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Gorean Law

These are relevant references from the Books where Gorean Law is mentioned.
It is not meant to be anything other than the facts of the matter.
Arrive at your own conclusions.

I wish you well,

Supporting References

He lifted the weapon, wielding the heavy metal blade as though it were a straw. "First the swords" he said, "then government then law then justice."
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 156

There is a saying on Gor that the laws of a city extend no further than its walls.
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Page 50

Nela had been a slave since the age of fourteen. To my surprise she was a native of Ar. She had lived alone with her father, who had gambled heavily on the races. He had died and to satisfy his debts, no others coming forth to resolve them, the daughter, as Gorean law commonly prescribes, became state property; she was then, following the law, put up for sale at public auction; the proceeds of her sale were used, again following the mandate of the law, to liquidate as equitably as possible the unsatisfied claims of creditors.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 164

The Slavers, incidentally, are of the Merchant Caste, though, in virtue of their merchandise and practices, their robes are different. Yet, if one of them were to seek Caste Sanctuary, he would surely seek it from Slavers, and not from common Merchants. Many Slavers think of themselves as an independent caste. Gorean law, however, does not so regard them.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 208

"That is true," I admitted. By Gorean law the companionship, to be binding, must, together, be annually renewed, pledged afresh with the wines of love.

"And," said Telima, "both of you were once enslaved, and that, in itself, dissolves the companionship. Slaves cannot stand in companionship."
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Page 367

It was true that the Companionship, not renewed, had been dissolved in the eyes of Gorean law. It was further true that, had it not been so, the Companionship would have been terminated abruptly when one or the other of the pledged companions fell slave.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 9

"His hand on the hilt of his sword," said Mira, "and his other hand on the medallion of Ar, his daughter was disowned."

I gasped, stunned.

"Yes," laughed Verna, "according to the codes of the warriors and by the rites of the city of Ar, no longer is Talena kin or daughter of Marlenus of Ar."

I lay, stunned. According to irreversible ceremonies, both of the warriors and of the city of Ar, Talena was no longer the daughter of Marlenus. In her shame she had been put outside his house. She was cut off. In law, and in the eyes of Goreans, Talena was now without family. No longer did she have kin.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 131

In the eyes of Goreans, and Gorean law, the slave is an animal. She is not a person, but an animal. She has no name, saving what her master might choose to call her. She is without caste. She is without citizenship. She is simply an object, to be bartered, or bought or sold. She is simply an article of property, completely, nothing more.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Pages 148 - 149

At that point, in Gorean law, the companionship had been dissolved. The companionship had not been renewed by the twentieth hour, the Gorean Midnight, of its anniversary.
Marauders of Gor     Book 9     Page 11

The initiates are an almost universal, well-organized, industrious caste. They have many monasteries, holy places and temples. An initiate may often travel for hundreds of pasangs, and, each night, find himself in a house of initiates. They regard themselves as the highest caste, and in many cities, are so regarded generally. There is often a tension between them and the civil authorities, for each regards himself as supreme in matters of policy and law for their district. The initiates have their own laws, and courts, and certain of them are well versed in the laws of the initiates.
Marauders of Gor     Book 9     Page 28

One must speak carefully whose words become law.
Tribesmen of Gor     Book 10     Page 257

"It is my understanding, following merchant law, and Tahari custom," I said, "that I am not a slave, for though I am a prisoner, I have been neither branded nor collared, nor have I performed a gesture of submission."
Tribesmen of Gor     Book 10     Page 196

The brand was on Gor legal, institutional status; that which it marks it makes an object; its victim has no rights, or appeal, within the law.
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Page 60

Man owns woman by nature; in a complex society, and in a world with property rights and laws, female slavery, as a legalized fact, is to be expected; it will occur in any society in which touch is kept with the truths of nature. Gorean law, of course, is complex and latitudinous on these matters. For example, many women are free, whether wisely or desirably or not, and slavery is not always permanent for a slave girl. Sometimes a girl, winning love, is freed, perhaps to bear the children of a former master. But the freedom of a former slave girl is always a somewhat tenuous thing.
Beasts of Gor     Book 12     Page 235

That in the north the lovely dina was spoken of as the "slave flower" did not escape the notice of the expatriated Turians; in time, in spite of the fact that "Dina" is a lovely name, and the dina a delicate, beautiful flower, it would no longer be used in the southern hemisphere, no more than in the northern, as a name for free women; those free women who bore the name commonly had it changed by law, removed from the lists of their cities and replaced by something less degrading and more suitable.
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Page 62

I have not mentioned, either, slaves with professional competences, such as medicine or law, or fighting slaves, in effect gladiators, men purchased for use as bodyguards or combatants in arranged games.
Fighting Slave of Gor     Book 14     Pages 164 - 166

I wished that I were a slave, that I might have a chance for life, that I might have an opportunity to convince a master somehow, in any way possible, that I might be worth sparing.
But I was a free woman and would be subjected only to the cold and inhuman mercies of the law.
I was being transported to Argentum for impalement.
Kajira of Gor     Book 19     Page 190

She belonged to Samos, of course. It had been within the context of his capture rights that she had, as a free woman, of her own free will, pronounced upon herself a formula of enslavement. Automatically then, in virtue of the context, she became his. The law is clear on this. The matter is more subtle when the woman is not within a context of capture rights. Here the matter differs from city to city. In some cities, a woman may not, with legal recognition, submit herself to a specific man as a slave, for in those cities that is interpreted as placing at least a temporary qualification on the condition of slavery which condition, once entered into, all cities agree, is absolute. In such cities, then, the woman makes herself a slave, unconditionally. It is then up to the man in question whether or not he will accept her as his slave. In this matter he will do as he pleases. In any event, she is by then a slave, and only that.

In other cities, and in most cities, on the other hand, a free woman may, with legal tolerance, submit herself as a slave to a specific man. If he refuses her, she is then still free. If he accepts her, she is then, categorically, a slave, and he may do with her as he pleases, even selling her or giving her away, or slaying her, if he wishes. Here we might note a distinction between laws and codes. In the codes of the warriors, if a warrior accepts a woman as a slave, it is prescribed that, at least for a time, an amount of time up to his discretion, she be spared. If she should be the least bit displeasing, of course, or should prove recalcitrant in even a tiny way, she may be immediately disposed of.

It should be noted that this does not place a legal obligation on the warrior. It has to do, rather, with the proprieties of the codes. If a woman not within a clear context of rights, such as capture rights, house rights, or camp rights, should pronounce herself slave, simpliciter, then she is subject to claim. These claims may be explicit, as in branding, binding and collaring, or as in the uttering of a claimancy formula, such as "I own you," "You are mine," or "You are my slave," or implicit, as in, for example, permitting the slave to feed from your hand or follow you.
Players of Gor     Book 20     Page 21

It is a dangerous road. There was no law against two traveling it.
Players of Gor     Book 20     Page 174

"If you are magistrates," he cried, "know that I have come on this camp of brigands and, in cognizance of my jeopardy, was making ready to defend myself!" He looked about, wildly, drawing back another pace or so. "Show yourself," he cried, "as befits your office, that of those who courageously do war with brigands, that of those who do nobly defend and support the law, or as plain honest men, if that you be, that I may ally myself with you, that we may then offer to one another, no, then pledge to one another, mutual protection and succor on these dark and dangerous roads."
Players of Gor     Book 20     Pages 187 - 188

One of the glories of the Gorean culture is that is has a body of law, sanctioned by tradition and mercilessly enforced, pertaining, without evasion or subterfuge, to this relationship.
Mercenaries of Gor     Book 21     Page 321

I recalled hearing now, in the house, of "capture rights," respected in law. I had originally thought these rights referred to the acquisition of free women but I had later realized they must pertain, more generally, to the acquisition of properties in general, including slaves. I had not thought much about such things, in a real, or practical, sense, until now, now that I was outside of the house. I tried to recall my lessons. Theft, or capture, if you prefer, conferred rights over me. I would belong to, and must fully serve, anyone into whose effective possession I came, even if it had been by theft. The original master, of course, has the right to try to recover his property, which remains technically his for a period of one week. If I were to flee the thief, however, after he has consolidated his hold on me, for example, kept me for even a night, I could, actually in Gorean law, be counted as a runaway slave, from him, even though he did not technically own me yet, and punished accordingly. Analogies are that it is not permitted to animals to challenge the tethers on their necks, or flee the posts within which they find themselves penned, that money must retain its value, and buying power, regardless of who has it in hand, and so on. Strictures of this sort, of course, do not apply to free persons, such as free women. A free woman is entitled to try to escape a captor as best she can, and without penalty, even after her first night in his bonds, if she still chooses to do so. If she is enslaved, of course, then she is subject to, and covered by, the same customs, practices and laws as any other slave. The point of these statutes, it seems, is to keep the slave in perfect custody, at all times, and to encourage boldness on the part of males. After the slave has been in the possession of the thief, or captor, for one week she counts as being legally his. To be sure, the original master may attempt to steal her back.
Dancer of Gor     Book 22     Pages 95 - 96

"She lived from men, following them and exploiting them," I said. "She was a debtor slut. I paid her bills and thus came into her de facto ownership, through the redemption laws."
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Page 172

"Surely it might be difficult to live with such a hidden truth," I said. Perhaps it, irrepressible, insistent within her, might finally require some resolution. She must then take action. She might turn herself over to a praetor, hoping for mercy, as she had surrendered herself. Or perhaps she might solicit some person to make active claim upon her, such a claim, after certain intervals, superseding prior claims. Although there are various legal qualifications involved, which vary from city to city, effective, or active, possession is generally regarded as crucial from the point of view of the law, such possession being taken, no other claims forthcoming within a specified interval, as conferring legal title. This is the case with a kaiila or a tarsk, and it is also the case with a slave. In such a case, presumably the woman would expect the master who has then put claim on her to free her. That would presumably be the point of the matter. Otherwise she could simply submit herself to him as an escaped or strayed slave. Thus, in this fashion, she could reveal her hidden truth, thereby alleviating her acute mental conflicts, and her sufferings, attendant upon its concealment, and by another, as she has no legal power in the matter herself, be restored to freedom. To be sure, there are risks involved in this sort of thing. For example, when she kneels before him, his slave, perhaps he will then simply order her to the kitchen or to his furs. No promise made to her has legal standing, no more than to a tarsk. In this way, she, ostensibly seeking her freedom, may find herself plunged instead into explicit and inescapable bondage, and will doubtless, too, soon find herself properly marked and collared, to preclude the possible repetition of any such nonsense in the future."
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Page 275

The reform of chronology is proposed by a small party from among the caste of scribes almost every year at the Fair of En'Kara, near the Sardar, but their proposals, sensible as they might seem, are seldom greeted with either interest or enthusiasm, even by the scribes. Perhaps that is because the reconciliation and coordination of chronologies, like the diction and convolutions of the law, are usually regarded as scribal prerogatives.
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Page 347

"I do not think then I should be held accountable under the charge of attempting to deceive with respect to caste," she said. "For example, I engaged in no business under false pretenses, and I never claimed explicitly to be of a caste other than my own." It seemed to me that she did have a point here. The legal problems connected with intent to deceive with respect to caste, of course, problems of the sort which presumably constitute the rationale of the law, usually come up in cases of fraud or impersonation, for example, with someone pretending to be of the Physicians. "And, too," she continued, "if conquering Cosians should have seen fit to take me for a simple, low-caste maid, I see no reason why the laws of Ar's station should now be exercised against me. What would be the point of that, to protect Cosians from a mistake which they never had the opportunity to make?"

"You hoped by your mode of dress, and such," said Aemilianus, "to conceal that you were of a caste on which vengeances might be visited, and thus to improve your chances of survival."
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Pages 368 - 369

To be sure, she probably suggested her secret enslavement to begin with, perhaps even begging it. In any event, she is normally joyful to at last, publicly, be permitted to kneel before her master. By the time it is done, of course, many, from behavioral cues, will have already detected, or suspected, the truth. Such inferences, of course, can be mistaken, for many free women, in effect, exhibit similar behaviors, and such. That is because they, though legally free, within the strict technicalities of the law, are yet slaves. It is only that they have not yet been put in the collar.
Vagabonds of Gor     Book 24     Page 113 - 114

The reservations about hair coloring are particularly acute in commercial situations. One would not wish to buy a girl thinking she was auburn, a rare and muchly prized hair color on Gor, for example, and then discover later that she was, say, blond. Against such fraud, needless to say, the law provides redress. Slavers will take pains in checking out new catches, or acquisitions, to ascertain the natural color of their hair, one of the items one expects to find, along with fingerprints and measurements, and such, on carefully prepared slave papers.
Vagabonds of Gor     Book 24     Page 186

"Some fellows do not brand their slaves," I said.

"That is stupid!" she said.

"It is also contrary to the laws of most cities," I said, "and to merchant law, as well."

"Of course," she said.

Gorean, she approved heartily of the branding of slaves. Most female slaves on Gor, indeed, the vast majority, almost all, needless to say, are branded. Aside from questions of legality, compliance with the law, and such, I think it will be clear upon a moment's reflection that various practical considerations also commend slave branding to the attention of the owner, in particular, the identification of the article as property, this tending to secure it, protecting against its loss, facilitating its recovery, and so on. The main legal purpose of the brand, incidentally, is doubtless this identification of slaves. To be sure, most Goreans feel the brand also serves psychological and aesthetic purposes, for example, helping the girl to understand that she is now a slave and enhancing her beauty.
Vagabonds of Gor     Book 24     Page 188

One did not have the right, for example, to kill or maim the slave of another, any more than any other domestic animal which might belong to someone else. In this sense the slave is accorded some protection from free persons who do not own her in virtue of certain general considerations of property law. The power of the master over the slave, on the other hand, is absolute. He can do whatever he wishes with her. She belongs to him, completely.
Magicians of Gor     Book 25     Page 330

"The principle here, I gather," said Marcus, "is that the Ubara is above the law."

"The law in question is a serious one," said Tolnar. "It was promulgated by Marlenus, Ubar of Ubars."

"Surely," said Venlisius to the netted woman, "you do not put yourself on a level with the great Marlenus."

"It does not matter who is greater," she said. "I am Ubara!"

"The Ubara is above the law?" asked Marcus, who had an interest in such things.

"In a sense, yes," said Tolnar, "the sense in which she can change the law by decree."

"But she is subject to the law unless she chooses to change it?" asked Marcus.

"Precisely," said Tolnar. "And that is the point here."

"Whatever law it is," cried the netted woman, "I change it! I herewith change it!"

"How can you change it?" asked Tolnar.

"I am Ubara!" she said.

"You were Ubara," he said.

She cried out in misery, in frustration, in the net.

"Interesting," said Marcus.

"Release me!" demanded the woman.

"Do you think we are fond of she who was once Talena," asked Tolnar, "of she who betrayed Ar, and collaborated with her enemies?"

"Release me, if you value your lives!" she cried. "Seremides will wish me free! So, too, will Myron! So, too, will Lurius of Jad!"

"But we have taken an oath to uphold the laws of Ar," said Tolnar.

"Free me!" she said.

"You would have us compromise our honor?" asked Tolnar.

"I order you to do so," she said.

Tolnar smiled.

"Why do you smile?" she asked.

"How can a slave order a free person to do anything?" he asked.

"A slave!" she cried. "How dare you!"

"You are taken into bondage," said Tolnar, "under the couching laws of Marlenus of Ar. Any free woman who couches with, or prepares to couch with, a male slave, becomes herself a slave, and the property of the male slave's master."

"I, property!" she cried.

"Yes," said Tolnar.

Absurd!" she said.

"Not at all," he said. "It is, I assure you, all quite legal."
Magicians of Gor     Book 25     Pages 455 - 456

I looked down at the new slave, whom I had decided to call 'Talena', which slave name was also entered on her papers, in the first endorsement, as her first slave name pertinent to these papers, and by means of which she could always be referred to in courts of law as, say, the slave who on such and such a date was known by the name 'Talena.' This did not preclude her name being changed, of course, now or later, by myself, or others. Slaves, as other animals, may be named, or renamed, as the masters please. Indeed, if the master wishes, they need not be named at all.
Magicians of Gor     Book 25     Page 469

"Your slavery is complete," I said, "by all the laws of Ar, and Gor. Your papers, and certified copies thereof, will be filed and stored in a hundred places."
Magicians of Gor     Book 25     Page 475

The oddity, or anomaly, has to do in its way with law.

The state, or a source of law, it seems, can decide whether one has a certain status or not, say, whether one is a citizen or not a citizen, licensed or not licensed, an outlaw or not an outlaw, and such. It can simply make these things come about, it seems, by pronouncing them, and then they are simply true, and that, then, is what the person is. It has nothing to do, absolutely nothing to do, with the person's awareness or consent, and yet it is true of the person, categorically and absolutely, in all the majesty of the law. It makes the person something, whether the person understands it, or knows it, or not.

The person might be made something or other, you see, and be totally unaware of it. Yet that is what that person, then, would be. It is clear to her now that she must have been watched, and considered, and assessed, perhaps for months, utterly unbeknownst to her. She had no idea. She suspected nothing, absolutely nothing. But her status, her condition, had changed. It seems that decisions were made, and papers signed, and certified, all doubtless with impeccable legality. And then, by law, she, totally unaware, became something she had not been before, or not in explicit legality. And she continued to go about her business, knowing nothing of this, ignorantly, naively, all unsuspecting. But she had become something different from what she had been before. She was no longer the same, but was now different, very different. Her status, her condition, had undergone a remarkable transformation, one of which she was totally unaware. She did not know what, in the laws of another world, one capable of enforcing its decrees and sanctions, one within whose jurisdiction she lay, she had become. That she finds interesting, curious, frightening, in its way, an oddity, and anomalous. She did not know what she had become. She wonders if some of you, too, perhaps even one reading this manuscript, if there should be such, may have become already, too, even now, unbeknownst to yourself, what she had then become. Perhaps you are as ignorant of it as was she. But this reality was later made clear to her, by incontrovertible laws, and deeds, which did not so much confirm the hypothetical strictures of a perhaps hitherto rather speculative law, one extending to a distant world, as replace or supersede them, in an incontrovertible manner, with immediate, undeniable, unmistakable realities, realities not only independently legal, and fully sufficient in their own right, but realities acknowledged, recognized and celebrated, realities understood, and enforced, with all the power, unquestioned commitment and venerated tradition of an entire world, that on which she had found herself.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Pages 5 - 6

One of the interesting things from the Gorean point of view about most of the women of Earth is that they do not veil themselves; most go about, even in public, with bared features. This tends to be incomprehensible to the average Gorean. On Gor, on the other hand, as you have doubtless by now gathered, this omission, or this practice, that of not wearing the veil, is common with, and, indeed, is usually imposed upon, and in many cities by law, slaves. Such are commonly denied the veil, as they are other garments of free women. Indeed, the donning of the garments of a free woman by a slave can be a capital offense.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Pages 441 - 442

Lastly it might be noted that the garmenture of the slave, amongst its other features, has this one, too. It distinguishes her clearly from the free woman. In the Gorean culture this is extremely important. This is a distinction which must never be unclear or confused. The free woman is a person; she is a citizen; she has standing before the law; she has a Home Stone; she is noble, lofty, and exalted. The slave, on the other hand, is a property, an animal.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 538

Goreans, of all castes, are skilled at thonging, braceleting, binding and such. That is to be expected in a natural society, a society in which a prized and essential ingredient is female slavery, a society in which it is an accepted, respected, unquestioned, honored tradition, an institution sanctioned in both custom and law.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 632

The master may have many slaves, but the slave may, by law, have but one master, even if it be the state, or some corporate entity.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 278

It was true that Talena was no longer of Ar, as she had betrayed its Home Stone. She was now without a Home Stone, a fugitive, no longer protected by law.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 16

If the Merchants are not a high caste, it is clear they are an important caste. It is said they own councils and sway law, that their gold hides and whispers behind thrones, that cities heed their words, that Ubars are often in their debt.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 64

It is sometimes said that the free woman dresses to please herself, whereas the slave is dressed to please her master, and this is true, but, I think, overly simple. For example, if the free woman were to dress as a slave, she might soon be collared, and if the master were to dress his slave as a free woman, he would be jeopardizing her life. Custom and tradition, and sometimes law, are involved in these matters. The free woman may dress to please herself, but too, it seems she is well advised to please herself by conforming, and strictly, to a variety of canons, canons of taste, custom, convention, and sometimes of law.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Pages 96 - 97

Whereas cities have laws, and most castes have caste codes, there is only one law which is generally respected, and held in common, amongst Gorean municipalities, and that is Merchant Law, largely established and codified at the great Sardar Fairs. According to Merchant law an unclaimed slave, one legally subject to claimancy, may be claimed, and then is the property of the claimant.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 424

"You think words are things," said Arashi, "but things are things, not words. The name of water does not assuage thirst nor the name of food fill a belly. So, too, the name of arrest does not arrest. A decree without the sword is no more than a sword without a blade. There is no law without the bow and glaive."

I was reminded of a saying I had heard long ago. "The laws of Cos march with the spears of Cos."
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 351

On Gor there are no, or few, "nations" in the sense that one of my former world would be likely to think of as nations. Similarly there is no international law. Law for most practical purposes, reaches no further than the swords of a given polity. The common Gorean polity is the town, village, or city, and whatever territory about the polity to which it can extend its hegemony.
Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Pages 232 - 233

In Gorean law the slave is an animal. I was a domestic animal, a slave.
Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 269

"You are his slave," I said, archly, skeptically.
"In heart," she said, "but not in law. I am the slave of Decius Albus.
Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 428

In her heart she was the slave of Drusus Andronicus, but, in the bonds of stern law, as obdurate as brass, as unyielding as steel, she was no more than another chattel of Decius Albus.
Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 564

"You are my property," he said.
"Yes, Master," I said. It was true, in full law.
Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 665

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