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cannot possibly have become king more than a few years prior to the date, 414 B.C., given by me as the earliest reasonable one for his accession.
Although it has been suggested that the names of some Sinhalese kings may have been dropped by the historians, it appears to me clear that all probabilities are strongly against the omission of the names of any other early sovereigns. By omitting them the chroniclers would be merely intensifying the difficulty which they experienced in stretching back their chronology so as to make it extend to 543 B.C., the assumed date of the death of Buddha. Being left without other kings to fill up the gap, they were obliged to double the lengths of the reigns between 205 and 245 B.C., and also those of Paṇḍukābhaya and Muta-Siva, thus making these two last stretch to a ridiculous and impossible extent. As the existence of other kings would have relieved them from this necessity of falsifying the chronology they would be most unlikely to omit their reigns.
It is much more probable that fictitious names would be inserted in order to span the gap up to 543 B.C. than that the names of actual rulers of Ceylon would be struck out of the list. If there is any additional error, therefore, it must be looked for in the lengths of the first three reigns. But it is evident that in any case these cannot be lengthened more than a very few years. The historians allow a reign of 38 years to Wijaya, 30 to Paṇḍuwāsa-Dēva, and 20 to Abhaya, who however was alive for more than 17 years later, since it is recorded that his nephew Paṇḍukābhaya appointed him after that, period City Conservator of Anuradhapura. As Paṇḍuwāsa-Dēva was married immediately after he came to the throne, we may assume the age of Abhaya, his eldest son, to have been 66 1 when he was appointed to this office. There is nothing to show that he died immediately afterwards, and he may have survived for several years. Thus it is clear that no addition can be made to the length of reign allotted to him by the
1 Made up by 29 years of his father's reign, 20 of his own, and 17 years of his life after his deposition.
historians, since a service of only four years as Conservator would bring his age to 70 years.
We are therefore left with only Wijaya and PaṇduwāsaDēva as the sole kings whose reigns might have lasted a little longer than the time stated in the histories. If it be permissible to assume that both were not more than 25 when they became kings, Wijaya's age would become 63 at his death, and Panduwāsa-Dēva's 55. Even if we extend both up to 70 years it would carry the beginning of Wijaya's reign only 22 years further back. But the probabilities are overwhelmingly against such an addition to their ages. It would show, as a result, that in the case of five legitimate consecutive rulers (omitting Tissa, the brother of Abhaya, as a usurper), not one died under the age of 70 years. Such a chain of long-lived monarchs is unheard of, and is manifestly inadmissible.
I am not concerned in attempting to reconcile the date of Gōtama Buddha with that of Wijaya, who is stated to have arrived in Ceylon and become the first Sinhalese king in the year when Buddha died.1 According to the genealogical table of Buddha's relatives they appear to have been contemporaries, as the queen of Paṇḍuwāsa-Dēva, the nephew of Wijaya, was the daughter of Buddha's cousin, if the Sinhalese histories are correct. Any error in the chronology is likely to be found among this queen's ancestors; it is possible that two or three names have been omitted between her and Amitōdana, the uncle of Buddha. Such an omission would account for the discrepancy in the dates of Buddha and Wijaya, without its being necessary to assume that the list of Sinhalese kings is at fault. I have shown this in the table, therefore.
1 Mr. V. A. Smith, in his Early History of India, 1908, p. 42, states that Dr. Fleet now considers 482 B.C. the most probable and satisfactory date of the death of Buddha.
THE EARLIEST COINS
HERE is nothing to indicate the date when the first coinage was introduced into Ceylon from India; all that can be said regarding it is that coins were in the country in the second half of the third century B.C. I myself saw two silver Purānas or Salākas, nearly square but rather thick coins without any punch-marks, resembling the copper coin numbered 20 on Plate I of Sir A. Cunningham's Coins of Ancient India, which were found in 1884 with the four relicreceptacles that had evidently been deposited in the relicchamber of the Yaṭṭhāla dāgaba, built by King Mahā-Nāga or his son in the third century B.C. at Tissa or Magama, the ancient capital of southern Ceylon. I have already described the relic-cases in the chapter which deals with the ancient dagabas.
The Buddhist monk who was in charge of the largest dagaba at Tissa, which was undoubtedly built by Mahā-Nāga, informed me in 1884 that some similar coins made of copper, with small punch-marks on their surface, the shapes of which he could not describe, were also found in the débris thrown round its base by its despoilers. They were all replaced in the relic-chamber when it was closed during the restoration of the structure, but the description that was given of them leaves no doubt as to their presence at that work also.
The histories of Ceylon contain no statement that invaders held the southern part of the island before the eleventh century, in the early half of which it is recorded in the Mahāvansa (ii, p. 90) that the forces of the King of Sōla occupied that part of the country and despoiled many wihāras. Even if the relic-chambers of these two dagabas had been broken into at that time (of which, however, there is no record) it is improbable that any Sinhalese king who restored them