legendary material, some of which are based partly on popular etymology and partly on Sinhalese legends. The chronology is hopelessly arranged and one has to exercise great caution in using these chronicles as source materials. Their value for the period prior to the twelfth century is almost nil. Hence, we have to rely almost entirely on the more trustworthy Linhalese and Pli works and on the meagre archaeological material for any satisfactory reconstruction of what happened intheJaffna peninsula before the thirteenth century. Although our purpose in this chapter is to deal with theDravidian settlements ofthe thirteenth century, it is necessary to analyse briefly the history oftheJaffna peninsula before our period in order to clear certain common but important misconceptions. By way of this analysis we will be able to show how unfounded many ofthe arguments of popular writers are. We have already shown that there is no case for arguing that Jaffna was settled by Tamils inthe pre-Christian 1 centuries or even inthe early Christian centuries. On the contrary, there is some evidence in our sources which points 261 to the occupation of Sinhalese inthe area inthe eetty ivs OP centuries. The meagre evidence inthe Mahvaisa regarding the 1. See supra,
268 Jaffna peninsula does not help us to know anything about the identity ofthe people who lived there inthe pre-Christian centuries. The Pli chronicle informs us that the port of Jambukola (Camputtuai), on the eastern coast ofthe peninsula, was the main port of embarkation to Tmralipti in Eastern India from at least the time of Devnampiya Tissa (JD _LIO B.C.). The two embassies from the island to the court of Aoka embarked on their voyage from Jambukola Sañghamitt arrived with the Bo-sapling at this porte The Samudda-paa-sl, commemorating the arrival ofthe Bo-sapling, andthe Jambukolavihra were built there by Devnampiya Tissa These facts only reveal that the northernmost part ofthe island was under the suzerainty ofthe Anurdhapura king inthe third century B.C. and that Buddhism had begun to spread by that time in that part ofthe island as inthe other parts. But it is inthe second century A.D. that we get some evidence regarding the people living there. The language ofthe gDld-plate inscription from Vallipurain, the earliest epigraphic record diecovered inthe Jafmna peninsula, is the early form of Sinhalese, in which 1. Mv., 11:23. 2. Ibid., 19:23. 3. Ibid., 19:27; 20:25.