King Manavamma, who reigned three and a half decades at the end of the 7th and beginning of the 8th century, is a significant Sinhalese king, partly because his reign marks the beginning of the second period of reigns of monarchs from the Lambakanna dynasty, after two centuries of predominance of the Moriya clan, partly because of a synchronism with South Indian history, where an era of powerful Tamil Hindu kingdoms had just begun.
Manavamma was the son of Kassapa II. Shortly after his marriage he had to flee to India, when the rivalling Dathopatissa II occupied the throne. In South India, Manavamma took service with the famous Pallava king Narasimhavarman I, also known as Mamalla. Manavamma earned a reputation as a military commander and for his patron Narasimhavarman I he fought in a decisive battle against central India’s mighty emperor Pulakeshin II in 642. This date marks the final triumph of the Tamil kings in South India.
In return, the Pallava king helped Manavamma to recover the Anuradhapura kingdom from Dathopatissa II. But though Manavamma managed to capture Anuradhapura, his reign did not last very long, because when news arrived from the Pallava kingdom that king Narasimhavarman was dying, the Pallava army decided to return to South India. Manavanna was soon compelled to return to India, too. There he served for three successors of Narasimhavarman I.
Meanwhile, Aggabodhi IV reigned in Anuradhapura. After the death of Aggabodhi, his wealthy Tamil chief minister, Pottakutta, became the most powerful person in Anuradhapura. He managed to imprison the rightful heir to the throne in order to installed a puppet, a prince called Hatthadatha in 683. On Hatthasatha's death, Pottakutta acted as king maker again. However, in that very same year he himself and the new puppet king were finally ousted by Manavamma, who again invaded the country with a Pallava army, which was equipped by Narasinhavarman II. Manavamma successfully separated the armies of King Hattadatha from that of his chief minister Pottakutta and managed to defeat them in turn
With Manavamma's victory in 684 began a the second phase of the Lambakanna dynasty and a more peaceful century for Sri Lanka. Manavamma himself could reign till 718, because he lived on to old age. He is said to have constructed eight tanks and seven temples. The reason for the stability may have to do with Manavamma’s Pallava alliance. The Tamil kings did not see him as a rival and the years at their court in Kanchipuram might have inspired Manavamma to improve the administration in Anuradhapura accordingly. Of utmost significance for more stability was the the acceptance of a rule of for the line of succession. The principle was now that the throne went first to the younger brothers and after the last brother died then went to the eldest son of the eldest brother.
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