King Vattagamini abaya was the grandson of King Sadatissa[the brother of King Dutugemunu]. His elder brother was Kallathanaga, who was overpowered by his Commander of the Army named Kammaharattaka. Vattagaminiabaya killed the Commander and took on him self the government in 44 BC. But five months after been anointed king, there was an uprising from Ruhuna by a young Brahman named Tissa. Seven Damilas landed at Mahatittha with an army about the same time. Both parties sent written messages concerning the handing over of the Parasol[ The Symbol of Kingly rank of the Island].
The sagacious king , after appreciating the situation and considering the state of readiness of his army to confront both armies ,sent a written message to Tissa the brahman; ” The King is now thine, conquer thou the Damilas”. His strategy was to weaken both adversaries and take on the winner, one of the four methods of warriors mentioned in the Mahavansa, i.e Bheda- Dividing or weakening the enemy. How successful this method was in weakening the LTTE, with the breakaway of Kuruna group has still not been assessed.
Tissa took on the 7 tamils and was defeated . Vattagamini abaya strategy failed for when he he lost the battle with the Seven Damilas at Kolambalaka , the same place Dutugemunu battle Elara’s nephew Bhalluka ,who had also landed at Mahatittha.
After the battle he mounted his chariot and escaped with his queens and the Queen and her infant son of his brother King Kallathnaga.
Vattagaminiabaya skill as an Archer is given in Mahavansa Ch 33 para 65, where in a single combat over come Siva who came to him with a bow-
” Putting an arrow to his bow the glorious hero transfixed Siva as he came on“.
After 14 years in hiding ,” he obtained as Ministers eight famous warriors and great was the following of the King and his equipment of war and regained his throne”-[ 30- 1 BC] .Mahavansa.
There are many contemporary inscription of this King.
Another important historical edifice this king built was the Abeyagiri Vihare.
But it is speculated by Numismatists , those coins of the Damila[ Pandyan] kings he conquered ,was counter marked by King Vattagamini abaya with a Bo-Tree authenticating its continuance as currency in the Island.