Administration during the Sangam Age

The Sangam literature provides details regarding the administration during the Sangam Age. Monarchy was the system of government during this period. The kingv called as Vendan, Ko and Iral. The local chieftains were known as Velirs. The law of succession was practiced and the eldest son had enjoyed the right to succeed his father.

King and His Duties

During the Sangam period, the powers of the king were unlimited. He was considered as the representative of God. The term Irai signifies this theory. At the same time, the king was responsible for the welfare of the people. He was the protector of the law. In his Court the king met the people, heard their grievances and delivered justice. According to the Sangam verses, the rulers of the Sangam Age like Karikalan. Manu Needhi Cholan and Porkai Pandyan were known for their impartiality in delivering justice.


In the Sangam Age, there were two councils two assist the king in his day-to-day administration. They were known as Iymperumkuzhu (Committee of the great five) and Enperayam (Council of the great eight). There were also other officials to run the administration efficiently.


The King’s army consisted of four divisions, namely, infantry, cavalry, elephants and chariots, Swords, spears, bows and arrows were some of the weapons used by the soldiers. The forts in the capital cities had been highly protected by moats and trenches.


Land revenue and custom duties were the chief sources of income to the government. One sixth of the total produce was collected as land tax. Tolls were also collected. The local chieftains paid tributes and gifts to the king and this income constituted significant part of the government revenue.

Local Administration

Each kingdom in the Sangam Age was divided into many administrative divisions. These divisions were called as Mandalam, Nadu, Valanadu and Koottram. The council of elders looked after the administration of the villages during the Sangam period. These councils were called as Manram, Podiyil, Avai and Ambalam.
Thus the Sangam administration had been efficiently organized. The later Cholas and Pandyas had followed some of its features.