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235/365 – Ettuthokai

Ettuthokai – ‘The Eight Anthologies’ – Classical Tamil poetic work – form part of the Pathinenmaelkanakku anthology series of the Sangam Literature. Ettuthokai and its companion anthology Pattupattu are some of the oldest available Tamil Literature and dated to belong to between 200 BCE and 200 CE.

Contents of the Anthology

Ettutokai consist of 2,371 poems varying from small stanzas of three lines in Ainkurnuru to stanzas of forty lines in Purananuru. The following poems form the Eight Anthologies:

Ainkurnuru

Akananuru

Purananuru

Kaliththokai

Kuruntokai

Natrinai

Paripaatal

Pathirruppaththu

The following Tamil poetry by an anonymous author lists the component parts of this Anthology:

The ancient Tamil lyrical poetry compiled in The Eight Anthologies is unique and vigorous, full of vivid realism.

Authors

There are 470 poets known either by their proper names or by causal names deduced from their works. The authors are unidentified in the case of a hundred stanzas. The poets belonged to different parts of Tamil Nadu and to different professions.

Some of them were very popular like Kapilar, Nakkirar and Auvaiyar and some others are rarely remembered by their names. Yet a general harmony prevails throughout these eight anthologies.

The tone and temper of the age is reflected in all their poems with a singular likeness. They were moulded according to certain literary conventions or traditions that prevailed in the Sangam age. Yet they reveal the individual genius of the poets who sang them.

Composition Style

In those early days of Sangam Literature, the convention of the later days, that Tamil poetry should only deal with the four aspects of life, namely, virtue ( aram), material (wealth and politics) (porul), joy (love and pleasure) (inpam), and salvation (including death) (veechu), was not prevalent.

The poets sang either of subjective (Akam) or objective (Puram) matters. Akam dealt with ideal love and Puram with the rest, such as war, munificence, etc.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ettuthokai

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