The Vijayanagara Empire (c.1336-1650), the first south Indian state spread over most of the peninsula, except Kerala, has, to its credit a rich corpus of inscriptions in three Dravidian languages — Kannada, Tamil and Telugu — besides those in Sanskrit. This volume, the fifth in the ICHR series of Vijayanagara inscriptions, is the first part of a two-volume publication and contains 576 Tamil inscriptions of the pre-Krishnadevaraya period. The inscriptions throw much light on the significance of the Tamil area for the Vijayangara state. Its political organization there shows some peculiar features, being dominated, as it were, by the princely viceroys. The Tamil inscriptions also provide somewhat richer details than the Kannada and Telugu inscriptions do regarding the socio-economic conditions of the times. The inscriptions, compiled from several standard publications, have been arranged in a chronological order, and the text of each inscription is given in Roman transliteration followed by an abstract in English. The Index provides explanations to most technical terms found in the inscriptions, and, hence, it can also be used as a glossary. Together the five volumes in this series place a large and systematically organized body of Vijayanagara inscriptions in the hands of scholars and researchers in medieval south Indian history.
Y. Subbarayalu is Researcher, Department of Indology, French Institute of Pondicherry. From 1983 to 2001, he was Professor at the Department of Epigraphy and Archaeology, Tamil University, Thanjavur and was subsequently appointed Co-ordinator for the Digital Historical Atlas of South India, French Institute of Pondicherry.
S. Rajavelu is Associate Professor, Department of Maritime History and Marine Archaeology, Tamil University, Thanjavur. Earlier, he has served at the Epigraphy branch of the Archaeological Survey of India in Mysore and Chennai, where he collected and deciphered over 3,000 inscriptions.