(#3, Version 5.0)
The passage of years is measured differently in each city, usually according to that city's list of Administrators or Ubars. For example, it might be the tenth year in the Administration of someone or the fifteenth year of this Ubar. Some cities rely upon the calendar of Ar which is considered a standard in certain areas. In the Arian calendar, the years are marked in Contasta Ar (C.A.), since the founding of Ar. Ar is allegedly over 10,000 years old. Some of the barbarian cultures, such as the Wagon Peoples and Red Savages, have their own calendars. The Wagon People actually have two different calendars.
Gorean years are generally calculated from one vernal equinox to the next. Turia though uses the summer solstice as their New Year. There is no known Gorean term for a year. A year consists of twelve months and thirteen hands. Each month equals five weeks, each week consisting of five days. This means a Gorean year has 365 days. There is no known Gorean term for a month. In between each month is a Passage Hand, a five-day period. In many cities the Twelfth Passage Hand is a time of carnival, a festival of merriment. Players of Gor provides an excellent example of a carnival in Port Kar.
The Twelfth Passage Hand is followed by the Waiting Hand, a five-day period prior to the vernal equinox, which marks the New Year. The Waiting Hand is a solemn time when little business is done and many Goreans stay home. It is a time of fasting, meditation and mourning. The doors of many homes are painted white, sealed with pitch and branches of the brak bush are fastened to them. The brak bush is meant to keep bad luck away. On the dawn of the vernal equinox, a ceremonial greeting of the sun takes place within the city. The end of this greeting is signified by the ringing of great bars suspended above the city. The people then exit their houses, washing the pitch away and burning the brak bush. The festivities will last for the first ten days of the month. The Initiates do not make much of the Waiting Hand in their ceremonies and preachments so it is unlikely of much religious significance.
En'Kara-Lar-Torvis, commonly called En'Kara, is the first Gorean month, which would correspond roughly to the middle of the Earth month of March. It is the month of the vernal equinox. The term translates as the "First Turning of the Central Fire." The Central Fire is a Gorean term for the sun. According to Ar and some other cities, Hesius is the second month and Camerius is the third month. In Ko-ro-ba, the month of Camerius is known as Selnar. Se'Kara-Lar-Torvis, or Se'Kara, is the month of the autumnal equinox. The term translates as the "Second Turning of the Central Fire." En'Var-Lar-Torvis, or En'Var, is the month of the summer solstice. The term translates as the "First Resting of the Central Fire." Se'Var-Lar-Torvis, or Se-Var, is the month of the winter solstice. The term translates as the "Second Resting of the Central Fire." The four "Lar-Torvis" months are common to most Gorean cities. The names of the rest of the months vary widely.
A Gorean day is divided into twenty Ahn, numbered consecutively. The tenth Ahn is noon and the twentieth Ahn is midnight. A Gorean day is the same length as an Earth day. An Ahn is similar to an Earth hour but the length of each is different. Each Ahn consists of forty Ehn, or minutes, and each Ehn of eighty Ihn or seconds. An Ihn is only a little longer than an earth second. In Earth terms, an Ahn is equal to 1.2 hours, or 72 minutes. An Ehn is equal to 1.8 minutes, or 108 seconds. An Ihn equals 1.35 seconds.
The duration of an Ahn may vary in other cities. Some cities divide their days by assigning ten Ahn to their daylight hours and ten to their night hours. Thus, in the summer, the day Ahns last longer than the night Ahns. Despite these differences, their days are still the same length as all other cities. It is only the length of some Ahns that varies.
Time bars are commonly rung in the city to signal each hour. Chronometers, watches, are rare and valuable. Their hands move counterclockwise and have a sweeping Ihn hand. Official clocks are adjusted, according to certain astronomical measurements, by the Scribe Caste. The average Gorean also has a variety of other simple devices to mark the passage of time. These include marked or calibrated candles, sun dials, sand glasses, clepsydras (water clocks) and oil clocks.
Gorean Calendar (Not all the months were named in the books)
En'Kara (Vernal equinox/First month)
First Passage Hand
Second Month (Known as Hesius in Ar)
Second Passage Hand
Third Month (Known as Camerius in Ar and Selnar in Ko-ro-ba)
Third Passage Hand
En'Var (Summer solstice/Fourth Month)
Fourth Passage Hand
Fifth Passage Hand (Love Feast)
Sixth Passage Hand
Se-Kara (Fall equinox/Seventh Month)
Seventh Passage Hand
Eighth Passage Hand
Ninth Passage Hand
Se'Var (Winter solstice/Tenth Month)
Tenth Passage Hand
Eleventh Passage Hand
Twelfth Passage Hand (Carnival time)
There is little standardization in currency exchange rates throughout Gor. These ratios vary from city to city. The bankers, or literally the coin merchants, try to standarize coinage at each Sardar Fair but their motion never passes. Certain coins though are respected and accepted throughout the civilized cities. These include such coins as the gold tarns of Ar, Ko-ro-ba and Port Kar, golden staters from Brundisium, and the silver tarsk of Tharna.
On Gor, the basic unit of currency is the tarsk coin, made of copper or silver. Each city then decides on the ratio between such coins. A tarsk bit is the smallest unit of currency. From four to twenty tarsk bits equals one copper tarsk. From forty to one hundred copper tarsks equals one silver tarsk. Ten silver tarsks equal one gold tarn disk. Gold tarn disks are also made in double weight. Some coins may be split into pieces to make change. A coin is about 1.5" in diameter and 3/8" thick. There is a tarn or tarsk on one side and usually a letter to identify the city of origin on the other side. There is no paper currency on Gor.
The early novels mentioned the existence of copper and silver tarn disks but the later books, especially when discussing exchange rates, omit these coins. If you monitor the appearance of these tarn disks, they begin to disappear from the books as they progress. And the initial books neglect to mention tarsk disks. This seems to be another area where Norman chose to change matters in the latter books. The latter books should be taken as more authoritative in this matter as they are the ones where the issue of coinage is more thoroughly described. Tribesman of Gor, #10, may be the last book to mention a copper or silver tarn disk.
To most Goreans, a silver tarsk is a coin of considerable value. A gold tarn disk is more than many common laborers earn in a year. A gold tarn may buy a tarn or five slave girls. Five pieces of gold is a fortune and one can live in many cities for years on such resources. For the most part, many items on Gor will sell for copper tarsks. Business is often conducted by notes and letters of credit. Most cities have their own mints. Coins are struck, one at a time, by a hammer pounding on the flat cap of a die. Coins are not made to be easily stacked. In some cities, such as Tharna, coins are drilled so that they might be stringed.
A coin is a way in which a government certifies that a given amount of precious metal is involved in a transaction. It saves the need of weighing and testing each coin, thus making commerce much easier. But, some less scrupulous people may shave coins, slicing slivers of metal off of them. This is akin to theft and fraud. The coin is worth less than it should be.
All directions on Gor are calculated from the Sardar Mountains. There are two main directions, Ta-Sardar-Var and Ta-Sardar-Ki-Var. They are also simply called Var and Ki-Var. Var means a turning toward the Sardar, almost like facing north. Ki-Var means not turning to the Sardar. But, Ki-Var is never used as a designation or direction on a map. The Gorean compass is divided into eight quadrants, as opposed to the four used on Earth. Starting with Var, in clockwise order, then comes Ror, Rim, Tun, Vask (also known as Versus Var), Cart, Klim and Kail. There is also a system of longitude and latitude figured on the basis of the Gorean day with Ahns, Ehns and Ihns.
A Gorean compass commonly has a luminescent dial and needle. The needle always points to the Sardar Mountains. It may also have a chronometer on the back. You press a tab to open the back panel and reveal the time piece.
A pasang is about seven-tenths of a mile. Most travel distances are expressed in pasangs. Speeds are also expressed in these units.
A hort equals 1 1/4 inches. Ten horts equal a Gorean foot, which is about 12 1/2 inches long. Height is normally expressed in horts. There are tape measures that are marked in horts.
An ah-il is the distance from the elbow to tip of the middle finger, about eighteen inches. This is similar to an Earth cubit. Ten ah-il equal one ah-ral. Cloth is commonly measured in these units. Ah-ils are not used to express height.
A huda equals five tefa. Six tefs equal one tefa, a tiny basket. A tef consists of a handful, with the fingers closed, of produce.
A stone equals about four pounds. A weight equals ten stone. Weight is normally expressed in stones.
A talu is equal to about two gallons.
There is an official Merchant's Stone, Weight and Foot. The Stone and Weight are solid metal cylinders while the Foot is a metal rod. They have been standardized by Merchant Law and are kept near the Sardar. Each city also keeps their own standard and can compare it to the official ones at any of the Sardar Fairs. Each Merchant will also keep their own standard that they can check against their city standard. Less scrupulous Merchants may use deceptive standards to cheat their customers.