Changes in Polity in Later Vedic Period

The period assigned to the later Vedic age is 1000 BC to 600 BC. The 3 Vedas viz. Yajurveda, Samveda and Atharvaveda, and Brahmans, early Upanishads were composed in later Vedic age.

The Sabhas and Samitis continued to hold the ground, however the women were not allowed to sit in Sabha. The place was taken by Brahmins and Nobles.

The King became important and territorial authority became important.

  • The term Rastra which means a country appeared in the later Vedic Age.

Ashvamedha Yagya was considered to authorize the unquestioned authority over an area where the Royal Horse could run.

The levy of taxes started and became prominent and the officer responsible for this function was sangrihitri.

  • The standing army was not possessed by the king even in Later Vedic period and gramas mustered in times of war.

Socioeconomic Life:

The life became sedentary and the domestication of animals and cultivation increased. Cattle was still the currency and principle movable property. The idea of private possession of lands started taking shape. Rice was NOT an important crop as Barley. Ironsmiths, weavers, jewelers, dyers, potters, are the new classes of artisans. Trade was also boosted.

Four types of pottery were used.

  1. Black and Red Ware
  2. Black slipped ware
  3. Painted Grey Ware
  4. Red Ware

The Gold piece of specific weight Satamana was used as a currency rate.

  • Use of Gold as currency is mentioned in Satapatha Brahman.
  • Nishka was another popular currency
  • The other matellic coins were Suvarna and Krishnala. Barter system still existed.
  • Money lending as a trade was prevalent.

The society was now divided into 4 varnas viz. Brahmans, Kahstriyas, Vaish and Shudras. Each of them was assigned its duty. The vaishyas were common people who were responsible for producing the agricultural commodities and rearing of the cattle. The engaged in trade and were called vaniks.

Nagara was used for the first time, which meant a city and beginning of town life.