The Gorean Caste System

Researched and Submitted by Bolt Sarakai

Gorean culture revolves around the Homestone. Most Gorean cities have a Homestone, and a Council, Administrator or Ubar governs each city. The Gorean society is based upon a caste system, made up of High Castes and Low Castes. The Caste system is the division of the Gorean society into occupations and professions. There are five High Castes, which are ranked in order from highest to, lowest. The Initiates, the Scribes, the Physicians, the Builders and lastly the Warriors. In most instances a cities ruling body comes from the High Castes and are elected into place. Of course this differs in some cities, like Port Kar, where Captains, of any caste who have enough ships can be on the Council.

"It might be mentioned, for those unaware of the fact, that the Caste of Merchants is not considered one of the traditional five High Castes of Gor - the Initiates, Scribes, Physicians, Builders and Warriors. Most commonly, and doubtless unfortunately, it is only members of the five high castes who occupy positions on the High Councils of the cities."   Nomads of Gor, page 84


"Benches of stone, on which the members of the Council sat, rose in five monumental tiers about the walls, one tier for each of the High Castes. These tiers shared the color of that portion of the wall behind them, the caste colors. The tier nearest the floor, which denoted some preferential status, the white tier, was occupied by the Initiates, Interpreters of the Will of the Priest-Kings. In order, the ascending tiers, blue, yellow, green, and red, were occupied by representatives of the Scribes, Builders, Physicians, and Warriors."  Tarnsman of Gor, page 59

 High Castes and Colors
INITIATES  
SCRIBES  
BUILDERS  
PHYSICIANS  
WARRIORS  

Initiates
"In the next flash of lightning, I saw the white robes of an Initiate, the shaven head and the sad eyes of one of the Blessed Caste, servants it is said of the Priest-Kings themselves." Outlaw of Gor, page 40 

"It was common, of course, for Initiates to claim to speak for the Priest-Kings; indeed, it was presumably the calling of their caste to interpret the will of the Priest-Kings to men." 
Outlaw of Gor, page 41 

"Four times a year, correlated with the solstices and equinoxes, there are fairs held in the plains below the mountains, presided over by committees of Initiates" 
Outlaw of Gor, page 47 

"Their Codes forbade them to kill but I knew that they hired men of other castes for this purpose." 
Priest Kings of Gor, page 297 

"In a surprise move, which perhaps should have been anticipated, The High Initiate of the city of Ar appeared on the walls. This man claimed to be the Supreme Initiate of all the Initiates on Gor and to take his appointment from the Priest Kings themselves. Needless to say, his claim was not acknowledged by the Chief Initiates of Gor's free cities, who regarded themselves as sovereign in their own cities." 
Tarnsman of Gor, page 190

"Who will challenge the will of the Priest Kings? He demanded. No one spoke. The men, of both sides, fell back even further. Pa-Kur himself seemed awed. The spiritual power of the Supreme Initiate was almost sensible in the air. The religious conditioning of the men of Gor, based on superstition though it may be, was as powerful as a set of chains - more powerful than chains because they did not realize it existed. They feared the word, the curse, of this old man without weapons more than they would have feared the massed swords of a thousand foemen." 
Tarnsman of Gor, page 210

Scribes
"It took not much time to purchase a small bundle of supplies to take into the Sardar, nor was it difficult to find a scribe to whom I might entrust the history of the events in Tharna. I did not ask his name nor he mine. I knew his caste, and he knew mine, and it was enough. He could not read the manuscripts it was written in English, a language as foreign to him as Gorean would be to most of you , but yet he would treasure the manuscript and guard it as though it were a most prized possession, for he was a scribe ad it is the way of scribes to love the written word and keep it harm, and if he could not read the manuscript, what did it matter, perhaps someone could someday, and then the words which had kept their secret for so long would at last enkindle the mystery of communication and what had been written would be heard and understood."  Priest-Kings of Gor, page 15 

"He scarcely glanced up from the game board at which he sat across from Caprus, of the Caste of Scribes, Chief Accountant of the House." 
Assassin of Gor, page 86 

"Many castes, incidentally, have branches and divisions. Lawyers and Scholars, for example, and Record Keepers, Teachers, Clerks, Historians and Accountants are all Scribes." 
Assassin of Gor, page 208 

"I was further cheered by the thought that Caprus had informed me his work was coming along very well and he hoped to have the documents and maps copied by the beginning of Se'Kara; ...And Caprus seemed in good humor; that perhaps was significant, betokening an end in sight for my mission. In thinking about this I realized what a brave man Caprus was, and how little I had respected his courage and his work. He had risked much, probably much more than I. I felt ashamed. He was only a Scribe, and yet what he had done had taken great courage, probably more courage than that possessed by many Warriors." 
Assassin of Gor, page 237 

"Your man was courageous to come and fetch us," I said. "He is Ngumi," said Shaba, "He is courageous, indeed. We did not know if he would get through.  "I did not know a scribe could be so courageous," I said. "There are brave men in all castes," Said Shaba. " 
Explorers of Gor, page 433 

"The scribes, of course, are the scholars and clerks of Gor, and there divisions and rankings within the group, from simple copiers to the savants of the city." 
Tarnsman of Gor, page 44

Builders
"The road, like most Gorean roads, was built like a wall in the earth and was intended to last a hundred generations. The Gorean, having little idea of progress in our sense, takes great care in his building and workmanship. What he builds he expects men to use until the storms of time have worn it to dust. Yet this road, for all of the loving craft of the Caste of Builders which had been lavished upon it, was only an unpretentious, subsidiary road, hardly wide enough for two carts to pass. Indeed, even the main roads to Ko-ro-ba were a far cry from the great highways that led to an from a metropolis like Ar." 
Outlaw of Gor, page 25

 "Inside, the tunnel, though dim, was not altogether dark, being lit by domelike, wire-protected energy bulbs, spaced in pairs every hundred yards or so. These bulbs, invented more than a century ago by the Caste of Builders, produce a clear, soft light for years without replacement."  Tarnsman of Gor, page 200

"The tharlarion saddle, unlike the tarn saddle, is constructed to absorb shock. Primarily, this is done by constructing the tree of the saddle in such a way that the leather seat is mounted on a hydraulic fitting which actually floats in a thick lubricant. Not only does this lubricant absorb much of the shock involved, but it tends, except under abnormal stress, to keep the seat of the saddle parallel to the ground." 
Tarnsman of Gor, page 125

"On the heights of distant Turia itself I could see the flutter of flags and pennons. The walls were crowded, and I supposed many upon them used the long glasses of the Caste of Builders to observe the field of the stakes." 
Nomads of Gor, page 113

Physcians
"You spoke of knowing the Cabot's for four hundred years" I said "Yes" said Misk "and your father who is a brave and noble man, has served us upon occasion, though he dealt only, unknowingly, with Implanted Ones. He first came to Gor more than six hundred years ago." "Impossible!" I cried "Not with the stabilization serums" remarked Misk."   Priest Kings of Gor, page 126

"The Stabilization Serums, which are regarded as the right of all human beings, be they civilized or barbarian, friend or enemy, are administered in a series of injections, and the effect is, incredibly, an eventual, gradual transformation of certain genetic structures, resulting in indefinite cell replacement without pattern deterioration. These genetic alterations, moreover, are commonly capable of being transmitted. For example, though I received the series of injections when first I came to Gor many years ago I had been told by Physicians that they might, in my case, have been unnecessary, for I was the child of parents who, though of Earth, had been of Gor, and had received the serum. But different human beings respond differently to the Stabilization Serums, and the Serums are more effective with some than with others. With some the effect last indefinitely, with others it wears off after but a few hundred years, with some the effect does not occur at all, with others tragically, the effect is not to stabilize the pattern but to hasten its degeneration. The odds, however, are in favour of the recipient, and there are few Gorean's who, if it seems they need the Serum's do not avail themselves of them."  Assassin of Gor, page 30

"They are administered in four shots ...said the Physician. ...The guard took me and threw me, belly down on the platform, fastening my wrists over my head and widely apart, in leather wrist straps. He similarly secured my ankles. The Physician busying himself with fluids and a syringe before a shelf in another part of the room laden with vials. I screamed. The shot was painful. It was entered in the small of my back, over the left hip. They left me secured on the table for several minutes and then the Physician returned to check the shot. There had been apparently no unusual reaction. ...On the first day I had been examined, given some minor medicines of little consequence, and the first shot in the Stabilization Series. On the second, third and fourth day I received the concluding shots of the series. On the fifth day the Physician took more samples. The serums are effective ...he told the guard." 
Captive of Gor, page 93

"Dar-Kosis" I said "is regarded as an instrument of Priest Kings, used to smite those who displease them." "Another myth of Initiates" said Flaminius unpleasantly. "But how do you know that?" I queried. "I do not care," said Flaminius, "if it is true or not. I am a Physician." 
Assassin of Gor, page 266 

"I and others worked secretly in the Cylinder of Physicians. We devoted our time, those ahn in the day in which we could work to study, research and experiment. Unfortunately for spite and for gold word of our work was brought the High Initiate, by a minor Physician discharged from our staff for incompetence. The Cylinder of Initiates demanded that the High Council of the Caste of Physicians put an end to our work, not only that it be discontinued but that our results to that date be destroyed. The Physicians, I am pleased to say stood with us. There is little love lost between Physicians and Initiates. Before the next passage hand, he said. Armed men broke into the Cylinder of Physicians; the floors we worked on were burned; the Cylinder itself was seriously damaged; our work our records, the animals we used were all destroyed; several of my staff were slain, others driven away." 
Assassin of Gor, page 267

"Less impressive perhaps but even more essential to the operation of the House were its kitchens, its laundries, commissaries and storerooms; its medical facilities, in which dental care is also provided." 
Assassin of Gor, page 111

"On a rounded wooden block a naked slave girl knelt, her wrists braceleted behind her. Her head was back. One of the physicians was cleaning her teeth." 
Beasts of Gor, page 54

Warriors
"The Code of the Warrior was, in general, characterized by a rudimentary chivalry, emphasizing loyalty to the Pride Chiefs and the Home Stone. It was harsh, but with a certain gallantry, a sense of honour that I could respect. A man could do no worse than live by such a Code."  Tarnsman of Gor, page 41

"I can force you to take me," she said. "How?" I asked. "Like this, " she responded, kneeling before me, lowering her head and lifting her arms, the wrists crossed. She laughed. "Now you must take me with you or slay me," she said, "and I know you cannot slay me." I cursed her, for she took unfair advantage of the Warrior Codes of Gor." 
Tarnsman of Gor, page 109 

"Do not harm him," said Kazrak. "He is my sword brother, Tarl of Bristol." Kazrak's remark was in accord with the strange warrior codes of Gor, codes which were as natural to him as the air he breathed, and codes which I, in the chamber of the Council of Ko-ro-ba, had swords to uphold. One who has shed your blood, or whose blood you have shed, becomes your sword brother, unless you formally repute the blood on your weapons. It is a part of the kinship of gorean warriors regardless of what city it is to which they owe their allegiance. It is a matter of caste, an expression of respect for those who share their station and profession, having nothing to do with cities or Home Stones."  
Tarnsman of Gor, page 119

"I am of the Caste of Warriors, and it is in our codes that the only death fit for a man is that in battle, but I can no longer believe that this is true, for the man I met once on the road to Ko-ro-ba died well, and taught me that all wisdom and truth does not lie in my own codes." 
Priest Kings of Gor, page 14

"If it turned out badly, what I did, I would have no defense other than I did what I did for my friend-for him- and for his brave kind, once hated enemies, whom I had now learned to know and respect. There is no loss of honour in failing to achieve such a task, I told myself. It is worthy of a warrior of the caste of Warriors, a swordsman of the high city of Ko-ro-ba, the Towers of the Morning 
Nomads of Gor, page 8

"I am a warrior," said the young man proudly. Kamchak signaled the archers and they came forward, their arrows trained on the young man. He then threw, one after another, a dozen bags of gold to the floor. "Save your gold, Tuchuk sleen," said the young man. "I am a warrior and I know my codes." 
Nomads of Gor, page 315

"Flee!" she said. "I am of the Warriors," I said. "But you may die," she said. "That is acknowledged in the codes," I said. "What are the codes?" she asked. "They are nothing and, and everything," I said. "They are a bit of noise, and the steel of the heart. They are meaningless, and all significant. They are the difference. Without the codes men would be Kurii." "Kurii?" she asked. "Beasts, such as ice beasts, and worse," I said. "Beasts such as the face you saw in the sky." "You need not keep the codes," she said. "I once betrayed my codes," I said. "It is not my intention to do so again." I looked at her. "One does not know, truly what it is to stand, until one has fallen. Once one has fallen, then one knows, you see, what it is to stand." "None would know if you betrayed the codes," she said. "I would know," I said, "and I am of the Warriors." "What is it to be a warrior?" she asked. "It is to keep the codes," I said. "You may think that to be a warrior is to be large, or strong, and to be skilled with weapons, to have a blade at your hip, to know the grasp of the spear, to wear the scarlet, to know the fitting of the iron helm upon one's countenance, but these are things are not truly needful; they are not, truly what makes one man a warrior and another not. Many men are strong, and large, and skilled with weapons. Any man might place upon his brow the helm of iron. But it is not the scarlet, not the steel, not the helm of iron which makes the warrior." She looked up at me. "It is the codes," I said.
"Abandon your codes," she said. "One does not speak to slaves of the codes," I said."  
Beasts of Gor, page 340 

"Within the circle of each man's sword, therein is each man a Ubar." "Steel is the coinage of the Warrior. With it he purchases what pleases him." 
Marauders of Gor, page 10

"In the Code of the Warriors, there is a saying: Be strong, and do as you will, the swords of others will set you your limits." 
Marauders of Gor, page 16

"Warriors, it is said in the codes, have a common Home Stone. Its name is battle." 
Renegades of Gor, page 343

"Are you of the Warriors?" asked Labenius. "Yes," I said. "Hear," said Labenius to his men. "He is of the Warriors." "He says he is," said a fellow, glumly. "What is the 97th Aphorism in the Codes?" inquired Labenius. "My scrolls may not be those of Ar," I said. To be sure, the scrolls should be, at least among the high cities, in virtue of conventions held at the Sardar Fairs, particularly the Fair of En'Kara, much in agreement. "Will you speak?" asked Labenius. "Remove the female," I said. "He is a Warrior," said one of the men. One of the men lifted the bound Ina in his arms, one hand behind the back of her knees, and the other behind her back, and carried her from where we were gathered. In a few moments he returned. "The female is now out of earshot?" inquired Labenius, staring ahead. "Yes," said the fellow, "and she will stay where I left her, on her back, as I tied her hair about the base of a stout shrub." "The 97th Aphorism in the Codes I was taught," I said, "is in the form of a riddle: `What is invisible but more beautiful than diamonds?'" "And the answer?" inquired Labenius. "That which is silent but deafens thunder." The men regarded one another. "And what is that?" asked Labenius. "The same," said I, "as that which depresses no scale but is weightier than gold." "And what is that?" asked Labenius.
"Honour," I said. "He is of the Warriors," said a man."   Vagabonds of Gor, page 304

"I had been so much a fool as to be sad. That is not the mood in which to enter battle, even the battle which one knows one cannot win, even the ultimate battle in which knows one is doomed to defeat. Do not be sad. Better to take the field with laughter, with a joke, with a light heart, with a buoyant heart, or to go forward with sternness, or in fury, or with hatred, or defiance, or calculation, but never with self pity, never with sadness. Never such things, never them! The warrior does not kill himself or aid others in the doing of it. It is not in the codes." 
Vagabonds of Gor, page 446

The Low Castes
(listed below are only a few)

Assassins

Black

Woodsmen/Wood Carriers

Brown & Black

Peasants

Brown

Charcoal Makers

Black & Gray

Tarn Keepers

Gray & Green

Pot Makers

Brown & Green

Leather Workers/Saddle Makers

Tan 

Metal Workers

Steel Gray

Slavers

Blue & Yellow

Merchants

Gold & White

Singers/Poets

Aqua & Red

Players

Red & Yellow Checks

Other Low Castes
(listed below are only a few)

Animal Handlers

Drovers

Moneylenders

Sailors

Winemakers

Artisans

Entertainers

Municipal Servants

Singers

Clan of Torturers

Bakers 

Fishermen

Musicians

Sleen Trainers

 

Butchers

Verr Keepers

Perfumers

Thieves

 

Cloth Workers

Guardsmen

Rence-Growers

Waste Collectors

 

Dress Makers

Lamplighters

Rope makers

Weavers

 


"The training of an Assassins is thorough and cruel. He who wears the Black of the Caste has not won it easily. Candidates for the caste are chosen with great care, and only 1 in 10, it is said, completes the course of instruction to the satisfaction of the Caste Masters. It is assumed that failed candidates are slain, if not in the training, for secrets they may have learned. Withdrawal from the Caste is not permitted. Training proceeds in pairs, each pair against others. Friendship is encouraged, then, in the final training, each member of the pair must hunt the other. When one has killed one's friend, one is then likely to better understand the meaning of the black. When one has killed one's friend, one is then unlikely to find mercy in his heart for another. One is then alone, with Gold and Steel. The Assassins take in lads who are perhaps characterized by little but unusual swiftness, and cunning, and strength and skill, and perhaps a selfishness and greed, and, in time, transform this raw material into efficient, proud, merciless men, practitioners of a dark trade, men loyal to secret codes the content of which is something at which most men dare not guess."  Beast of Gor, page 358 


The Caste of Assassins are also known as "Killers" and more commonly - the Black Caste. Their Caste Codes do not permit the use of Kanda.

"It was hard to understand the words, for those of the lonely Caste of Woodsmen do not often speak."  Outlaw of Gor, page 29

 "It might be mentioned, for those unaware of the fact, that the Caste of Merchants is not Considered one of the traditional five High Castes of Gor - the Initiates, Scribes, Physicians, Builders and Warriors. Most commonly, and doubtless unfortunately, it is only members of the five high castes who occupy positions on the High Councils of the cities. Nonetheless, as might be expected, the gold of merchants, in most cities, exercises its not imponderable influence, not always in so vulgar a form as bribery and gratuities, but more often in the delicate matters of extending or refusing to extend credit in connection with the projects, desires or needs of the High Councils. There is a saying on Gor, "Gold has no caste." It is a saying of which the merchants are fond. Indeed, secretly among themselves, I have heard, they regard themselves as the highest caste on Gor, though they would not say so for fear of rousing the indignation of other castes. There would be something, of course, to be said for such a claim, for the merchants are often indeed in their way, brave, shrewd, skilled men, making long journeys, venturing their goods, risking caravans, negotiating commercial agreements, among themselves developing and enforcing a body of Merchant Law, the only common legal arrangements existing among the Gorean cities. Merchants also, in effect, arrange and administer the four great fairs that take place each year near the Sardar Mountains. I say "in effect" because the fairs are nominally under the direction of a committee of the Caste of Initiates, which, however, largely contents itself with its ceremonies and sacrifices, and is only too happy to delegate the complex management of those vast, commercial phenomena, the Sardar Fairs, to members of the lowly, much- despised Caste of Merchants, without which, incidentally, the fairs most likely could not exist, certainly not at any rate in their current form."   Nomads of Gor, page 84 

"…his head, like that of many merchants, had been shaved;…"  
Nomads of Gor, page 85
 
"…merchants are seldom trained in the use of arms."  
Nomads of Gor, page 85 

"I glanced at Saphrar, who was now leaning on his yellow cushions, in his silken pleasure robes, white and gold, the colors of the Caste of Merchants." 
Nomads of Gor, page 86

"There standing before the low doorway, I looked once more upon the squat, powerful figure of Kron, of the Caste of Metal  Workers. His great hammer was slung from his belt and his blue eyes glistened with happiness." 
Outlaw of Gor, page 221 

"the Caste of Peasants, for example, the most basic caste of all Gor." Outlaw of Gor, page 27
 
"Indeed, frequent enough were the stories where even a warrior was overcome by an angry peasant into whose hut he had introduced himself, for in the vicinity of their Home Stones men fight with all the courage, savagery and resourcefulness of the mountain larl. More than one the peasant fields of Gor which have been freshened with blood of foolish warriors." Outlaw of Gor, page 29 

"The peasant on Gor does not fear the outlaw, for he seldom has anything worth stealing, unless it be a daughter. Indeed, the peasant and outlaw on Gor live in an almost unspoken agreement, the peasant sharing in return some of his plunder and booty with the peasant. The peasant does not regard this as dishonest on his part, or as grasping. It is simply a way of life to which he is accustomed. It is a different matter, of course, if it is explicitly known that the outlaw is from a city other than one's own. In that case he is usually regarded as an enemy, to be reported to the patrols as soon as possible. He is, after all, not of one's city."  Outlaw of Gor, page 48

"His right ear had been notched, doubtless sin some accident. Such notching, I knew, is usually done to the ears of thieves; a second offense is normally punished by the loss of the right hand; a third offense by the removal of the left hand and both feet. There are few thieves, incidentally, on Gor. I have heard, though, there is a Caste of Thieves in Port Kar, a strong caste which naturally protects its members from such indignities as ear notching." 
Nomads of Gor, page 85 

"I hoped that I would be granted death in battle, if death it must be. 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." 
Nomads of Gor, page 9 

"It was hard to understand the words, for those of the lonely Caste of Woodsment do not often speak."  Outlaw of Gor, page 29 

Co-Provider of most the common fuel for Gorean Cities. Also known as Carriers of Wood. 

"…Caste is important to the Gorean in ways that are difficult to make clear to one whose social structures do not include the relationships of caste. In almost every city, for example, one knows that there will be caste brothers on whom one may depend, Charity, too, for example, is almost always associated with caste rights on Gor. One of the reason there are so few outlaws on Gor. Doubtless that the outlaw, in adopting his way of life, surrenders caste rights. The slave, too, of course has not caste rights. She is an animal. It is said on Gor that only slaves, Outlaws and Priest-Kings, rumored to be the rulers of Gor, reputed to live in the remote Sardar Mountains, are without caste. This saying, however, it might be pointed out, as Goreans recognize, it is not strictly true. For example, some individuals have lost caste, or been deprived of caste; certain occupations are not traditionally associated with caste, such as gardening, domestic services and herding; and indeed, there are entire cultures and peoples of Gor to whom a caste is unknown. 

Similarly, caste lines tend to sometimes to be vague, and the relation between castes and subcastes. Slavers, for example sometimes think of themselves as being of the merchants, and sometimes as being a separate caste. They do have their own colors, blue and yellow, those of the merchants being white and gold. Too, are the bargemen of the Southern Cartius a caste or not? They think of themselves as such, but many do not see the matter in the same light. 

There are, on Gor, it might be mentioned, ways of raising and altering caste, but the Goreans seldom avails himself to these. To most Goreans it would be unthinkable to alter caste. He is generally too proud of his caste and it is too much a part of him for him to think in such terms. It is, too, recognized that all, or most, of the castes perform necessary, commendable or useful functions. The Leatherworker, accordingly, does not spend much time envying the Metalworker, or the Metalworker the Leather maker, or either the Cloth worker, and so on. All need sandals and wallets, and clothes, and metal tools. Each does, however, tend to think of his own caste as something special, and, somehow, I suspect, as being perhaps a little bit preferable to the others. Most Gorean are quite content with their castes; this is probably a function of caste pride. I have little doubt but what the caste structure contributes considerably to the stability of Gorean society. 

"Among other things it reduces competitive chaos, social and economic, and prevents the draining of intelligence and ambition into a small number of envied, prestigious, occupations. If one may judge by the outcome of Kaissa tournaments, amateur tournaments as opposed to those in which members of the caste of Players participates, there are brilliant men in most castes."  Fighting Slave of Gor, page 211 

"Though one is commonly born into a caste one is often not permitted to practice the caste craft until a suitable apprenticeship has been served. This guarantees that quality of the caste produce, It is possible though it is seldom the case, that members of a caste are not permitted to practice specific caste skills, though they may be permitted to practice subsidiary skills. For example, one who is of the Metalworkers might not be permitted to work iron, but might be permitted to do such things as paint iron, and transport and market it. Caste rights, of course, such as the right to caste support in time of need the caste sanctuary, when in flight, which are theirs by birth, remain theirs, The women of a given caste, it should be noted, often do not engage in caste work. For example, a woman in the Metalworkers does not, commonly, work at the forge, nor is a woman of the Builders likely to be found supervising the construction of fortification. Caste membership, for Goreans. is generally a simple matter of birth; it is not connected necessarily with the performance of certain skills, more the attainment of a given level of proficiency in such skills. 

To be sure, certain skills tend to be associated traditionally with certain castes, a fact is clearly indicated in caste titles, such as the Leather Workers, the Metalworkers, the Singers, and the Peasants. A notable exception to the generalization that women of a given caste normally do not engage in caste work in the caste of Physicians, whose women are commonly trained, as are the boys, in the practice of medicine. Even the physicians, however, normally do not admit their women to the full practice until they have borne two children. The purpose of this is to retain a high level of intelligence in the caste. Professional women, it is well understood, tend not to reproduce themselves, a situation which, over time, would be likely to produce a diminution in the quality of the caste. Concern for the future of the caste is thus evinced with this limitation by the physicians on the rights of their women to participate without delay in the caste craft." 
Fighting Slave of Gor, page 209

Whereas caste membership is commonly connected with the practice of an occupation, such as agriculture, or commerce, or war, there can be, of course, caste members who are not engaged in caste work and individuals who do certain forms of work who are not members of that caste commonly associated with such work. 

Caste, commonly, though not invariably. is a matter of birth. One may, too, be received into a caste by investment. Normally mating takes place among caste members, but if the mating is of mixed caste, the woman may elect to retain caste, which is commonly done, or be received into the caste of the male companion. Caste membership of the children born of such a union is a function of the caste of the father. 

Similar considerations, in cities, hold the citizenship. caste is important to Goreans in a way that is difficult for members of non-caste to understand. Though there are doubtless difficulties involved with caste structure the caste situation lends and individual identity and pride, allies him with thousands of caste brothers, and proved him with various opportunities and services. Recreation on Gor is often associated with caste and tournaments and entertainment's. 

"Similarly, most public charity on Gor is administered through caste structure. The caste system is not inflexible and there are opportunities for altering caste, but men seldom avail themselves of them; they take great pride in their castes, often comparing others castes unfavorably to their own; a Gorean's caste , by the time he reaches adulthood, seems to have become apart of his very blood and being; the average Gorean would not more think of altering caste than the average man of Earth would of altering his citizenship, from say American to Russian, or French to Chinese. The caste structure, in spite of its many defects, doubtless contributes to the stability of Gorean society, a society in which the individual has a place, in which his work is respected, and in which he can plan intelligently with respect to the future."  Slave Girl of Gor, page 212 


"There were only three statuses conceivable to the Gorean mind outside the caste system: slave, outlaw, and Priest-King.

A man who refused to practice his livelihood or strove to alter status without the consent of the Council of High Castes was, by definition, an outlaw and subject to impalement."  Tarnsman of Gor, page 46 

NO CASTE

SLAVE

OUTLAW

PRIEST-KING

FIRST & SECOND KNOWLEDGE

"The caste system was socially efficient, given its openness with respect to merit, but I regarded it as somehow ethically objectionable. It was still too rigid, in my opinion, particularly with respect to the selection of rulers from the High Castes and with respect to the Double Knowledge."  Tarnsman of Gor, page 45 

I was also instructed in the Double Knowledge - that is, I was instructed in what the people, on the whole, believed, and then I was instructed in what the intellectuals were expected to know. Sometimes there was a surprising discrepancy between the two. For example, the population as a whole, the castes below the High Castes, were encouraged to believe that their world was a broad flat disc. Perhaps this was to discourage them from exploration or to develop in them a habit of relying on commonsense prejudices -- something of a social control device. 

On the other hand, the High Castes, specifically the Warriors, Builders, Scribes, Initiates and Physicians, were told the truth in such matters, perhaps because it was thought they would eventually determine it for themselves, from observations such as the shadow of their planet on one or another of Gor's three small moons during eclipses, the phenomenon of sighting the tops of distant objects first, and the fact that certain stars could not be seen from certain geographical positions; if the planet had been flat, precisely the same set of stars would have been observable from every position on its surface. 

I wondered, however, if the Second Knowledge, that of the intellectuals, might not be as carefully tailored to preclude inquiry on their level as the First Knowledge apparently was to preclude inquiry on the level of the Lower Castes. I would guess that there is a Third Knowledge, that reserved to the Priest-Kings.  
Tarnsman of Gor, page 41

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