Difference Between Early Vedic Period and Later Vedic Period

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 15, 2022, 7:46

The Vedic age is an era in India of paramount importance to its culture and heritage. The Vedic Age is a long period in the timeline of Ancient Indian History between the conclusion of the Indus Valley Civilization and the beginning of a second urbanization period in the Indo-Gangetic Plain around 600BCE.

In the Indian context, the Vedic Age spans from the Late Bronze age to the Early Iron Age. During the Kuru Reign, the Brahmanical philosophy expanded and gave rise to the eminence of Vedic Literature.

The Vedic Age is divided into the Early Vedic Age(1500 BCE-1000 BCE) and the Later Vedic Age(1000BCE- 600BCE) because considerable changes were recorded between the first Vedas and the later Vedic texts. Read further on the Difference Between Early Vedic Period and Later Vedic Period.

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Difference Between Early Vedic Period and Later Vedic Period

Early Vedic Age

Later Vedic Age

During this age, the caste system was a flexible system. A hierarchy was based on profession rather than birth.

During the Later Vedic Period, the caste system was very rigid. Here, birth was seen as a determining factor on the basis of which the society was divided. A Brahmin was placed at the top of the hierarchy with paramount privileges, while a Shudra was placed at the bottom of the hierarchy.

Women enjoyed basic freedom and human rights. They were not deprived of their respect and honour. They could read the Vedas and participate in important political decisions.

The rigid society severely curtailed the freedom of women. Women were exempted from reading the Vedas and from the decision-making powers of society. They were subjugated to domicile tasks and were not allowed to go anywhere without their husbands' permission.

This was a pastoralist economy and a semi-nomadic one. There were early settlers present here who followed agriculture and practised animal husbandry. Along with this, hunter-gatherers were also functioning in society.

Society was more settled during this period. People settled down in units and pursued agriculture as a means of life. They had lands on which they grew crops and sustained their hunger on these.

A Samiti, a local assembly, ran its course in a society that elected the kings for a specific fixed tenure. This is why kinship was not rigid in society.

A system of dynasties based on a rigid kinship system was established. Here, an indefinite rule of a king and his heirs came into existence.

There was no concept of Shudras or untouchables in the Early Vedic Period and people were treated with respect.

Shudras and untouchables became central to the rigid caste hierarchy established in society through the concept of ‘purity and pollution.’

The monetary transaction was not yet established in society, so the barter system was considered a primary mode of exchange.

While the barter system was prevalent in society, it was mostly replaced by Krishna, the exchange of gold and silver coins used to determine the value of a product.

The main text from this period is the Rig Veda, which is the earliest text of the Vedas.

The later Vedic texts were written during this time. These included Samaveda, Yajurveda, and Atharvaveda.

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FAQs on Difference Between Early Vedic Period and Later Vedic Period

Q.1. What is the Difference Between Early Vedic Period and Later Vedic Period?

The Difference Between Early Vedic Period and Later Vedic Period is that while the caste system was a flexible system, where the hierarchy was based on profession rather than birth in the early Vedic period, the caste system was very rigid during the later Vedic period.

Q.2. What is the Difference Between Early Vedic Period and Later Vedic Period in terms of women empowerment?

The Difference Between Early Vedic Period and Later Vedic Period in terms of women's empowerment is that while women enjoyed basic freedom and human rights during the early Vedic period, the rigid society of the later Vedic period severely curtailed the freedom of women.

Q.3. What is the Difference Between Early Vedic Period and Later Vedic Period in terms of economy?

The Difference Between Early Vedic Period and Later Vedic Period in terms of economy is that while the early Vedic period was a pastoralist economy and a semi-nomadic one, people settled down in units in the later Vedic period and pursued agriculture as a means of life.

Q.4. What is the Difference Between Early Vedic Period and Later Vedic Period in terms of literature?

The Difference Between Early Vedic Period and Later Vedic Period in terms of literature is that the main text from the Early Vedic period is the Rig Veda, Samaveda, Yajurveda, and Atharvaveda were written during the Later Vedic period.