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Gorean society has a firmly established Caste system, a very important aspect of their society. Almost every Free Person of the cities of Gor belongs to a Caste. Priest-Kings, slaves and outlaws are the three primary exceptions who stand outside of the Caste system. Priest-Kings are considered the gods of Gor and slaves are considered property and thus they have no status in the Caste system.
An outlaw is a man who chooses to rebel against the Caste system. He either refuses to follow the Caste he was born into or tries to change his Caste without going through the proper procedures. Such a man, if convicted of being an outlaw, is banished from his city, losing his connection to his Home Stone and losing any Caste status. If he dares to return to a city, he will typically be arrested and subject to impalement. The loss of a connection to your Home Stone and the Caste system is considered a terrible loss and thus there are few outlaws on Gor. Outlaws live a precarious existence on the outskirts of civilization, hiding in the wilds such as the Voltai Mountains or the Northern Forests. Only the Peasant might aid an outlaw as the Peasant feels he has little an outlaw would consider worth stealing. Thus, some outlaws and peasants have formed a tacit agreement to assist each other. The peasant will help to protect the outlaw and the outlaw will then share what he acquires.
There are other people who do not fall into one of these exceptions but are still outside of the Caste system. There are some whom have lost their Caste for various reasons. For example, a slave who is freed has no Caste upon manumission. They must petition to join a Caste, even if they had belonged to a Caste before they had been enslaved. A few people are born outside of the Caste system such as the children of an outlaw. A few occupations are not associated with a Caste such as gardening, domestic service and herding. Some of these people still have a connection to a Home Stone and thus are not in the same predicament as an outlaw though their lack of a Caste is detrimental in various ways. We must also consider the barbarian cultures outside of civilized Gor as they do not have a Caste system. These would include such cultures as the Wagon Peoples, Torvaldslanders, Red Savages, Red Hunters and the Tribesmen of the Tahari. It is the people of the cities who can afford to be specialists within a Caste system. For the barbarian cultures, survival is a primary concern and thus they must become generalists to increase their chances of survival.
Caste is primarily governed by birth and children always take on the Caste of their father. Though upward mobility in the Caste system is infrequent it is still possible. In general, few Goreans try to raise their Caste. It would be even rarer for a Gorean to willingly lower his Caste. One way to change Caste for a woman is through Free Companionship. Normally, mating remains within the same Caste. But, in a Free Companionship a woman is permitted to take the Caste of the man if she so desires. This can serve to raise her caste, even from a Low Caste to a High Caste. But, a man cannot take on the Caste of his Free Companion. A person's abilities can also serve to raise their Caste though on the same hand, a lack of ability can lead to a demotion in your Caste. To change one's caste, the High Council of the city must approve the change based upon your qualifications for the new Caste. The new Caste must also be willing to accept you. Proper bribes can make this process easier, even if your qualifications may be lacking. Men and women are generally promoted and demoted by the same criteria in the Caste system. In practice, few Goreans actually change their Caste because they are proud of their Caste, cognizant that each Caste performs a valuable service for the community. Even the Peasant, the lowest of all the Castes, realizes that without their efforts many people would not be fed.
Except for the Assassin Caste, you must belong to a Home Stone to have a Caste. Each city has their own Caste system and each specific Caste has its own hierarchy particular to that city. Almost the only time that people from the same Caste, but of different cities, might ever meet to discuss Caste issues is at the Sardar Fairs. The Sardar Fairs are a very important time for the different Castes to share information. You cannot belong to a Caste in a city unless you also belong to the Home Stone of that city. In addition, you may only belong to a single Caste. Dual Castes are not permitted on Gor. Caste loyalty is far too important on Gor for someone to have dual loyalties by belonging to multiple Castes. Now, if one changes their Caste they obviously do not lose any knowledge or skills they acquired from the first Caste. But there might be some restrictions on their use of those previously acquired skills. For example, a Physician who became a Warrior might not be permitted any longer to operate in hospitals owned by the Physician's Caste. But, that Physician would still retain his medical knowledge and skills.
Castes also do not have complete monopolies over some of their skills. For example, any person can buy and sell slaves, not just a member of the Slaver's Caste. Anyone can learn how to wield a sword, not just a member of the Warrior's Caste. Obviously such individuals will not know or follow the Caste Codes of those Castes. In addition, there would be some restrictions on their use of those skills. A Caste would not generally permit someone to try to usurp their Caste to a major degree. Goreans also realize that commonly someone cannot practice the work of their Caste until they have satisfactorily completed an apprenticeship. This serves in part as a guarantee to the quality of the product. This guarantee would not apply to a person practicing the skills who does not belong to the Caste. It would be a matter of caveat emptor.
The Caste system is intended to provide some structure and stability to Gorean society.
"It is apparently one of the socially stabilizing forces on Gor. It tends to reduce the dislocations, disappointments and tragedies inherent in more mobile structures, in which men are taught that they are failures if they do not manage to make large amounts of money or excel in one of a small number of prestigious professions. The system also helps to keep men of energy and high intelligence in a wide variety of occupations, this preventing the drain of such men into a small number of often artificially desiderated occupations, this tending then to leave lesser men, or frustrated men, to practice other hundreds of arts the survival and maintenance of which are important to a superior civilization." (Dancer of Gor, p.186-7)
The welfare of the caste is of the utmost of importance to the individual Gorean. They will subsume their own individual desires and ambitions for the greater good of the Caste. It is clearly that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. This is a concept that is hard to accept for many people from Earth.
The Caste system is divided into High Castes and Low Castes. The High Castes are considered socially superior to the Low Castes. There are only five High Castes and include, in order of status and importance, the Initiates, Scribes, Builders, Physicians and Warriors. The Low Castes includes all of the other established castes. They are ranked in order of importance as well though this hierarchy is not clearly defined in the books. We do know that the Peasant Caste is the lowest Caste in the system. Some of these Castes, High and Low, also contain a number of subcastes. The lines between Caste and subcaste is sometimes vague and the subcaste may consider itself to be a separate Caste though legally it is not. Each Caste has its own Caste colors and some subcastes also have their own Caste colors. These colors are often publicly worn as people are proud of their Caste. A person may own documents that certifies their Caste status which can be beneficial if the person is seeking Caste benefits.
For more information on the Caste system, you can also refer to Scroll #23, The Three Pillars of Gor.
List of Castes
The books list a number of Castes and subcastes though sometimes they give few details concerning those Castes and subcastes. The books also mention a number of occupations but fail to explain whether they are actual Castes, subcastes or just positions. Not every occupation on Gor is an actual Caste or subcaste. Some are simply a titled position that has little to do with the actual Caste. For example, a person of any Caste (though most likely only a High Caste) may be an Ambassador. An Ambassador is not a Caste or subcaste, it is simply a titled office. Some occupations that are mentioned would logically be a Caste or subcaste. This scroll will contain numerous speculations in that regard. The books also fail to provide many Caste colors. There are numerous web sites that have assigned Caste colors to certain Castes that are clearly erroneous and have no support in the books. But, as these web sites have been around for a long time, they are accepted as fact. Even the Silk and Steel web site, normally an excellent and source for accurate Gorean information, has some erroneous information on their Caste page.
Previous education scrolls have addressed certain Castes and this scroll will simply refer you to those scrolls. In general, those are Castes that have received a lot of detail in the books. I will also address here certain Castes which do not actually exist in the books but which many people have long accepted as valid. If someone has a book reference that can support any of these alleged Castes or Caste colors, I would be very pleased to know the reference.
Animal Handler's Caste: The books do not state such a general Caste exists. Specific Castes do exist for certain animals but the books do not support any connection between these separate Castes.
Artisan's Caste: The books do not state such a general Caste exists. An artisan is simply a manually skilled worker. That would apply for many different Castes. The term "artisan" was used in the books, in a general sense, but never in a context that would show it was an actual Caste.
Artist's Caste: The books do not state such a general Caste exists. Art is very important to Goreans. Logically, there might be an Artist's Caste with various sub-castes depending on the medium of the artist such as painting or sculpture. But, it is also true that many artists do not sign or identify their works because they feel that the art itself is important and not the creator. The artist to be pleased and thankful that that the art chose to speak through him. As the artist often chooses to focus attention on the art and not himself, then maybe such men would not choose to form an actual Caste. That might be contrary to their beliefs about the importance of the art and the unimportance of the artist.
Baker's Caste: This is a Low Caste which is responsible for making the varied baked goods of Gor, from breads to pastries. Their Caste colors are yellow and brown. The books do not indicate that there are definitely subcastes of this Caste. Potentially, there could be subcastes that specialized in certain types of baked goods, such as Bread-Makers or Pie-Makers.
Bakers use a special "baker's knot." When slaves are sent to purchase baked goods, the baker may tie a bag around the girl's neck to prevent her from stealing anything from the order. As the special knot is tied behind the girl's neck, she cannot see it. Even if she could untie it, she would not know how to properly retie it and thus could not escape detection.
Bargemen Caste: Some of the bargemen of the Cartius River claim to be a Caste and this claim is accepted by some and rejected by others. These bargemen ferry people across the river for a fee. There are no Caste colors given in the books for this Caste.
Bleacher's Caste: This is a Low Caste responsible for bleaching fabrics to make them white. There are no Caste colors given in the books for this Caste.
Bounty Creditor: This position is identified as part of the Merchant Caste though it is unclear if it is a subcaste or simply a type of position. Bounty Creditors wear white and gold, the Caste colors of a Merchant. These individuals purchase a person's debts from other merchants, at a discounted rate, and then attempt to collect the face value of the debts from the debtors. They are a form of debt collector, speculating on their ability to get someone to pay. They are very tenacious in their work.
Bounty Hunter: The books do not state if this is an actual Caste or subcaste. Bounty hunters hunt down men for a fee. As proof of their success, they often save the head of their target. If their targets are very general, they may not be too particular in the identity of the head they obtain. For example, if they receive a bounty for any citizen of a specific city, they might not be too careful in ensuring that all of their heads come from just citizens. The man who pays their bounty fees may have difficulty determining if a head does belong to the specific city and often will pay the bounty hunter despite this dilemma. It is possible that Bounty Hunters are similar to mercenaries, simply hired men who may or may not have a Caste. Some may have once belonged to the Warrior Caste and others may simply have found a talent in man hunting. There are no Caste colors given in the books for these men.
Brewer's Caste: This is a Low Caste that is responsible for the brewing of certain alcoholic beverages such as paga, ale and mead. There are no Caste colors given in the books for this Caste.
Builder's Caste: This is one of the High Castes of Gor and third in line of importance. Their caste color is yellow and their symbol is a metal angle square. This caste includes such subcastes as Architects, Draftsmen, Stonemasons and others. In general, they are the builders and inventors of Gor. The Glass of the Builders, a telescope, is one of their inventions. They also created the energy bulb, a special type of light bulb, over a century ago. With help from the Physician's Caste, they also developed the slave goad. In general, only free men are allowed to build on Gor. Only the city of Port Kar was constructed by slaves. The Builder's Caste can also verify the authenticity of gold. Though this is an important Caste, little is told about it in the books.
Butcher's Caste: This is not specifically stated to be a Caste in the books though it seems a logical choice. Such a Caste would be a Low Caste and be responsible for the preparation and cutting of varied meats for the consumption of Goreans. There are no Caste colors given in the books for this Caste.
Camp Singers: This is not a Gorean Caste. It is a clan of the Wagon Peoples. All male Wagon People are expected to be skilled in war, hunting and herding. Some also then specialize in an additional duty and these duties are grouped into clans. Please see Scroll #37, The Wagon Peoples, for more details.
Caste of Carders: This is a Low Caste. The Carder's are a subcaste of the Weaver's Caste which is a subcaste of the Rug Maker's Caste. The Rug Maker's are a subcaste of the Cloth Maker's Caste. They are responsible for the memorization of rug patterns. There are no Caste colors given in the books for this subcaste.
Charcoal Maker's Caste: This is a Low Caste that provides one of the two common fuels on Gor, the other being wood. There are no Caste colors given in the books for this Caste.
Cloth Worker's Caste: This is a Low Caste that produces and works on cloth and cloth products. The Rug Makers are a subcaste of this Caste. The Weavers are a subcaste of the Rug Makers. The Carders and the Dyers are subcastes of the Weavers. Other subcastes may exist of the Cloth Worker's Caste. There are no Caste colors given in the books for this Caste.
Cosmetician's Caste: This is a Low Caste that produces and sells cosmetics of various types to free women and slaves. Most free women rarely wear cosmetics except for the bold ones though there are certain cities, such as Ar, where free women do commonly use cosmetics. Many cosmeticians treat their free women clients almost like slaves. Cosmetics for slaves are much more common across Gor. For example, there are one hundred and eleven basic shades of slave lipstick and there are even flavored lipsticks. The toenails and fingernails of slaves are rarely painted though it does occur. There are no Caste colors given in the books for this Caste.
Craftsmen: There is a book reference that lists a number of craftsmen in a city but the passage does not specify if each of these craftsmen is a Caste or a subcaste. Now, other passages make it clear that some of these craftsmen are part of a Caste or subcaste. For example, the carders, dyers of cloth, weavers of rugs, potters, and weapon smiths are clearly part of a Caste or subcaste. Thus, it seems likely that the other craftsmen would also be Castes or subcastes. These craftsmen would include carvers, varnishers, table makers, gem cutters, jewelers, tanners, makers of slippers, toolers of leather, and glaziers. If they are Castes or subcastes, we have no idea what their Caste colors would be.
Drover's Caste: The books do not state such a Caste exists. A drover simply transports herd animals back and forth between areas. As this is essentially only herding, then it may not be a Caste at all as herding is not generally considered to be a Caste.
Dyer's Caste: This is a Low Caste responsible for the creation of various colored dyes, especially for the use on cloth and other fabrics. The Dyer's are a subcaste of the Weaver's Caste which is a subcaste of the Rug Maker's Caste. The Rug Maker's are a subcaste of the Cloth Maker's Caste. There are no Caste colors given in the books for this subcaste.
Entertainer's Caste: This is not specifically stated to be a Caste in the books. Some have tried try to gather into this alleged Caste various other Castes and professions that do not belong to any Caste such as the Musicians, Artists, Poets, Sculptors, Singers, Magicians and more. This is not accurate. Musicians, Poets, and Singers have their own separate castes though they are similar in many ways. They are full Castes and not sub-castes. Other entertainers, such as those in carnivals like magicians, mimes, acrobats and such, are usually casteless. They are outcasts and rogues who band together in a traveling group. Such people are denied the any form of honorable burial. They must wander frequently, making a meager living, and trying to stay ahead of their creditors and possibly even the magistrates.
Fishermen Caste: This is a Low Caste. The books do not state that there are any specific subcastes of this Caste. It is possible that there could be subcastes, differentiated by the location of the fishing, the type of fishing and the type of fish sought. For example, there could be subcastes for Thassa, river and lake fishing. There could be subcastes for shellfish and whaling. But that is all just speculation. There are no Caste colors given in the books for this Caste.
Goat Keeper's Caste: This is a Low Caste that is responsible for the care and breeding of Gorean goats. There are no Caste colors given in the books for this Caste.
Guardsmen Caste: The books do not state that such a Caste exists. Any guardsmen in a city appear to be of the Warrior Caste. Being a guardsman is a position within the city government and is not an actual Caste.
Hairdresser's Caste: This is a Low Caste. Many hairdressers treat their free women clients almost like slaves. Upswept hairdos are reserved for free women or high slaves as it is a mark of status. Free women sometimes even buy wigs or falls, though they desire only the hair of other free women. Usually slave hair is worn long and loose, or confined in some simple way as with a ribbon or wooden fillet. They have little need for a hair dresser. Many masters even cut their own girls' hair. There are no Caste colors given in the books for this Caste.
Harness Maker's Caste: This is a part of the Leather Worker's Caste and is likely considered a subcaste. Not only do they create harnesses but they also produce other items that would be associated with harnesses such as saddles, bridles, reins, hobblings, and tethers. They make such harnesses for animals of all types, including slaves. There are no Caste colors given in the books for this Caste.
Healers: This is not a Gorean Caste. It is a clan of the Wagon Peoples responsible for medical skills and knowledge. All male Wagon People are expected to be skilled in war, hunting and herding. Some also then specialize in an additional duty and these duties are grouped into clans. Please see Scroll #37, The Wagon Peoples, for more details.
Initiate Caste: This is a High Caste, the highest of all Castes. Please see Scroll #17, Initiate Caste, for more details.
Lamplighter's Caste: The books do not state such a Caste or subcaste exists. At night, many men carry their own light source such as a torch or lamp as many city streets are dark and unlit. On those streets where there are tharlarion-oil lamps, the lights are tended by those who reside on that specific street. They are not maintained by city workers. On major city streets, the city may maintain the lamps but there is no indication this work is done by a specific Caste.
Leather Worker's Caste: This is a Low Caste. They work with leather, creating a variety of different products. Leather workers also responsible for the piercing of the ears and noses of slave girls. For ears, they use long needles with no anesthetic. They then fix two tiny steel rods, with threaded ends, through the holes. To each end of the rods, they thread a tiny steel disk to hold the rods in the holes. The rods can then be removed in four days. To pierce a nose, they use a small punch to create the hole. There are no Caste colors given in the books for this Caste.
There is also a leather worker clan of the Wagon Peoples. All male Wagon People are expected to be skilled in war, hunting and herding. Some also then specialize in an additional duty and these duties are grouped into clans. Please see Scroll #37, The Wagon Peoples, for more details.
Magistrates: There are numerous magistrates in the Gorean cities including aediles, archons, praetors, prefects and quaestors. The exact powers and abilities of these different magistrates is not explicitly stated within the books. These magistrate positions are taken from ancient Greek and Roman magistrates. There is also no indication whether Magistrates form their own Caste, are a subcaste of another or are simply positions. The books do state that magistrates are an "office" and that they must wear the robes and fillets of that office. They also carry wands of their office. As an office, that might indicate they are only a position. But, as they are legal officials, it is possible that they might belong to the Scribes Caste. There are merchant magistrates mentioned in the books and they wear white robes trimmed with gold and purple. This would indicate that at least that type of magistrate is part of the Merchant's Caste.
Mercenaries: The books do not state such a Caste of Mercenaries exists. Mercenaries may be either men from the Warrior Caste or men from other Castes who are familiar with the use of weapons. Most mercenaries are loyal only to gold and thus cannot be fully trusted.
Merchant's Caste: This is a Low Caste though many within the Caste consider themselves a High Caste. Their Caste colors are white and yellow (sometimes called gold). Usually, they wear white robes that are trimmed with gold. Many merchants shave their heads and they are seldom trained in the martial arts. It is clear that there are a number of subcastes of the Merchant's. The Slaver's Caste is legally a sub-caste of the Merchant's Caste though they consider themselves a separate caste. The books do not give a list of the other subcastes. In general, merchants sell items that they do not produce. If someone produces the item that they are selling, they would belong to a Caste different from the Merchant's Caste.
One of the only aspects of their Caste Code that is depicted in the books is that they ensure that they are always paid. They do not give away anything for free. Haggling is very important to them and many are quite skillful in it. They have developed and help enforce Merchant Law, the only common set of laws and agreements that existing among the Gorean cities. They also are responsible for arranging and administering the four great Sardar fairs. The Merchant Caste often wield great power through their financial resources. This power may be used to gain political power as well. Influence can be gained through more than simple bribery. The extension or refusal of credit can affect a city's High Council. It can also affect public opinion.
Metal Workers Caste: This is a Low Caste, primarily smiths of various sorts. They include simple blacksmiths up to craftsmen who work in gold and silver making jewelry. These smiths often form specific subcastes such as the Goldsmith and Silversmith. Many Caste members cut their hair short and commonly wear a tunic, leather apron and cap. A popular saying of this caste is "Where would the dwellers of cities be without us?" (Dancer of Gor, p.293) This is a way of saying that the utilities and workings of metal are essential for a high civilization. There are no Caste colors given in the books for this Caste.
Locksmiths also belong to this caste and likely form a subcaste. Most entry doors on Gor have locks, generally hand-crafted and highly ornate. They are usually set in the center of the door and control a long bolt. Most are pin-tumbler locks. There are other types of locks including the disk lock, cylinder locks, padlocks, ring locks and combination locks. Most locks on slave collars are cylinder locks, either pin or disk varieties. There are six pins or disks, one for each letter in the word Kajira. Most locks are metal but there are wooden ones. Combination locks are rare, the most common ones having a set of lettered rings. It is a capital offense for a locksmith to make an unauthorized copy of a key.
Some locks are protected against intruders. Knife locks release a blade, or even several, if tampered with but they are useless against someone who knows what to look for. Poison locks have tiny pins that jut out, usually coated with kanda paste. A pit lock opens a pit beneath the opener. The pit may be filled with dangerous animals, knives or such. Sleeve locks cannot be picked. The sleeve prevents the direct entry of a wire or pick. Within the sleeve is a plug, a rounded, metal cone, which must be unscrewed before the key can be inserted. A wire or pick could not turn the cone.
Milk Vendors: The cities have vendors of bosk milk, a milk man who makes his rounds with a two-wheeled cart and ringing a bell. It is unknown if they are an actual Caste or sub-caste. They may possibly be related to the Peasant's or Merchant's Caste. There are no Caste colors given in the books for this Caste.
Miller Caste: This is likely a Low Caste responsible for operating the mills that grind the grains of Gor. There are no Caste colors given in the books for this Caste.
Moneylender's Caste: This is a Low Caste, a subcaste of the Merchant's Caste. They are responsible for loaning money and credit. There are no Caste colors given in the books for this subcaste.
Municipal Servant's Caste: The books do not state such a general Caste exists. Cities do provide a number of public services such as laundries, kitchens and nurseries but there is no indication that the employees at these places belong to any specific Castes.
Musician's Caste: This is a Low Caste that shares some similarities with the Singer's and Poet's Castes. A Musician is not required to be literate as there is no written music on Gor. Melodies are simply passed on down the generations through teachers and families. Musicians may travel freely across Gor and are welcomed into nearly any city. By tradition and custom, Musicians are commonly not enslaved though this does not have the power of law. "There is a saying to the effect that he who makes music must, like the tarn and the Vosk gull, be free." (Kajira of Gor, p.298) But, Musicians may still be killed, tortured or exiled as that does not violate custom or tradition. There is no indication that the separate musical instruments form their own subcastes but there is a prestige ranking for the different instruments. Czehar musicians have the most prestige, and then come the flute, kalika, drums and miscellaneous instruments. One of the best czehar players on Gor is Lysander of Asperiche. Not everyone who can play a musical instrument belongs to this Caste. Even slaves can learn how to play these instruments. There are no Caste colors given in the books for this Caste.
Peasant's Caste: This is the lowest of all Low Castes. Yet, economically, the base of life is the peasant and they are often known as the "Ox on which the Home Stone Rests." They provide much of the food for the cities, towns and villages of Gor. The people of the cities have a very low opinion of Peasants. A Peasant is seen as "…being little more than an ignoble brute, ignorant and superstitious, venal and vicious, a grubber in the dirt, a plodding animal, an ill-tempered beast, something at best cunning and treacherous;" (Raiders of Gor, p.3) This is not accurate though as Peasants have their own sense of nobility and honor. They have pride in their position, their land and their freedom. A Peasant who is actively engaged in agricultural pursuits is said to be "one who makes fields fruitful." This appellation is sometimes used for Peasants not actively engaged in such as an honor.
Many Peasants wear clothing that is little more than coarse sacking and go around barefoot. It is not unusual for peasants to keep their livestock in their homes during the cold winter. Most farmhouses for livestock are painted yellow with blue trim, the same colors as the Slaver's Caste. In these buildings though, the yellow predominates and Slavers tend to more equally distribute the colors. Peasants are often quite skilled with the staff and longbow (also known as the Peasant bow). Despite this skill, Peasants are seldom used, except in emergencies, in the armed forces of a city. Peasants are known for being very strict with their slaves. They prefer slaves who are large and more muscular so that they can work hard. Such slaves possess rope collars rather than metal ones.
The Peasants have their own Caste Codes like any other Caste. The Code exists not to control the lives of the Peasants but to allow their community to operate effectively. One section of their Codes states: "Neither a plow, nor a bosk, nor a girl may one man take from another, saving with the owner's saying of it,.." (Slave Girl of Gor, p.226). The sexual use of another's slave, without their explicit permission, is not considered a violation of this Caste Code principle. Permission to sexually use the slaves of others is implicit in the customs of the Peasants. It is considered a brief use without any intent to injure or dishonor the slave's owner. A "taking" in the context of the Code means an action intended to cause harm to the owner's rights or honor. The intent of the offender is critical to this principle.
Peasants have begin to have some problems due to the growing institution of the "great farm." A great farm is either owned by a wealthy individual or a company. This company may often generate its capital from investors. The intent of the great farm is to organize agricultural pursuits on a grander scale and take away such pursuits from the independent Peasant. These great farms try to purchase farms from the Peasants and sometimes resort to strong arm tactics to convince recalcitrant Peasants to sell. If the Peasants do sell their land, they will seek out new land where they can start again. Their Caste Codes discourage them from moving to a city. In the city, their skills would be largely useless anyways. They would need to find an alternative occupation to support themselves.
Perfumer's Caste: This is a Low Caste and it is responsible for the production and sale of perfumes for free women and slaves. They are usually clean-shaven and their Caste colors are white and yellow. Slave perfumes, which come in hundreds of varieties, usually have a heavier scent and are more sensual than free women perfumes. Many Perfumers though treat their free women clients almost like slaves. This does not prevent free women from flocking to the more famous Perfumers.
Perfumes come in a few different categories. There are common perfumes, hundreds, that are known to all Perfumers. There are often likely to be the least expensive perfumes. There are then certain perfumes that are unique to a Perfumer's House. These perfumes may be purchased by anyone but they can only be obtained at that particular House. These are sometimes called signature perfumes though that is not fully accurate. True signature perfumes form the third category. These are perfumes unique to a particular customer and not available to anyone else. These perfumes are blended by hand from secret recipes. These receipts are developed through consultation with the client and some experimentation to create exactly the type of perfume desired by the client. A wealthy woman might possess up to fifteen different signature perfumes. These signature perfumes are very expensive.
Poet's Caste: This is a Low Caste that appears very similar to the Singer's Caste. A Singer or Poets is considered "…a craftsman who make strong sayings,…" (Outlaw of Gor, p.103) A Singer or Poet is not required to be literate and some great men in these Castes have been illiterate. Many Goreans have superb memories and receive mnemonic training. Music and poetry is often memorized, never written down, and passed down from teacher to student. Singers and Poets are thought to be happy individuals and their Castes have greater prestige than the Pot Maker's and Saddle Maker's Castes. "A handful of bread for a song" is a traditional invitation extended to Singers and Poets. (Outlaw of Gor, p.104) The saying does not mean that a Singer or Poet will only receive bread or food for his performance. A Ubar may extend this invitation and then reward the Singer or Poet with a silver or gold. Overall, Singers and Poets do not live luxurious lives but they do will never starve or need to beg. Singers and Poets have their place in Gorean society, one that is considered quite important. "He has his role to play in the social structure, celebrating battles and histories, singing of heroes and cities, but also he is expected to sing of living, and of love and joy, not merely of arms and glory; and, too, it is his function to remind the Goreans from time to time of loneliness and death, lest they should forget that they are men." (Outlaw of Gor, p.104) Singers and Poets may travel freely across Gor and are welcomed into nearly any city. By tradition and custom, Singers and Poets are commonly not enslaved though this does not have the power of law. In addition, Singers and Poets may still be killed, tortured or exiled as that does not violate custom or tradition. There are no Caste colors given in the books for this Caste.
There are two famous poets mentioned in the books. The poet Tesias wrote the Oracles of the Talender. Pentilicus Tallux, a famous poet from Ar, is known for his poems in the delicate trilesiac form and for two sensitive and intimate dramas. Trilesiac seems to be a form of Gorean poetry but there is no description as to its type.
Pot-Maker's Caste: This is a Low Caste responsible for making pottery of different types, often using kilns to prepare the pottery. There are no Caste colors given in the books for this Caste.
Rencer Caste: This is a Low Caste, also known as the Growers of Rence. Please see Scroll #31, The Caste of Rencers, for more details.
Rug Maker's Caste: This is a Low Caste that is obviously responsible for the making of rugs. It is a subcaste of the Cloth Worker's Caste though the Rug Makers like to consider themselves a separate Caste. The Weaver Caste is a subcaste of the Rug Maker's Caste. The Castes of the Carders and Dyers are subcastes of the Weaver's Caste. The rugs of Tor are quite famous, similar to the Persian rugs of Earth. It can take over a year for five years, working together, to complete some of these rugs. The Carders memorize rug patterns and some of the Carders are even blind. Patterns can be quite complex and are passed down through the generations. These rugs are made on simple looms and each knot is hand-tied by a free woman, not a slave. The more intricate rugs may have as many as 400 knots within a square hort. These rugs are also dyed many different colors and most of the dyes used are derived from natural plant or animal products. There are no Caste colors given in the books for this Caste.
Saddle Maker's Caste: This is a Low Caste. It is likely a subcaste of the Leather Worker's Caste. They produce the saddlery, harness and tack used to manage all of the various riding and draft beasts of Gor. There are no Caste colors given in the books for this Caste. There is some confusion as the Harness Maker's Caste is said to also produce saddles. Thus, it is possible that the Saddle-Makers are a subcaste of the Harness Maker's.
Sailor's Caste: The books do not indicate that this is definitely a Caste or subcaste. It is logical to assume that this could be a Caste. Such a Caste might include subcastes such as River Sailors and Thassa Sailors.
Salt Hunters: This is not a Gorean Caste. It is a clan of the Wagon Peoples obviously responsible for locating salt. All male Wagon People are expected to be skilled in war, hunting and herding. Some also then specialize in an additional duty and these duties are grouped into clans. Please see Scroll #37, The Wagon Peoples, for more details.
Scarers: This is not a Gorean Caste. It is a clan of the Wagon Peoples responsible for creating the important scars that mark the men of the Wagon Peoples. All male People are expected to be skilled in war, hunting and herding. Some also then specialize in an additional duty and these duties are grouped into clans. Please see Scroll #37, The Wagon Peoples, for more details.
Scribe's Caste: This is a High Caste of Gor, the second most important Caste. Their Caste color is blue and they are the second most important Caste. There are various divisions and rankings, from simple copiers to savants. There are a number of sub-castes including Lawyers, Scholars, Record Keepers, Teachers, Clerks, Historians, Accountants, Geographers, and Cartographers. Much of the copy work, lower-order clerical work, trivial account keeping is done by slaves. The Scribes help render the Gorean language more uniform. They are accepted as arbiters of such matters and stipulate that certain pronunciations and grammatical formations are preferred over others. This is usually done at the Sardar Fairs when the Caste comes together in great numbers.
Ship Builders: Shipwrights may form their own Caste though it seems logical that they could be a subcaste of the Builder's Caste. Other craftsmen that contribute to the building of a ship, such as sail-makers, rope-makers, pulley-makers, oar-makers, sawyers, and carpenters are all not their own Caste or subcaste. In Port Kar, they basically form guilds and not Castes. This may apply to other port cities as well though that is not a given.
Singer's Caste: This is a Low Caste that appears very similar to the Poet's Caste. A Singer or Poets is considered "…a craftsman who make strong sayings,…" (Outlaw of Gor, p.103) A Singer or Poet is not required to be literate and some great men in these Castes have been illiterate. Many Goreans have superb memories and receive mnemonic training. Music and poetry is often memorized, never written down, and passed down from teacher to student. Singers and Poets are thought to be happy individuals and their Castes have greater prestige than the Pot Maker's and Saddle Maker's Castes. "A handful of bread for a song" is a traditional invitation extended to Singers and Poets. (Outlaw of Gor, p.104) The saying does not mean that a Singer or Poet will only receive bread or food for his performance. A Ubar may extend this invitation and then reward the Singer or Poet with a silver or gold. Overall, Singers and Poets do not live luxurious lives but they do will never starve or need to beg. Singers and Poets have their place in Gorean society, one that is considered quite important. "He has his role to play in the social structure, celebrating battles and histories, singing of heroes and cities, but also he is expected to sing of living, and of love and joy, not merely of arms and glory; and, too, it is his function to remind the Goreans from time to time of loneliness and death, lest they should forget that they are men." (Outlaw of Gor, p.104) Singers and Poets may travel freely across Gor and are welcomed into nearly any city. By tradition and custom, Singers and Poets are commonly not enslaved though this does not have the power of law. In addition, Singers and Poets may still be killed, tortured or exiled as that does not violate custom or tradition. There are no Caste colors given in the books for this Caste.
Sleen Trainer's Caste: This is a Low Caste responsible for the care, breeding and training of sleens, a feline-like animal that can be trained for many various different functions such as herding, tracking and guarding. Their Caste colors are brown and black.
Tarn Keeper's Caste: This is a Low Caste that is responsible for the care, breeding and training of the tarns, the aerial mounts of Gor. Tarn Keepers often crop their hair short and it appears that their Caste color is brown as they wear brown leather. Their leather may be streaked with colors if they support one of the racing tarn factions. They also wear caps and the color of the tassel on that cap may also match the color of their tarn racing faction.
Tavern Owners: These individuals are part of the Merchant's Caste though it is unknown if they form an actual subcaste or not. There are no Caste colors given in the books for these individuals. They may simply wear the colors of the Merchant Caste.
Tharlarion Keeper's Caste: This is a Low Caste that is responsible for the care, breeding and training of the mighty tharlarions, a common mount on Gor especially in those areas that have not yet mastered the tarn. There are no Caste colors given in the books for this Caste.
Thieves' Caste: There are few thieves on Gor and they are punished severely if caught. For a first offense, the penalty is commonly an ear notching. Such a notching would open be quite visible, unless covered by one's hair, and would mark one as a former thief. For a second offense, the penalty is determined by the sex of the thief. If the thief is a man, he will have his right hand severed. If the thief is a woman, she will be enslaved. Thus, only a man has a chance to commit a third offense as a free person. The penalty for that offense is the loss of the left hand and both feet.
But there is a Caste of Thieves in Port Kar, the only one known of its type on Gor. Not only are thieves allowed to exist, but it is even considered an honorable profession. Their skills are held in high repute. The thieves themselves are proud and sons often follow in the footsteps of their father. Even women may belong to this Caste and freely practice its skills. The Caste is very territorial and dole out specific territories to its members. They also will hunt down thieves who choose not to belong to the Caste. Caste members wear a brand on their right cheek, the infamous Thief's Scar. It is a tiny, three-pronged brand burned into the face in back of and below the right eye, over the cheekbone. It does seem strange that a thief who relies on not being caught should advertise their affiliation so openly. Maybe it is considered more of a challenge that way, a method of culling out the weak and foolish.
Ear notching and mutilation are not punishments in Port Kar for thievery. But, there are sanctions, some quite severe, for thieves who are caught. It is legally permitted for someone to kill a thief if you can catch that thief within one Ahn of the theft. It would obviously behoove a thief to make someone else aware of the theft so that third party could attest to the proper tolling of the Ahn. Otherwise, if only the thief knew when the theft occurred, and the victim killed the thief after the Ahn had passed, there would be no one to attest to the fact that the killing was not legal. After an Ahn has passed, then if a Thief is caught he must be turned over to the police of the city arsenal. A trial will be held on the charges. If a male thief is then found guilty, he would be sentenced to hard labor in the arsenal or on the wharves, for a time period of one week to one year. If a female thief is then found guilty, she would be sentenced to serve in a penal brothel for a time period of one week to one year.
Torturers: This is not a Gorean Caste. It is a clan of the Wagon Peoples and only they have such a clan. All male Wagon People are expected to be skilled in war, hunting and herding. Some also then specialize in an additional duty and these duties are grouped into clans. Torturers are very well trained in the arts of detaining life and interrogation. They wear hoods when engaged in their work unless their victim has been sentenced to death. Torturers do hire themselves out to non-Wagon People, especially to Ubars and Initiates though anyone could possibly hire one. The Torturers are not Assassins. They only perform their work on prisoners and captives. Please see Scroll #37, The Wagon Peoples, for more details.
Urt Hunters: The books do not specifically state that this is a Caste or subcaste. The books only mention urt hunters in Port Kar and this might be because Port Kar is the only known port city that has numerous canals running through it. Urt hunters try to keep the urt population in the canals down. They usually use a pronged urt spear and some type of bait, often a slave girl. The hunters row out into the canals. The slave girl who will be used as bait has a long rope, maybe twenty feet long, around her neck and it is tied to the bow ring. The kajira will jump into the water and splash around to attract urts. It is cheaper to use slave girls than a side of tarsk. Live verr are sometimes used as bait but they are not as effective. Urts usually approach their intended prey with their snout and eyes above water. You can thus detect an approaching urt and that should give the slave girl sufficient time to return to the boat before she is attacked. Not all girls are so lucky though. The hunter will then try to spear the urt. Some men will turn their own girls over to a urt hunter for discipline. A few days of being used as bait for urts will almost assuredly make them much more obedient.
Vart Trainer's Caste: The books do not specifically state that such a Caste or subcaste exists. It is clear that certain men on Tyros do train varts to be used as weapons. This would be a special skill and thus it seems logical that it could form a Caste.
Vintner's Caste: This is a Low Caste responsible for making wine and wine-based products. Their Caste colors are white and green and they commonly wear a white tunic with a representation in green cloth of leaves about the collar and down the sleeves.
Waste Collector's Caste: The books do not state such a Caste or subcaste exists. Male slaves, not free people, are commonly used to bring waste products from the cities to the carnariums outside the city walls.
Weaver's Caste: This is a Low Caste responsible for the weaving of different items, especially rugs. The Weaver's is a subcaste of the Rug Maker's Caste which is a subcaste of the Cloth Worker's Caste. There are no Caste colors given in the books for this Caste.
Woodsman's Caste: This is a Low Caste also known as the Carriers of Wood. They provide one of the essential fuels of Gor, the other being charcoal. They commonly wear a short, sleeveless robe with a leather region on the back and shoulders to protect them from their loads of wood. They also commonly wear leggings to protect their legs as they work in brush. They are responsible for chopping down trees and carrying the wood to market. Before they begin to chop down a tree, they will talk to the tree. They will tell the tree what the wood will be used for and then they will ask its forgiveness. It is a lonely Caste and they often do not see other people for long stretches of time. Woodsmen are usually very strong and can carry quite heavy loads of wood, strapped to their back and held in place by two straps held in their hands. A typical load might be six feet high and four feet wide. Such a load would be difficult even for many Warriors to carry. There are no Caste colors given in the books for this Caste.
Year Keepers: This is not a Gorean Caste. It is a clan of the Wagon Peoples responsible for memorizing the names of the Wagon People's years. Some are so skilled that they can recite several thousand consecutive years. All male Wagon People are expected to be skilled in war, hunting and herding. Some also then specialize in an additional duty and these duties are grouped into clans. Please see Scroll #37, The Wagon Peoples, for more details.