By Michael Wood
Last updated 2011-02-17
The Greek envoy, Megasthenes, mentions Madurai in his account of India in around 300 BC. It was in the period of the Roman empire, under the Pandya dynasty, that the city assumed its great importance, even sending embassies to Rome.
Home to the ancient 'Tamil Sangam', (Academy of Tamil Learning), it became as important for its scholarship as for its religious heritage. One of the great Tamil literary epics 'Silappadikaram' was written here in the Roman period.
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