Rigvedic tribes

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The Indo-Aryan tribes mentioned in the Rigveda are described as semi-nomadic pastoralists; when not on the move, they were subdivided into temporary settlements (vish, viś). They were headed by a tribal chief (raja, rājan) assisted by a priestly caste. During the early Vedic period they formed a warrior society, engaging in endemic warfare and cattle raids ("") among themselves and against their enemies, the "Dasyu" or Dasa.

The size of a typical tribe was probably of the order of a few thousand people. The account of the Dasharajna battle (Battle of the Ten Kings) in Mandala 7, hymn 18, mentions 6,666 casualties in a devastating defeat of a confederation of ten tribes, suggesting that a single tribe could muster a few thousand warriors on average, while the average size of a whole tribe may have been 3,000-6,000 (A late Vedic tribe, the Vesali, mentioned in the Pali texts, has 7000 "rajas", that is noblemen.) While the number of 6,666 cannot be taken literally, this order of magnitude is consistent with the typical size of tribes of Eurasian nomads.

List of tribes:



  1. Alina people (RV 7.18.7) - They were probably one of the tribes defeated by Sudas at the Dasarajna, name=Macdonell1139 A. A. Macdonell and A. B. Keith (1912). Vedic Index of Names and Subjects, I 39. and it has been suggested that they lived to the north-east of Nurestan, because much later, in the 7th century CE, the land was mentioned by the...... ...
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