320 class of chieftains is right in so far as the Sinhalese and P.li sources are concerned. In these sources the term is used to denote chiefs and chieftaincies inthe areas that did not come under the direct rule ofthe Sinhalese king. When the authors ofthe Eu-attanag4u-vapsa andthe Nikba-sarahaya refer to vanni chieftaincies of earlier centuries, they were only using a term that came to be applied to those chieftaincies inthe thirteenth century and later. These references need hot be taken to imply the presence of a clan of people called Vinnia in those times. When Geiger referred to the Vannis as a noble clan ofthe Sinhalese who took refuge inthe jungles inthe time of }Agha, he was only referring to those Sinhalese who set themselves up as minor chiefs inthe abandoned areas of Rjaraha which came to be known as the Vanni. e was basing his statement on solely on the Pli chronicle and did not take into account the evidence ofthe Tamil sources regarding the Vauiyars. He is wrong, as we shall see, in calling the present-day Vanni caste ofthe Northern and North-central Provinces as the descendants ofthe Sinhalese Vanni-rjno of our period. In the Sinhalese and Pli works ofthe thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, therefore, the name Van.ni has been applied to the chieftaincies of Rjaraha and other forest tracts. As Paranavitana has pointed out, there seem to have two classes
321 of Vannis, namely the }iaha-vanni andthe Siri-vanni. In some works the number of Vanni chieftaincies is given as eighteen 1 andin some others as three hundred and 8ixty —fotar. These could hardly be taken seriously. Eighteen is a conventional number often met with in Indian literature. In fact, some Sanskrit works refer to the existence of eighteen forest kingdoms (avikar jya) Since the Vanni chieftaincies were also forest kinglets, the Sinhalese authors may have referred to them as eighteen in number, following the Indian practice. In South India, too, there are references to the Vamiyars ofthe eighteen (districts) It is possible that traditionally it was considered that there were eighteen Vanni chieftaincies. In the Tamil chronicles, however, the number of such chieftaincies inthe island is given as seven Probably this referred to the major chieftaincies that were feudatory to theJaffna kingdom. As inthe Sinhalese sources, the name Vanni is applied in. the Tamil chronicles ofthe island to the chieftaincies _$% 511.I'P. of northernkCeYlon. But the name Vaniyar is applied to a caste 1 a. E.u-ay ., p. kl. 1. U.C.H.C., I, pt. 2, p. 737. 2. Cf., Vsv1'1bv -+o'y .e..ik QivI1i.J.i 1 T, 4. D.C . rcQ.1,CCc. 1s7,?c 3. A.S.S.I., IV, (J.Burgess, Tamil and Sanskrit Inscriptions), p. 120. k. Yvm., p. 38.