Tamil inscriptions

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3rd century BCE. Tamizhi inscription of Mangulam
1st century BCE. Tamizhi inscription found in Jambai village, Tamil Nadu
Tamizhi inscriptions mixed in with Megalithic Graffiti Symbols found in Annaicoddai, Sri Lanka
Stone beds with Tamizhi script inscriptions of Jain saints in Sittanavasal, Pudukkottai District, 1st century BCE
1st Century BCE. Silver Ring From Karur, Tamil Nadu with Personal Name "Peravatan" in Tamizhi script
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Of the 100,000 odd inscriptions found by the Archaeological Survey of India (2005 report) in India, about 60,000 were in Tamil Nadu[1]

Anicient Tamil Epigraphy[edit]

5th century BCE[edit]

3rd century BCE[edit]

There are five caves in the hill of which six inscriptions are found in four caves.[13] These were inscribed during Sangam period, hence it is considered as one of the important inscriptions in Tamil Nadu.[14] The inscriptions mentions that workers of Nedunchezhiyan I, a Pandyan king of Sangam period, (c. 270 BCE) made stone beds for Jain monks. It further details the name of worker for whom he made stone bed. For example, an inscription shows that Kadalan Vazhuthi, a worker of Nedunchezhiyan made stone bed to Jain monk Nanda Sirikuvan.[15] It is one of the protected monuments in Tamil Nadu by the Archaeological Survey of India.[16]

2nd century BCE[edit]

The inscription has been deciphered as "Kurummangala Athan yi Yanai Po"

It reads as “Peru Thorur Kunra Ko Ayam” or “Peru Tho Ur Uzhithegne Ayam” or “Peru Te Rur Kuzhiththai Ayam”

1st century BCE[edit]

  • A broken storage jar with inscriptions in Tamizhi script in Quseir-al-Qadim, (Leukos Limen) Egypt, 1st century BCE. Two earlier Tamizhi inscription discoveries at the same site, 1st century CE.[28]

The inscribed text is 𑀧𑀸𑀦𑁃 𑀑𑀶𑀺 paanai oRi "pot suspended in a rope net" (which would be பானை ஒறி in the modern Tamil script)[29]

it reads as “Muu-na-ka-ra” and “Muu-ca-ka-ti”

It reads as “Eruminatu kumul-ur piranta kavuti-i tenku-cirupocil ilayar ceyta atit-anam”

It reads "Satiyaputo Atiyan Nedumaan Anjji itta Paali", In (Tamil: ஸதியபுதோ அதியந் நெடுமாந் அஞ்சி ஈத்த பாழி).[33] The meaning of the epigraph may be rendered as "The abode (pali) given by (itta) Atiyan Nedumaan Anji (name), the Satyaputra (title)". Though the record is a short one in a single line, it throws valuable light on various aspects of South Indian history. The inscription clears the doubt about the identity of the Satyaputras, a dynasty of rulers, mentioned in Ashoka's inscriptions in the 3rd century BCE[34]

First millennium AD[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Staff Reporter (November 22, 2005). "Students get glimpse of heritage". Chennai, India: The Hindu. Retrieved 2007-04-26.
  2. ^ "The ghosts of Adichanallur: Artefacts that suggest an ancient Tamil civilisation of great sophistication". The Hindu. January 13, 2018.
  3. ^ "Rudimentary Tamil-Brahmi script' unearthed at Adichanallur". The Hindu. February 17, 2005.
  4. ^ Rajan, K (2008), "Situating the Beginning of Early Historic Times in Tamil Nadu: Some Issues and Reflections", Social Scientist, 36 (1/2): 40–78
  5. ^ Roger D. Gwen Robbins Schug, Subhash R. Walimbe (2016). A Companion to South Asia in the Past. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 311. ISBN 978-1-119-05548-8.
  6. ^ K. Rajan (2014). Iron Age - Early Historic Transition in South India (PDF). Institute of Archaeology. p. 9.
  7. ^ Kishore, Kavita (15 October 2011). "Porunthal excavations prove existence of Indian scripts in 5th century BC: expert". THE HINDU. Chennai, India.
  8. ^ Subramanian, T.S. (20 May 2013). "Tamil Brahmi script dating to 500 BC found near Erode at Kodumanal near Chennimalai". The newindianexpress. Chennai, India.
  9. ^ http://www.tnarch.gov.in/sitemus/mus11.htm
  10. ^ John D. Bengtson (January 2008). In Hot Pursuit of Language in Prehistory: Essays in the Four Fields of Anthropology : in Honor of Harold Crane Fleming. John Benjamins Publishing. pp. 427–. ISBN 90-272-3252-0.
  11. ^ Iravatham Mahadevan (2003). Early Tamil epigraphy from the earliest times to the sixth century A.D. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-01227-1.
  12. ^ R. Umamaheshwari (2018). Reading History with the Tamil Jainas: A Study on Identity, Memory and Marginalisation. Springer. p. 43. ISBN 978-81-322-3756-3.
  13. ^ https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/Jaina-treasure-trove-in-Mankulam-village/article16343571.ece
  14. ^ "An epigraphic perspective on the antiquity of Tamil". The Hindu. 24 June 2010. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  15. ^ "மாங்குளம் தமிழ்க் கல்வெட்டுக்கள்" (in Tamil). Tamil Virtual University. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  16. ^ "Protected Monuments in Tamil Nadu". Archaeological Survey of India. Retrieved 25 February 2014. S. No.8 — Ovamalai Kalvettu (inscriptions)
  17. ^ http://www.tnarch.gov.in/excavation/kov.htm
  18. ^ Approval needed for excavation The Hindu, February 28, 2013
  19. ^ http://www.tnarch.gov.in/excavation/kor.htm
  20. ^ https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/3rd-century-BC-inscription-discovered/articleshow/179977.cms
  21. ^ https://www.thehindu.com/2003/09/15/stories/2003091503060500.htm
  22. ^ Thenur gold treasure found four years ago is 2300 years' old, recent study reveals
  23. ^ S. Krishnarajah (2004). University of Jaffna. Archaeology Department
  24. ^ Thiagarajah, Siva (2010). "The people and cultures of prehistoric Sri Lanka - Part Three". The Sri Lanka Guardian. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
  25. ^ http://www.tnarch.gov.in/excavation/man.htm
  26. ^ 2,200-year-old Tamil-Brahmi inscription found on Samanamalai. The Hindu (2012-03-24). Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
  27. ^ Mahadevan 2003, p. 48
  28. ^ a b "Tamil Brahmi script in Egypt". The Hindu. November 21, 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-06.
  29. ^ Tamil Inscriptions Archived 2013-01-17 at Archive.today. Archaeologyindia.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
  30. ^ [1]. The Hindu (2012-03-24)
  31. ^ Subramanian, T. S. (14 February 2013). "Tamil-Brahmi script discovered on Tirupparankundram hill". THEHINDU. Chennai, India.
  32. ^ http://www.tnarch.gov.in/epi/ins1.htm
  33. ^ K. Selvaraj, "Jambai oru aayvu", State Department of Archeology, Chennai
  34. ^ http://tamilartsacademy.com/books/roman%20karur/chapter13.html
  35. ^ http://www.tnarch.gov.in/epi/ins1.htm
  36. ^ http://www.tnarch.gov.in/excavation/ala.htm

External links[edit]