I discuss the most controversial and widely studied part of the Ṛgvedic Sanskrit clause, the clause-initial string. I focus in particular on a few sets of words — relative pronouns, demonstrative pronouns and preverbs — arguing that their treatment in previous analyses requires revision. This is because they can be, in some contexts, clitics. I argue that clisis must be defined in primarily syntactic rather than prosodic terms: Ṛgvedic clitics all share certain syntactic properties, but they do not all necessarily share any single prosodic property (such as lack of lexical accent). I subsequently examine the consequences of this reanalysis of pronouns and preverbs in the clause-initial string for syntactic accounts of Ṛgvedic word order.