any mortar. Sometimes there was an opening cut into one of the sides. Some megaliths are seen on surface while some are underground with stone circles or boulders placed on surface to serve as signpost to find the burial site.
Megaliths are called so because they are huge stones that acted as either burial sites or commemorative memorials. They are also known as memorial stones.
Name the four castes mentioned in the Tolkappiyam.
The four castes mentioned in the Tolkappiyam are:
Name any four divisions (tinais) mentioned in the Sangam literature.
Four divisions (tinais) mentioned in the Sangam literature are:
- Backwoods (Kurinji)
- Parched zones (Palai)
- Pastoral tract (Mullai)
- Wet land (Marutam)
Who were the Vellalars during the Sangam Age?
The Vellalars were landed aristocrats, who cultivated the wetlands during the Sangam Age. They had close associations and held high positions of office with the three main dynasties, Cheras, cholas and Pandyas. They also carried out trade.
Name the main crops grown during the Sangam Period.
The main crops grown during the Sangam Period were rice, cotton, ragi, sugarcane, pepper, ginger, cardamom, turmeric, cinnamon, different varieties of fruits etc.
Name one centre of cotton trade and the products exported to foreign countries during the Sangam Age.
Uraiyur was one major centre of cotton trade.
The products exported to foreign countries during the Sangam Age were Pepper, Ginger, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Ivory products, Pearls and Precious Stones.
Name any two ports of Sangam Age.
Saliyur in the Pandya country and Bandar in Chera were the two most important ports of Sangam Age.
With reference to Sangam Age, answer the following questions:
(a) State why the Sangam Age is so called.
(b) Name the three kingdoms along with their capitals that existed during the Sangam Age.
(c) Describe the achievements of Chera ruler, Senguttuvan; and Chola ruler, Karikalan.
(a) The word Sangam is the Tamil form of the Sanskrit 'Sangha' which means confluence or an assembly or an association. The Sangam Age refers to a period when bulk of Tamil literature was composed by a body of Tamil scholars and poets in three successive literary gatherings called Sangam. Hence, Sangam refers to Gatherings of poets and bards.
(b) The three kingdoms along with their capitals that existed during the Sangam Age are:
(c) Achievements of Senguttuvan — He was the most popular king of the Sangam Cheras. The sangam works, Padirruppattu and Ahananuru provide a lot of information about him. His brother Illango Vadigal composed the Tamil Epic, Silappadikaram, which tells about his military achievements. Senguttuvan led an expedition up to the Himalayas. He crossed the river Ganges and defeated his enemies. He reached the Himalayas and hoisted the chera flag. Pattini cult, that is the worship of kannagi as the ideal wife, was started by him.
Achievements of Karikalan — He was the most popular king of Sangam cholas. At a very young age he proved his extraordinary ability of settling the disputes in his kingdom. He was a great warrior. He defeated the Chera and Pandaya kings at Venni. In another battle, Karikalan defeated a confederacy of nine princes. He extended his kingdom beyond Kanchipuram. Karikalan had become popular for the development activities in his kingdom. He built dam called Kallanai across river Kaveri. He fortified the port-city Kaveripoompattinam or Puhar and made it his capital. Karikalan also patronised Tamil poets.
With reference to the society that existed during the Sangam Age, answer the following questions:
(a) Explain the position of women during the Sangam Age.
(b) Name the social divisions of the Tamil land and the occupations associated with each one of them.
(c) What does the Tolkappiyam say about ways of living of the people during the Sangam Age?
(a) The status of women in Sangam society was not equal to that of men. The Sangam society consisted of different kinds of women. There were married women who had settled down as dutiful housewives looking after their husbands and children. There were female ascetics belonging to Buddhist or Jain tradition like Kaundi Adigal and Manimegalai. There were a large number of courtesans. Women also enjoyed freedom of movement in society and the number of women poets of the age is a proof that the women were provided with good education. The worship of Kannagi or Pattini was perhaps a very early institution and was an extension of the worship of the Goddess of chastity.
(b) The social divisions of the Tamil land and the occupations associated with them were:
|Plunder, Cattle lifters|
|Shifting Agriculture, Animal Husbandry|
|Fishing, Salt Extraction|
(c) The Tolkappiyam was written by Tolkappiar, in second Sangam. It has mentioned four castes, namely, Brahmanas, Kings, Traders and Farmers. It ignores most of the other names of people. This show the influence of the Sanskritic social ideal. The Brahmans during the Sangam Age were a respectable and learned community. They served the king occasionally as judicial officers and always as preists and astrologers. The Vaishyas were assigned the duties of learning, performing sacrifice, making gifts, agriculture, protection of cows etc. The Vellalars were landed aristocrats who cultivated wetlands. The ordinary ploughmen were known as uzhavar and the landless labourers were known as kadasiyar and adimai.
With reference to the economy during the Sangam Age, answer the following questions:
(a) What was the main occupation of the people and the activities associated with it?
(b) Explain the organisation of internal trade.
(c) Explain the extent and significance of external trade.
(a) Agriculture was the main occupation of the people. The main crop was Rice while other crops included Cotton, Ragi, Sugarcane, Pepper, Ginger, Cardamom, Turmeric, Cinnamon, different varieties of fruits, etc. Construction of embankments and canals for irrigation was undertaken by the state. Rural activities like the cultivation of ragi and sugarcane, the making of sugar from the cane, and the harvesting and drying of grain are described in the Sangam poems in detail.
(b) Markets called Angadi were established in bigger towns. Internal trade was carried by caravans of Merchants with carts and pack-animals which carried their merchandise from place to place. Most of the trade was carried on by barter. Paddy constituted the most commonly accepted medium of exchange. Salt was sold for paddy. Paddy was sold by mentioning its price in terms of salt. Honey and roots were exchanged for fish oil. There were also hawkers who carried goods to the houses of the people.
(c) During the Sangam Age there was an extensive trade with foreign countries. According to the Sangam literature the Tamil land had certain commodities which were in great demand in foreign markets. These included pepper, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric, ivory products, pearls and precious stones. The main imports included horse, gold and glass. The port cities were the center of foreign trade. Saliyur in the Pandya country and Bandar in Chera were the most important ports. The Gold and Silver coins from the Roman empire found in the interior of the Tamil land indicate the extent of the trade. The Periplus of the Red Sea that describes navigation and trade of the Roman empire gives information on trade between India and the Roman empire. It also mentions Uraiyur where all the Pearls from coast was sent and exported. Naura, Tyndis and Muziris were leading ports on west coast.