Rigvedic tribes

Rigvedic tribes

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The Indo-Aryan
Indo-Aryans
Indo-Aryan is an ethno-linguistic term referring to the wide collection of peoples united as native speakers of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-Iranian family of Indo-European languages...

 tribes mentioned in the Rigveda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

 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
Tribal chief
A tribal chief is the leader of a tribal society or chiefdom. Tribal societies with social stratification under a single leader emerged in the Neolithic period out of earlier tribal structures with little stratification, and they remained prevalent throughout the Iron Age.In the case of ...

 (raja
Raja
Raja is an Indian term for a monarch, or princely ruler of the Kshatriya varna...

, rājan) assisted by a priestly caste
Vedic priesthood
Priests of the Vedic religion were officiants of the yajna service. As persons trained for the ritual and proficient in its practice, they were called '...

. During the early Vedic period
Vedic period
The Vedic period was a period in history during which the Vedas, the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, were composed. The time span of the period is uncertain. Philological and linguistic evidence indicates that the Rigveda, the oldest of the Vedas, was composed roughly between 1700–1100 BCE, also...

 they formed a warrior
Warrior
A warrior is a person skilled in combat or warfare, especially within the context of a tribal or clan-based society that recognizes a separate warrior class.-Warrior classes in tribal culture:...

 society, engaging in endemic warfare
Endemic warfare
Endemic warfare is the state of continual, low-threshold warfare in a tribal warrior society. Endemic warfare is often highly ritualized and plays an important function in assisting the formation of a social structure among the tribes' men by proving themselves in battle.Ritual fighting permits...

 and cattle raids ("") among themselves and against their enemies, the "Dasyu" or Dasa
Dasa
Dasa is a term used with the primary meaning 'enemy', especially relating to tribes identified as the enemies of the Indo-Aryan tribes in the Rigveda....

.

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
Battle of the Ten Kings
Battle of the Ten Kings is a battle alluded to in Mandala 7 of the Rigveda , the ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns. It is a battle between Aryans...

) in Mandala 7
Mandala 7
The seventh Mandala of the Rigveda has 104 hymns. In the Rigveda Anukramani, all hymns in this book are attributed to Vasishta...

, 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
King Vishal
King Vishal was a king of ancient India, son of Ikshwaku queen Alambusha. Vaishali is supposed to have got its name from King Visal, who ruled on this land. It was named Vishalapuri after the king. With time the name changed to Vaishali....

, mentioned in the Pali texts
Pāli Canon
The Pāli Canon is the standard collection of scriptures in the Theravada Buddhist tradition, as preserved in the Pāli language. It is the only completely surviving early Buddhist canon, and one of the first to be written down...

, has 7000 "rajas", that is noblemen.)

List of tribes:



  1. Alina people (RV 7.18.7) - They were probably one of the tribes defeated by Sudas
    Sudas
    Sudās was a king in the Rig Veda. His name means "worshipping well", an s-stem, either from a root dās, or with the extra s added to avoid an archaic root noun in ā, Sudā-, which would easily be mistaken for a feminine name....

     at the Dasarajna, and it has been suggested that they lived to the north-east of Nurestan
    Nurestan Province
    Nuristān , also spelled Nurestān or Nooristan, is a region in Afghanistan embedded in the south of the Hindu Kush valleys. Its administrative center is Parun...

    , because much later, in the 7th century CE, the land was mentioned by the Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang
    Xuanzang
    Xuanzang was a famous Chinese Buddhist monk, scholar, traveler, and translator who described the interaction between China and India in the early Tang period...

    . The amateur historian S. Talageri identifies them, ahistorically and linguistically impossibly, with the Greeks (Hellenes).
  2. Anu
    Anu (tribe)
    Anu, father of Kumarbi is a Vedic Sanskrit term for a major tribe in the Rigveda, RV 1.108.8, RV 8.10.5 and, later also in the Mahabharata...

     is a Vedic Sanskrit
    Vedic Sanskrit
    Vedic Sanskrit is an old Indo-Aryan language. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language...

     term for one of the 5 major tribes in the Rigveda
    Rigveda
    The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

    , RV 1.108.8, RV 8.10.5 (both times listed together with the Druhyu) and, much later also in the Mahabharata
    Mahabharata
    The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

    . In the late Vedic period, one of the Anu kings, King Anga, is mentioned as a "chakravartin
    Chakravartin
    Chakravartin , is a term used in Indian religions for an ideal universal ruler, who rules ethically and benevolently over the entire world. Such a ruler's reign is called sarvabhauma. It is a bahuvrīhi, literally meaning "whose wheels are moving", in the sense of "whose chariot is rolling...

    " (AB
    Aitareya Brahmana
    The Aitareya Brahmana is the Brahmana of the Shakala shakha of the Rigveda, an ancient Indian collection of sacred hymns. This work, according to the tradition is ascribed to Mahidasa Aitareya.-Contents:...

     8.22). Ānava, the vrddhi
    Vrddhi
    ' is a Sanskrit word meaning "growth" . In Panini's grammar, it is also a technical term for a group of long vowels. In Indo-European linguistics, it has become a term for the lengthened grade of the ablaut vowel gradation peculiar to the Indo-European languages...

     derivation of Anu, is the name of a ruler in the Rigvedic account of the Battle of the Ten Kings
    Battle of the Ten Kings
    Battle of the Ten Kings is a battle alluded to in Mandala 7 of the Rigveda , the ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns. It is a battle between Aryans...

     (7.18.13) and at 8.4.1 with the Turvaśa (tribe). The meaning ánu "living, human" (Naighantu) cannot be substantiated for the Rigveda and may have been derived from the tribal name.
  3. Āyu
  4. Bhajeratha
  5. Bhalanas
    Bhalanas
    The Bhalanas are one of the tribes that fought against Sudas in the Dasarajna battle.Some scholars have argued that the Bhalanas lived in East Kabulistan, and that the Bolan Pass derives its name from the Bhalanas....

    - The Bhalanas are one of the tribes that fought against Sudas
    Sudas
    Sudās was a king in the Rig Veda. His name means "worshipping well", an s-stem, either from a root dās, or with the extra s added to avoid an archaic root noun in ā, Sudā-, which would easily be mistaken for a feminine name....

     in the Dasarajna battle. Some scholars have argued that the Bhalanas lived in Eastern Afghanistan Kabulistan
    Kabulistan
    Kabulistan is a historical term referring to the eastern territories of Greater Khorasan that is centered around present-day Kabul, Afghanistan...

    , and that the Bolan Pass
    Bolan Pass
    The Bolan Pass is a mountain pass through the Toba Kakar Range of Balochistan province in western Pakistan, 120 kilometres from the Afghanistan border....

     derives its name from the Bhalanas.
  6. Bharatas
    Bharatas
    Bhāratas are an Aryan tribe mentioned in the Rigveda, especially in Mandala 3 attributed to the Bharata sage Vishvamitra. In the "river hymn" RV 3.33, the entire Bharata tribe is described as crossing a river. Bharatá is also used as a name of Agni Bhāratas are an Aryan tribe mentioned in the...

    -The Bharatas are an Aryan tribe mentioned in the Rigveda
    Rigveda
    The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

    , especially in Mandala 3
    Mandala 3
    The third Mandala of the Rigveda has 62 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra. It is one of the "family books" , the oldest core of the Rigveda...

      attributed to the Bharata sage Vishvamitra and in and Mandala 7
    Mandala 7
    The seventh Mandala of the Rigveda has 104 hymns. In the Rigveda Anukramani, all hymns in this book are attributed to Vasishta...

    . - Bharatá is also used as a name of Agni
    Agni
    Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

     (literally, "to be maintained", viz. the fire having to be kept alive by the care of men), and as a name of Rudra
    Rudra
    ' is a Rigvedic God, associated with wind or storm, and the hunt. The name has been translated as "The Roarer", or "The Howler"....

     in RV 2.36.8.


In one of the "river hymn
Rigvedic rivers
Rivers, such as the Sapta Sindhu , play a prominent part in the hymns of the Rigveda, and consequently in early Vedic religion...

s" RV 3.33, the entire Bharata tribe is described as crossing over, with their chariots and wagons, at the confluence of the Vipash (Beas) and Shutudri (Satlej).
Hymns by Vasistha in Mandala 7
Mandala 7
The seventh Mandala of the Rigveda has 104 hymns. In the Rigveda Anukramani, all hymns in this book are attributed to Vasishta...

 (7.18 etc.) mention the Bharatas as the protagonists in the Battle of the Ten Kings
Battle of the Ten Kings
Battle of the Ten Kings is a battle alluded to in Mandala 7 of the Rigveda , the ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns. It is a battle between Aryans...

, where they are on the winning side. They appear to have been successful in the early power-struggles between the various Aryan and non-Aryan tribes so that they continue to dominate in post-Rigvedic texts, and later in the (Epic) tradition, the Mahābhārata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

, the eponymous ancestor becomes Emperor Bharata, conqueror of 'all of India', and his tribe and kingdom is called Bhārata. "Bhārata" today is the official name of the Republic of India (see also Etymology of India
Etymology of India
The name India may refer to either the region of Greater India , or to the contemporary Republic of India contained therein....

).
  1. Bhrigus
    Bhrigus
    Maharishi Bhrigu was one of the seven great sages, the Saptarshis, in ancient India, one of the many Prajapatis created by Brahma , the first compiler of predictive astrology, and also the author of Bhrigu Samhita, the astrological classic written during the Vedic period, Treta yuga.Bhrigu is a...

  2. Chedi
  3. Dasa
    Dasa
    Dasa is a term used with the primary meaning 'enemy', especially relating to tribes identified as the enemies of the Indo-Aryan tribes in the Rigveda....

     (dāsa, 'slaves')
  4. Dasyu (Iranian: Dahyu, mentioned in Latin as: Dahae
    Dahae
    The Dahae , or Dahaeans were a confederacy of three Ancient Iranian tribes who lived in the region to the immediate east of the Caspian Sea. They spoke an Eastern Iranian language.-Records:...

    , in Greek as: Daai)
  5. Druhyus
    Druhyus
    The Druhyus were a people of Ancient India. They are mentioned in the Rigveda, often together with the Anu tribe. Some early scholars have placed them in the northwestern region....

     The Druhyu were a people of Vedic India
    India
    India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

    . They are mentioned in the Rigveda, usually together with the Anu
    Anu
    In Sumerian mythology, Anu was a sky-god, the god of heaven, lord of constellations, king of gods, Consort of Antu, spirits and demons, and dwelt in the highest heavenly regions. It was believed that he had the power to judge those who had committed crimes, and that he had created the stars as...

     tribe. Some early scholars have placed them in the northwestern region. The later texts, the Epic and the Puranas, locate them in the "north", that is, in Gandhara, Aratta and Setu. (Vishnu Purana IV.17) The Druhyus were driven out of the land of the seven rivers by Mandhatr and their next king Gandhara settled in a north-western region which became known as Gandhāra
    Gandhara
    Gandhāra , is the name of an ancient kingdom , located in northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan. Gandhara was located mainly in the vale of Peshawar, the Potohar plateau and on the Kabul River...

    . The sons of the later Druhyu king Pracetas too settle in the "northern" (udīcya) region (Bhagavata 9.23.15-16; Visnu 4.17.5; Vayu 99.11-12; Brahmanda 3.74.11-12 and Matsya 48.9.).

Recently, some writers have ahistorically asserted that the Druhyu are the ancestors of the Iranian, Greek or European peoples, or of the Celtic Druid class. The word Druid (Gallic Celtic druides), however, is derived from Proto-Indo-European vid "to see, to know'
It has also been alleged that the Rg Veda and the Puranas describe this tribe as migrating North,. However, there is nothing of this in the Rigveda and the Puranas merely mention that the Druhyu are "adjacent (āśrita) to the North"
  1. Gandhari
    Gandhara
    Gandhāra , is the name of an ancient kingdom , located in northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan. Gandhara was located mainly in the vale of Peshawar, the Potohar plateau and on the Kabul River...

  2. Krivi
  3. Kuru
  4. Mahīna
  5. Maujavant
  6. Matsya
  7. Meenas
    Meenas
    Meenas, Meena, Meenoat or Mina is a caste and community mainly found in Rajasthan, India. The name Mina is derived from Meen,meaning 'fish' in Sanskrit, and the Minas claim descent from the Matsya Avatar, or fish incarnation, of Vishnu.Meenas celebrate Meenesh Jayanti in the name of Vishnu on 3...

  8. Paktha.
  9. Pañca Jana/ (etc.)
  10. Panis
    Panis
    The Panis are a class of demons in the Rigveda, from , a term for "bargainer, miser," especially applied to one who is sparing of sacrificial oblations. The Panis appear in RV 10.108 as watchers over stolen cows. They are located behind the stream Rasā, and sought out by Sarama, the female dog...

     (Iranian Parni
    Parni
    The Parni or Aparni were an east Iranian people of the Ochus River valley, southeast of the Caspian Sea...

    ?)
  11. Pārāvata
    Pārāvata
    Pārāvata or Paravata Rigvedic tribe mentioned in mantioned in Mandala and of Rigveda, who were inhabiting the banks of Sarasvati River...

  12. Parsu (Parśu) - The Parsus have been connected with the Persians
    Persian people
    The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

    , though this view is disputed. This is based on the evidence of an Assyria
    Assyria
    Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

    n inscription from 844 BC referring to the Persians as Parshu, and the Behistun Inscription
    Behistun Inscription
    The Behistun Inscription The Behistun Inscription The Behistun Inscription (also Bistun or Bisutun, Modern Persian: بیستون The Behistun Inscription (also Bistun or Bisutun, Modern Persian: بیستون...

     of Darius I of Persia
    Darius I of Persia
    Darius I , also known as Darius the Great, was the third king of kings of the Achaemenid Empire...

     referring to Parsa as the home of the Persians.
  13. Pārthava
  14. Puru
    Puru
    The Purus were a tribe, or a confederation of tribes, mentioned many times in the Rigveda, formed around 3180 BCE. RV 7.96.2 locates them at the banks of the Sarasvati River. There were several factions of Purus, one being the Bharatas...

     (Pūru)
  15. Ruśama
    Ruśama
    Ruśama or Rusama was a Rigvedic tribe mentioned in Mandala 8, whose King Raṇancaya was defeated by Rigvedic Aryans,...

  16. Sārasvata
  17. Satvant
  18. Śigru
  19. Śimyu
  20. Śiva
  21. Srñjaya
  22. Śvitna
  23. Tritsu
    Tritsu
    The Trtsus are a tribe of the Bharata mentioned in Mandala 7 of the Rigveda . Under king Sudas they defeated the Puru confederation at the Battle of the Ten Kings....

     The Trtsus are a sub-group of the Bharata mentioned in Mandala 7
    Mandala 7
    The seventh Mandala of the Rigveda has 104 hymns. In the Rigveda Anukramani, all hymns in this book are attributed to Vasishta...

     of the Rigveda
    Rigveda
    The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

     (in hymns 18, 33 and 83). Under king Sudas
    Sudas
    Sudās was a king in the Rig Veda. His name means "worshipping well", an s-stem, either from a root dās, or with the extra s added to avoid an archaic root noun in ā, Sudā-, which would easily be mistaken for a feminine name....

     they defeated the Puru
    Puru
    The Purus were a tribe, or a confederation of tribes, mentioned many times in the Rigveda, formed around 3180 BCE. RV 7.96.2 locates them at the banks of the Sarasvati River. There were several factions of Purus, one being the Bharatas...

     confederation at the Battle of the Ten Kings
    Battle of the Ten Kings
    Battle of the Ten Kings is a battle alluded to in Mandala 7 of the Rigveda , the ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns. It is a battle between Aryans...

    .
  24. Turvasa (Turvaśa)
  25. Uśīnara
  26. Vaśa
  27. Vibhindu
  28. Yadu
    Yadu
    Yadu is one of the five Indo-Aryan tribes mentioned in the Rig Veda . The Mahabharata, the Harivamsha and the Puranas mention Yadu as the eldest son of king Yayati and his queen Devayani. The prince of King Yayati, Yadu was a self-respecting and a very established ruler...