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India’s Ancient Past$
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R. S. Sharma

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195687859

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195687859.001.0001

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The Later Vedic Phase: Transition to State and Social Orders

The Later Vedic Phase: Transition to State and Social Orders

(p.117) 13 The Later Vedic Phase: Transition to State and Social Orders
India’s Ancient Past

R.S. Sharma

Oxford University Press

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

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