This volume explores the key aspects of early Indian history - political ideas and institutions; economic patterns and developments; and social orders and practices. Covering a long span - from the Vedic period to twelfth century AD - it explores the linkages between social formations andmodes of production. It also examines the transition from ancient to medieval, underlining the accompanying socio-economic changes and the characteristic of the early medieval period. The book provides an incisive account of ancient social formations underscoring themes like oriental despotism,position of the sudras, feudalism, urban decay, and the sati. Using a rich array of literary and archaeological source material as well as linguistic and tribal studies, this book will be useful for undergraduate students and teachers of ancient Indian history.