With the Sangam Age, the historical period began in South India. The word "Sangam" means an assembly of scholars of literacy figures, held under the royal patronage of Pandyan kings of Madurai.
During the Sangam period Tamil Literature flourished from the 3rd century BC to the 4th century CE. Early Tamil literature comprised works such as Tolkappiyam, the Eight Anthologies (Ettutogai) the ‘ten Idylls’ (pattupattu), the ‘Eighteen Minor Works’ and the three Epics (Shilappadikaram, Manimekalai and Sivaga Sindamani).
During this period, three Tamil Dynasties ruled parts of southern India.
Sangam literature refers primarily to Pandyan Kingdom. But it also contains valuable information about the Chola and Chera kingdoms. The Pandyas ruled over an area comprising southern Tamil Nadu. Madurai was their capital. The Cheras ruled over Kerala and the Cholas occupied Northern Tamil Nadu and Southern Andhra Pradesh.