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Topics in Sangam literature
Sangam literature
Agattiyam Tolkāppiyam
Eighteen Greater Texts
Eight Anthologies
Aiṅkurunūṟu Akanāṉūṟu
Puṟanāṉūṟu Kalittokai
Kuṟuntokai Natṟiṇai
Paripāṭal Patiṟṟuppattu
Ten Idylls
Tirumurukāṟṟuppaṭai Kuṟiñcippāṭṭu
Malaipaṭukaṭām Maturaikkāñci
Mullaippāṭṭu Neṭunalvāṭai
Paṭṭiṉappālai Perumpāṇāṟṟuppaṭai
Poruṇarāṟṟuppaṭai Ciṟupāṇāṟṟuppaṭai
Related topics
Sangam Sangam landscape
Tamil history from Sangam literature Ancient Tamil music
Eighteen Lesser Texts
Nālaṭiyār Nāṉmaṇikkaṭikai
Iṉṉā Nāṟpatu Iṉiyavai Nāṟpatu
Kār Nāṟpatu Kaḷavaḻi Nāṟpatu
Aintiṇai Aimpatu Tiṉaimoḻi Aimpatu
Aintinai Eḻupatu Tiṇaimālai Nūṟṟaimpatu
Tirukkuṟaḷ Tirikaṭukam
Ācārakkōvai Paḻamoḻi Nāṉūṟu
Ciṟupañcamūlam Mutumoḻikkānci
Elāti Kainnilai

Naṟṟiṇai (Tamil: நற்றிணை meaning excellent tinai[1]), is a classical Tamil poetic work and traditionally the first of the Eight Anthologies (Ettuthokai) in the Sangam literature.[2] The collection – sometimes spelled as Natrinai[3] or Narrinai[4] – contains both akam (love) and puram (war, public life) category of poems. The Naṟṟiṇai anthology contains 400 poems, mainly of 9 to 12 lines, but a few with 8 to 13 lines each.[5][1] According to Takanobu Takahashi – a Tamil literature scholar, the Naṟṟiṇai poems were likely composed between 100–300 CE based on the linguistics, style and dating of the authors.[6] While Kamil Zvelebil – a Tamil literature and history scholar , dates some poems to the 1st century BCE.[7] The Naṟṟiṇai manuscript colophon states that it was compiled under the patronage of the Pandyan king named Pannatu Tanta Pantiyan Maran Valuti, but the compiler remained anonymous.[1]

The Naṟṟiṇai poems are credited to 175 ancient poets.[1] Two of these poems are attributed to the patron king.[2] According to Kamil Zvelebil – this poetic anthology contains a few Sanskrit loan words and contains 59 allusions to historical events.[2] Many lines from these poems were borrowed into later Tamil works such as the famed post-Sangam Tamil works: Tirukkural, Silappatikaram and Manimekalai. The Tamil legend about Kannagi (Kannaki), one who tore of her breast to protest against her husband's unjust execution, appears in Naṟṟiṇai 312.[2][8]


The text has been translated by A. Dakshinamurthy and published by the International Institute of Tamil Studies, Chennai in the year 2000.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d Takanobu Takahashi (1995). Tamil Love Poetry and Poetics. BRILL Academic. pp. 2, 46–48. ISBN 90-04-10042-3.
  2. ^ a b c d Kamil Zvelebil 1973, pp. 51–52.
  3. ^ Velayutham Saravanan (2016). Colonialism, Environment and Tribals in South India,1792-1947. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-315-51719-3.
  4. ^ Padma Srinivasan (2017). "Towards a Third Language". In Indra, C. T.; Rajagopalan, R. (eds.). Language, Culture and Power. Routledge. doi:10.4324/9780203703441. ISBN 978-0-203-70344-1.
  5. ^ Kamil Zvelebil 1973, p. 51.
  6. ^ Takanobu Takahashi (1995). Tamil Love Poetry and Poetics. BRILL Academic. pp. 47–52. ISBN 90-04-10042-3.
  7. ^ Zvelebil, Kamil (1973). The Smile of Murugan: On Tamil Literature of South India. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-03591-1.
  8. ^ For a summary of Kannagi story: E.T. Jacob-Pandian (1977). K Ishwaran (ed.). Contributions to Asian Studies: 1977. Brill Academic. pp. 56–57. ISBN 90-04-04926-6.