Two ancient languages of India, Sanskrit and Tamil talk of The Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Sanskrit and Tamil quote each other that it well-nigh impossible to know which is earlier.
Ramayana was written by Valmiki in Sanskrit and was extensively quoted by ancient Tamil Literature, some as old as five thousand years.
There is also evidence to suggest that Valmiki knew Tamil and wrote Tamil Vanmikakovai.
Post on Was Valmiki a Tamil?, follows.
The Ramayana speaks of Ravana as a Rakshasa.
He is also described as Asura, meaning a man of immense Strength and Valor.
The Rakshasas, according to Puranas, lived down south, an allegory that they lived south of the Vindhyas.
There are references to Kumari Kandam, a Super Continent, of which Lanka formed a part.
The three kings of South India had close contacts with the kings of Lanka.
To such an antiquity that Ravana, who was engaged in stirring trouble in the Pandya Kingdom.
He was reported to have been checked by a Pandya King and Ravana sued for Peace.
This has been found in the Chinnamanur inscriptions, Tamil Nadu.
“The Sanskrit portion of the bigger Sinnamanur plates begins with a fragmentary verse in which the king (perhaps Pandya) boasts of having subdued the ocean — an attribute which the mythical Pandya kings generally assumed in consequence, perhaps, of their sea-bordering kingdom, their naval power, and their sea-borne trade, from the earliest historical times. From him were descended the kings known as Pandyas (v. 2) ‘who engraved their edicts on the Himalaya mountain’ and whose family-priest was the sage Agastya (v. 3). One of the Pandya kings is said to have occupied the throne of Indra (v. 4) and another to have shared it with that god, and still another, to have caused the Ten-Headed (i.e., Ravana of Lanka) to sue for peace (v. 5). One was a conqueror of the epic hero Arjuna Verse 8 refers to a king who cut off his own head in order to protect that of his master and also to a certain Sundara-Pandya who had mastered all the sciences. Many kings of this family had performed Vedic sacrifices Rajasuya and Asvamedha (v. 9).”
“Pathupattu in Tamil (Ten long poems) has ten books and one of them is Maduraikanchi. This very long poem has a reference to Ravana (lines 40-42).”
* I am unable to vouch this as these lines do not see to refer Ravana.
“தொள் முது கடவுள் பின்னர் மேய,
வரைத் தாழ் அருவிப் பொருப்பின் பொருந!”
The above is from Madurai Kanchi,a Sangam Literary work, there seems to be no reference to Ravana here.
There are references by Nachinarkiniyar, a Tamil Commentator of the Sanga Era on Agsthya and Ravana.
And there is a reference by Kalidasa in Raghuvamsa.
(This raises the question about Kalidasa’a Date)
““Pandya wore pearl garlands and sandal paste. He was soaked in Avabrutha Snanam during Asvamedha yajna. Ravana was so scared that Pandya may attack and capture his Janasthana (in Dandakaranya), so he made a peace treaty with the Pandya king and then went to win Indraloka. Pandya was praised for receiving a weapon (Brahmsiras) from Lord Shiva.
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