Economy of Vedic Age

Early Vedic Period

  • Vedic people continued to produce barley.
  • Various animals were domesticated.
  • Lion, elephant and boar were known to them.
  • Money and markets were known but they were not extensively used. Cows and gold ornaments of fixed value were the media of exchange.
  • The art of healing wounds and curing disease were in existence and expert in surgery.

Later Vedic period

  • Bali or voluntary donation was prevalent. Cows were the measure of wealth.
  • Growth of urbanization, craft production, and trade resulted in rise of guilds or ‘shreni’ which in later times became castes.
  • During the later Vedic period rice and wheat became their chief crops.
  • Behaviour of guild members was controlled through a guild court. Customarily the guild (shreni-dharma) had the power of law. These guilds could act as bankers, financiers and trustees as well.
  • Generally, these functions were carried out by a different category of merchants known as  ‘shreshthins’ (present day Seths of North India and the Chettis and Chettiyars of South India).
  • In later Vedic time, agriculture became primary source of livelihood & life became settled and sedentary.
  • Land had now become more valuable than cows.
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