(1 AD – 3 AD)
- Their capital was Madurai.
- First mentioned by Megasthenes, who says that their kingdom was famous for pearls and was ruled by a woman.
- The Pandya kings profited from trade with the Roman Empire and sent embassies to the Roman emperor Augus.
- The kingdom was called Cholamandalam or Coromondal. The chief centre was Uraiyur, a place famous for cotton trade. Capital was Kaveripattanam/Puhar.
- A Chola king named Elara conquered SriLanka & ruled it over for 50 years.
- Karikala was their famous king.
- Main source of wealth was trade in cotton cloth. They also maintained an efficient navy.
- Their capital was Vanji (also called Kerala country).
- It owed its importance to trade with the Romans. The Romans set up two regiments there to protect their interests.
- Fought against the Cholas about 150 AD.
- Greatest king was Senguttuvan, the Red Chera.
- All the gathered information is based on Sangam literature. Sangam was a college or assembly of Tamil poets held probably under Royal Patronage (esp. Pandyas)
- Sangam age corresponds to the post-Maurya and the pre-Gupta period.
- Three Sangamas were held:
- The first Sangam was held at Madurai but its work has not survived. Its chairman was Agastya.
- The second Sangam was held at Kapatpuram. Its chairman was Tolkappiyar (author of Tolkappium).
- The third Sangam was held at Madurai. Its chairman was Nakkirar. It was the third Sangam from which covers the entire corpus of Sangam literature.
- Silappadikaram by llano Adigal (story of a married couple) and Manimekalai by Sattanar are the famous epics of this time.
- Other books are Tolkappium by Tolkappiyar, Jivikachintamani by Tirutakkdewar and Kural (called the ‘fifth veda’ or ‘the Bible of the Tamil Land’) by Tiruvalluvar.
- The chief local god was Murugan, who was also called Subramaniya.
- ‘Pariyars’ – agricultural laborers who used to work in animal skin.
- Civil and military offices held by vellalas (rich peasants).
- The ruling class was called “Arasar”.
- Captains of the army were given the title ENADI in formal functions.