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Crisis to Collapse

Tim Cunningham
Jan Driessen

II. From Epistemology to Ontology : the Paradigm of the Lost Civilisation

7. The Collapse of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

A Crisis 1500 Years in the Making

Keir Strickland

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Extrait du texte

The Anuradhapura Kingdom emerged in northern Sri Lanka in the 4th c. BC, the first complex society to develop within the Indian Ocean island. Located in the island’s semi-arid northern plains, and centred upon the kingdom’s capital, this low-density urban polity went on to rule Sri Lanka for well over a millennium, before failing in the 11th century. This mediaeval collapse has historically been explained through reference to Sri Lanka’s great Pali chronicle, the Mahavamsa, which describes a Chola sacking of Anuradhapura in 1017 AD, ending more than fifteen centuries’ of hegemonic rule. The Mahavamsa describes an economic crisis at the end of the 10th century, with King Mahinda V being unable to pay his mercenary troops resulting in his fleeing the capital, an opportunity which Raja raja Chola seized - launching an invasion that ended with the sacking of Anuradhapura and nearly 50 years of Chola rule in Sri Lanka.

However, this crisis was arguably the inevitable conclusion of the kin...

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