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The VEDIC PERIOD (or VEDIC AGE) (c. 1500 – c. 500 BCE) in Northern India at the Ganga basin, has been named after the period in Indian history in Iron Age India during which the Vedas , the oldest scriptures of Hinduism , were composed.

As described by the Indo-Aryan migration theory , during the early part of the Vedic period the Indo-Aryans settled into northern India, bringing with them their specific religious traditions . The associated culture (sometimes referred to as VEDIC CIVILISATION ) was initially a tribal, pastoral society centred in the northwestern parts of the Indian subcontinent ; it spread after 1200 BCE to the Ganges Plain, as it was shaped by increasing settled agriculture, a hierarchy of four social classes , and the emergence of monarchical, state-level polities. Scholars consider Vedic civilisation to have been a composite of the Indo-Aryan and Harappan cultures.

The end of the Vedic period witnessed the rise of large, urbanised states as well as of shramana movements (including Jainism and Buddhism ) which challenged the Vedic orthodoxy. Around the beginning of the Common Era, the Vedic tradition formed one of the main constituents of the so-called " Hindu synthesis ".

CONTENTS

* 1 History

* 1.1 Origins * 1.2 Early Vedic Period (ca. 1500–1100 BCE) * 1.3 Later Vedic period (1100–500 BCE) * 1.4 Second urbanisation

* 2 Culture

* 2.1 Society * 2.2 Political organisation * 2.3 Economy * 2.4 Religion * 2.5 Literature

* 3 See also * 4 Notes

* 5 References

* 5.1 Citations * 5.2 Bibliography

* 6 Further reading * 7 External links

HISTORY

ORIGINS

See also: Indo-European migrations , Indo-Aryan peoples , Indo-Aryan migration , and Indigenous Aryans

The commonly proposed period of earlier Vedic age is dated back to the 2nd millennium BCE. After the collapse of the Indus Valley Civilisation , which ended c. 1900 BCE, groups of Indo-Aryan peoples migrated into north-western India and started to inhabit the northern Indus Valley.

SPREAD OF IE-LANGUAGES

_ Indo-European languages c. 3500 BCE Indo-European languages c. 2500 BCE Indo-European languages c. 1500 BCE Indo-European languages c. 500 BCE Indo-European languages c. 500 CE

INDO-ARYAN MIGRATION

The Yamna culture 3500-2000 BCE Scheme of Indo-European migrations from ca. 4000 to 1000 BCE according to the Kurgan hypothesis . The magenta area corresponds to the assumed Urheimat _ ( Samara culture , Sredny Stog culture ). The red area corresponds to the area which may have been settled by Indo-European-speaking peoples up to ca. 2500 BCE; the orange area to 1000 BCE. (Christopher I. Beckwith (2009), _Empires of the Silk Road_, Oxford University Press, p.30) Map of the approximate maximal extent of the Andronovo culture. The formative Sintashta-Petrovka culture is shown in darker red. The location of the earliest spoke -wheeled chariot finds is indicated in purple. Adjacent and overlapping cultures ( Afanasevo culture , Srubna culture , BMAC ) are shown in green. Archaeological cultures associated with Indo-Iranian migrations (after EIEC ). The Andronovo , BMAC and Yaz cultures have often been associated with Indo-Iranian migrations. The GGC , Cemetery H , Copper Hoard and PGW cultures are candidates for cultures associated with Indo-Aryan movements. Early Vedic Period.

The knowledge about the Aryans comes mostly from the Rigveda-samhita , which was composed between c. 1500–1200 BCE. They brought with them their distinctive religious traditions and practices. The Vedic beliefs and practices of the pre-classical era were closely related to the hypothesised Proto-Indo-European religion , and the Indo-Iranian religion. According to Anthony, the Old Indic religion probably emerged among Indo-European immigrants in the contact zone between the Zeravshan River (present-day Uzbekistan ) and (present-day) Iran. It was "a syncretic mixture of old Central Asian and new Indo-European elements", which borrowed "distinctive religious beliefs and practices" from the Bactria– Margiana Culture . At least 383 non-Indo-European words were borrowed from this culture, including the god Indra and the ritual drink Soma . According to Anthony,

Many of the qualities of Indo-Iranian god of might/victory, Verethraghna , were transferred to the adopted god Indra, who became the central deity of the developing Old Indic culture. Indra was the subject of 250 hymns, a quarter of the _Rig Veda_. He was associated more than any other deity with _Soma_, a stimulant drug (perhaps derived from _Ephedra_) probably borrowed from the BMAC religion. His rise to prominence was a peculiar trait of the Old Indic speakers.

EARLY VEDIC PERIOD (CA. 1500–1100 BCE)

Aryans settling in India See also: Rigvedic tribes

These migrations may have been accompanied with violent clashes with the people who already inhabited this region. The _Rig Veda_ contains accounts of conflicts between the Aryas and the Dasas and Dasyus. The _Rig Veda_ describes Dasas and Dasyus as people who do not perform sacrifices (_akratu_) or obey the commandments of gods (_avrata_). Their speech is described as _mridhra_ which could variously mean soft, uncouth, hostile, scornful or abusive. Other adjectives which describe their physical appearance are subject to many interpretations. However, many modern scholars connect the Dasas and Dasyus to Iranian tribes Dahae and Dahyu and believe that Dasas and Dasyus were early Indo–Aryan immigrants who arrived into the subcontinent before the Vedic Aryans.

Internecine military conflicts between the various tribes of Vedic Aryans are also described in the _Rig Veda_. Most notable of such conflicts was the Battle of Ten Kings , which took place on the banks of the river Parushni (modern day Ravi ). The battle was fought between the tribe _Bharatas _, led by their chief Sudas , against a confederation of ten tribes— the Puru , Yadu , Turvasha , Anu , Druhyu , Alina , Bhalanas , Paktha , Siva, and Vishanin. The Bharatas lived around the upper regions of the river Saraswati , while the Purus, their western neighbours, lived along the lower regions of Saraswati. The other tribes dwelt north-west of the Bharatas in the region of Punjab . Division of the waters of Ravi could have been a reason for the war. The confederation of tribes tried to inundate the Bharatas by opening the embankments of Ravi, yet Sudas emerged victorious in the Battle of Ten Kings. Purukutsa, the chief of the Purus, was killed in the battle and the Bharatas and the Purus merged into a new tribe, the Kuru , after the war.

LATER VEDIC PERIOD (1100–500 BCE)

Modern replica of utensils and falcon shaped altar used for Agnicayana , an elaborate srauta ritual originating from the Kuru Kingdom , around 1000 BCE.

After the 12th century BCE, as the _Rig Veda_ had taken its final form, the Vedic society transitioned from semi-nomadic life to settled agriculture. Vedic culture extended into the western Ganges Plain. The Gangetic plains had remained out of bounds to the Vedic tribes because of thick forest cover. After 1000 BCE, the use of iron axes and ploughs became widespread and the jungles could be cleared with ease. This enabled the Vedic Aryans to settle at the western Gangetic plains. Many of the old tribes coalesced to form larger political units.

The Vedic religion was further developed when the Indo-Aryans migrated into the Ganges Plain after c. 1100 BCE and became settled farmers, further syncretising with the native cultures of northern India. In this period the _varna _ system emerged, state Kulke and Rothermund, which in this stage of Indian history were a "hierarchical order of estates which reflected a division of labor among various social classes". The Vedic period estates were four: Brahmin priests and warrior nobility stood on top, free peasants and traders were the third, and slaves, labourers and artisans, many belonging to the indigenous people, were the fourth. This was a period where agriculture, metal, and commodity production, as well as trade, greatly expanded, and the Vedic era texts including the early Upanishads and many Sutras important to later Hindu culture were completed.

The Kuru Kingdom , the earliest Vedic "state", was formed by a "super-tribe" which joined several tribes in a new unit. To govern this state, Vedic hymns were collected and transcribed, and new rituals were developed, which formed the now orthodox Srauta rituals. Two key figures in this process of the development of the Kuru state were the king Parikshit and his successor Janamejaya , transforming this realm into the dominant political and cultural power of northern Iron Age India .

The most well-known of the new religious sacrifices that arose in this period were the _ Ashvamedha _ (horse sacrifice). This sacrifice involved setting a consecrated horse free to roam the kingdoms for a year. The horse was followed by a chosen band of warriors. The kingdoms and chiefdoms in which the horse wandered had to pay homage or prepare to battle the king to whom the horse belonged. This sacrifice put considerable pressure on inter-state relations in this era. This period saw also the beginning of the social stratification by the use of Varna , the division of Vedic society in Kshatriya , Brahmins , Vaishya and Shudra .

The Kuru kingdom declined after its defeat by the non-Vedic Salva tribe, and the political centre of Vedic culture shifted east, into the Panchala kingdom on the Ganges. Later, the kingdom of Videha emerged as a political centre farther to the East, in what is today northern Bihar of India and south eastern Nepal , reaching its prominence under the king Janaka , whose court provided patronage for Brahmin sages and philosophers such as Yajnavalkya and Uddalaka Aruni .

SECOND URBANISATION

By the 6th century BCE, the political units consolidated into large kingdoms called Mahajanapadas . The process of urbanisation had begun in these kingdoms and commerce and travel, even over regions separated by large distances became easy. Anga , door step of modern-day West Bengal , a small kingdom to the east of Magadha , formed the eastern boundary of the Vedic culture. Yadavas expanded towards the south and settled in Mathura . To the south of their kingdom was Vatsa which was governed from its capital Kausambi . The Narmada River and parts of North Western Deccan formed the southern limits. The newly formed states struggled for supremacy and started displaying imperial ambitions.

The end of Vedic India is marked by linguistic, cultural and political changes. The grammar of Pāṇini marks a final apex in the codification of Sutra texts, and at the same time the beginning of Classical Sanskrit. The invasion of Darius I of the Indus valley in the early 6th century BCE marks the beginning of outside influence, continued in the kingdoms of the Indo-Greeks . Meanwhile, within India, the shramana movements (including Jainism and Buddhism ) challenged the authority and orthodoxy of Vedic scriptures and ritual.

CULTURE

ANCIENT HISTORY

Preceded by Prehistory

ANCIENT NEAR EAST

* Sumer * Egypt * Assyria * Elam * Akkad * Babylonia * Canaan * Israel and Judah * Hittite Empire * Crete (Minoan) * Syro-Hittite states * Hayasa-Azzi * Georgia * Anatolia * Armenia * Neo-Assyrian Empire * Urartu * Neo-Babylonian Empire * Medes

CLASSICAL ANTIQUITY

* Greece * Persia (Achaemenid)

* Hellenism * Rome * Africa

* Late Antiquity

EAST ASIA

* China * Korea * Japan

SOUTH ASIA

* Indus Valley * Vedic period * Maha Janapadas * Maurya Empire * Tamilakam * Satavahana * Gupta Empire

PRE-COLUMBIAN AMERICAS

* Mesoamerica

* Olmec * Maya civilization * Teotihuacan * Aztec

* Andean civilizations

* Chavín culture * Moche * Inca empire

SEE ALSO

* History of the world

* Ancient maritime history * Protohistory * Axial Age * Iron Age * Historiography * Ancient literature * Ancient warfare * Cradle of civilization

Followed by the Postclassical Era

* v * t * e

SOCIETY

Rig Vedic society was relatively egalitarian in the sense that a distinct hierarchy of socio-economic classes or castes was absent. However, political hierarchy was determined by rank, where _rajan_ stood at the top and _dasi_ at the bottom. The words _Brahamana_ and _Kshatriya_ occur in various family books of the _Rig Veda_, but they are not associated with the term _varna _. The words _Vaishya_ and _Shudra_ are absent. Verses of the _Rig Veda_, such as 3.44-45, indicate the absence of strict social hierarchy and the existence of social mobility:

O, Indra, fond of _soma_, would you make me the protector of people, or would you make me a king, would you make me a sage who has drunk _soma_, would you impart to me endless wealth.

The Vedic household was patriarchal and patrilineal. The institution of marriage was important and different types of marriages— monogamy, polygyny and polyandry are mentioned in the _Rig Veda_. Both women sages and female gods were known to Vedic Aryans. However, hymns attributable to female sages are few and female gods were not as important as male ones. Women could choose their husbands and could remarry if their husbands died or disappeared. While the wife enjoyed a respectable position, she was subordinate to her husband. People consumed milk, milk products, grains, fruits, vegetables and meat. Clothes of cotton, wool and animal skin were worn. _Soma_ and _sura_ were popular drinks in the Rig Vedic society, of which _soma_ was sanctified by religion. Flute (_vana_), lute (_vina_), harp, cymbals, and drums were the musical instruments played and a heptatonic scale was used. Dancing, dramas, chariot racing, and gambling were other popular pastimes.

The emergence of monarchical states in the later Vedic age, led to a distancing of the _rajan_ from the people and the emergence of a _varna _ hierarchy. The society was divided into four social groups— Brahmanas , Kshatriyas , Vaishyas and Shudras . The later Vedic texts fixed social boundaries, roles, status and ritual purity for each of the groups. The _ Shatapatha Brahmana _ associates the Brahmana with purity of parentage, good conduct, glory, teaching or protecting people; Kshatriya with strength, fame, ruling, and warfare; Vaishya with material prosperity and production-related activities such as cattle rearing and agriculture; Shudras with the service of the higher _varnas_. The effects of _ Rajasuya _ sacrifice depended on the _varna_ of the sacrificer. _Rajasuya_ endowed Brahmana with lustre, Kshatriya with valour, Vaishya with procreative power and Shudra with stability. The hierarchy of the top three _varnas_ is ambiguous in the later Vedic texts. _Panchavamsha Brahmana_ and verse 13.8.3.11 of the _Shatapatha Brahmana_ place Kshatriya over Brahmana and Vaishya, whereas, verse 1.1.4.12 places Brahmana and Vaishya over the Kshatriya and Shudra. The _ Purusha sukta _ visualised the four _varnas_ as hierarchical, but inter-related parts of an organic whole. Despite the increasing social stratification in the later Vedic times, hymns like Rig Veda IX.112, suggest some amount of social mobility: "I am a reciter of hymns, my father a physician, and my mother grinds (corn) with stones. We desire to obtain wealth in various actions."

Household became an important unit in the later Vedic age. The variety of households of the Rig Vedic era gave way to an idealised household which was headed by a _grihapati_. The relations between husband and wife, father and son were hierarchically organised and the women were relegated to subordinate and docile roles. Polygyny was more common than polyandry and texts like _Tattiriya Samhita_ indicate taboos around menstruating women. Various professions women took to are mentioned in the later Vedic texts. Women tended to cattle, milked cows, carded wool; were weavers, dyers, and corn grinders. Women warriors such as _Vishphala_, who lost a leg in battle, are mentioned. Two female philosophers are mentioned in the Upanishads. Patrick Olivelle , in his translation of the Upanishads, writes that "the fact that these women are introduced without any attempt to justify or to explain how women could be engaged in theological matters suggests the relatively high social and religious position of at least women of some social strata during this period."

POLITICAL ORGANISATION

Early Vedic Aryans were organised into tribes rather than kingdoms. The chief of a tribe was called a _rajan_. The autonomy of the _rajan_ was restricted by the tribal councils called _sabha_ and _samiti_. The two bodies were, in part, responsible for the governance of the tribe. The _rajan_ could not accede to the throne without their approval. The distinction between the two bodies is not clear. Arthur Llewellyn Basham , a noted historian and indologist , theorises that _sabha_ was a meeting of great men in the tribe, whereas, _samiti_ was a meeting of all free tribesmen. Some tribes had no hereditary chiefs and were directly governed by the tribal councils. _Rajan_ had a rudimentary court which was attended by courtiers (_sabhasad_) and chiefs of septs (_gramani_). The main responsibility of the _rajan_ was to protect the tribe. He was aided by several functionaries, including the _purohita_ (chaplain), the _senani_ (army chief), _dutas_ (envoys) and _spash_ (spies). _Purohita_ performed ceremonies and spells for success in war and prosperity in peace.

In the later Vedic period, the tribes had consolidated into small kingdoms, which had a capital and a rudimentary administrative system. To aid in governing these new states, the kings and their Brahmin priests arranged Vedic hymns into collections and developed a new set of rituals (the now orthodox srauta rituals) to strengthen the emerging social hierarchy . The _rajan_ was seen as the custodian of social order and the protector of _rashtra_ (polity). Hereditary kingship started emerging and competitions like chariot races, cattle raids, and games of dice, which previously decided who was worthy of becoming a king, became nominal. Rituals in this era exalted the status of the king over his people. He was occasionally referred to as _samrat_ (supreme ruler). The _rajan's_ increasing political power enabled him to gain greater control over the productive resources. The voluntary gift offering (_bali_) became compulsory tribute; however, there was no organised system of taxation. _Sabha_ and _samiti_ are still mentioned in later Vedic texts, though, with the increasing power of the king, their influence declined. By the end of the later Vedic age, different kinds of political systems such as monarchical states (_rajya_), oligarchical states (_gana_ or _sangha_), and tribal principalities had emerged in India.

ECONOMY

Ceramic goblet from Navdatoli, Malwa , 1300 BCE.

Economy in the Rig Vedic period was sustained by a combination of pastoralism and agriculture. There are references, in the _Rig Veda_, to the leveling of fields, seed processing, and storage of grains in large jars. War booty was also a major source of wealth. Economic exchanges were conducted by gift giving, particularly to kings (_bali_) and priests (_dana_), and barter using cattle as a unit of currency. While gold is mentioned in some hymns, there is no indication of the use of coins. Metallurgy is not mentioned in the _Rig Veda_, but the word _ayas_ and instruments made from it such as razors, bangles, axes are mentioned. One verse mentions purification of _ayas_. Some scholars believe that _ayas_ refers to iron and the words _dham_ and _karmara_ refer to iron-welders. However, philological evidence indicates that _ayas_ in the Rigveda refers only to copper and bronze, while iron or _śyāma ayas_, literally "black metal", first is mentioned in the post-Rigvedic Atharvaveda , and therefore the Early Vedic Period was a Bronze Age culture whereas the Late Vedic Period was an Iron Age culture.

The transition of Vedic society from semi-nomadic life to settled agriculture in the later Vedic age led to an increase in trade and competition for resources. Agriculture dominated the economic activity along the Ganges valley during this period. Agricultural operations grew in complexity and usage of iron implements (_krishna–ayas_ or _shyama–ayas_, literally black metal or dark metal) increased. Crops of wheat, rice, and barley were cultivated. Surplus production helped to support the centralised kingdoms that were emerging at this time. New crafts and occupations such as carpentry, leather work, tanning, pottery, astrology, jewellery, dying, and winemaking arose. Apart from copper, bronze, and gold, later Vedic texts also mention tin, lead, and silver.

_Panis_ in some hymns refers to merchants, in others to stingy people who hid their wealth and did not perform Vedic sacrifices. Some scholars suggest that Panis were semitic traders, but the evidence for this is slim. Professions of warriors, priests, cattle-rearers, farmers, hunters, barbers, vintners and crafts of chariot-making, cart-making, carpentry, metal working, tanning, making of bows, sewing, weaving, making mats of grass and reed are mentioned in the hymns of the _Rig Veda_. Some of these might have needed full-time specialists. There are references to boats and oceans. Book X of the _Rig Veda_ refers to both eastern and western oceans. Individual property ownership did not exist and clans as a whole enjoyed rights over lands and herds. Enslavement (_dasa_, _dasi_) in the course of war or as a result of non-payment of debt is mentioned. However, slaves worked in households rather than production-related activities.

RELIGION

Main article: Historical Vedic religion A steel engraving from the 1850s, which depicts the creative activities of Prajapati , a Vedic deity who presides over procreation and protection of life.

The Vedic forms of belief are one of the precursors to modern Hinduism . Texts considered to date to the Vedic period are mainly the four Vedas , but the Brahmanas , Aranyakas and the older Upanishads as well as the oldest Shrautasutras are also considered to be Vedic. The Vedas record the liturgy connected with the rituals and sacrifices performed by the 16 or 17 Shrauta priests and the purohitas .

The rishis , the composers of the hymns of the Rigveda , were considered inspired poets and seers (in post-Vedic times understood as "hearers" of an eternally existing Veda, _ Śrauta _ means "what is heard").

The mode of worship was the performance of sacrifices ( Yajna ) which included the chanting of Rigvedic verses (see Vedic chant ), singing of _Samans_ and 'mumbling' of sacrificial mantras ( Yajus ). Yajna involved sacrifice and sublimation of the havana sámagri (herbal preparations) in the fire accompanied by the chanting of the Vedic mantras. The sublime meaning of the word yajna is derived from the Sanskrit verb yaj, which has a three-fold meaning of worship of deities (devapujana), unity (saògatikaraña) and charity (dána). An essential element was the sacrificial fire - the divine Agni - into which oblations were poured, as everything offered into the fire was believed to reach God. People prayed for abundance of rain, cattle, sons, long life and gaining 'heaven'.

Vedic people believed in the transmigration of the soul and the peepul tree and cow were sanctified by the time of the Atharva Veda . Many of the concepts of Indian philosophy espoused later like Dharma, Karma etc. trace their root to the Vedas.

The main deities of the Vedic pantheon were Indra , Agni (the sacrificial fire ), and Soma and some deities of social order such as Mitra – Varuna , Aryaman, Bhaga and Amsa, further nature deities such as Surya (the Sun), Vayu (the wind), and Prithivi (the earth). Goddesses included Ushas (the dawn), Prithvi , and Aditi (the mother of the Aditya gods or sometimes the cow). Rivers, especially Saraswati , were also considered goddesses. Deities were not viewed as all-powerful. The relationship between humans and the deity was one of transaction, with Agni (the sacrificial fire) taking the role of messenger between the two. Strong traces of a common Indo-Iranian religion remain visible, especially in the Soma cult and the fire worship, both of which are preserved in Zoroastrianism .

Ethics in the Vedas are based on the concepts of Satya and Rta . Satya is the principle of integration rooted in the Absolute. Whereas, Ṛta is the expression of Satya, which regulates and coordinates the operation of the universe and everything within it. Conformity with Ṛta would enable progress whereas its violation would lead to punishment.

Vedic religion evolved into the Hindu paths of Yoga and Vedanta , a religious path considering itself the 'essence' of the Vedas, interpreting the Vedic pantheon as a unitary view of the universe with 'God' (Brahman) seen as immanent and transcendent in the forms of Ishvara and Brahman . These post-Vedic systems of thought, along with later texts like the Upanishads , and epics, namely Gita of Mahabharat , have been fully preserved and form the basis of modern Hinduism. The ritualistic traditions of Vedic religion are preserved in the conservative Śrauta tradition.

LITERATURE

Main article: Vedas _ An early 19th-century manuscript of Rigveda_ (padapatha ) in Devanagari . The Vedic accent is marked by underscores and vertical overscores in red.

The reconstruction of the history of Vedic India is based on text-internal details, but can be correlated to relevant archaeological details. Linguistically, the Vedic texts could be classified in five chronological strata:

1. RIGVEDIC TEXT: The Rigveda is by far the most archaic of the Vedic texts preserved, and it retains many common Indo-Iranian elements, both in language and in content, that are not present in any other Vedic texts. Its time span likely corresponds to the Late Harappan culture , Gandhara Grave culture and Ochre Coloured Pottery culture .

2. MANTRA LANGUAGE TEXTS: This period includes both the mantra and prose language of the Atharvaveda (Paippalada and Shaunakiya), the Rigveda Khilani , the Samaveda Samhita (containing some 75 mantras not in the Rigveda), and the mantras of the Yajurveda . Many of these texts are largely derived from the Rigveda, but have undergone certain changes, both by linguistic change and by reinterpretation. Conspicuous changes include change of _vishva_ "all" by _sarva_, and the spread of the _kuru-_ verbal stem (for Rigvedic _krno-_). This is the time of the early Iron Age in north-western India, corresponding to the _ Black and Red Ware _ (BRW) and _ Painted Grey Ware _ (PGW) cultures, and the early Kuru Kingdom , dating from c. the 12th to 11th century BCE.

3. SAMHITA PROSE TEXTS: This period marks the beginning of the collection and codification of a Vedic canon. An important linguistic change is the complete loss of the injunctive . The Brahmana part ('commentary' on mantras and ritual) of the Black Yajurveda (MS, KS, TS) belongs to this period. Archaeologically, the _ Painted Grey Ware _ (PGW) culture from c. 1000 or 900 BCE corresponds to the Kuru Kingdom and the subsequent eastward shift of the political centre from the Kurus to the Pancalas on the Ganges .

4. BRAHMANA PROSE TEXTS: The Brahmanas proper of the four Vedas belong to this period, as well as the Aranyakas , the oldest of the Upanishads (BAU , ChU , JUB ) and the oldest Shrautasutras (BSS , VadhSS). In the east, Videha (N. Bihar and Nepal) is established as the third main political centre of the Vedic period.

5. SUTRA LANGUAGE TEXTS: This is the last stratum of Vedic Sanskrit leading up to c. 500 BCE, comprising the bulk of the Śrauta and Grhya Sutras, and some Upanishads (e.g. KathU , MaitrU ).

SEE ALSO

* History of India * Historical Vedic religion * Indus Valley Civilisation * Vedanga * Indigenous Aryans

NOTES

* ^ The precise time span of the period is uncertain. Philological and linguistic evidence indicates that the Rigveda , the oldest of the Vedas, was composed roughly between 1700 and 1100 BCE, also referred to as the early Vedic period. * ^ Archaeological cultures identified with phases of Vedic culture include the Ochre Coloured Pottery culture , the Gandhara Grave culture , the Black and red ware culture and the Painted Grey Ware culture .

* ^ The Indo-Aryans were a branch of the Indo-Iranians , which originated in the Andronovo culture in the Bactria - Margiana era, in present northern Afghanistan. The roots of this culture go back further to the Sintashta culture , with funeral sacrifices which show close parallels to the sacrificial funeral rites of the _Rig Veda_. The Indo-Aryans split-off around 1800–1600 BCE from the Iranians, where-after they were defeated and split into two groups by the Iranians, who dominated the Central Eurasian steppe zone and "chased them to the extermities of Central Eurasia." One group were the Indo-Aryans who founded the Mitanni kingdom in northern Syria (ca.1500–1300 BCE). The other group were the Vedic people, who were pursued by the Iranians "across the Near East to the Levant (the lands of the eastern Mediterranean littoral), across Iran into India."

For an overview of the current relevant research, see:

* Michael Witzel (2001), "Autochthonous Aryans? The Evidence from Old Indian and Iranian Texts", in _Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies_ (EJVS) 7-3, pp 1-93 * Shereen Ratnagar (2008), “The Aryan homeland debate in India”, in Kohl, PL, M Kozelsky and N Ben-Yehuda (Eds) _Selective remembrances: archaeology in the construction, commemoration, and consecration of national pasts_, pp 349-378 * Suraj Bhan (2002), “Aryanization of the Indus Civilization” in Panikkar, KN, Byres, TJ and Patnaik, U (Eds), _The Making of History_, pp 41-55. * Anthony, David W. (2007), _The Horse The Wheel And Language. How Bronze-Age Riders From the Eurasian Steppes Shaped The Modern World_, Princeton University Press

* ^ Some writers and archaeologists have opposed the notion of a migration of Indo-Aryans into India. Edwin Bryant used the term "Indo-Aryan Controversy" for an oversight of the Indo-Aryan Migration theory, and some of its opponents. These ideas are outside the academic mainstream. Mallory and Adams note that two types of models "enjoy significant international currency," namely the Anatolian hypothesis , and a migration out of the Eurasian steppes. According to Upinder Singh, "The original homeland of the Indo-Europeans and Indo-Aryans is the subject of continuing debate among philologists, linguists, historians, archaeologists and others. The dominant view is that the Indo-Aryams came to the subcontinent as immigrants. Another view, advocated mainly by some Indian scholars, is that they were indigenous to the subcontinent."

An overview of the "Indigenist position" can be obtained from Bryant, Edwin F. ; Patton, Laurie L., eds. (2005), _The Indo-Aryan Controversy: Evidence and inference in Indian history_, London: Routledge, ISBN 0-7007-1463-4

See also Indigenous Aryans * ^ According to Erdosy, this battle provided a prototype for the epic Mahabharata , Hiltebeitel calls this idea a "particularly baffling fancy."

REFERENCES

CITATIONS

* ^ Oberlies (1998:155) gives an estimate of 1100 BCE for the youngest hymns in book 10. Estimates for a _terminus post quem_ of the earliest hymns are more uncertain. Oberlies (p. 158) based on 'cumulative evidence' sets wide range of 1700–1100 * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Witzel 1989 . * ^ Witzel 1995 , p. 3-5. * ^ Samuel 2010 , p. 49-52. * ^ White, David Gordon (2003). _Kiss of the Yogini_. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 28. ISBN 0-226-89483-5 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Flood 1996 , p. 82. * ^ Hiltebeitel 2002 . * ^ Pletcher, Kenneth (2010). _The History of India_. Britannica Educational Publishing. p. 60. * ^ Witzel 1995 , p. 3. * ^ Samuel 2010 , p. 41. * ^ Floodl 1995 , p. 30, 33-35. * ^ Anthony 2007 , p. 410-411. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Anthony 2007 , p. 454. * ^ Anthony 2007 , p. 375, 408-411. * ^ Anthony 2007 , p. 408. * ^ Beckwith, 2009 & 33, 35 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Beckwith, 2009 & 33 . * ^ Beckwith, 2009 & 34 . * ^ Bryant 2001 . * ^ Bryant, Edwin. The Indo-Aryan Controversy. 342 * ^ Bryant 2005 . * ^ Mallory & Adams 2006 , p. 460-461. * ^ Singh 2008 , p. 186. * ^ Flood 1996 , p. 31. * ^ Flood 1996 , p. 37. * ^ Witzel 1995 , p. 4. * ^ Flood 1996 , p. 30. * ^ Roger D. Woodard (18 August 2006). _Indo-European Sacred Space: Vedic and Roman Cult_. University of Illinois Press. pp. 242–. ISBN 978-0-252-09295-4 . * ^ Beckwith 2009 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Anthony 2007 , p. 462. * ^ _A_ _B_ Beckwith 2009 , p. 32. * ^ Anthony 2007 , p. 454-455. * ^ _A_ _B_ Singh 2008 , p. 192. * ^ Kulke & Rothermund 1998 , p. 38. * ^ Erdosy 1995 , p. 335. * ^ Hiltebeitel 2001 , p. 2, note 12. * ^ _A_ _B_ Reddy 2011 , p. 103. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Basham 2008 , p. 32. * ^ Kulke & Rothermund 1998 , pp. 37–38. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ Witzel 1995 . * ^ Samuel 2010 , p. 48-53. * ^ Kulke & Rothermund 1998 , pp. 39–40. * ^ Singh 2008 , p. 200. * ^ Samuel 2010 , p. 48-51, 61-93. * ^ Hiltebeitel 2007 , p. 8-10. * ^ Samuel 2010 . * ^ Kulke & Rothermund 1998 , pp. 39-41. * ^ Sharma, Ram Sharan (1990), _Śūdras in Ancient India: A Social History of the Lower Order Down to Circa A.D. 600_, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., p. 33, ISBN 978-81-208-0706-8 * ^ Kulke & Rothermund 1998 , pp. 41–43. * ^ Witzel 1995 , p. 2-8. * ^ _A_ _B_ Samuel 2010 , p. 48-56. * ^ _A_ _B_ Basham 2008 , p. 42. * ^ Olivelle 1998 , pp. xxviii–xxix. * ^ Basham 208 , p. 40. * ^ Basham 208 , p. 41. * ^ Majumdar 1998 , p. 65. * ^ Majumdar 1998 , p. 66. * ^ Fortson 2011 , p. 208. * ^ Sen 1999 , pp. 117–120. * ^ Staal 2008 , p. 54. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ Singh 2008 , p. 191. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Basham 2008 , p. 35. * ^ Singh 2008 , pp. 201–203. * ^ Singh 2008 , p. 204. * ^ Olivelle 1998 , p. xxvi. * ^ Singh 2008 , pp. 204–206. * ^ Olivelle 1998 , p. xxxvi. * ^ Majumdar 1977 , p. 45. * ^ Basham 2008 , pp. 33–34. * ^ Basham 2008 , p. 41. * ^ _A_ _B_ Singh 2008 , pp. 200–201. * ^ _A_ _B_ Singh 2008 , p. 190. * ^ Kulke & Rothermund 1998 , p. 40. * ^ Olivelle, 1998 Gupta, Roshan. The Ancient History of India, Vedic Period: A New Interpretation. Atlantic Publishers and Distributors. ISBN 8126902868 . P. 150-151. * ^ *Day, Terence P. (1982). _The Conception of Punishment in Early Indian Literature_. Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. P. 42-45. ISBN 0-919812-15-5 . * ^ Krishnananda. Swami. A Short History of Religious and Philosophic Thought in India, Divine Life Society. p. 21 * ^ Holdrege (2004:215). Panikkar (2001:350-351) remarks: "_Ṛta_ is the ultimate foundation of everything; it is "the supreme", although this is not to be understood in a static sense. It is the expression of the primordial dynamism that is inherent in everything...."

BIBLIOGRAPHY

* Anthony, David W. (2007), _The Horse The Wheel And Language. How Bronze-Age Riders From the Eurasian Steppes Shaped The Modern World_, Princeton University Press * Basham, A. L. (2008), _The Wonder That Was India: A survey of the history and culture of the Indian sub-continent before the coming of the Muslims_, Scholarly Publishing Office, University of Michigan, ISBN 978-1-59740-599-7 * Bryant, Edwin; Patton, Laurie, eds. (2005), _Indo-Aryan Controversy: Evidence and Inference in Indian History_, Routledge * Erdosy, George (1995), _The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia: Language, Material Culture and Ethnicity_, Walter de Gruyter * Flood, Gavin D. (1996), _An Introduction to Hinduism_, Cambridge University Press * Flood, Gavin (2003), _The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism_, Malden, MA: Blackwell, ISBN 1-4051-3251-5 * Fortson, Benjamin W. (2011), _Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction_, John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 978-1-4443-5968-8 * Griswold, Hervey De Witt (1971), _The Religion of the Ṛigveda_, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., ISBN 978-81-208-0745-7 * Hiltebeitel, Alf (2001), _Rethinking the Mahabharata: A Reader's Guide to the Education of the Dharma King_, University of Chicago Press * Hiltebeitel, Alf (2002), _Hinduism. In: Joseph Kitagawa, "The Religious Traditions of Asia: Religion, History, and Culture"_, Routledge * Kak, Subhash (2005), "Vedic astronomy and early Indian chronology", in Bryant, Edwin; Patton, Laurie, _Indo-Aryan Controversy: Evidence and Inference in Indian History_, Routledge * Kulke, Hermann; Rothermund, Dietmar (1998), _A History of India_, Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-32920-0 * Majumdar, Ramesh Chandra (1977), _Ancient India_, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., ISBN 978-81-208-0436-4 * Mallory; Adams (2006), _The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European World_, Oxford University Press * Michaels, Axel (2004), _Hinduism. Past and present_, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press * Olivelle, Patrick (1998), _Upanis̥ads_, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-283576-5 * Reddy, K. Krishna (2011), _Indian History_, Tata McGraw-Hill Education, ISBN 978-0-07-132923-1 * Samuel, Geoffrey (2010), _The Origins of Yoga and Tantra. Indic Religions to the Thirteenth Century_, Cambridge University Press * Sen, S. N. (1999), _Ancient Indian History And Civilization_, New Age International, ISBN 978-81-224-1198-0 * Singh, Upinder (2008), _A History of Ancient and Early Mediaeval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century_, Pearson Education India, ISBN 978-81-317-1120-0 * Staal, Frits (2008), _Discovering the Vedas: Origins, Mantras, Rituals, Insights_, Penguin Books India, ISBN 978-0-14-309986-4 * Winternitz, Moriz; Sarma, Vuppala Srinivasa (1981), _A history of Indian literature: Introduction, Veda, epics, purānas and tantras_, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., ISBN 978-81-208-0264-3 * Witzel, Michael (1989), "Tracing the Vedic dialects", _Dialectes dans les litteratures Indo-Aryennes ed. Caillat , Paris, 97–265._ * Witzel, Michael (1995), "Early Sanskritization. Origins and Development of the Kuru State." (PDF), _Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies_, 1 (4): 1–26

FURTHER READING

* R. C. Majumdar and A. D. Pusalker (editors): The History and Culture of the Indian People . Volume I, The Vedic age. Bombay : Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan 1951 * R.C. Majumdar et al. _An Advanced History of India _, MacMillan, 1967. * Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak "The Arctic Home in the Vedas", Messrs Tilak Bros., 1903

EXTERNAL LINKS

* Restoration of Vedic Wisdom (pdf), Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet

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