Iyal (Tamil Literature)

Tamil poetry & writing gives us very vivid images of the life and society of the ancient Tamil people.

Tamil is the oldest language in the world and its culture reflects in the character of Tamil people. It is the official language of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu there are 8 crores of people speaking Tamil Language in the world. There are several names for Tamil language one of the names is “muthamil” that is iyal, isai & nadagam . Tamil literary works are all called as iyaltamil.

In ancient days peoples are given importance to develop their language and prove their talents in front of great scholars & writers. So they created the court called "Tamil Sangam" for the purpose of Tamil language development. This Sangam helps the writers for the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences in a language to their works.

The father of Tamil language is Agathiyar & the chairman of Tamil Sangam. Now at present “Madurai” is one of the places of Tamil Sangam the earliest Tamil writing is attested in inscriptions and potsherds from the 5th century BCE.

The periods of literary works are mentioned below as follows:

    Old Period

  • Sanga ilakkiyam(Sangam literature )- 300 BC - 300 AD
  • Neethi ilakkiyam(Judicial literature) -AD 300 - AD 500

  • Middle Period

  • Bhakthi ilakkiyam (Bhakthi literature )AD 700 - AD 900
  • Kapiya ilakkiyam (Archived literature)AD 900 AD 1200
  • Urainoolgal (Textbooks)-1200 BC - 1500 AD
  • Purana ilakkiyam (Mythology)-1500 BC - AD 1800
  • Sthala puranagal (History of temples)
  • Islamiya Tamil ilakkiyam (Islamic tamil literature)

  • Modern Period


    Nineteenth Century

  • Christian Tamil literature
  • Fiction

    Twentieth Century

  • Katturai (Article)
  • Siru kathaigal (Short story)
  • Puthu kavithaigal (Poetry)
  • Aaraichi katturaigal (Research article)


Tolkappiyam is the oldest Tamil grammar available today. This is a grammar book in literary form. The writer is the Tolkappiyar. Although it is the oldest book, it is the basic text of Tamil grammar rules till date. The Tolkappiyam 1602 was made of spinning. It is divided into three chapters - written, semantic, and metaphorical.


  • Nool Marabu
  • Mozhi Marabu
  • Pirappiyal
  • Thogaimarabu
  • Urupiyal
  • Uyirmayankiyal
  • Pullimayankiyal
  • Kuttriyalugarapunariyal


  • Kilaviyakkam
  • Verrumaiyiyal
  • Verrumaimayankiyal
  • Vilimarapu
  • Peyariyal
  • Venaiyiyal
  • Itaiyiyal
  • Uriyiyal
  • Eccaviyal


  • Akattinaiyiyal
  • Purattinaiyiyal
  • Kalaviyal
  • Karpiyal
  • Poruliyal
  • Meyppattiyal
  • Uvamayiyal
  • Ceyyuliyal
  • Marabiyal