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The Dark Period: Myth or reality?

Abstract : This article is an attempt to reconsider the widespread concept of a Dark Period in the Tamil-speaking South between the third and sixth centuries of the Common Era. Archaeological, epigraphical and literary evidence from the first few centuries before the common era to the seventh century are gathered here and carefully analysed, showing no actual interruption. Decrease in the amount of data may easily be explained as the result of a change of practices – such as the use of perishable materials for buildings, for example. An important part of this article focuses on the Kaḷabhra dynasty, often thought to have been responsible for this so-called Dark Period. However, in the light of an accurate reading of a famous and peculiar passage of the Paṇḍyan copper-plates of Vēḷvikuṭi on which K.A. Nilakantha Sastri elaborated, probably for the first time, the concept of a Kaḷabhra interregnum responsible for the Dark Period, and after recontextualising this passage in the eighth-century South Indian history, it appears that the notion of a 'break' in the history of South India, as well as the three-century rule of an obscure dynasty, does not withstand a fact based investigation.
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Submitted on : Friday, March 20, 2020 - 6:11:39 PM
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  • HAL Id : halshs-02513604, version 1



Valérie Gillet. The Dark Period: Myth or reality?. The Indian economic and social history review, SAGE Publications India, 2014, 51.3 (July-September 2014), pp. 283-302. ⟨halshs-02513604⟩



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