12th Century Tamil Literature Evolution Quiz

pugazhenthi avatar

Start Quiz

Study Flashcards

5 Questions

நன்னூல் என்றால் யார்?

நாள்வர் யார்?

தமிழ் இலக்கியத்தின் முக்கியத்துவங்களை என்ன கற்றுக்கொள்வது?

12-ஆம் நூற்றாண்டில் தமிழ் இலக்கியம் எப்படி பரந்தது?

தமிழ் இலக்கியம் பெருமையான பாதுகாப்பை எப்படி உள்ளிட்டது?


The Evolution of Tamil Literature in the 12th Century

In the dynamic landscape of Tamil literature, the 12th century stands as a pivotal era with numerous significant contributions that continue to shape the rich tapestry of Tamil culture today. This era saw the flourishing of poetry, prose, and historical treatises, pushing the boundaries of expression and thought.

Sangam Period Influence

The 12th century marked the transition from the Sangam period, an era of classical Tamil literature known for its anthologies of poetry, to a new phase of literary exploration. The Sangam period, spanning from approximately the 3rd to the 4th century CE, laid the foundation for the later development of Tamil literature. The influence of the Sangam period can be observed through the continued use of the Tamil alphabet, grammar, and poetic forms, such as akam and puram.

Medieval Tamil Literature

Medieval Tamil literature, spanning from the 9th to the 14th century, emerged as a direct response to the decline of Sangam literature and the rise of Hinduism and Buddhism. In the 12th century, a significant shift occurred as Tamil literature embraced the concepts of bhakti (devotion) and vishishtadvaita (qualified non-dualism), two philosophical movements that gave rise to a new form of spiritual poetry.

Works of Nannool and Nalvar

Two prominent figures of the 12th century who shaped Tamil literature are Nannool and Nalvar. Nannool, a poet and philosopher, wrote Periyapuranam, a text that details the life of Shiva. Periyapuranam became a popular devotional work that highlighted the importance of emotional devotion to deities and laid the foundation for bhakti poetry.

Nalvar, another significant figure of the 12th century, is known for his monumental work, Tirumurai, a collection of 4,000 verses written in Tamil that celebrate the deity Shiva. Tirumurai is considered one of the most important works in Tamil literature, as it exemplifies the spiritual and philosophical underpinnings of Tamil bhakti poetry.

Secular Writing

The 12th century also saw the emergence of secular writing, with a focus on poetry, prose, and historical treatises. Notable works in this category include Cilappatikaram, a semi-historical epic written by Ilango Adigal, and Manimekalai, a philosophical novel written by Sattavalli Munivar. These works offered a fresh perspective on Tamil literature, combining elements of love, war, and spirituality in intriguing and innovative ways.

Influence of Tamil Literature on South Asia

Tamil literature was not only influential within Tamil Nadu, but it also spread to the rest of South Asia during the 12th century. Tamil works, such as Cilappatikaram and Manimekalai, were translated into other South Indian languages, like Malayalam and Kannada, and even north Indian languages, like Sanskrit, Bengali, and Telugu. This cross-cultural exchange solidified the status of Tamil literature within the broader South Asian literary landscape.


The 12th century represents a pivotal era in the evolution of Tamil literature. This period witnessed the transition from the Sangam period to a new form of spiritual and philosophical expression, as well as the emergence of secular writing that explored love, war, and spirituality in innovative ways. The contributions of Nannool and Nalvar, two prominent figures of the 12th century, shaped the landscape of Tamil literature, and their works continue to influence the Tamil literary tradition today. The spread of Tamil literature across South Asia further solidified its status within the broader South Asian literary landscape, cementing its importance within South Asian literary history.


Test your knowledge on the evolution of Tamil literature in the 12th century, exploring the transition from the Sangam period, the rise of spiritual poetry, prominent literary figures, and the influence of Tamil literature on South Asia.

Make Your Own Quiz

Transform your notes into a shareable quiz, with AI.

Get started for free

More Quizzes Like This

Use Quizgecko on...