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against all kinds of injuries inflicted by the evil spirits, who were both vindictive and numberless. How much impressed the ancient peoples were by this idea is evident from the strength in which such notions have been handed down to the present day. It is in this fact alone that any satisfactory explanation of the early mystic symbolism of the East, and of a great part of all the early symbolism, can be found.
1 Exactly like the sign of the Cross in Christianity.
A Sinhalese estimate makes the number in Ceylon two millions.
THE ANCIENT WEAPONS AND TOOLS
THE ANCIENT WEAPONS
ROM the occasional references in the histories to the weapons of the ancient Sinhalese, it can be gathered that the Sword and the Bow were the ordinary arms of the people, and were often carried by the chiefs and sovereigns, at any rate when they were engaged on warlike expeditions. When the Javelin or short throwing-Spear is added the list of primitive weapons mentioned separately by these authorities is nearly exhausted. Yet there is very good reason for believing that they possessed other arms even in early times, and 'the five weapons of war,' which according to Clough's Dictionary were the sword, spear, bow, battle-axe, and shield, are once alluded to collectively in the Mahāvansa.
Prince Wijaya, who became the first sovereign, is represented as being armed with both a sword and a bow when he landed in Ceylon (Mah., i, p. 32). A sword of state was also included among the presents sent by the Indian Emperor Aśōka to Dēvānam-piya Tissa in the third century B.C., and we are told that this king carried a bow when hunting Sambar deer (Mah., i, p. 50).
In the second century B.C., Phussadēva, one of the champions or generals of Duṭṭha-Gāmiņi, is described as being an extraordinarily expert archer, who shot by a flash of lightning,' or 'through a horse-hair,' or 'a cart filled with sand, as well as through hides a hundred-fold thick; through an Asōka plank eight inches, an Udumbara plank sixteen inches thick, as well as a plate of iron, too, and a plate of brass four inches thick. On land his arrow would fly the distance of eight usabhas and through water one usabha' (Mah. i, p. 92). An usabha is 140 cubits, or about 204 feet.
In his fight with his brother Tissa, Duṭṭha-Gāmiņi is mentioned as using a javelin while on horse-back; Prince Tissa, who was mounted on an elephant, wore armour on this occasion, that is, in the first half of the second century B.C. (Mah., i, P. 94). In Duṭṭha-Gamini's battle with Elāra the Tamil king, the Chiefs on both sides, who fought on foot, had swords and shields, while the two kings, who were on elephants, were armed with javelins( Mah., i, p. 99). In his battle with Elāra's nephew Bhalluka, the same king, who was on an elephant, is described as guarding his mouth with the handle of his sword when Bhalluka threw a javelin at him. One of DuṭṭhaGāmiņi's chiefs, who was seated behind the king on the elephant, also carried a javelin, but later on it is termed an arrow (Mah., i, p. 100, 101). King Waṭṭa-Gāmiņi is stated to have been armed with a bow while awaiting an opportunity to regain the throne, at the beginning of the first century B.C.
With the exception of the State Sword carried by an official who was termed the Sword Bearer, and who ranked as one of the Great Officers of State, as in India, weapons are not again mentioned in the history until the twelfth century A.D., when we find Prince Parakrama-Bāhu I described as being armed with a sword and shield; an attendant also bore an umbrella for him, and the general opposed to him was similarly provided with one. When the house occupied by the Prince. was surrounded by the enemy at night, he is said to have wrapped himself in his blanket, and to have fought with his sword (Mah., ii, p. 137). Also when he escaped from Polannaruwa at night he carried a shield and a sword with which he killed a bear that attacked him in the path (Mah., ii, 143).
He armed some of his men with 'swords, lances, darts, and other weapons of war,' and we learn that one party of them also had clubs (Mah., ii, p. 151). In these wars we read for the first time of chariots used in battle in Ceylon; and the leader of the enemy's troops went to battle in one instead of riding on an elephant according to the custom of earlier times (p. 157). The men wore armour that could not be pierced through';
Questions of King Milinda, p. 171.
what this was is evident from references to 'coats of mail of buffalo hides' (p. 207), and 'coats wrought of iron and skins of deer to keep the sharp-pointed arrows from piercing them ' (p. 231). Other kinds of protective covering were also employed, and some of the enemy were 'clad in ten kinds of armour (p. 165). Showers of arrows' are mentioned; and 'stones without number hurled from engines flew about on every side' (p. 186). In one fight 'burning javelins bound with chains are referred to. In the account of the Sinhalese invasion of Southern India during this king's reign only swords and arrows are mentioned.
When Ceylon was invaded by Malays in 1251 A.D., it is stated that poisoned arrows were used by the invaders; they were 'shot quickly from engines' (p. 282), which must have been cross-bows. But the Sinhalese, who were skilful marksmen, broke them in pieces with their sharp broad arrows'like Rāma in his wonderful battles with the Rakshasas. There is no indication of the use of poisoned arrows by the Sinhalese, nor are crossbows ever mentioned in the histories as employed by them, although they were used in Captain Robert Knox's time (seventeenth century). They were known in India in early times, and are mentioned in The Questions of King Milinda, p. 159. They do not appear in early Indian carvings. It is possible that the engines' by means of which stones were thrown were merely enlarged stone-bows with two strings, of the type now made by children. The desultory fighting of the Sinhalese would not permit them to carry about with them such elaborate stone-throwing appliances as those figured by Sir R. Payne-Gallwey in his work on The ProjectileThrowing Engines of the Ancients.
The above-quoted notices comprise practically all that is to be learnt in the histories regarding the weapons of the ancient Sinhalese.
Among the insignia carried by the deities of the Dewālas, -the temples devoted to some Indian gods, and the godlings (Dēvatās), demons, and deified chiefs of the Sinhalesean additional list of the ancient weapons can be compiled, and in them doubtless the traditional forms of some of them