The City-State – Citizenship

This is part of the work on the City-State Organisation in Gor

To become a citizen of a city, and thus claim its Home Stone as your own, is more than a matter of birth. When you reach the age of intellectual majority, you must actively seek citizenship and its concomitant rights. The actual age of one’s intellectual majority is never stated in the books and it may vary from city to city. Circumstantial evidence in the books indicate that it may commonly be around 16 years old.

Each city has its own requirements for obtaining citizenship but there are some commonalities. Most citizenship ceremonies include an oath of allegiance to the city that includes either the touching or even kissing of the Home Stone. This will likely be the only time in one’s life that one gets to touch the Home Stone. In some ceremonies, there may also be a sharing of bread, fire and salt.

There may also be prerequisites to this oath. You might need some existing citizens to vouch for you, citizens who are not related by blood to you. You might also need to pass certain tests, likely concerning such matters as the history and laws of the city. In addition, you might also face questioning concerning your worthiness to be a citizen.

If you meet all of the requirements, then you may receive the laurel wreath and mantle of citizenship, with all of its concomitant rights. The Gorean word “civitatis” means “of the city of” and refers to someone being a citizen of a city. For example, “civitatis Trevis” essentially means that one is a citizen of Treve. 

You do not automatically retain your citizenship throughout your life. 

“Citizenship, or its retention, on other than a nominal basis, in some cities, is contingent on such things as attending public ceremonies, such as an official semi-annual taking of auspices, and participating in numerous public assemblies, some of which are called on short notice.”

Dancer of Gor, p.302-303

Citizenship is considered more a privilege than a right. Citizens are considered to owe allegiance to their city and thus certain duties are owed to that city. Political apathy is not permitted. Another duty is that the citizen must work in his Caste, though this duty applies more to men than women. 

“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, p.46

This applies to women as well though more often the latter part rather than the former. In general, such outlaws are first exiled from their city, or flee on their own, and then will face impalement if they dare return to their city. Being an outlaw is not an envious life. You are cut off from all support structures, you have few if any friends, and must strive hard simply to exist. Few Goreans willing opt to become outlaws. 

It is possible to change your citizenship and swear loyalty to a new Home Stone. But, this is a rare matter on Gor. One’s loyalty to your Home Stone is very strong and even if one objects to certain aspects of your city, the loyalty remains. In addition, many Goreans do not travel much so they have little contact with other cities.

To move to a new city would mean a separation from your relatives and Caste members. Such a separation runs contrary to the common norms of Gor. When someone does change their citizenship, it is often because they are fleeing some negative consequence in their original city. For example, someone fleeing creditors may change citizenship as many cities offer protection from foreign creditors. 

A family can disown one of their own members through an oath of disownment. This is an irreversible ceremony and is not invoked without careful consideration. The victim loses all ties to their family and Caste.

This ceremony exists within many cities and it is also part of the Warrior Caste Codes. For example, in Hunters of Gor, Marlenus disowned Talena according to the rites of Ar and also his Caste Codes. To do so, he placed one hand on the hilt of his sword, the other on his city medallion, and swore the oath of disownment. It may be possible for a member of the Warrior Caste to simply swear upon the hilt of his sword to complete this oath of disownment without the need of the city rite. It is unknown if other Castes have similar oaths of disownments in their Caste Codes. 

Back to the City-State Organisation in Gor

Written by Ubar Luther in

©2020 by Azrael Phoenix

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