Economic Life

The Aryans in the later Vedic period had progressed and prospered economically. Agriculture was the chief means of livelihood of the later Vedic people. The Aryans had come to know about iron but very few agricultural tools made of iron have been found. Heavy ploughs were made from it. Vedic texts refer that 24 oxen were used to drag heavy and large ploughs. During this time rice and wheat became their chief crops. Other agricultural products were barley, cotton and various pulses. In Vedic texts rice is also called as Vrihi. Cattle rearing was second important occupation of the Aryans. They domesticated camel, cow, ox, elephant, sheep, horse, goat, donkey and dog. The number of animals represented the wealth of the people.

During this period cow-worship increased and slaughter of cow was prohibited. Various arts and craft developed during this period. Weaving was done by women only but on a wide scale. The people were acquainted with four types of pottery -black and red ware, black slipped ware, painted grey ware and red ware. Other occupations of the Aryans were the goldsmith, leatherwork, the carpenter, blacksmith etc. Both internal and foreign trade had progressed. The Vedic texts refer to sea and sea voyages. This shows that now sea-borne trade was carried on by the Aryans. Money lending was a flourishing business. The references to the word Sreshthin indicates that there were rich traders and probably they were organized into guilds. The Aryans did not use coins but specific weights of gold were used for purposes of a gold currency- Satamana, Nishka, Kosambhi, Hastinapur, Kashi and Videha were regarded as renowned trade centres. Bullock carts were used to carry goods on land. For foreign trade boats and ships were used.