Lineage Society

Romila Thapar

in From Lineage to State

Published in print October 1991 | ISBN: 9780195626759
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080656 | DOI:
Lineage Society

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  • Ancient History (Non-Classical, to 500 CE)


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This chapter talks about the lineage societies of the Rg Vedic and Later Vedic period, which can be located in the western Ganga valley and the Indo-Gangetic watershed. The discussion begins with the Rg Vedic society, which was basically pastoral due to its location near the western bank of the Yamuna. It describes the pastoral and agricultural features of the society, discusses terms such as ‘gavisthi’, ‘raja’, and ‘gomat’, and moves on to religion and the relationship between the chief and the priest. It briefly mentions the first ruler, Prthu Vainya, and introduces the division of the clans into the clans of higher status and others. The control of the territories is also studied; it can be noted that well-defined territories were not established during this time. The households, kinship, the sharing of wealth, the concentration of power, and the caste system are also studied in this chapter.

Keywords: lineage society; Rg Vedic societies; Later Vedic societies; Indo-Gangetic watershed; pastoral societies; religion; Prthu Vainya; clan divisions; gavisthi; caste system; kinship

Chapter.  21950 words. 

Subjects: Ancient History (Non-Classical, to 500 CE)

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