The New International Encyclopædia/Mahāvansa
MAHĀVANSA, mä′hȧ-väN′sȧ (Pali, great lineage). The title of a celebrated historical work, written in Pali, giving an account in epic form of the island of Lanka, or Ceylon, from the earliest times and the introduction of Buddhism down to the death of King Mahasena, which occurred A.D. 302, and extended later by various additions down to the time of the English occupation. Like the Dīpavansa (q.v.), the Mahavansa is derived from a more ancient source, the historical portion of the Aṭṭakathā, which commented on the Buddhist Scriptures after giving an annalistic record by way of introduction. An incomplete edition of the Mahavansa, with an English translation, was published by G. Turnour (Ceylon, 1837) and reissued later in revised form by L. C. Wÿesinha, Mahāwanso, Translated from the Pali into English, vol. i. (Colombo, 1889). Consult Geiger, Dīpavansa und mahāvansa, die beiden Chroniken der Insel Ceylon (Erlangen, 1901).