In this volume, A. K. Ramanujan translates old Tamil poems selected from anthologies compiled around two millennia ago.These poems are "classical" - early ancient; they are also "classics" - works that have stood the test of time, the founding works of a whole tradition. Early classical Tamilliterature (c.100 BC - AD 250) consists of eight anthologies (Ettuttokai), the ten long poems (Pattuppattu), and a grammar called the Tolkappiyan or the "old composition". With the marriage of traditional form and the language of modern usage, the greatness of classical Tamil literature becomesevident to readers: the poems speak to one another, with lyricism and drama. The poems are followed by an Afterword: an essay on the Tamil world picture and its relation to Tamil poetry and poetics. The transliteration of Tamil words follows the Tamil lexicon. This edition contains a new preface byMolly Daniels-Ramanujan.