Tamil-Brahmi

Tamil BrahmiTamizhiearly Tamil writingepigraphicTamiliDamilisouthern BrahmiTamiTamilTamil -Brahmi
Tamil-Brahmi is a variant of the Brahmi script used to write inscriptions in the early form of the Tamil language.wikipedia
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Tamil Nadu

TamilnaduTamil Nadu, IndiaTamil
The Tamil-Brahmi script has been paleographically and stratigraphically dated between 3rd-century BCE and 1st-century CE, and it constitutes the earliest known writing system evidenced in many parts of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Sri Lanka.
The ASI archaeologists have proposed that the script used at that site is "very rudimentary" Tamil Brahmi.

Tamil language

TamilTamil-languageta
Tamil-Brahmi is a variant of the Brahmi script used to write inscriptions in the early form of the Tamil language.
Tamil language inscriptions written in Brahmi script have been discovered in Sri Lanka and on trade goods in Thailand and Egypt.

Iravatham Mahadevan

Mahadevan, Iravatham
Several hypotheses have been proposed, with the views of epigraphist Iravatham Mahadevan being generally more accepted.
Iravatham Mahadevan (2 October 1930 – 26 November 2018) was an Indian epigraphist and civil servant, known for his decipherment of Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions and for his expertise on the epigraphy of the Indus Valley Civilisation.

Dravidian languages

DravidianDravidian languageSouthern
Both seem to use similar letters to indicate phonemes that are unique to Dravidian languages although Sinhala-Brahmi was used to write an Indo-Aryan Prakrit used in the island of Sri Lanka possibly from ongoing maritime relationship with Gujarat and other parts of India.
Epigraphically the Dravidian languages are first attested in the 2nd century BCE as Tamil-Brahmi script on the cave walls discovered in the Madurai and Tirunelveli districts of Tamil Nadu.

Tamil script

TamilTamil alphabetTamil inscriptions
According to Kamil Zvelebil, Tamil-Brahmi script was the parent script that ultimately evolved into the later Vatteluttu and Tamil scripts. From the 5th century CE onwards Tamil is written in Vatteluttu in the Chera and Pandya country and Grantha or Tamil script in the Chola and Pallava country.
The script used by such inscriptions is commonly known as the Tamil-Brahmi, or "Tamili script", and differs in many ways from standard Ashokan Brahmi.

Brahmi script

BrahmiBrāhmīBrāhmī script
Tamil-Brahmi is a variant of the Brahmi script used to write inscriptions in the early form of the Tamil language.
More recently in 2013, Rajan and Yatheeskumar published excavations at Porunthal and Kodumanal in Tamil Nadu, where numerous both Tamil-Brahmi and "Prakrit-Brahmi" inscriptions and fragments have been found.

Vatteluttu script

VatteluttuVattezhuthuVatteluttu alphabet
According to Kamil Zvelebil, Tamil-Brahmi script was the parent script that ultimately evolved into the later Vatteluttu and Tamil scripts. From the 5th century CE onwards Tamil is written in Vatteluttu in the Chera and Pandya country and Grantha or Tamil script in the Chola and Pallava country.
Vaṭṭeḻuttu, also spelled Vattezhutthu (literally "Round Script", வட்டெழுத்து, '; വട്ടെഴുത്തു ') was an abugida writing system in South India and Sri Lanka that emerged from the Tamil Brahmi script.

Chera dynasty

CheraCherasChera Kingdom
From the 5th century CE onwards Tamil is written in Vatteluttu in the Chera and Pandya country and Grantha or Tamil script in the Chola and Pallava country.
Other sources for the early Cheras include Tamil Brahmi cave label inscriptions and inscribed coins, classical Sanskrit works and accounts by Graeco-Roman writers.

Tolkāppiyam

TolkappiyamTholkappiyamTolkappiyar
The third version, assumed to be the basis for early Tolkāppiyam, evolved into the modern Tamil script.
Epigraphical studies, such as those by Mahadevan, show that ancient Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions found in South India and dated to between 3rd-century BCE and 4th-century CE had three different grammatical form.

Jainism

JainJainsJaina
An early mention of a script for writing the Tamil language is found in the Jaina work Samavayanga Sutta and Pannavana Sutta where a script called Damili is mentioned as the seventeenth of eighteen Lipi (scripts) in use in India.
The largest stone bed has a distinct Tamil-Brahmi inscription assignable to the 2nd century BCE, and some inscriptions belonging to the 8th century BCE are also found on the nearby beds.

Pandya dynasty

PandyaPandyasPandyan
From the 5th century CE onwards Tamil is written in Vatteluttu in the Chera and Pandya country and Grantha or Tamil script in the Chola and Pallava country.
The earliest Pandya to be found in epigraph is Nedunjeliyan, figuring in the Tamil-Brahmi Mangulam inscription (near Madurai) assigned to 3rd and 2nd centuries BCE.

Grantha script

GranthaGrantha alphabetPallava grantha
From the 5th century CE onwards Tamil is written in Vatteluttu in the Chera and Pandya country and Grantha or Tamil script in the Chola and Pallava country.
The Grantha script is a South Indian script, found particularly in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, that emerged between 5th- and 6th-century CE from the Tamil Brahmi script.

Madurai

MaduraMadurai, IndiaMadhurai
Cave and rock bed Tamil Brahmi inscriptions, as well as those found near Madurai, are typically donatory and dedicated resting places and resources for monks.
As per Iravatham Mahadevan, a 2nd-century BCE Tamil-Brahmi inscription refers to the city as matiray, an Old Tamil word meaning a "walled city".

Jaffna

Jaffna, Sri LankaJaffnapatnamJafna
The bronze Anaikoddai seal with Tamil-Brahmi and Indus script indicates a clan-based settlement of the last phase of the Iron Age in the Jaffna region.

Samavayanga Sutra

SamavāyāngaSamavayangaSamavayanga Sutta
An early mention of a script for writing the Tamil language is found in the Jaina work Samavayanga Sutta and Pannavana Sutta where a script called Damili is mentioned as the seventeenth of eighteen Lipi (scripts) in use in India.
Furthermore, it contains references to the Damili script, an early Tamil script known as Tamil Brahmi.

Megalithic graffiti symbols

megalithic culture graffiti symbols
laboratory, Rajan suggests Tamil Brahmi had been invented by 490 BCE, and states, "“it is almost clear now that Ashoka did not developed (sic) [sic] the Brahmi script. The origin or evolution of a script is a social process and it could not be associated with a particular individual or dynasty.” According to Harry Falk, Rajan's claims are "particularly ill-informed". Some of the earliest supposed inscriptions are not Brahmi letters at all, but merely misinterpreted non-linguistic Megalithic graffiti symbols, which were used in South India for several centuries during the pre-literate era. The stirrups reportedly found with the shreds are suspicious. Falk considers these reports as "regional chauvinism" just like the Sri Lankan claims of their island being the origin of a Brahmi script from which the Tamil Brahmi developed.
From archaeological stratigraphy, potsherds with and without symbols are usually found at the lowest level, followed by potsherds with mixed symbols and Brahmi or Tamil Brahmi and eventually at the highest level potsherds are only found with Brahmi or Tamil Brahmi etchings.

K. V. Subrahmanya Aiyar

A. C. Burnell (1874), attempted the earliest work on South Indian paleography, but it was due to the efforts of K. V. Subrahmanya Aiyar (1924), H. Krishna Sastri and K. K. Pillay that it was understood to be written in an early form of Tamil, not Prakrit.
He is considered to be the first person to conclusively decipher the cave inscriptions of Tamil Nadu as a form of Tamil-Brahmi.

Early Indian epigraphy

Indian inscriptionsinscriptionIndian epigraphy
Samanam inscriptions in South India written in Tamil-Brahmi, Bhattiprolu alphabet and the Kadamba alphabet are also of relatively early date.

Tamil inscriptions

* Burial of Adichanallur, Tamil Nadu found with graffiti and Tami li script

Kandarodai

KantharodaiKadiramalai-KandarodaiKandarōdai
Black and red ware Kanterodai potsherd with Tamil Brahmi scripts from 300 BCE excavated with Roman coins, early Pandyan coins, early Chera Dynasty coins from the emporium Karur punch-marked with images of the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi from 500 BCE, punch-marked coins called Puranas from 6th-5th century BCE India, and copper kohl sticks similar to those used by the Egyptians found in Uchhapannai, Kandarodai indicate active transoceanic maritime trade between ancient Jaffna Tamils and other continental kingdoms in the prehistoric period.

H. Krishna Sastri

A. C. Burnell (1874), attempted the earliest work on South Indian paleography, but it was due to the efforts of K. V. Subrahmanya Aiyar (1924), H. Krishna Sastri and K. K. Pillay that it was understood to be written in an early form of Tamil, not Prakrit.
Krishna Sastri was also known for his pioneering work in deciphering Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions.

Tissamaharama

The Tissamaharama Tamil Brahmi inscription, a fragment of black and red ware flat dish inscribed in Tamil in the Tamil Brahmi script was excavated at the earliest layer in the southern town.

Mangulam

The inscriptions discovered in the region are the earliest Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions.

Bhattiprolu script

Bhattiprolu alphabetBhattiprolu
This is unique to Tamil Brahmi and Bhattiprolu among the early Indian scripts.
This is unique to Bhattiprolu and Tamil Brahmi among the early Indian scripts.

Annaicoddai seal

Anaikoddai seal
The seal contains some of the oldest inscriptions in Tamil-Brahmi mixed with Megalithic Graffiti symbols found on the island and is dated to early 3rd or late 4th century BC.