On Netuncezhiyan (I and II) I had written, among other things:
> > King Netuncezhiyan seems not to be mentioned in the Eight
> > Anthologies of the Cankam period, but only in post-Cankam texts
> > such as the Cilappatikaram, etc.
Ravilochanan Iyengar replied:
> This is what happens when people try to write about issues without
> any knowledge about them. Let us look at the patently absurd last
> statement of the above quote. Francesco claims that Netunchezhiyan
> is not mentioned in the Eight Anthologies!!!! MaturaikkAn~ci [one
> of the Pattuppattu texts -- FB] is dedicated to the winner of the
> battle of Talaiyaalankaanam, the King Netunchezhiyan. Puranaanuru
> has several songs in which this Netunchezhiyan is praised. He was
> so popular that Aariyap patai katanta Netunchezhiyan is also the
> author of one poem of Puranaanuruâ€¦ Even if we consider the
> Netunchezhiyan of inscriptions as some one other than the victor of
> Talaiyaalanganam (there is a possibility for this), to claim that
> he was never mentioned in the Eight anthologies is completely
> absurd. It shows that people are writing about texts without even
> reading them. Francesco seems to have simply read Mahadevan and
> Zvelebil identifying the Aariyappataikatanta Netunchezhiyan as the
> Pandyan king mentioned in Cilappatikaaram and arrived
> at his own conclusion that these are later day kings (who, thus,
> will not be mentioned in Eight Anthologies). His statement â€œKing
> Netuncezhiyan seems not to be mentioned in the Eight Anthologiesâ€
> appears as if he has read the texts to some extent and is basing
> his conclusions upon such study. But it is clear that he has never
> even touched an introductory book about Eight Anthologies
> (let alone read them)!!!!
There is a short poem, Puram 183, containing a clear reference to the four varnas, which is ascribed (in the colophon) to Ariyappataikatanta Netuncezhiyan. Besides, there is a poem, Puram 72, which is attributed (in the colophon) to the other King Netuncezhiyan, the victor of the Talaiyalankanam battle. No scholar claims these two Netuncezhiyans to be one and the same Pantiyan king.
When I wrote â€œKing Netuncezhiyan seems not to be mentioned in the Eight Anthologies of the Cankam period, but only in post-Cankam texts such as the Cilappatikaram, etc.â€, a word slipped from my keyboard before I hit the â€œSendâ€ button; indeed, I actually meant to write â€œKing *Ariyappataikatanta* Netuncezhiyan.â€! It is clear from the above referred post of mine that I agree there were two Netuncezhiyans, called by some scholars â€œNetuncezhiyan Iâ€ (Ariyappataikatanta Netuncezhiyan) and â€œNetuncezhiyan IIâ€ (the victor at Talaiyalankanam). It is Ariyappataikatanta Netuncezhiyan, the king who ruled in Madura at the time of the story of the Cilappadikaram, who, as I meant to say in that post, is not mentioned in the Eight Anthologies of the Cankam period. True, this king is credited with the composition of Puram 183; yet, since the colophons of Cankam works are considered later than the composition of the poems
themselves, I wrote -- perhaps through an over-simplification -- that Ariyappataikatanta Netuncezhiyan â€œseems not to be mentioned in the eight anthologiesâ€. Actually this king, though he figures as the author in the colophon of Puram 183, is never cited directly in any of the poems belonging in the Eight Anthologies.
On the other hand, in that post I *did* refer to Netuncezhiyan (the victor at Talaiyalankanam) being mentioned in Cankam works; so all the disparaging words used by Ravilochanan to accuse me of a â€˜big mistakeâ€™ are worthless. I perfectly know, and obviously also knew at the time of writing that post, that Netuncezhiyan the victor of Talaiyalankanam is praised in many Cankam poemsâ€¦
> See what P.T. Srinivasa Iyengar has to say about this king in his
> â€˜History of the Tamilsâ€™ (see pg. 443 - 450).
> In pg. 444 above, Iyengar makes an observation that an
> Akam poem mentions this kingâ€™s victory as a remembered
> event (and not a contemporary). The poet of this song is
> Paranar. Paranar is the poet who has sung the praise of Ceran
> Cenkuttuvan in Patirrappattu. So the Nedunchezhiyan who won
> the battle of Talaiyalanganam could be placed earlier to Cenkuttuvan
> (whose date is fixed in late 2nd century CE by using Gajabahu
Akam 116 is the poem being referred to by Srinivasa Iyengar as one â€œcomposed after Netunceliyanâ€™s time by Paranar who treats it as a remembered eventâ€ (p. 444). It is just an *inference* by Srinivasa Iyengar that this king must be identified with Netuncezhiyan, the victor of Talaiyalankanam. As a matter of fact, the Pantiyan king sung by Paranar in Akam 116 is called just â€œCezhiyanâ€ and is said to have defeated and chased the armies of two enemy kings (a Cera and a Cola) in a battle in the neighborhood of Kutal (most likely the Old Tamil name of Madura). He is therefore praised for his victory in a battle which is *not* that of Talaiyalankanam. Moreover, the title Cezhiyan (derived from cezhu-mai â€˜greatness, excellence, splendourâ€™ by the authors of the Tamil Lexicon) was an epithet of eminence that could be applied to many Pantiyan kings, just as the Ceras had the title Perumal and the Colas, the title Valavan.
Consequently, â€œParanarâ€™s Akam 116 [â€¦] may or may not refer specifically to Netuncezhiyanâ€ (J.R. Marr, The Eight Anthologies: A Study in Early Tamil Literature [Madras: Institute of Asian Studies, 1985], 136). In other words, the identity of this king cannot be ascertained (see K.A. Nilakanta Sastri [ed.], A Comprehensive History of India, Vol. 2 [Bombay: Orient Longmans, 1957], 510).
Paranar sings the mighty Cenkuttuvan, a contemporary of Gajabahu I of Ceylon (ca. 170-180 A.D.). He also belauds Karikala Cola and his father. Karikala must, therefore, have been a younger contemporary of Cenkuttuvan. â€œThe tradition preserved in the Cilappatikaram that Cenkuttuvan and Karikala were contemporaries is thus confirmed by the evidence of [Paranarâ€™s] poemsâ€ (K.A. Nilakanta Sastri [ed.], A Comprehensive History of India, Vol. 2, cit., 509-510). Zvelebil dates Paranar to ca. 130-200 A.D. This Cankam poet could not have sung king Netuncezhiyan the victor of Talaiyalankanam, who lived *after* him (at ca. 200/215 A.D. according to both Nilakanta Sastri and Zvelebil).
> There is still debate among scholars as to whether the victor of
> Talaiyalanganam preceded or succeeded the Netunchezhiyan
> who was called vanquisher of Aryan armies (who is mentioned in Cilappatikaram).
Let us clarify this chronological matter (the dates of the two Netuncezhiyans).
1) Netuncezhiyan â€˜who overcame the Aryan armiesâ€™ -- Nilakanta Sastri (The Pandyan Kingdom [London: Luzac & Co., 1929], 27-29) writes in this connection: â€œThe king who ruled in Madura at the time of the story of the Cilappatikaram was a Netuncezhiyan distinguished by the epithet Ariyappataikatanta for reasons that cannot now be traced. [...] [He] must be ascribed to about the time of Gajabahu I of Ceylon, somewhere in the second century A.D.â€ As I had written in my earlier post, we know from the well-established â€˜Gajabahu synchronismâ€™ that Ariyappataikatanta Netuncezhiyan was a contemporary of the Cera king Cenkuttuvan and Gajabahu I of Sri Lanka and hence must be assigned to the 2nd century A.D. As a further confirmation of this dating, in the Cilappatikaram Ariyappataikatanta Netuncezhiyan, the then king of Madura, is said to have Yavana guards (i.e. soldiers from the Roman Empire) in his service guarding the
gates of the city.
2) Netuncezhiyan â€˜the victor of Talaiyalankanamâ€™ -- According to Nilakanta Sastri, the generation dominated by the Pantiyan ruler Netuncezhiyan, the victor of Talaiyalankanam, was later than that dominated by the Cola ruler Karikala (who reigned ca. 190 A.D.). This may be inferred from the facts that Nakkirar who celebrates Netuncezhiyan in Akam 36, 253 and 266, in Narrinai 358, and in Netunalvatai in the Pattuppattu, mentions Karikala in one of his poems (Akam 141) in terms which imply that his reign ended some time earlier, and that none of the poets of the age of Karikala makes any reference to Netuncezhiyan though they know of lesser Pantiyan names (K.A. Nilakanta Sastri, â€œSouth Indiaâ€, in R.C. Majumdar & A.S. Altekar (eds.), The Vakataka-Gupta Age, ca. 200-550 A.D. [Banaras: Bharatiya Itihas Parishad, 1954], 219-220). Zvelebil places Nakkirarâ€™s life time at ca. 190-260 A.D. (see his discussion of the date of this
poet at at http://tinyurl.com/cvjw4tx
). Moreover, Netuncezhiyan the victor of Talaiyalankanam is the hero of the Maturaikkanci (attributed to the poet Mankuti Marutanar), a work which includes some vivid and realistic descriptions of demons and demonesses who devour the corpses of heroes fallen in battle, dance over heaps of menâ€™s heads, boil the blood and flesh of fallen kings using dead menâ€™s arms as ladles, and serve this food to victorious warriors, by this evincing (my personal opinion) a clear influence by the nascent Tantric symbolic discourse on this poet. Mankuti Marutanar, thus, can by no means be dated to the B.C. epoch. In a poem attributed to him in the colophon, Puram 72, Netuncezhiyan the victor of Talaiyalankanam refers to Mankuti Marutanar as the chief among the poets praised for their great skill. So the author of the Maturaikkanci was probably the
chief court-poet of Netuncezhiyan. According to Marr (The Eight Anthologies, cit., p. 138), Netuncezhiyan the victor of Talaiyalankanam would be an elder contemporary of the Cola king Kulamurrattuttunciya Killivalavan. It is generally accepted that Killivalavan was a successor of Karikala Cola not far removed from the latter since the same poets are singing the praise of both. If Karikala reigned at the end of the 2nd century A.D. as is opined by many scholars, then we have one more confirmation that Netuncezhiyan the victor of Talaiyalankanam reigned in the first decade of the third century A.D.
In conclusion, the Pantiyan king Netuncezhiyan of the Mangulam grants (ca. 2nd century B.C.) lived much earlier than his namesakes and descendants celebrated in Cankam literature.