These are relevant references from the Books where Sentence is mentioned.
I make no pronouncements on these matters, but report them as I find them.
Arrive at your own conclusions.
I wish you well,
"The Initiates have pronounced their sentence," said the officer. "They have decreed a sacrifice to the Priest-Kings to ask them to have mercy and to restore the Home Stone."
Tarnsman of Gor Book 1 Pages 102 - 103
Marlenus, in spite of his heroic role in the victory, submitted himself to the judgment of Ar's Council of High Castes. The sentence of death passed upon him by the usurping government of the Initiates was rescinded, but because his imperialistic ambition was feared, he was exiled from his beloved city. Such a man as Marlenus can never be second in a city, and the men of Ar were determined that he should never again be first. Accordingly, the Ubar, tears in his eyes, was publicly refused bread and salt, and, under penalty of death, was ordered to leave Ar by sundown, never again to come within ten pasangs of the city.
Tarnsman of Gor Book 1 Page 216
I gathered the sentence to the mines was equivalent to a sentence of death.
Outlaw of Gor Book 2 Page 97
The Wagon Peoples, of all those on Gor that I know, are the only ones that have a clan of torturers, trained as carefully as scribes or physicians, in the arts of detaining life.
Some of these men have achieved fortune and fame in various Gorean cities, for their services to Initiates and Ubars, and others with an interest in the arts of detection and persuasion. For some reason they have all worn hoods. It is said they remove the hood only when the sentence is death, so that it is only condemned men who have seen whatever it is that lies beneath the hood.
"Turgus, of Port Kar," said the praetor, "in virtue of what we have here today established, and in virtue of the general warrant outstanding upon you, you are sentenced to banishment. If you are found within the limits of the city after sunset this day you will be impaled."
"The Lady Sasi, of Port Kar," said the praetor, "in virtue of what we have here today established, and in virtue of the general warrant outstanding upon her, must come under sentence."
"Please, my officer," she begged.
"I am now going to sentence you," he said.
"Please," she cried. "Sentence me only to a penal brothel!"
"The penal brothel is too good for you," said the praetor.
"Show me mercy," she begged.
"You will be shown no mercy," he said.
She looked up at him, with horror.
"You are sentenced to slavery," he said.
Two murderers were next brought to him for sentencing. The first, a commoner, had slain a boatsman from Schendi. The second, an askari, had killed another askari. The commoner was ordered to have his fingers cut off and then be put upon a tharlarion pole in Lake Ushindi. That his fingers be removed was accounted mercy on the part of Bila Huruma, that he be able to cling less long to the pole and his miseries be the sooner terminated. He had slain not one of the domain of Bila Huruma but one of Schendi. His crime, thus, was regarded as the less heinous. The askari was ordered to be speared to death by one of his own kin. In this fashion his honor would be protected and there would be no beginning of a possible blood feud between families. The askari petitioned, however, to be permitted to die instead fighting the enemies of the Ubarate. This petition was denied on the grounds that he had, by slaying his comrade, not permitted this same privilege to him. This judgment was accepted unquestioningly by the askari. "But am I not of my own kin, my Ubar?" he asked. "Yes," had said Bila Huruma. He was taken outside. He would be given a short-handled stabbing spear and would be permitted to throw himself upon it.
The next 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 accounts.
From outside I heard the cry of the askari. He had performed upon himself the justice of Bila Huruma.
The next to appear before Bila Huruma were two members of the nobility, a man and his companion. He complained of her that she had been unwilling to please him. By one word and a stroke of his hand between them Bila Huruma dissolved their companionship. He then ordered that the man be put in the dress of a woman and beaten from the court with sticks. This was done. He then ordered that the woman be stripped and a vine leash be put on her neck. She was then sentenced to a barrack of askaris for a year, that she might learn how to please men.
Kisu, the rebel, in chains, was then dragged before Bila Huruma. He was thrown upon his knees. He was sentenced to the canal, to be put upon the rogues' chain, that he might now, at last, well serve his sovereign, Bila Huruma. Kisu, kept on his knees, was then dragged to one side. Next to approach Bila Huruma was Mwoga, ambassador of the villages of Ukungu, representative of the high chief, Aibu, who had organized the chiefs of Ukungu against Kisu, and deposed him. He presented gifts, skins and feathers, and brass rings and the teeth of tharlarion, to Bila Huruma, and swore to him the fealty of the Ukungu villages. Too, to seal the bonds of these political bargains, he, on behalf of Aibu, offered to Bila Huruma the very daughter of the high chief, Aibu, himself, a girl named Tende, as one of his companions.
"Is she beautiful?" asked Bila Huruma.
"Yes," responded Mwoga.
Bila Huruma shrugged. "It does not matter," he said. I supposed it did not matter. There were doubtless many womens' courts in his house. He had, I had heard, already more than two hundred companions, not to mention perhaps twice the number of slave girls, captures, purchases and gifts. If the body of Tende appealed to him he could get heirs upon it. If it did not, he could forget her, leaving her neglected, a sequestered souvenir of state, another girl lost in one of the womens' courts in the palace.
"May I address our prisoner?" inquired Mwoga.
"Yes," said Bila Huruma.
"Is Tende not beautiful?" he asked.
"Yes," said Kisu, "and she is as proud and cold as she is beautiful."
"Too bad she is not a slave," said Bila Huruma. "She might then be made to crawl and cry out in passion."
"She is worthy to be a slave," said Kisu. "She is the daughter of the traitor, Aibu!"
Bile Huruma lifted his hand. "Take him away," he said. Kisu was dragged, struggling, from the court.
"A demand for payment has been made, Lady Melpomene," said Brandon, a prefect of Vonda. "Can you pay?"
"You have lured me here," cried out the Lady Melpomene to the Lady Florence, "away from Vonda, beyond the shelter of her walls!"
"The walls of Vonda," said the prefect sternly, "would no longer afford you protection, for your debt, in its plenitude, is now owed to one who is a citizen of Vonda."
The Lady Melpomene shuddered. "I have been tricked," she said.
"Can you pay?" pressed the prefect.
"No," she cried in misery, "no!"
"Kneel, Lady Melpomene, free woman of Vonda," said the prefect.
"Please, no!" she wept.
"Would you rather this be done on the platform of public shame in the great square of Vonda, where you might bring shame upon the Home Stone!" inquired the prefect.
"No, no," sobbed the Lady Melpomene.
"Kneel," said the prefect.
"What is to be my sentence?" she cried.
"Kneel," said he.
She knelt, trembling, fearfully, before him.
"I pronounce you Slave," he said.
"I thought it might be interesting to renew my acquaintances among them," I said. "Too, I would be interested to learn of the whereabouts and condition of one who was once the Lady Mira, of Venna, who, enslaved, was sentenced by her red masters to reside with the Waniyanpi."
"I remember her," said Cuwignaka, bitterly. "Long days I spent, chained to her cart."
"Surely you are sorry for her," I said, "given, in particular, the almost unspeakable cruelty, for a woman, of her sentence, of her punishment?"
"She was a proud and arrogant woman," said Cuwignaka. "I do not pity her."
"But she has known other forms of life," I said. "It is not like she was born and raised in such a compound."
"I do not pity her," said Cuwignaka.
"Surely she, now, honored and denied, celebrated and deprived, would be ready to beg for her own stripping, for the stroke of a man's lash, for the feel of her ankles being tied apart, widely and securely, in a leg stretcher."
"I do not pity her," said Cuwignaka. "She was harsh and cruel. Let her languish, an unfulfilled slave, in the compounds of the Waniyanpi."
"You are cruel," I said.
"I am Kaiila," shrugged Cuwignaka.
"Perhaps if she prostrated herself, naked, before you, begging for mercy, you might be disposed to show her some lenience," I speculated.
"Perhaps, if I thought she was now ready to be a woman, and had learned her lessons," said Cuwignaka.
"Ah," I said, "I see that you might be swayed to generosity."
"Of course," grinned Cuwignaka. "I am Kaiila." He then gestured to Canka and Winyela. She was now in his arms, her head back. She was sobbing with pleasure. She was oblivious of our presence. "Too," he said, "there is something to be said for female slaves."
"That is true," I said. How beautiful was Winyela, lost in her helplessness, her pleasure and love. How marvelous and beautiful are women! How glorious it is to own them, to be able to do what one wishes with them and to love them! But then I thought soberly of she who had once been the Lady Mira, of Venna, who had once, as the agent of Kurii, been my enemy. No such fulfillments and joys, it seemed, were for her. She had been condemned instead to the compounds of the Waniyanpi. She had been sentenced to honor and dignity, and equality with the pathetic, males of the compound. She would not know, it seemed, the joys of being run, naked, a rope on her neck, a slave, at the flanks of a master's kaiila, the pleasures of, tremblingly, loving and serving, knowing that he whom one loves and serves owns one, fully, the fulfillments of finding oneself, uncompromisingly and irrevocably, in one's place in the order of nature, lovingly, at one's master's feet.
"Let the sentence be passed," said Kahintokapa, he of the Casmu Kaiila, he of the Yellow-Kaiila Riders.
Bloketu put down her head.
"Proceed," said Iwoso. "Pass your sentence! I do not fear slavery!"
"In the morning," said Mahpiyasapa, "take them to the summit of the trail, where we had placed the barricade. There, then, from that place, let them be flung to the rocks below."
"Let the sentence be carried out," said Mahpiyasapa. Behind him, and standing about, as well, were the members of the council. Others, too, stood about.
"This one, at least," said Hci, seizing Iwoso from behind by the arms, "is a free woman."
"Then," said Mahpiyasapa, angrily, "let the sentence, as passed, be carried out in her case!"
"These women are slaves," said Mahpiyasapa, turning to the council. "No longer is it fitting that they be subjected to the honorable death of free women."
The council grunted its agreement.
"The sentence then," said Mahpiyasapa, "is rescinded."
Further inquiries had been made and it was found that he had among his goods a set of false weights.
He must now have gone. He must!
Too, it had been discovered that he had sold slave hair to the public, representing it as that of free women.
I was safe. He must have gone by now.
How pleased I was to have sentenced him to his humiliation, pronouncing the judgment of the Tatrix against him! How pleased I was to have seen him dragged by guards from my august presence.
"As the reports have it," said Miles, "you were marched naked from the city, before the spears of guards, a sign about your neck, proclaiming you a fraud."
"Yes," said Speusippus, angrily.
"Who found you guilty, and pronounced this sentence?"
"Sheila, the Tatrix of Corcyrus," said Speusippus.
"Is she who was the Tatrix of Corcyrus in this room?" asked Miles of Argentum.
"Yes," said Speusippus.
"My superiors were dissatisfied with me," she said. "My lackeys were removed from me. I was put in a brief tunic, almost as though I might he a slave. I was forbidden even to wear a veil. I was given a small purse of coins, one sufficient for my projected expenses, and instructed to report back to my headquarters, alone and on foot."
"Alone, and on foot?" I asked.
"Yes," she said, bitterly.
"It is my conjecture," I said, "that they did not expect you to complete your journey successfully."
"It seems they were right," she said, bitterly.
"You have been found guilty of treason against your city, and are under sentence of impalement," said Aemilianus.
"Do you gainsay either of these assertions?"
"No," she said.
Aemilianus turned to Marsias, who lay nearby, wounded, reclining on one elbow, on a pallet. "Marsias," said he, "have you the strength to carry out the sentence?"
The man nodded.
"I ask the commutation of the sentence of impalement in the case of the Lady Claudia of Ar's Station."
"You do not ask for her freedom?" he asked.
"Or course not," I said. "She is guilty."
"You have no objection then," he said, "in view of her guilt, if a terrible and grievous penalty is inflicted upon her?"
"Of course not," I said.
"Even a fate 'worse than death'?" he smiled.
"Who speaks of it so?" I asked.
"Do not some free women speak of it so?" he asked. "And are not those the very women who first bare their breasts to conquerors and beg the privilege of licking their feet?"
"Perhaps, upon occasion," said Aemilianus.
"If it were truly a fate worse than death," I said, "or even so unfortunate a lot, it seems it would be very hard to understand their happiness, their emotional fulfillments, their ecstasies, their willingness to die for their masters."
"Perhaps then," he said, "for all its demands and duties, it is not truly a fate worse than death."
"Perhaps not," I said, "else, after a time, they would not love it so."
"Perhaps those who would foolishly call it so do so only in their attempts to dissuade themselves from their desperate fascination with it, and longing for it."
"Perhaps," I said.
"At any rate," he smiled, "let them not make pronouncements on such matters until they have had some experience of that of which they speak, until they have had for a time, so to speak, the collar on their own necks."
"Yet," I said, "slavery is a most serious matter."
"It is," he granted.
Gorean slavery is categorical and absolute. The slave is a property, an animal. She is incapable of doing anything to alter, change or affect her status. She is owned by the master, and owes him all. She can be bought and sold. She must serve with perfection.
Aemilianus looked at the Lady Claudia, "Do you understand the nature of our discourse, of that of which we speak?"
"Yes," she said.
"Good," he said.
She looked at him.
"Claudia, Lady of Ar's Station, free woman," he said, sternly.
She, kneeling before him, regarded him.
"Put your head to the deck," he said.
Men gasped, to see a free woman perform this act. More than one, I am sure, wanted to seize her.
"Lift your head," said Aemilianus.
She did so.
"You have been found guilty of treason," he said, "and sentenced to impalement. By the power that was vested in me I did this. By the same power, I now rescind the sentence of impalement."
"Commander!" she cried, tears in her eyes.
"Do you expect to escape punishment?" he asked.
She put down her head, shuddering.
"Do you know the sort of chains you wear?" he asked.
"Slave chains," she said.
"They look well on you," he said.
She did not speak.
Then, suddenly, in a moment, as of panic, seemingly unable to help herself, she tried the chains, those on her wrists, trying to slip them from her wrists, then jerking them, but they held her well.
"You understand clearly, do you not," he asked, "what I now propose to do?"
"Yes," she said, frightened.
"It is my intention," he said, "to sentence you to slavery. Do you understand this, and what it means?"
"I think so," she said, "- as far as any free woman can."
"Do you have anything to say before I pass such sentence upon you?"
"No," she said.
"I sentence you to slavery," he said, uttering the sentence.
She trembled, sentenced.
"It only remains now," said Aemilianus, "for the sentence to be carried out. If you wish I, in the office of magistrate, shall carry it out. On the other hand, if you wish, you may yourself carry out the sentence."
"I?" she said.
"Yes," he said.
"You would have me proclaim myself slave?" she asked.
"Or I shall do it," he said. "In the end, it does not matter."
"In my heart," she said, "I am, and have been for years, a slave. It is fitting then, I suppose, that it should be I who say the words."
Aemilianus regarded her.
"I am a slave," she said.
"Prepare to hear yourself sentenced," said Talena.
"No!" cried Claudia.
"It is with a heavy heart and tearful eyes that I utter these words," said Talena.
"Marlenus of Ar freed me from bondage!" cried Claudia.
"We have observed you before us," said Talena, "carefully and closely, how you move and such."
"He freed me!" cried Claudia.
"That was a mistake," said Talena.
"Perhaps!" said Claudia.
Men regarded one another.
"Speak," said Talena, amused.
"Twice I have been a slave," said Claudia. "I have had my head shaved. I have felt the whip. I have worn the collar. I have served men."
"Doubtless such experiences will put you in good stead," said Talena. "Perhaps they will even save your life."
"In the Central Cylinder," said Claudia, "I have been lonely, more lonely than I ever knew a woman could be. My life was empty. I was unhappy. I was miserable. I was unfulfilled. In those long years I remembered my time in bondage, and that it had been, in spite of its terrors and labors, the most real, and the happiest, of my life. I had learned something in the collar that I was afraid even to tell myself, that I, Claudia Tentia Hinrabia, of the Hinrabians, belonged at the feet of men."
"You will not object then when I return you to your proper place," laughed Talena.
But there was little laughter from about her, for the men attended to the Hinrabian.
"I confess," wept Claudia, "now, publicly, and before men, that I am in my heart and belly a slave!"
"Then rejoice as I order you imbonded!" said Talena.
"No!" wept Claudia. "It is one thing to be captured by a man and taken to his tent, and put to his feet and made to serve, or to be sentenced by a magistrate in due course of law to slavery for crimes which I have actually committed, and another to stand here publicly shamed, before my enemy, a woman, in her triumph, to be consigned by her to helpless bondage."
"What difference does it make?" asked a man.
"True," wept Claudia. "What difference does it make!"
"Put the slave on her knees!" cried Talena.
"I am a free woman!" wept Claudia. "I am not yet legally imbonded!"
"Thus," cried Talena, "will you learn to kneel before free persons!"
Claudia struggled, but, in a moment, her small strength, that of a mere female, availing her nothing, by two guardsman, was thrown to her knees.
"You look well there, Hinrabian!" said Talena.
"False Ubara!" screamed Claudia, held on her knees.
Talena made an angry sign and a guardsman withdrew his blade from its sheath. In a moment Claudia's head was held down and forward by another guardsman.
"She is to be beheaded!" said a man.
Talena made another sign, and the fellow who held Claudia's hair pulled her head up, that she might see Talena.
Talena's eyes flashed with fury, and Claudia's eyes, then, were filled with terror.
"Who is your Ubara?" asked Talena.
"You are my Ubara!" cried Claudia.
"Who?" asked Talena.
"Talena," she cried. "Talena of Ar is my Ubara!"
This response on the part of Claudia seemed to me judicious, and, indeed, suitable. Talena of Ar was her Ubara.
"Do you confess your faults?" inquired Talena.
"Yes, my Ubara!" said Claudia.
"And do you beg forgiveness of your Ubara?" asked Talena.
"Yes, yes, my Ubara," sobbed Claudia.
"Who begs forgiveness?" asked Talena.
"I, Claudia Tentia Hinrabia, of the Hinrabians, beg forgiveness of Talena of Ar, my lawful Ubara!" she wept.
"I am prepared to be merciful," said Talena.
The guardsman with the drawn blade resheathed it. The guardsman holding Claudia's hair released it, angrily, pushing her head down. The other two guardsmen, one holding each arm, retained their merciless grip on the Hinrabian.
"Talena, Ubara of Ar," announced a scribe, "will now pronounce judgment on the traitress, Claudia Tentia Hinrabia.
"Enemy of Ar, enemy of the people of Ar, enemy of the Home Stone of Ar, Claudia Tentia Hinrabia," said Talena, "you are to be imbonded, and before nightfall."
Claudia's body shook with sobs.
"Send her to the chain," said Talena.