two systems of courts on Gor--those of the City, under the jurisdiction
of an Administrator or Ubar, and those of the Initiates, under the
jurisdiction of the High Initiate of the given city; the division
corresponds roughly to that between civil and what, for lack of
a better word, might be called ecclesiastical courts. The areas
of jurisdiction of these two types of courts are not well defined;
the Initiates claim ultimate jurisdiction in all matters, in virtue
of their supposed relation to the Priest-Kings, but this claim is
challenged by civil jurists. ...
---Tarnsman of Gor, 18:194
Such is how Tarl Cabot speaks
of the legal systems that would appear to share the powers on his
world. The comparison which is drawn between the civil and ecclesiastical
courts of earth may indeed be more accurate than Tarl Cabot seemed
to think. When he speaks of how for all intents and purposes, the
Initiates felt that they had the right to rule over all and any
matters, we can fairly quickly associate with the role which was
imparted on the churches of less recent times.
The second part of the statement
is also quite reminiscent of our church system where a number of
directives are thought to come from the priests more so than the
gods they serve. In that fashion, our trip to the Sardar with Tarl
Cabot in Priest-Kings of Gor confirms that in truth, the Caste of Initiates has taken a number of liberties in the name of what they
claim to be their representation of the Priest-Kings. Indeed we
find out through the words of Misk or Sarm, on a few occasions,
that there would seem to be a number of so called Priest-King dictates
of which the Priest-Kings have no knowledge.
It was common,
of course, for Initiates to claim to speak for the Priest-Kings;
indeed, it was presumably the calling of their caste to interpret
the will of the Priest-Kings to men.
---Outlaw of Gor, 5:41
Laws of Priest-Kings
vs Rules of Initiates
The actual laws of Priest-Kings are limited to the protection
of the Gorean world against what these creatures consider to be
destructive progress. Technology with regards to weapons and transportation
is strictly controlled and as the reader can learn from the Priest-Kings
page, subject to secret surveillance methods and the immediate execution
of the offender.
is Flame Death merely to possess a weapon of the interdicted sort.
Sometimes bold individuals create or acquire such war materials
and sometimes for as long as a year escape the Flame Death, but
sooner or later they are struck down."...
---Tarnsman of Gor, 2:31-32
or chain mail perhaps, would have been a desirable addition to the
accouterments of the Gorean warrior, but it had been forbidden by
the Priest-Kings. ...
---Tarnsman of Gor, 3:48
As important a role as the
Caste of Initiates will have in the decisions of a city's ruling
body, it remains a matter of influence and spiritual advice rather
than an actual direct legislative power, not that the former is
any less powerful than the latter. The reader is given a rather
clear insight to just how powerful the Caste of Initiates can be
on numerous occasions, such as the deposing of Kazrak as Administrator
of Ar, the swiftness of high administrators to meet their demands
for gifts of money, gold, or human sacrifice in various situations
in order to appease the wrath of Priest-Kings or avoid it.
All in all the laws which
are specifically dictates of the men in white are of two types,
the first clearly having to do with the very few parts of the Gorean
world which Priest-Kings do keep a level of restriction on, and
the other having more to do with ensuring their own importance in
the Gorean structure, issuing orders about the rights of their own
caste members and the manner in which they should be treated. It
is understood, of course, that these rules must be respected in
order that Priest-Kings might protect and favor the city.
Of the obligation to make
the journey to the Sardar, for example, it is said that this particular
rule has the consequence, if not the purpose, of ensuring variety
in the slave stock of raiders/slavers who comb the Sardar areas
and use the four annual fairs at the Sardar as their main source
of income. Though the actual rule does not specify that the journey
must be made at a time of fair, it is when most will chose to make
it as groups organized by the Caste of Initiates themselves and
caravans headed in that direction will be easier to find. It is
interesting to note then, that the fairs are under the edicts of
Initiates but governed by Merchants who likely pay the Caste of Initiates high offerings for the use of territory and opportunity.
On her nineteenth
birthday, members of the Caste of Initiates had appeared at the
door of the leather worker's hut.
It had been decided that she should now undertake the journey to
the Sardar, which, according to the teachings of the Caste of Initiates,
is enjoined on every Gorean by the Priest-Kings, an obligation which
is to be fulfilled prior to their attaining their twenty-fifth year.
If a city does not see that her youth undertake this journey then,
according to the teachings of the Initiates, misfortunes may befall
It is one of the tasks of the Initiates to keep rolls, and determine
that each youth, if capable, discharge this putative obligation
to the mysterious Priest-Kings.
---Captive of Gor, 13:233
What we do know is that the
Initiates of a given city keep a roll of those who have been to
the Sardar and those who have yet to undertake the journey. The
reader is told of how Initiates will visit families and indicate
that it is time for their son or daughter to fulfill their obligation
toward Priest-Kings. Though there is no obligation to make the pilgrimage
at the moment specifically chosen by the Initiates, some city Initiates
such as those of Teletus will go as far as rewarding those who do
by paying them a gold coin.
It is a custom
of the Initiates of Teletus, and of certain other islands and cities,
if the youth agrees to go to the Sardar when they request it, then
his, or her, family or guardians, if they wish it, will receive
one tarn disk of gold.
that the leather worker, and his companion, could well use this
piece of gold.
---Captive of Gor, 13:233
Beyond the fear of misfortune
befalling their city, the consequences of failing to see the Sardar
before the prescribed age results in penalties for the individuals
concerned, as the high councils and governments of the various cities
attempt to protect themselves from the wrath of their gods.
she knew well that, some year, prior to her twenty-fifth year, such
a journey must be undertaken by her. The Merchants of Teletus, controlling
the city, would demand it of her, fearing the effects of the possible
displeasure of the Priest-Kings on their trade. If she did not undertake
the journey then, she would be simply, prior to her twenty-fifth
birthday, removed from the domain of their authority, placed alone
outside their jurisdiction, beyond the protection of their soldiers.
Such an exile, commonly for a Gorean, is equivalent to enslavement
or death. For a girl as beautiful as Ute it would doubtless have
meant prompt reduction to shameful bondage, chains and the collar.
---Captive of Gor, 13:234
And of course, the basic
formula of what happens to those who do not meet the demands of
Priest-Kings is not unique to this pilgrimage. The consequences
of raising the ire of the Priest-Kings by failing to perform one
or the other task or failing to pay one or the other offering demanded
by the Initiates will always invariably result in the prediction
of horrible plagues and disasters striking the individual, his family
and community. It does not truly matter if these catastrophes manifest
themselves immediately or not. Eventually one or the other less
favorable situation will occur and will be identified as the punishment.
Whereas the rules and edicts of the Caste of Initiates tend
to be trans-Gorean, elements of civil law remain entirely a local
matter. Of course the Sardar fair and other opportunities for legislators
to exchange and share ideas and trends would allow a higher level
of uniformity as it offers forums to discuss motives and implementation
issues for new laws or new trends in the law.
is a saying on Gor that the laws of a city extend no further than
---Outlaw of Gor, 6:50
The choice of legislators,
then, to have laws that are similar or not to other cities' laws
remains entirely a matter of their choice though and officially,
other than Merchant law which applies to trade and such and is kept
universally uniform, each city will have its own laws, courts and
degrees of strictness in application and/or the penalties for breaking
In matters of civil rule
and so long as the caste of Initiate's demands are met, the cities
of Gor are ruled by councils formed of administrators, or, as we
understand very early from Matthew Cabot's explanations to his son,
by a war chief or ubar, in times of conflict. As the reader will
note from the fact that the terms of rule of a Ubar are subject
to the Warrior's Code as well as the very meaning of the word Ubar,
this particular title would be reserved to a member of the Warrior
High Castes in a given City," said my father, "elect an
administrator and council for stated terms. In times of crisis,
a war chief, or Ubar, is named, who rules without check and by decree
until, in his judgment, the crisis is passed."
his judgment?" I asked skeptically.
the office is surrendered after the passing of the crisis,"
said my father. "It is part of the Warrior's Code."
---Tarnsman of Gor, 3:42
The position of Administrator,
however, may be held by a member of any caste. More commonly of
course, this administrator will be of high caste but exceptions
are found in a number of places such as Tharna for example, or perhaps
less extraordinarily so, in trade centers, where merchant councils
are commonly in power and merchant law in effect. It is understood
of course, that in a world where the sword makes much of the law,
the warrior caste will have a place of importance in all levels
of government and the application of the law.
castes are normally accounted five in number--the Warriors, the
Builders, the Physicians, the Scribes, and the Initiates. The Initiates
are sometimes thought of as the highest of the five high castes,
and the Warriors as the least of the five high castes. In actual
fact, the Warriors commonly produce the administrators and ubars
for a city. It is not easy in a world such as this to deprive those
who are skilled with weapons their share of authority. If it is
not given to them, they will take it. ...
---Witness of Gor, 11:225
will be elected whereas Ubars will be named. It may however remain
a matter of semantics since the -election- of administrators is
done only by representatives of the high castes of the city though
it is said that the will of the populace cannot be disregarded as
easily as it would seem. Another major difference will be that the
whereas the ubar is supreme ruler, the Administrator is subject
to approval by his council and may not single handedly legislate
is only the men of high caste who elect members to the Council of
the City, the gold of merchants and the will of the general populace
is seldom disregarded in their choices. ...
---Assassin of Gor, 2:16
Matters of civil law will
cover areas such as citizenship, rules of conduct, companionship,
the dress codes of women, etiquette and allowances pertaining to
the management of slaves in public places and many more areas depending
on the size and importance of the city. While John Norman often
uses the expression 'in most cities' when he speaks of a law, there
are a number of laws which are clearly exclusive to one or the other
city. And of course, the fact that the author speaks of 'most' Gorean
cities, never implies that ALL cities will have this particular
law. There is indeed a Gorean saying which states that the laws
of a city extend only as far as its walls.
The citizens of a given city
are sometimes subject to laws which do not apply to strangers and
vice versa. Given the Gorean's natural distrust of strangers, a
number of laws are in place that will determine the obligations
of citizenship and the lines non-citizens should avoid crossing.
Aside from perhaps entertainers and those donning the gold slash
of the herald or messenger who seem to be protected in most cities,
strangers are met with extreme caution, and of course outlaws,
those without caste or city to claim, are met with impalement spears.
Interestingly, the matter
of citizenship on Gor is subject to a pledge which must be renewed
regularly, whether the individual was born to a given city or not.
It is not enough, then, to be born to a city or to have parents
which were. Indeed, true citizenship cannot be obtained until one
has reached intellectual majority, and then, performed the city's
ritual ceremony of coming of age which usually includes the oath
to the Home Stone.
and women of the city, when coming of age, participate in a ceremony
which involves the swearing of oaths, and the sharing of bread,
fire and salt. In this ceremony the Home Stone of the city is held
by each young person and kissed. Only then are the laurel wreath
and the mantle of citizenship conferred. ...
in most Gorean communities is not something accrued in virtue of
the accident of birth but earned by virtue of intent and application.
The sharing of a Home Stone is no light thing in a Gorean city.
---Slave Girl of Gor, 26:394
a Home Stone that is one's own when it is not is a serious offense
---Slave Girl of Gor, 26:395
Discussion of this and other
specific laws and areas of the law have
been given their own space in this section. Laws pertaining to management
of human property (slaves) are also
listed on the laws page but further discussed on the human property
page as well as the Slavery section of this guide.
In most Gorean cities, a
number of buildings of central location house the law makers and
officers as well as all legal documents and archives. The larger
the city, of course, the more imposing the structures are expected
to be. It is unlikely that a small town on the Vosk, for example,
would have a Cylinder of Justice and a Cylinder of Documents comparable
to those found in glorious Ar.
was white, a color Goreans often associate with impartiality. More
significantly, it indicated that the justice dispensed therein was
the justice of Initiates.
--- Tarnsman of Gor, page 194
Beyond the two mentioned
though, there certainly are parallel systems by which rules are
made and that are interwoven into the fabric of Gorean laws, such
as for example, Merchant law, the codes of the various castes, the
codes of conduct which apply at sea, the internal structures of
village councils and tribal groups and of course, the basic rules
of honor and behavior which are often unwritten but seem no less
official in how often they are brought up.
Merchant Law, although a law system in and of itself, is used
to regulate all aspects of trade throughout the Gorean civilized
world. Indeed, though the author refers to a number of cities, towns
and isles as free ports, being specifically under merchant law,
he also mentions that this system is used throughout Gor when it
comes to trade and merchanting of goods. This could signify that,
for example, merchant law goes as far as being a law system which
includes all aspects of the law and hence CAN be and is used as
the only law system in cities where merchanting is the main source
of income to a majority of the population (trade islands for example).
is a saying on Gor, "Gold has no caste." It is a saying
of which the merchants are fond. Indeed, secretly among themselves,
I have heard, they regard themselves as the highest caste on Gor,
though they would not say so for fear of rousing the indignation
of other castes. There would be something, of course, to be said
for such a claim, for the merchants are often indeed in their way,
brave, shrewd, skilled men, making long journeys, venturing their
goods, risking caravans, negotiating commercial agreements, among
themselves developing and enforcing a body of Merchant Law, the
only common legal arrangements existing among the Gorean cities....
---Nomads of Gor, 9:84
If we adopt this theory and
take into consideration the reference to universal use of Merchant
Law in aspects of trade, we have to then consider the possibility
that a city could have its own laws in areas outside of the trade
while being subject to Merchant Law for all trade related areas.
There would be a way then, to integrate Merchant Law into a city's
own and individual law system.
The above explanation would
seem a likely way to incorporate the saying that the laws of a city
extend as far as its walls, the fact that Merchant Law is said to
regulate trade throughout all civilized Gor AND the fact that certain
cities are clearly stated to be under Merchant Law as if this law
somehow ruled all aspects of said city's life.
Merchant Law is described
and discussed more in depth on its own page
of this section.
And then there are ... THE
teachings of Gor, which are independent of the claims and propositions
of the Initiates, amount to little more than the Caste Codes--collections
of sayings whose origins are lost in antiquity....
---Tarnsman of Gor. 3:40-41
As discussed in the Castes
page of this section, Gorean society is divided according to a system
of castes. To be without caste in the Gorean city-state society,
is to be without law and hence subject to impalement. There are
a number of laws which pertain to alteration of caste and the obligation
to practice one's trade. The laws, of course, apply to all castes
and are separate from the codes of the caste.
A man who
refused to practice his livelihood or strove to alter status without
the consent of the Council of High Castes was, by definition, an
outlaw and subject to impalement.
---Tarnsman of Gor, 3:45-46
Caste codes become an entire
mapping of behavioral propriety based not on equality principles,
but the very individual role of each member of the Gorean society.
As explained in the Castes page of this guide, the Gorean world
allows that different strokes for different folks is indeed not
only acceptable, but desirable and so it is that the reader will
often be in situations where the codes will be brought up in a manner
which make them seem like laws.
And indeed, the codes of
the various castes cannot be separated entirely from the laws of
the cities as these codes will come into play in many situations
for which the line between legal and illegal is considered thin
such as, for example, capture, theft and even murder.
The codes of each caste constitute
what may be otherwise described as a list of rules of conduct to
which all caste members are held. They appear to be in the form
of sayings, some rather clear, some more akin to a riddle understood
perhaps only by those who have received the teachings of the caste
to which it belongs.
Tarl Cabot refers to caste
codes not as laws, but by using the expression 'ethical teachings'
which does well in giving the reader a sense that these codes have
much more to do with the sense of right than the actual legal rightness.
The beauty of the Gorean world is perhaps that for the most part,
what is ethically right is also what is legally right although it
is sometimes difficult to slice between the law and the codes in
situations where both need to be considered. Such would be the case
for situations such as capture or submission and many other cases
which may not appear as obvious as these two.
If it is not always clear
to the reader which of the law or the caste codes will prevail in
a given situation, one can almost always be sure that the Gorean
without hesitation would sooner break the law than abandon his codes.
Fortunately, the law makers of Gor, and more particularly those
who are responsible for applying the law, take such things as caste
codes into consideration when dealing with a particular difficulty.
In essence, the two should
not be contradictory to each other though at times they may seem
that way. In the exclusive right to perform certain acts, for example,
perhaps a parallel can be drawn, to a certain extent, with the professional
oath and codes of ethics of our own world. It is illegal, clearly,
to sell narcotic drugs, unless one is a pharmacist. It is illegal
to walk around a city with a gun in one's hand, unless one is a
police officer. The reserved act, then, become subject to the codes
of the profession to which it is exclusive and so long as these
codes are respected, the right to accomplish the otherwise forbidden
act is considered granted.
A rather excellent example
of how this applies to the Gorean caste codes is the explanation
given in Hunters of Gor about the treatment of thieves in Port Kar.
On one hand, the caste exercises what might be perceived as quality
control by disposing of non-caste thieves, and on the other, it
has negotiated terms by which its trade may be practiced.
of thieves was important in Port Kar, and even honored. It represented
a skill which in the city was held in high repute. Indeed, so jealous
of their prerogatives were the caste of thieves that they often
hunted thieves who did not belong to the caste, and slew them, throwing
their bodies to the urts in the canals. Indeed, there was less thievery
in Port Kar than there might have been were there no caste of thieves
in the city. They protected, jealously, their own territories from
amateur competition. Ear
notching and mutilation, common punishment on Gor for thieves, were
not found in Port Kar. The caste was too powerful. On the other
hand, it was regarded as permissible to slay a male thief or take
a female thief slave if the culprit could be apprehended within
an Ahn of the theft. After an Ahn the thief, if apprehended and
a caste member, was be remanded to the police of the arsenal. If
found guilty in the court of the arsenal, the male thief would be
sentenced, for a week to a year, to hard labor in the arsenal or
on the wharves; the female thief would be sentenced to service,
for a week to a year, in a straw-strewn cell in one of Port Kar's
penal brothels. They are chained by the left ankle to a ring in
the stone. Their food is that of a galley slave, peas, black bread
and onions. If they serve well, however, their customers often bring
them a bit of meat or fruit. Few thieves of Port Kar have not served
time, depending on their sex, either in the arsenal or on the wharves,
or in the brothels.
---Hunters of Gor, 22:304
A list of the various sayings
and mentions of Caste Codes found scattered
throughout the chronicles of the counter-earth has been added to
this section separately.
of the Law
Generally speaking, Gorean
civil law is made by whatever ruling body holds power at one given
time and applied mainly in primitive fashion, by various magistrates.
There does not seem very much room for doubt in this system as essentially,
those trials the reader finds here and there are mostly a matter
of sentencing since the accused has most often been caught in the
act. There will, however, be mention of the law which was broken
as well as what is known for that city/area to be the common penalty
for this type of offense.
One will remember of course,
that within the Gorean reality, the slave is not a citizen and hence
not entitled to trial or defense per se. A great number of laws
do pertain to what slaves may or may not do and failure to abide
by the rules can be cause for punishment at the discretion of the
free persons involved; these things do not require legal proceedings.
It is also of note that a slave who participates in criminal activity
by obeying the command of their master or another free person is
almost invariably found to have done no wrong. Indeed, since the
slave is to obey without question, she would be considered to have
done the right thing no matter what the command is.
If the events found along
Tarl Cabot's journey are a reflection of what is most common, one
would have to conclude that criminals end up in collars and chains,
be it the collar of a work chain or a pleasure garden. Men will
more often be executed by whatever means is popular in the area
or sent to work chains temporarily for more minor crimes, whereas
women are more likely to be enslaved, especially if they are beautiful.
Rulers - The Ubar
As explained above,
the title of Ubar stands for 'war chief' which explains why it is
said to be used in the context of crisis or war. The very terms
of a Ubar's rule are subject to the codes of the caste of warriors,
which would indicate that indeed, the person holding this title
would be of this caste. Indeed, who else might concern himself with
the codes of the caste?
High Castes in a given city," said my father, "elect an
administrator and council for stated terms. In times of crisis,
a war chief, or Ubar, is named, who rules without check and by decree
until, in his judgment, the crisis is passed."
his judgment?" I asked skeptically.
the office is surrendered after the passing of the crisis,"
said my father. "It is part of the Warrior's Code."
what if he does not give up the office?" I asked. I had learned
enough of Gor by now to know that one could not always count on
the Caste Codes being observed.
who do not desire to surrender their power," said my father,
"are usually deserted by their men. The offending war chief
is simply abandoned, left alone in his palace to be impaled by the
citizens of the city he has tried to usurp."
imagining a palace, empty save for one man sitting alone on his
throne, clad in his robes of state, waiting for the angry people
outside the gates to break through and work their wrath.
said my father, "sometimes such a war chief, or Ubar, wins
the hearts of his men, and they refuse to withdraw their allegiance."
happens then?" I asked.
becomes a tyrant," said my father, "and rules until eventually,
in one way or another, he is ruthlessly deposed." My father's
eyes were hard and seemed fixed in thought. It was not mere political
theory he spoke to me. I gathered that he knew of such a man. "Until,"
he repeated slowly, "he is ruthlessly deposed."
---Tarnsman of Gor, 3:42-43
According to the codes, then,
the rule of the Ubar lasts as long as the crisis does, at which
time the office is surrendered. There are, through the journeys
of Tarl Cabot on the Counter-Earth, a number of Ubars who rule over
countries that may not appear to be at war or in crisis situation.
Perhaps it is not so easy for the reader to determine what may or
may not constitute political conflict serious enough to justify
the naming of a Ubar. Certainly, we are made aware of the case of
Marlenus who quite simply did not feel he should be stepping down
and refused to do so, but overall the Ubars we do meet are indeed
rulers of countries involved in some level of war.
truly see a Ubar," I said, "to look into his heart can
be a fearful thing."
"Only one can sit upon the throne," said Msaliti.
"That is a saying of the north," I said.
"I know," said Msaliti. "But it is a saying that
is also known east of Schendi."
"Even east of Schendi," I smiled, "the throne is
a lonely country."
"He who sits upon the throne, it is said," said Msaliti,
"is the most alone of men."
I nodded. Perhaps it was just as well not to have looked too deeply
into the eyes of Bila Huruma. It is not always desirable to look
deeply into the eyes of a Ubar.
---Explorers of Gor, 18:237
Ubars wear robes of purple,
considered to be the color of the highest honor. The Ubar's consort
or companion is called the Ubara and although we do have a particular
situation in Talena's holding the title of Ubara without having
a Ubar, this would not be the usual scenario. The title used for
female rulers on Gor, is that of Tatrix. The Tatrix is indeed the
ruler whereas the Ubara is usually the ruler's companion.
The case of Talena's obtaining
the title of Ubara had as much to do with her family background
as it did with the powers of the forces of Cos in whose interest
it was to have a somewhat familiar if manipulable figure in a high
position in the City of Ar. In this unusual case, a family which
is no longer in power and a woman whose ties to this family had
once been legally and very publicly severed ends up on a throne
by claim of being some form of royal heir. It is understood and
explained that the enemy forces of Cos, having essentially taken
over the city, recognize the Ubara's title and role. The reader
of course understands that as Talena was indeed, instrumental in
Cos's victory, her situation of Ubara without a Ubar is easier to
come to terms with. Further, once it is made clear to the reader
that the leadership of Ar is a matter of smoke and mirrors, trying
to understand how to fit the existence of this Ubara into the Gorean
Leadership principles no longer seems important. There is nothing
usual or habitual about the situation of the treacherous Talena
in her own City and a rule cannot be made from this exception.
I then, truly, for the first time looked into the eyes of Bila Huruma.
He sat upon the high platform, above the others, solitary and isolated,
the necklace of panther teeth about his neck, the lamps below him.
I sensed then, for a moment, what it must be to be a Ubar. It was
then, in that instant, that I first truly saw him, as he was, and
as he must be. I looked then on loneliness and decision, and power.
The Ubar must contain within himself dark strengths. He must be
capable of doing, as many men are not, what is necessary.
Only one can sit upon the throne, as it is said. And, as it is said,
he who sits upon the throne is the most alone of men.
It is he who must be a stranger to all men, and to whom all men
must be strangers.
The throne indeed is a lonely country.
Many men desire to live there but few, I think, could bear its burdens.
Let us continue to think of our Ubars as men much like ourselves,
only perhaps a bit wiser, or stronger, or more fortunate. That way
we may continue to be comfortable with them, and, to some extent,
feel ourselves their superior. But let us not look into their eyes
too closely, for we might see there that which sets them apart from
It is not always desirable to look deeply into the eyes of a Ubar.
---Explorers of Gor, 19:242-243
In researching the possible
origins of the word Ubar, an initial tidbit of information which
seemed to indicate there was a possible German root was fairly quickly
abandoned when the following information was found. Our thanks to
Simon for the research and commentary on this particular word.
Now, the word UBAR is not
German. In the German language the word Über, with an accent
on the U, means "over, above, beyond", but the pronunciation
is quite different from UBAR - über is pronounced with an UE
as in the French Rue, and ends with an IR as in English Sir; while
UBAR, without the accents, sounds like OO in good and ends like
AR in car. The word UBAR, I think, is Arabic.
In fact, the story of Ubar
is a Gorean tale in itself.
thousand years before Christ, in southern part of the Arabic peninsula,
known as Rub Al-Khali, the Empty Quarter, there lived a people known
as the 'Ad, who made enormous profits by trading frankincense, a
sweet smelling incense then as valuable as gold, between the world
centers of Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Damascus, and beyond to the
western Mediterranean. Their city, built by the legendary Shaddad
ibn Ad as an "imitation of Paradise," was renowned for
its imposing architecture, its vast groves of fruit trees and its
fabulous wealth. An historian, Al-Hamdani, writing in the sixth
century A.D., hailed The City of the Towers as first among the treasures
of ancient Arabia.
It was called Ubar.
wickedness flourished in Ubar. Being sent to 'Ad, the prophet Hud
summoned his people, just like all the other prophets had done,
to believe in Allah without ascribing partners to Him and to obey
him, but the people reacted to Hud with animosity. They accused
him of imprudence, untruthfulness, and attempting to change the
system their ancestors had established. When Hud warned his people,
they commented that his words were a customary device of the ancients
and they were very confident that nothing would happen to them.
Allah had given the 'Ad a stature tall among the nations, and the
people of 'Ad took great pride in their strength and stature and
they used to say, "Who is superior to us in strength?"
Finally the mighty Allah warned them - "Did they not see that
Allah, who created them was superior to them in strength?"
But they continued to reject Our Signs!" And so, the legend
tells us, Allah carried out His punishment of strong winds that
lasted seven nights and eight days, and the city of Ubar was totally
wiped out and buried in a huge and unlivable desert with great sand
The myth is mentioned in
The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, and several expeditions,
in 1930, 1947 and 1953, tried to find what T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence
of Arabia) had called "the Atlantis of the Sands". But
in 1980, a Los Angeles filmmaker and archaeological enthusiast named
Nicholas Clapp began researching the history of Ubar and planning
an archaeological expedition. Clapp used ancient maps and literature,
and thought the general location for Ubar would be the Empty Quarter
in southern Oman. This was still a dauntingly large area to search,
but using pictures taken from several spacecraft, including radar
and optical cameras carried by Challenger in October 1984, his team
member, Dr. Ronald Blom, a geologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
in Pasadena, managed to find the probable site and on February 5th,
1992, the expedition led by Clapp uncovered a large octagonal fortress
with thick walls ten feet high and eight tall towers at the corners.
The archaeologists also found Greek, Roman, and Syrian pottery,
the oldest of which was dated at more than 4,000 years old. The
discovery of these types of artifacts indicated that this was indeed
a major center for trade and likely the fabled Ubar.
One startling result of the
excavation was that it appears that Ubar did meet with a catastrophic
end, as many of the legends describe. The excavation revealed a
giant limestone cavern beneath the fortress, and it is likely that
Ubar may have been destroyed when a large portion of it collapsed
into the cavern. The city, indeed, was actually swallowed by the
A strong people that perished
on account of their arrogance - is that a Gorean tale?
think John Norman, romantic at heart, took much inspiration from
these Arabic legends.
From a letter to Nicole from Simon,
More information can be found
on the NASA
Observatorium site, and on the Islam
Rulers - Administrators
In times of relative peace and stability, the administration
of the Gorean city-state is the responsibility of a council of administrators
elected by the high castes of the city. What we understand of this
type of government is that the administrator or leader of the council
does not retain sole power and that decisions in matters of the
state are subject to vote by council.
cities only members of the high castes may belong to the city's
high council. Most Gorean cites are governed by an executive, the
Administrator, in conjunction with the high council. ...
---Slave Girl of Gor, 5:114
It remains a matter of perspective
what constitutes a state of peace on Gor and more often than not
the reader will find that council government is more prevalent in
trade centers, peasant villages and cities where a relative neutrality
is important to maintain open markets and ensure the city's survival.
There are few examples of
council-led cities which are not governed by merchant councils but
the actual type of council which Matthew Cabot describes in Tarnsman
of Gor, Ko-Ro-Ba being first in our memory. The City of Port Kar's
council of captains government would also fall into this category
though membership to the council is adapted to the Port Kar reality.
Indeed in a city where shipping feeds the majority of the population,
it is fairly easy to see why the rulers would be those with the
As is the case for Port Kar,
council governments seem to shape themselves after the individual
character of the city, placing the power in the hands of those more
likely to influence growth and stability.
For the sake
of trivia, we offer a list of cities,
their mode of government and leaders as we find them on or journey
through the counter earth.
On a world where the biological dominance of the male takes its
full importance in all aspects of life, it is difficult to conceive
that a system would exist that allows a woman in a position of the
highest power such as the one the title of Tatrix confers.
There are a
number of theories on the author's purpose in inserting these societies
into the Gorean world, the most obvious being that they stand as
proof that the Gorean outlook on the roles of gender are indeed
The city of Tharna is a particularly
hard example of things gone sour as the reader is given an account
of gradual manipulation and allowances made by weak men until the
balance of natural order itself is completely upturned and the women
take complete power. The description of Tharna under Tatrix rule
screams of misery as the habitual colorful walls and streets of
the city are described as bland and dull, much as its neutralized
men seem to be. Again a symbolic display of this state being unnatural
not only to the dull, lifeless men of Tharna, but also, and perhaps
more significantly so, to the bitter and angry women who rule it.
balance of mutual regard is always delicate and, statistically,
it is improbable that it can long be maintained throughout an entire
population. Accordingly, gradually exploiting, perhaps unconsciously,
the opportunities afforded by the training of children and the affections
of their men, the women of Tharna improved their position considerably
over the generations, also adding to their social power the economic
largesse of various funds and inheritances.
largely via the conditioning of the young and the control of education,
those superiorities which the female naturally possesses came to
be enlarged on at the expense of those possessed by the male. And
just as in our own world it is possible to condition entire populations
to believe what is, from the standpoint of another population, incomprehensible
and absurd, so in Tharna both the men and the women came eventually
to believe the myths or the distortions advantageous to female dominance.
Thus it was, gradually and unnoticed, that the gynocracy of Tharna
came to be established, and honored with the full weight of tradition
and custom, those invisible bonds heavier than chains because they
are not understood to exist.
...In a city
such as Tharna the men, taught to regard themselves as beasts, as
inferior beings, seldom develop the full respect for themselves
essential to true manhood. But even more strangely, the women of
Tharna do not seem content under the gynocracy. Although they despise
men and congratulate themselves on their more lofty status it seems
to me that they, too, fail to respect themselves. Hating their men,
they hate themselves.
---Outlaw of Gor, Ch 22:205-206
Similar accounts of greed
and abuse of power are spoken of in both the cases of Corcyrus and
Ty although not to the extent of eliminating all men from positions
of authority. Nonetheless, there are no Tatrix-ruled cities on Gor
that seem to survive what Gor simply sees as the natural order.
of the Law - Gorean Magistrates
The most often
mentioned categories of law officers are magistrates and guards,
the former being a sub-caste of the scribes, and the latter of course,
composed of men of the scarlet caste. Under the more general title
of magistrate are found a number of various sub-groups named after
their earth counterparts and whose specialty are likely to be similar.
incidentally, have branches and divisions. Lawyers and Scholars,
for example, and Record Keepers, Teachers, Clerks, Historians and
Accountants are all Scribes.
---Assassin of Gor,15:208
Members of the Caste of Scribes,
and sometimes referred to as 'Scribes of the law' in the same fashion
as historians are called 'Scribes of the past', magistrates are
found in most situations the where legalities are involved, whether
this be in matters of a citizen's rights or in matters of crime.
Much like the magistrates of earth, a number of titles are used
to designate these officers, depending on their various function
or area of jurisdiction.
and islands on Thassa, of course, are not managed by the Merchants,
but, commonly, by magistrates appointed by the city councils. In
Port Kar, my city, the utilization of the facilities of the port
is regulated by a board of four magistrates, the Port Consortium,
which reports directly to the Council of Captains, which, since
the downfall of the warring Ubars, is sovereign in the city. ...
---Hunters of Gor, 3:43
who had said this wore the blue of the scribes. He may even have
been a scribe of the law.
---Mercenaries of Gor, 19:244
The term judge is used on
numerous occasions in a context similar to the one with which we
are familiar. The reader will also find mention of an archon
of records, merchant magistrates, slave archon and wharf
praetors. Magistrates are seen policing wharves, inspecting
work chains, recording crimes, partaking in public sentencing such
as declaring enslavement in the case of the lovely Lady Tina of
Lydius, but also, in clearly less white collar type tasks, on at
least one occasion, in the application of a death sentence.
on the ground, bound hand and foot, still clad in the white robe,
was Talena. The point of the sharpened impaling post lay near her.
As the tarn had landed, her executioners, two burly, hooded magistrates,
had scrambled to their feet and fled to safety. The Initiates themselves
do not execute their victims, as the shedding of blood is forbidden
by those beliefs they regard as sacred. Now, helpless, Talena lay
almost within the wing span of my tarn, so near to me and yet a
---Tarnsman of Gor, 19:204
The color associated with
justice on Gor is white. The color associated with power, on Gor,
is purple. Merchant magistrates are described on at least one occasion
as wearing robes of white trimmed with two borders, one of gold
and one of purple. This might make the reader wonder if indeed the
merchant magistrate is of the merchants or if the white is simply
the white of justice and bordered by the gold of the powers he represents.
the wagon, in the white robes trimmed with gold and purple of Merchant
Magistrates, came five men. I recognized them as judges.
---Hunters of Gor, 3:49
In another situation, that
of a slaver camp, the law officers are described as wearing the
colors of the caste of slavers on their sleeve, again an indication
that when the authority or power is held by a specific group in
a given area, the officers of the law will be identified by a badge
or other symbol of the color of the ruling caste.
In a moment
or two, I stopped a few yards from a registration desk. There one
of Ina's pursuers, I recognized him from earlier, was making inquiries
of one of the five camp prefects, fellows under the camp praetor.
The perfects are identified by five slash marks, alternately blue
and yellow, the slavers' colors, on their left sleeve, the praetor
himself by nine such stripes, and lesser officials by three. Turning
about, apparently alerted by the prefect's notice, the fellow with
one hand suddenly turned the prefect's desk to its side so that
it stood wall-like between us, and hurried behind it.
---Vagabonds of Gor, 47:453-454
Other elements of the magistrate's
outfit are mentioned at least once when we are told of magistrates
wearing their 'fillet of office' and carrying their 'wand of office'.
The wand is further spoken of as more than likely hiding a blade.
wore their robes, and fillets, of office. They also carried their
wands of office, which, I suspect, from the look of them, and despite
the weapons laws of Cos, contained concealed blades. I was pleased
to hope that these fellows were such as to put the laws of Ar before
the ordinances of Cos. ...
---Magicians of Gor, 26:442
from the Middle English magestrat, from the Latin magistratus, magistracy,
magistrate, from magistr-, magister master, political superior --
An official entrusted with administration of the laws: a) as a principal
official exercising governmental powers over a major political unit
(as a nation) b) a local official exercising administrative and
often judicial functions c) a local judiciary official having limited
original jurisdiction especially in criminal cases.
ear had been notched indicated that, by a magistrate, she had been
---Hunter of Gor, 2:22-23
Various types of magistrates
found on Gor and their earth definitions:
– Latin, from Greek archon, from present participle of archein
-- circa 1579
chief magistrate in ancient Athens
2) a presiding officer
of the two magistrates, he who was senior, Tolnar, of the second
Octavii, an important gens but one independent of the well-known
Octavii, sometimes spoken of simply as the Octavii, or sometimes
as the first Octavii, deputy commissioner in the records office,
much of which had been destroyed in a recent fire, was at the other
portal. His colleague, Venlisius, a bright young man who was now,
by adoption, a scion of the Toratti, was with him. Venlisius was
in the same office. He was records officer, or archon of records,
for the Metellan district, in which we were located. Both magistrates
wore their robes, and fillets, of office....
Latin aedilis, from aedes temple -- circa 1540
An official in ancient Rome in charge of public works and games,
police, and the grain supply.
ago, aediles had come to the camp to inspect the chains. They found
none which contained illicit prisoners. No mention was made of the
fact that a third of the chains was absent. The next day the auspices
had been taken, and, seemingly, all had gone well. The chains in
camp were already back at work. Preceding the time of taking the
auspices, of course, and until they have been taken, things are
very quiet. ...
---Dancer of Gor, 25:349
Middle English pretor, from Latin praetor -- 15th century
An ancient Roman magistrate ranking below a consul and having chiefly
– Middle English questor, from Latin quaestor, from quaerere
-- 14th century
One of numerous ancient Roman officials concerned chiefly with financial
have been as innocent as those I had lured; others might have been
murderers and brigands, suitably enchained for the expiation of
sentences, their custody having been legally transferred to Ionicus,
my master, at the payment of a prisoner's fee, by the writ of a
praetor or, in more desperate cases, by the order of a quaestor....
---Dancer of Gor, 24:332
Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin praefectus, from
past participle of praeficere to place at the head of, from prae-
+ facere to make -- 14th century
1) any of various high officials or magistrates of differing functions
and ranks in ancient Rome
2) a chief officer or chief magistrate
about, through the curtain, at the guests of the Lady Florence,
other than the Lady Melpomene. The fellow from Venna, clad in white
and gold, was Philebus, a bounty creditor. He was known to the merchants
of several cities. Such men buy bills at discount and then set themselves
to collect, as they can, their face value. They are tenacious in
their trade. I did not know the business of the two men from Ar.
They were Tenalion, and his man, Ronald. The fourth man was Brandon.
He was from Vonda. He was a prefect in that city. His certifications
on certain documents would be important. The two ladies, both of
Vonda, were Leta and Perimene, both friends of the Ladies Florence
and Melpomene. As free citizens of Vonda they could witness legal
---Fighting Slave of Gor, 22:277
Justice - The Courts
The Gorean courts
are glimpsed on occasions few and far between.
They resemble, at times,
the courts of Kings where subjects would bring their disputes and
complaints for resolution by the Ubar and where the judgment and
sentence are pronounced then and there by this one and same Ubar.
Such is the case in Ushindi where the reader spends a little time
in the court of Bila Huruma.
In the more 'civilized' parts
of Gor, they are rooms where prisoners are tried and sentenced by
a judge upon testimony of witnesses and where the accused has some
level of ability to defend himself. The few times we do see trials
though, it always appears to be that the accused was actually caught
in the act. Is it perhaps that Goreans do not bring people to justice
unless their guilt is all but a proven thing already? From an outsider's
perspective it certainly seems that way for even in those cases
where the verdict did not seem pre-determined, the evidence brought
to the court is so overwhelming that one wonders if they are at
a trial or simply at a sentence hearing.
The judge gave a signal and
the long handle of the rack, fitting through a rectangular hole
in the axle, moved again.
The girl winced, but she did not cry out.
"Look again carefully upon the accused," said Ibn Saran.
I saw her eyes upon me. "Was it he who struck Suleiman Pasha?"
"It was he," she said.
"Are you absolutely certain?" he asked.
"Yes," she said.
"It is enough," said the judge. He gave a signal. The
handle spun back. The girl's body fell into the network of knotted
---Tribesmen of Gor, 6:114
In other cases the sentencing
is done by a judge from a wagon which is pulled to a public and
central area of the town, as is the case with the Lady Tina of Lydius
(see quote from Hunters of Gor below). In this particular sentencing,
the sentence of slavery is immediately carried out by the branding
and sale of the culprit.
Although not considered to
be citizens, slaves can be used as witnesses in the Gorean court
room, but it is said that their testimony is usually taken under
torture. It might be noted though that slaves are said to not be
usually allowed to handle legal documents.
Justice - Sentencing
The penalties for
various crimes on Gor depends mainly on three variables: the nature
of the crime committed and its importance to the population of the
area, local customs and culture and the availability of torture/execution
As is usual in most societies,
the nature of the crime committed determines the severity of the
sentence. Note though that certain crimes are considered extremely
serious in one area of Gor, whereas they may looked upon as minor
in others. In the land of the Wagon Peoples, for example, to slay
a bosk is considered the highest of crimes. Similarly, in the Tahari
this title belongs to the destroying of a well. Certainly in both
cases the offense consists of destroying what is considered this
particular society's means of survival which explains how it can
be given so much importance.
Sentencing often takes the
shape of the crime in that it is ensured that the criminal is physically
unable to repeat it. Thieves may have their hand cut off, liars
may have their tongue removed etc. In the case of non-capital offenses
at least, penalties such as these seem to be the norm.
fellow had lied about his taxes. He would be hung, a hook through
his tongue, in a market. His properties were to be confiscated and
distributed, half to be given to members of his village and half
to the state. It was conjectured that, when he was removed from
the pole, if he were still alive, he would be more careful in his
---Explorers of Gor, 18:231
Executions are also often
a matter of both the type of crime and the local culture. Bosk slayers,
for example, are staked out in the path of the bosk herd to be trampled,
Rencers feed their prisoners to the marsh predators while in cities,
criminals are often either sent to the local work chain (or if they
are women the penal brothels), hamstrung, put to the public's amusement
in arena games or then executed by impalement, tharlarion oil or
other more 'sophisticated' measures.
them and hang them in iron collars at the inn!" said a fellow.
Sometimes a man lasts two or three days in this fashion.
"Chain them on the boards," cried another. That is a similar
form of punishment. In it the victim is fastened, by collars and
shackles, on structures of parallel, upright boards, vertical platforms,
in effect, mounted on posts. These structures are most common in
harbor cities, near the wharves. The fellow who had made the suggestion
was probably from the river port of Ar's Station. In the country,
impalement is often used, the pole usually being set up near a crossroads.
"Let them be trampled by tharlarion," said a fellow.
let them be torn apart by them," said another. In this fashion
ropes are tied separately to the victim’s wrists and ankles,
these ropes then attached to the harnesses of two different tharlarion,
which are, of course, then driven in opposite directions.
"Yes, that is better," agreed the first.
If one shares
a Home Stone with the victim, of course, the punishment is often
more humane. A common punishment where this mitigating feature obtains
is to strip the victim, tie him to a post, beat him with rods and
then behead him. This, like the hanging in chains, the exposure
on boards, and such, is a very ancient modality of execution.
---Renegades of Gor, 1:14-15
In all types of these crimes,
women seem to have more chances of surviving their crime, especially
if they are beautiful. There are many indications that women who
commit crimes are looked at as women who need to be put in their
place and that it would be wasteful not to spare them and make use
of their natures for the pleasures of men. Gorean men particularly
enjoy being served by women who have wronged them, though they do
not seem to linger in a payback type of attitude. Rather, they expect
the slave to learn to be pleasing and perform with perfection, as
is expected of any slave.
Slavery then, for women at
least, can certainly represent a form of escape, especially if one
considers that it is a natural state for women. Although of course,
they would not too readily admit this, and certainly Gorean slavery
is not an easy road, but their stories usually show that in time,
these women blossom and find heights of wholeness that sometimes
makes their sentence of enslavement feel a lot more like a chance
to find themselves.
is a judicial enslavement," he said.
With Rim and Thurnock, moving in the crowd, I craned for a look.
I saw first the girl, stumbling. She was already stripped. Her hands
were tied behind her back. Something, pushing her from behind, had
been fastened on her neck. Behind her came a flat-topped wagon,
of some four feet in height. It was moved by eight tunicked, collared
slave girls, two to each wheel, pushing at the wheels. It was guided
by a man walking behind it, by means of a lever extending back,
under the wagon, from the front axle. Flanking the wagon, on both
sides, were the musicians, with their drums and flutes. Behind the
wagon, in the white robes trimmed with gold and purple of merchant
magistrates, came five men. I recognized them as judges.
A pole extended from the front of the wagon, some eight or nine
feet. There was, at its termination, a semicircular leather cushion,
with a short chain. The girl's neck had been forced back against
the cushion, and then the chain had been fastened, securing her,
standing, in place. As the wagon moved forward, she was, thus, forced
to walk before it. The pole, projecting out from the wagon, isolated
her, keeping her from other human beings.
The music became louder.
I suddenly recognized the girl. It was she who had cut my purse
earlier in the day, the sensuous little wench, whose ear had been
notched. I gather that she had not had such good fortune later in
the day. I well knew what the punishment was for a Gorean female,
following her second conviction for theft.
On the flat-topped wagon, fastened to one side on a metal plate,
already white with heat, was a brazier, from which protruded the
handles of two irons. Also mounted on the wagon was a branding rack,
of the sort popular in Tyros. It was, I conjectured another instance
of the cultural minglings which characterized the port of Lydius.
The wagon stopped on the broad street, before the wharves, where
the crowd could gather about.
A judge climbed, on wooden stairs at the back of the wagon, to its
surface. The other judges stood below him, on the street.
The girl pulled at the leather binding fiber fastening her wrists
behind her back. She moved her neck and head in the confinement
of the chain and leather, at the end of the pole.
"Will the Lady Tina of Lydius deign to face me?" asked
the judge, using the courteous tones and terminology with which
Gorean free women, often inordinately honored, are addressed.
I looked quickly at Rim and Thurnock. "Tina!" I said.
They grinned. "It must be she," said Rim, "who drugged
Arn, and took his gold."
I, too, smiled. It must indeed be she. Arn, I supposed, would have
much relished being here.
I suspected that little Tina would cut few purses in the future.
"Will the Lady Tina of Lydius please deign to face me?"
asked the judge, with the same courtesy as before.
The girl turned in the chain and leather to face her judge, standing
removed from her and above her, in his white robes, trimmed with
two borders, one of gold, the other of purple.
"You have been tried, and convicted, of the crime of theft,"
intoned the judge.
"She stole two gold pieces from me!" cried a man standing
in the crowd. "And I had witnesses!"
"It took an Ahn to catch her," said another man, laughing.
The judge paid no attention to these speakings.
"You have been tried and convicted of the crime of theft,"
said the judge, "for the second time."
The girl's eyes were terrified.
"It is now my duty, Lady Tina," said the judge, "to
pass sentence upon you."
She looked up at him.
"Do you understand?" he asked.
"Yes," she said, "my judge."
"Are you prepared now, Lady Tina of Lydius," asked the
judge, to hear your sentence?"
"Yes," she said, regarding him, "my judge."
"I herewith sentence you, Lady Tina of Lydius," said the
judge, "to slavery."
There was a shout of pleasure from the crowd. The girl's head was
down. She had been sentenced.
"Bring her to the rack," said the judge.
The man who had guided the wagon from the rear, and had now locked
the brake on the front wheels, went to the bound girl. He unfastened
the chain that bound her against the curved leather at the end of
the pole,; and, holding her by the arm, her wrists still tied behind
her, led her to the rear of the wagon, and up the steps. She then
stood beside her judge, barefoot on the flat-topped, wooden wagon.
Her head was down.
"Lady Tina," requested the judge, "go to the rack."
Wordlessly, the girl went and stood by the rack, her back to the
The man who had brought her to the wagon now knelt before her, locking
metal clasps on her ankles.
He then went behind her, and unbound her wrists. "Place your
hands over your head," he said. She did so. "Bend your
elbows," he said. She did so. "Lie back," he then
said, supporting her. She did so, and was stretched over the curved
iron. He then took her wrists and pulled her arms almost straight.
He then locked her wrists in metal clasps, similar to those, though
smaller, which confined her ankles. Her head was down. He then bent
to metal pieces, heavy, curved and hinged, which were attached to
the sides of the rack, and a bit forward. Each piece consisted of
two curved, flattish bands, joining at the top. He lifted them,
and dropped them into place. Then, with two keys, hanging on tiny
chains at the sides, he tightened the bands. They were vises. She
might now be branded on either the left or right thigh. There was
ample room, I noted, between the bands, on either side, to press
the iron. She was held perfectly. Her tanned thigh could not protest
so much as by the slightest tremor. She would be marked cleanly.
The man, placing heavy gloves on his hands, withdrew from the brazier
a slave iron. Its tip was a figure some inch and a half high, the
first letter in cursive script, in the Gorean alphabet, of the expression
It is a beautiful letter.
The judge looked down upon the Lady Tina of Lydius. She, fastened
over the rack, stripped, looked up at him, in his robes, those with
two borders, one of gold, the other of purple. Her eyes were wild.
"Brand the Lady Tina of Lydius," he said. "Brand
her slave." Then he turned, and departed from the platform.
The girl gave a terrible scream.
There was a shout from the crowd.
The man now, swiftly, brutally, released the girl, spinning open
the vises, and dropping them against the rack, unfastening her wrists
and ankles, and dragged her to her feet. Her hair was over her face.
She was weeping.
The man's hand was strong on her arm. "Here is a nameless slave!"
he cried. "What am I bid for her?"
---Hunters of Gor, 3:48-51
of the various forms of punishments
and executions as found within the Gor books are listed on a
separate page of this section.
Justice - Duels and Challenges
When a dispute occurs between two men, it is often found acceptable
for them to settle this dispute by means of a duel or challenge
of sorts. These duels and challenges as well as their stake or outcome
are in fact often legally regulated, subject to rather strict rules
and accepted as a form of justice.
The form of duel most often
found within the pages of the Gorean saga is probably that which
is provided by the codes of the caste of warriors and which states
that when a man draws a weapon against one of this caste, it is
within the warrior's right to slay him. Similarly, another element
of the codes of this particular caste states that the warrior takes
by the sword what pleases him, thus legitimizing dueling to death
in order to obtain something which the opponent has, be it land,
a slave or other.
If the challenges between
warriors are most common, other forms of dueling are certainly no
less interesting and although not all duels involve the killing
of one's opponent, from the splendor of love wars between the men
of the wagons and those of Turia, to the smaller scale duels of
Torvaldsland or the rites of peasant village laws, a challenge is
never issued lightly as even without losing one's life to it, the
stakes are often quite high. Various forms of duels
and challenges are listed on a separate page of this section.