Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions, reflecting the southward spread of Buddhism.
Main article: Ancient history of South India
Further information: Tamil Sangams and Sangam literature
South India in BC 300, showing the Chera, Pandya and Chola tribes
Evidence in the forms of documents and inscriptions do not appear often in the history of ancient South India. Although there are signs that the history dates back to several centuries BCE, we only have any authentic archeological evidence from the early centuries of the common era. The Kingdom of Pratipalapura (5th century BCE), identified with Bhattiprolu, in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh appears to be the earliest known kingdom in South India. We also have an inscriptional evidence to show that king Kubera was ruling over Bhattiprolu around 230 BCE followed by Sala Kings. The script of Bhattiprolu (Kadamba script) inscriptions was the progentor of Brahmi Lipi that diversified later into modern Telugu and Tamil scripts.
During the reign of Ashoka (304–232 BCE) the three Tamil dynasties of Chola, Chera and Pandya were running in the south, probably with late megalithic phase material culture. These areas (known as Tamilakam- "Land of Tamils"), while not part of Ashoka's empire, were in friendly terms with the Maurya Empire.
Main article: Pandyan Empire
stone sculpture, Srivaikuntanathan Temple,Srivaikuntam,Tuticorin,Tamilnadu
The Pandyas were one of the three ancient Tamil dynasties (Chola and Chera being the other two) who ruled the Tamil country from pre-historic times until the end of the 15th century. They ruled initially from Korkai, a sea port on the southern most tip of the Indian peninsula, and in later times moved to Madurai. Pandyas are mentioned in Sangam Literature (c. 100 – 200 CE) as well as by Greek and Roman sources during this period.
Grey pottery with engravings, Arikamedu, 1st century CE.
The early Pandyan dynasty of the...