Difference Between Early Vedic Period and Later Vedic Period

The Vedic Age was a significant era in Ancient Indian History. As such, the questions from this topic have always been featured in the history segment of the UPSC Prelims

The Vedic age itself is divided into the Early Vedic Period (1500 – 1000 BCE) and Later Vedic Period (1000 – 600 BCE)*. The reason being that society underwent drastic changes from the time the first Vedas were written to the appearance of later Vedic scriptures.

Difference Between Early Vedic and Later Vedic Period

This article will provide details about the transformation of society in the Early and Later Vedic Ages for the IAS Exam.

In the table below we have given in detail the differences between the Early Vedic Period and Later Vedic Period

Differences Between Early Vedic Age and Later Vedic Age

Early Vedic Period

Later Vedic Period

The caste system was flexible and based on profession rather than birth The caste system became more rigid in this period with birth being the main criteria 
There was no concept of Shudra or untouchables Shudras became a mainstay in the Later Vedic period. Their sole function was to serve those of the upper-castes
Women were allowed a greater degree of freedom in this period. They were allowed to participate in the political process of the time to a certain extent Women were restricted from their participation in society by being relegated to subordinate and docile roles
Kingship was fluid as the kings were elected for a fixed period by the local assembly known as Samiti As society became more urbanized in this period, the need for stable leadership was realized. Thus the absolute rule of the Kings became more and more prominent
Early Vedic society was pastoralist and semi-nomadic  in nature Society became more settled in nature. It became centred around agriculture in general
In the Early Vedic Period, the barter  system was more prevalent with little to no monetary value transaction being part of the exchange Although the barter system was still in practice, it was largely replaced by the exchange of gold and silver coins known as Krishnala
Rigveda. This text is cited as the earliest text from this period  Yajurveda. Samaveda


* The dates of Early Vedic and Later Vedic Periods are sourced from NIOS.

To know more in detail about the Vedic Civilization and the Vedas from both the time periods, you can check the links given below:

You can find more Difference Between Articles, by visiting the linked page

Candidates can also check the links given below to know more about other related topics. These linked articles can help will also help UPSC Aspirant with the History segment of the exam.

Vedic LiteratureNCERT Ancient Indian History NotesNCERT Medieval Indian History Notes

NCERT Modern Indian History Notes  Prehistoric Age of India Varna System

Difference Between Early Vedic period and Later Vedic Period – UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here

Frequently Asked Questions about Early Vedic Period and Later Vedic Period


Which period is known as later Vedic period?

After the 12th century BCE, as the Rigveda had taken its final form, the Vedic society, which is associated with the Kuru-Pancala region but were not the only Indo-Aryan people in northern India, transitioned from semi-nomadic life to settled agriculture in north-western India.

Why is the early Vedic period known as the Rigvedic period?

Since the Rigveda is considered the oldest of all the vedas, the Early vedic period i,e. 1800–1500 BCE is also called the Rigvedic period.

You can get a general idea of the exam by visiting the UPSC Syllabus page. For more preparation materials refer to the links given below:

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