THE “DEVANAPIYA” KINGS AS TRACED FROM LITHIC ‘BRAHMI’ INSCRIPTIONS OF SRI LANKA
Keywords:Arahath Mahinda, Devanampiya, Gamini, Sri Lanka, Brahmi inscriptions
Inscriptions of Ceylon volume 1 by Prof. S. Paranavithana, presents a collection of over a thousand lithic inscriptions discovered in a series of archaeological surveys of Ceylon carried out from 1855 to 1970. These inscriptions are dated from 300 BC to 100 AD based on similar work found in India and the information from ancient palm leaf text from Sri Lanka. In these inscriptions a lineage of royal members called “Devanapiya” is recurring. However, a systematic study has not been carried out directly referring to this lineage based on inscriptions. As such, a systematic study of the inscriptions was carried out first, by developing a database on items of information such as the names of people and places, professions, official and personal relationships, the reigning King at the time of inscribing and the symbols of lettering. Then, using the family links, the individuals with connections were traced. A numbering code was assigned to recognize the family link as well as the level of generation. The variations of lettering in the inscriptions were also recorded. A presentation of family trees of these ancient Kings based on lithic inscriptions alone does not appear in the Inscriptions of Ceylon Vol.1or any other literature. The aim of this article is to present the lineage of the “Devanapiya” Kings traced from lithic Brahmi inscriptions who have been the great kings of Sri Lanka. The observations on changes of inscribed letters suggest that there may have been four generations of “Devanapiya” Great Kings before the arrival of “Arahat Mahinda”. This sheds light on a new paradigm of exploration of history of the island contrasting to the information from the palm leaf texts.
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