Chapter

The Later Vedic Phase: Transition to State and Social Orders

R.S. Sharma

in India’s Ancient Past

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9780195687859
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080366 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195687859.003.0013
The Later Vedic Phase: Transition to State and Social Orders

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The history of the later Vedic period is based mainly on the Vedic texts which were compiled after the age of the Rig Veda. The collections of Vedic hymns or mantras are known as the Samhitas. Iron underwent a long gestation. The earliest iron implements discovered in eastern Uttar Pradesh and Videha relate to the seventh century bc, and the metal itself is called shyama or krishna ayas. Agriculture was the chief means of survival of the later Vedic people. They also continued to develop barley, but during the later Vedic period rice and wheat became their chief crops. The later Vedic period saw the rise of diverse arts and crafts. Excavations and explorations give some idea about settlements. The Vedic Aryans introduced the varna system. The later Vedic society was divided into brahmana, rajanya or kshatriya, vaishya and shudra. The cult of sacrifice was accompanied by rituals and formulae.

Keywords: later Vedic period; Samhitas; iron; settlements; agriculture; arts and crafts; varna system; cult of sacrifice

Chapter.  5050 words.  Illustrated.

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

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