About the Book :
The book is an attempt to reveal the material civilisation and spiritual culture of the Tamils from the fifth century BC to the twelfth century AD. It covers the Sangam and post-Sangam thinkers and works and the mystical and devotional literature in Tamil that throws light on the everyday life of the people, their philosophy and religion, and the society, economy and polity that was there in the past. The volume makes a detailed study of the land of the Tamil peoplethe geographical divisions and characteristics of the people who inhabited the regions depicted in Sangam literature and later Tamil works. It dicusees the peoples occupations and daily life, caste system, buildings, food, dress and ornaments, family life. It examines how the epics like Silappadhikaram and Manimekalai of the early centuries AD mirror the actual life at the time as they are concerned who real people. It deals with not only the epics socio-cultural and philosophical dimensions but also Jaina philosophy and Buddhism in Tamil Nadu, particularly the light that Silappadhikaram throws on the position of Buddhism in the region. It analyses the monarchical government that was prevalent during the Sangam age, its centralised administration, the importance of education as emphasised by Sangam literature and familiarity of kings of the time with literature and fine arts, and the different kinds of trade and commercial relations of the Tamils with the Greeks and the Romans. It is concerned with philosophy, religion and mysticism in the post-Sangam period with special reference to the tradition of the Tirumurais, Shaivism and the Puranas in Tamil and contributions of the Tamil Siddhas. The volume will interest students and scholars of philosophy, especially social philosophers, and cultural historians.