Poets of Patinenmelkanakku
The poetic anthology of Patinenmelkanakku, also known as Pathinenmelkanaku, comprises of around two thousand three hundred and eighty one verses which also incorporates the ten larger literary works that belong to the Pattupattu collection. It is considered by experts and scholars that almost four hundred and seventy three poets composed the hymns in the Tamil literary work of Patinenmelkanakku. The names of poets for two thousand two hundred and seventy nine poems have been identified and known; where as the poets for the rest of one hundred and two poems still remain anonymous. Sixteen authors amongst the four hundred and seventy three poets have composed one thousand one hundred and seventy seven verses out of the total two thousand three hundred and eighty one poems in the Patinenmelkanakku collection of Tamil poetic works.
Composition and Compilation of Patinenmelkanakku
As of now, no definite information is available about the details of the period when the numerous poems were collected. Further more the identity of the compiler or anthologist is also unknown and remains anonymous. The various verses in the Patinenmelkanakku compilation have gone through four different phases of evolution. It is considered by scholars that the verses were composed by the bardic authors who existed during the period between 100 BCE and 200 CE. The hymns and verses were accumulated into the several anthologies; colophons were included and the verses were also categorized into various thinais or landscape, according to Tamil literary traditions, during the eighth century CE. Later the invocatory poems were added to the poetic collection of Patinenmelkanakku.
Ultimately, during the tenth century CE commentaries were composed on the Tamil literary work. The whole process took place over a period of several centuries. As these verses have no internal safeguard to preserve them intact, these have possibly gone through many changes over the centuries.