Classification of Kannda literature is made on the basis of various criteria. Grouping together of a major poet and those that come under his influence is one among them. Pampa is the first and a very important poet and Pampa yuga is named after him. However evidences suggest that literary creation was in vogue in the period preceding Pampa even though those works have not survived.

Kavirajamarga’ of Srivijaya which is the first extant work in Kannada refers to a number of eariler works both in poetry and prose. Inscriptions with their literary fliar provide the earliest exapmples of literary composition. Halmidi Inscription (450 A.D.), Badami Inscription of Kappe Arabhata, (700 A.D.) and the Shravanabelagola Inscription describing the renunciation act by Nandisena Muni are some of the more important inscriptios with literary value. They contain beautiful lyrical passages and make use of various meters that are indegenous to Kannada. PaTTadakallu inscription (770A.D.) describes a dancer called Achala.

Vimala, Udaya, Nagarjuna, Jayabandhu, and Durveneetha are the prose writers mentioned in ‘kaviraajamaarga’. kaveeshvara, PanDita, LOkapaala and chandra are the poets found in that list. This distinction between poets and prose writers is itself revealing. samanthabhadra, puujyapaada, kaviparameshTi, shyaamakundachaarya and tumbaluuraachaarya are writers mentioned in sources other than kaviraajamaarga.


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