Chapter 6 Class 6 History - Early Kingdoms


Ashvamedha - teachoo.png
  • The Ashvamedha or the horse sacrifice ceremony was often performed by powerful kings. 
  • The king wishing to perform the ceremony set a horse free to roam through the kingdoms of other rulers.
  •  If a king allowed this sacred horse to pass through his territory, it indicated that he had accepted the superiority of the first king. 
  • But if a king stopped the horse, it meant that he was challenging the authority of the first king. A battle followed such a challenge.

At the end of the whole process, there was a grand ceremony. Kings of the neighboring kingdoms were invited to it.

  • The king who was to perform the sacrifice was proclaimed ‘the king of kings’. 
  • Priest chanted tales of his glory, performed rituals and sprinkled sacred water on him.
  • At the end of the ceremony, the horse was sacrificed as a gift to the gods.


  • Large armies required more money.
  • Kings began to collect taxes on a regular basis.
  • Kings appointed officers to collect taxes from the people.
  • Agriculture was the main source of revenue.
  • The farmers gave one-sixth of their produce to the king. This was called ‘ Bhaga’ or share of the produce.
  • The farmers began to produce more from their land. This was because of two factors-
    1. The iron plough came to be used on a larger scale. It was an improvement over the wooden plough.
    2. The practice of transplanting paddy, that is, growing sapling separately and then planting them in the fields, became common.
  • Other sources of revenue- Craftsmen such as carpenters, potters and weavers paid taxes, either in cash or kind or by offering free  service to the king.
  • There were also taxes on buying and selling of goods.


  • Until this time, trade had been carried through barter system.
  • Now, coins of silver and copper (punch marked coins) began to be used. This led to an increase in trade.
  • Inland trade was brisk. Goods were sent far and wide.
  • Bimbisara , the king of Magadha, built roads and bridges throughout his empire. This encouraged trade.
  • Besides land routes, trade was carried out through sea routes.
  • The main articles traded were silk, muslin, perfumes and ivory.


  • Villages that grew in size became towns.
  • Towns also grew around centers of trade and craft.
  • Ujjayini, Vaishali, Ayodhya, Kaushambi, Tamralipti and Champa were some important towns of this period.


Indian Caste Hierarchy - Teachoo.png

Hierarchy of Caste system in Indian Society

  • The people were grouped into varnas.
  • There were four varnas- Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras. These varnas were decided on the basis of birth.
  • For example- If a person was born in a Brahmin family, that person would automatically become a Brahmin.
  • People of different varnas performed different tasks. 
  • The Brahmins were expected to teach the Vedas and perform religious rituals and sacrifices.
  • The Kshatriyas were warriors and fought wars.
  • The Vaishyas were involved in trade and agriculture.
  • Only three of the first Varnas could study the Vedas and perform sacrifices.
  • The Shudras had to serve the other three groups.
  • In addition, there was another group of people- the untouchables, who were even lower in social rank than the shudras.
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Davneet Singh

Davneet Singh has done his B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He has been teaching from the past 14 years. He provides courses for Maths, Science, Social Science, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science at Teachoo.