Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/82

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66
SIGIRI—SIGIMUND

unlike. Examples taken, except fig. 28, by permission from the Text Book of Small Arms (1909), are given in fig. 28 (German Mauser pattern), fig. 29 (“long” hand-loader Lee-Enfield), fig. 30 (“short” Lee-Enfield), fig. 31 (Dutch service rifle), and fig. 32 (Russian “three-line” rifle). Fine lateral adjustments are provided on the “short” Lee-Enfield, and on many other military sights of modern date. See for further details Rifle.

Authorities Consulted.— Owen, Modern Artillery; Lloyd and Hadcock, Artillery, its Progress and Present Position; Lissak, Ordnance and Gunnery; Colonel H. A. Bethell, Modern Guns and Gunnery; Proceedings and Occasional Papers, R.A. Institute, and War Office publications.


SĪGIRI, the Lion’s Rock, the ruin of a remarkable stronghold 7° 59′ N., and 8° E., 14 m. N.E. of Dambulla, and about 17 m. nearly due W. of Pulasti-pura, the now ruined ancient capital of Ceylon. There a solitary pillar of granite rock rises to a great height out of the plain, and the top actually overhangs the sides. On the summit of this pencil of rock there are five or six acres of ground; and on them, in A.D. 477, Kasyapa the Parricide built his palace, and thought to find an inaccessible refuge from his enemies. His father Dhatu Sena, a country priest, had, after many years of foreign oppression, roused his countrymen, in 459, to rebellion, led them to victory, driven out the Tamil oppressors, and entered on his reign as a national hero. He was as successful in the arts of peace as he had been in those of war; and carried to completion, among other good works, an ambitious irrigation scheme—probably the greatest feat of engineering that had then been accomplished anywhere in the world. This was the celebrated Kala Wewa, or Black Reservoir, more than 50 m. in circumference, which gave wealth to the whole country for two days’ journey north of the capital, Anuradha-pura, and provided that city also with a constant supply of water. Popular with the people, the king could not control his own family; and as the outcome of a palace intrigue in 477 his son Kasyapa had declared himself king, and taken his father prisoner. Threatened with death on his refusing to say where his treasure lay hid, the old king told them to take him to the tank. They took him there, and while bathing in the water he let some of it drop through his fingers, and said, " This is my treasure; this, and the love of my people." Then Kasyapa had his father built up alive into a wall. Meanwhile Kasyapa’s brother had escaped to India and was plotting a counter revolution. It was then that the parricide prepared his defence. He utilized his father’s engineers in the construction of a path or gallery winding up round the Sigiri rock. Most of it was made, by bursting the rock by means of wooden wedges, through the solid granite, and its outside parapet was supported by walls of brick resting on ledges far below. It is a marvellous piece of work. Abandoned since 495—for Kasyapa was eventually slain during a battle fought in the plain beneath—it has, on the whole, well withstood the fury of tropical storms, and is now used again to gain access to the top. When rediscovered by Major Forbes in 1835 the portions of the gallery where it had been exposed for so many centuries to the south-west monsoon, had been carried away. These gaps have lately been repaired, or made passable with the help of iron stanchions; the remains c.f the buildings at the top and at the foot of the mountain have been excavated; and the entrance to the gallery, between the outstretched paws of a gigantic lion, has been laid bare. The fresco paintings in the galleries are perhaps the most interesting of the extant remains. They are older than any others found in India, and have been carefully copied, and, as far as possible, preserved.

See Major Forbes, Eleven Years in Ceylon (London, 1841); H. C. P. Bell. Archaeological Reports (Colombo, 1892–1906); Rhys Davids, “Sigiri. the Lion Rock,” in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (1875), pp. 191-220; H. W. Cave, Ruined Cities of Ceylon (London, 1906).

 (T. W. R. D.) 


SIGISMUND (1368–1437), Roman emperor and king of Hungary and Bohemia, was a son of the emperor Charles IV. and Elizabeth, daughter of Bogislaus V., duke of Pomerania. He was born on the 15th of February 1368, and in 1374 was betrothed to Maria, the eldest daughter of Louis the Great, king of Poland and Hungary. Having become margrave of Brandenburg on his father’s death in 1378, he was educated at the Hungarian court from his eleventh to his sixteenth year, becoming thoroughly magyarized and entirely devoted to his adopted country. His wife Maria, to whom he was married in 1385, was captured by the rebellious Horvathys in the following year, and only rescued by her young husband with the aid of the Venetians in June 1387. Sigismund had been crowned king of Hungary on the 31st of March 1387, and having raised money by pledging Brandenburg to his cousin Jobst, margrave of Moravia, he was engaged for the next nine years in a ceaseless struggle for the possession of this unstable throne. The bulk of the nation headed by the great Garay family was with him; but in the southern provinces between the Save and the Drave, the Horvathys with the support of the Bosnian king Tvrtko, proclaimed as their king Ladislaus, king of Naples, son of the murdered Hungarian king, Charles II. (see Hungary). Not until 1395 did the valiant Miklós Garay succeed in suppressing them. In 1396 Sigismund led the combined armies of Christendom against the Turks, who had taken advantage of the temporary helplessness of Hungary to extend their dominion to the banks of the Danube. This crusade, preached by Pope Boniface IX., was very popular in Hungary. The nobles flocked in thousands to the royal standard, and were reinforced by volunteers from nearly every part of Europe, the most important contingent being that of the French led by John, duke of Nevers, son of Philip II., duke of Burgundy. It was with a host of about 90,000 men and a flotilla of 70 galleys that Sigismund set out. After capturing Widdin, he sat down before the fortress of Nicopolis, to retain which Sultan Bajazid raised the siege of Constantinople and at the head of 140,000 men completely overthrew the Christian forces in a battle fought between the 25th and 28th of September 1396. Deprived of his authority in Hungary, Sigismund then turned his attention to securing the succession in Germany and Bohemia, and was recognized by his childless step-brother Wenceslaus as vicar-general of the whole empire. He remained, however, powerless when in 1400 Wenceslaus was deposed and Rupert III., elector palatine of the Rhine, was elected German king in his stead. During these years he was also involved in domestic difficulties out of which sprang a second war with Ladislaus of Naples; and on his return to Hungary in 1401 he was once imprisoned and twice deposed. This struggle in its turn led to a war with Venice, as Ladislaus before departing to his own land had sold the Dalmatian cities to the Venetians for 100,000 ducats. In 1401 Sigismund assisted a rising against Wenceslaus, during the course of which the German and Bohemian king was made a prisoner, and Sigismund ruled Bohemia for nineteen months. In 1410 the German king Rupert died, when Sigismund, ignoring his step-brother’s title, was chosen German king, or king of the Romans, first by three of the electors on the 20th of September 1410, and again after the death of his rival, Jobst of Moravia, on the 21st of July 1411; but his coronation was deferred until the 8th of November 1414, when it took place at Aix-la-Chapelle.

During a visit to Italy the king had taken advantage of the difficulties of Pope John XXIII. to obtain a promise that a council should be called to Constance in 1414. He took a leading part in the deliberations of this assembly, and during the sittings made a journey into France, England and Burgundy in a vain attempt to secure the abdication of the three rival popes (see Constance, Council of). The complicity of Sigismund in the death of John Huss is a matter of controversy. He had granted him a safe-conduct and protested against his imprisonment; and it was during his absence that the reformer was burned. An alliance with England against France, and an attempt to secure peace in Germany by a league of the towns, which failed owing to the hostility of the princes, were the main secular proceedings of these years. In 1419 the death of Wenceslaus left Sigismund titular king of Bohemia, but he had to wait for seventeen years before the Czechs would acknowledge him. But although the two dignities of king of the Romans and king of Bohemia added considerably to his importance, and indeed made him the nominal head of Christendom, they conferred no increase of power and financially embarrassed him. It was only