Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rigvedic tribes - Indo-Europeans in India 2/2

Part 2: The Indo-Aryan tribes mentioned in the Rigveda are described as semi-nomadic pastoralists, subdivided into temporary settlements (vish, viś) and headed by a tribal chief (raja, rājan) assisted by a priestly caste. They formed a warrior society, engaging in endemic warfare and cattle raids ("gaviṣṭi") among themselves and against the "Dasyu" or Dasa. The size of a typical tribe was probably of the order of a few thousand people.

The king is often referred to as gopa (protector). He was aided by several functionaries, including the purohita (chaplain) and the senani (army chief; sena: army). The former not only gave advice to the ruler but also was his chariot driver and practised spells and charms for success in war. Read more.