Comparison between Eighteen Greater Texts and Patinenkilkkanakku
The poems of this collection differ from the earlier works of the Eighteen Greater Texts, which have the tag of being the oldest surviving Tamil poetry. The difference lies in the fact that the poems are written in the venpa meter and are relatively short in length. Unlike the works of the Eighteen Greater Texts, most of the books of the Eighteen Lesser Texts deal with morals and ethics. The historical evidences of this literature can be traced through three sources namely- literary sources, archaeological sources and foreign accounts.
The Sangam literature consists of Tolkappiyam, Ettutogai, Pattuppattu, Pathinenkilkanakku and the two epics Silappadikaram and Manimegalai. In the post-Sangam age, the Pathinenkilkanakku or eighteen works dealing with ethics and morals was composed. The most important among them is Tirukkural. It was written by Thiruvalluvar. Silappadikaram which was written by Elango Adigal and Manimegalai written by Sittalai Sattanar also belonged to the post-modern period. These poetic works provide valuable information on the Sangam polity and society. The Kalugumalai inscription helps to know about ancient Tamil scripts. These scripts are called Tamil Brahmi. The Tirukkovalur inscription on the other hand refers to the local chieftains and the tragic decline of the Tamil poets.
Contents of Patinenkilkkanakku
The Patinenkilkkanakku anthology comprises of several books which are mentioned below: