I believe that majority of the members in our forum are unaware about the sangam age of South India , as I did not see any threads or post regarding that. The Sangam age is name after the period in South India where in Sangam age literature was highly patronized during the ancient time
The word sangam signifies "the Union" which is derived form the Sanskrit or Pali. Sangam literature consists of more than 4000 poems and they were thought to be written during three period
1. First Sangam period
2. Middle Sangam Period
3. Later Sangam period
Many historian consider the First two sangam age as mythical as the traditional dates greatly are not in accordance with the Historical dating and Each sangam age spanned around 2000 Years and the first sangam age according to the traditional dates started before 5000 or 6000 BC, at that point of time the four river valley civilization were in their nascent state or yet to be started.
According to the sangam poems the First Sangam age was based in the city of south Madurai and the Second sangam age was based in the city of the Kapatapurm but these two cities were believed to be destroyed by the floods and rain and the latter sangam age was based in the city of Present day Madurai city in Tamil Nadu.
(The Coromandel Coast of the South India are susceptible to the Tsunami waves and the port city of Mahabalipuram is submerged to a large extant and there are no natural coast in the Coromandel Coast )
There is a popular pseudo theory that the South Madurai and Kaparapuram were located in the huge landmass beyond the Cape Comorin, which encompassed the present day Sri Lanka and the believe to be Sunken land mass called Lemuria Continent .
The Chief Patrons of the Sangam age were the Pandyian Kings and the sangam literature professes that the Pandyan dynasty ruled for many thousand years with out a break in the royal lineage.
The Sagam age came to an end around 200 AD, the historian dated them between 300 BC - 200 AD.
The Sangam age played a crucial role in the 19-20 th century and they shaped the Dravidian movement in the south Indian. Many Tamil scholars argue that the Tamils had their own culture during the ancient days and their ancient society had equality and no caste system and there was no religion and the invading aryans destroyed the tamil culture and they imposed the evil caste system in the Tamil society.
I haven't studied the Sangam literature in depth I can not say surely that the ancient Tamils did not have caste system.
The sangam age has many mythology and mythological characters like God, Demi God were a part of the literary society. Gods like Shiva Murugan , Kuber , Ganesh were the part of the sangam literary society. But this creates the ambiguity. The tamil scolars ( some) says that ancient Tamil society did not have any religion and fact that sangam literary society had Gods as members .
In the ancient days the Tamils worshipped elements of nature.
My Tamil teachers narrated a scene from a sangam poem , where a mother prays that her daughter should have a happy life and a get suitable bride groom for her daughter and if that happens she pledges to offer a pound of flesh to the Crow as a gratitude .
The centre of attraction of the sangam age it the magical slab called " Sangap palagai" table of the sangam literary society. The works of the poets were placed on this magical table and It discards the worthless poem written on the palm leaf into the river by the magical table itself and the most worth and with higher meaning is chosen
But due to the political nature of the Dravidian movement and the revival of the Sangam literature , the Tamil scholars interpret the poems in such a way that it supports the propaganda of the politicians.
But I have to agree that the marriage and rituals during the sangam age and the present day are quite different. But if the sangam poems are studied in depth, the gaps in the Indian history can be filled.
I hope that Unmai could provide us with the sangam poems and their translation. Pati Pati