Tharisapalli plates

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Quilon Syrian copper plates (849 and c. 883 CE)

Kollam Tharisappalli copper plates (849 AD), also known as Kollam/Quilon Syrian copper plates, or Kottayam inscription of Sthanu Ravi, is a copper-plate grant issued by the chieftain of Kollam, Ayyan Adikal, to Syrian Christian merchant Mar Sapir Iso in the 5th regnal year of the Chera ruler Sthanu Ravi "Kulasekhara".[1][2] The royal charter is engraved in Old Malayalam in Vattezhuthu and Grantha scripts.[2][3] The Tharisappalli copper plates (incomplete, year 849 AD, two plates with writings on both sides) are one of the important historical inscriptions of Kerala, the date of which has been accurately determined.[4]

It is certain that the plates are part of a three charter series, of which two alone have survived, issued by the chieftain of Kollam. The earliest survived charter, dated to 849 AD, contains a reference to a previous charter and some of rights granted (therein being quoted and confirmed). The second survived charter, three plates writing on both sides, is dated to c. 883 AD (the plate contains a number of signatures in Kufic, Pahlavi and Hebrew[5]).[6]

One part of the copper plates is kept at the Devalokam Aramana of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church while the other is at Poolatheen Aramana (Thiruvalla) of Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church.

Summarised prescription of the plates[6]

  • Mar Sapir Iso founded a trading corporation at Kollam, and recruited two merchant guilds (Anjuvannam and Manigramam) as the tenants of the nagara. Iso also built the "Church of Tharisa" at Kollam (on land donated by the chief) and received three charters from the chieftain of Kollam
  • The charters granted Iso several titles, rights and aristocratic privileges, and plots of land and serfs to the church and the nagara.
  • The charters gifted Iso service personnel like agricultural labourers, carpenters, toddy tappers and other skilled workers - some arrangements were also made regarding their protection and maintenance.
  • The Six Hundred Nairs of Venad were jointly entrusted with the judicial, commercial and revenue administration of the city (and also ordered to look after the church of Tharisa)
  • The grants were made in the presence of important officers of the state (Adhikarar, Prakrithi, Punnathala Padi, Pulakkudi Padi) and the representatives of merchant guilds Anjuvannam and Manigramam.
  • It also throws light on the system of taxation that prevailed in early Venad, as several taxes such as a profession tax, sales tax and vehicle tax are mentioned.
Tharisappalli copper plates


  1. ^ A Survey of Kerala History - A. Sreedhara Menon. ISBN 81-264-1578-9.
  2. ^ a b Narayanan, M. G. S., “Further Studies in the Jewish Copper Plates of Cochin.” Indian Historical Review, vol. 29, no. 1–2, Jan. 2002, pp. 66–76.
  3. ^ S. G. Pothan (1963) The Syrian Christians of Kerala, Bombay: Asia Publishing House.
  4. ^ Cheriyan, Dr. C.V. Orthodox Christianity in India. pp. 85, 126, 127, 444–447.
  5. ^ M. K. Kuriakose, History of Christianity in India: Source Materials, (Bangalore: United Theological College, 1982), pp. 10–12. Kuriakose gives a translation of the related but later copper plate grant to Iravi Kortan on pp. 14–15. For earlier translations, see S. G. Pothan, The Syrian Christians of Kerala, (Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1963), pp. 102–105.
  6. ^ a b Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 277, 278 and 295.

See also[edit]

  • Kesavan Veluthat, The Early Medieval in South India. Delhi: Oxford University Press. 2009.
  • M. G. S. Narayanan, Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013.
  • State and Society in Premodern South India, eds R. Champakalakshmi, Kesavan Veluthat, and T. R. Venugopalan. Thrissur, CosmoBooks, 2012.
  • K. N. Ganesh, (2009-06). "Historical Geography of Natu in South India with Special Reference to Kerala". Indian Historical Review. 36 (1): 3–21.