The City-State – City Streets

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

The length, width and makeup of streets within a city will vary considerably. Street surfaces are commonly either dirt or cobblestone. Most streets do not have a sidewalk or curb. They often slope gently from each side to a central gutter. Some streets are very wide while others are too narrow for a wagon to travel down. Many city streets do not have an official name.

They thus often acquire unofficial names and different people may know a street by different names. A street might be named according to who lives or works on the street. It might also acquire its name from a famous incident that occurred on that street. A long street might be known by different names at different points on the street. This makes it difficult for strangers to travel around in a city.

Thus, they must ask directions to locate a certain street. People generally will only ask someone of their own sex for directions. Free women would not ask questions of a strange man and also would not answer the questions of such a man. Slaves though, of either sex, may be asked concerning directions.

When streets do have official names, a street sign will commonly be painted onto a building corner, a few feet above the ground. Street signs are not placed onto poles. In some cities, it is illegal for non-citizens to make maps of a city or transport a map out of the city. 

City streets are often kept very clean, usually cleaned once a week. Many streets are cleaned by the residents of the buildings facing the street. They are responsible for the maintenance of their own street. The larger streets, plaza and squares are maintained by state slaves.

Where the streets are too narrow for wagons, porters or carts must be used to transport goods to the buildings in those areas. On other streets, the use of wagons is limited to certain times, generally at night and the early morning. This is done so not to interfere with foot traffic during the day.

The narrow streets, because of the closeness of the buildings, are generally kept in shadows during the day. At night, many small streets are dark. Some of the major thoroughfares may be lit by tharlarion-oil lamps or torches, maintained by the state.

Other streets may be lit, but if so, are maintained by the residents of the buildings on those streets, similar to the responsibility for cleaning the streets. Many people, traveling at night, will carry their own torches or lamps. 

The largest streets in a city are often adorned with trees, plants, flowers, fountains, artwork and more. They are made to be attractive as Goreans love beauty. Most city fountains have two basins, an upper and lower one.

Any resident may gather or drink water from these fountains but there is a restriction over who can use the upper basin. The upper basin, often the deeper of the two basins, is restricted to free people only. The lower basin is for slaves and animals.

On many streets, there will also be tharlarion or slave rings, to tether such beasts while the owner wanders the city. There are public gardens in many cities, and they are often maintained so that they are in bloom all year round. Such gardens will have numerous paths winding through the lush vegetation, some providing more private and intimate areas. 

Back to the City-State Organisation in Gor

Written by Ubar Luther in

©2020 by Azrael Phoenix

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