The City-State – Government

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

There are a limited number of governmental forms in the Gorean cities. The cities may be led by an Administrator, Ubar, Ubara, Tatrix or Regent. The Administrator is the most common ruler of Gorean cities. The Administrator is a civil executive who rules for a predetermined term of office.

He rules in conjunction with a High Council. Dependent on the city, the High Council may either elect or appoint the Administrator to his position. An Administrator must commonly be a member of a High Caste and may be a man or a woman. Lara once ruled Tharna as its Administrator. In the myths of the First Knowledge, the Low Castes are taught that if a member of the Low Castes ever comes to rule a city, then that city would meet great misfortune.

Thus, it is very rare for a Low Caste person to ever rise to the position of Administrator. Kron, a Metal Worker, is one of the exceptions. He rose to eventually become the Administrator of Tharna, upon the abdication of Lara. Administrators wear a brown robe of state, a very simple and humble robe. 

The High Council usually consists of only members of the High Castes and they are elected to their position by members of the High Caste. Like Administrators, Council members are elected for a specified term of office. Low Castes do not possess a right to vote. Despite this disenfranchisement though does not mean the the opinions of the Low Castes are simply ignored.

Of all the Low Castes, the Merchant Caste has the greatest influence on governmental matters, such as elections. Like on Earth, money can purchase power and influence on Gor. In addition, those seeking political office realize that the Low Castes need to be appeased or there can be serious trouble. Thus, such men will try to seek the favor of the Merchants and other Low Castes.

For example, they might host gladiatorial games, tarn races or feasts to acquire a better reputation with the common people. This favor seeking will continue past the election period, intended to continue the appeasement of the common man. 

There are two basic types of dictatorial monarchs on Gor, the civil and the military. The civil monarch is the Tatrix, a female ruler who does not belong to the Warrior Caste. She rules absolutely within her city.

A Tatrix is not elected to her position but instead simply assumes power, supported by loyal followers. Tharna, Corcyrus and Port Olni were all once ruled by a Tatrix. The military monarch is a Ubar, a man, or a Ubara, a woman.

The Gorean word “Ubar” literally means a “war-chief” and it is part of the Warrior Caste Code. The term is also sometimes used rather loosely as well, almost slang to refer to a masterful person. For example, a slave may sometimes refer to her Master as her Ubar. 

Many wrongfully assume that a Ubar only seizes power during wartime. In fact, a civil crisis can also lead to the ascension of power by a Ubar. 

“In such times, of course, in the light of the failures and ineffectuality of an inept civilian administration, it is not unknown for military men, seeing what must be done, simply responding to the imperatives of survival, to take power and attempt to instill the will, the discipline and order without which catastrophe cannot be diverted.” 

Mercenary of Gor, p.264

During a war or crisis, the Ubar rules absolutely. They can make or change any law that they wish though they are still subject to their own laws. Ubars wear purple robes, a color long associated with royalty on Earth. Their robes are far from simple or humble. The territory claimed by a Ubar or Ubara is often referred to as a Ubarate. 

According to the Warrior Caste Codes, the Ubar is supposed to relinquish his position once the war or crisis has ended. But that does not always occur. This can lead to two different situations. First, the Warriors that supported the Ubar may choose to withdraw their support of the Ubar and might even kill him.

Second, the Warriors might instead choose to continue to support the Ubar and he will remain in power. Marlenus, Ubar of Ar, assumed power during a Valley War. When the war ended, he refused to step down but his Warriors and the people of Ar supported him so he remained as Ubar. Some Goreans consider such Ubars to be tyrants, absolute rulers with megalomaniacal objectives. 

A Ubara is a female member of the Warrior Caste who may either be the Free Companion of a Ubar or who assumes power on her own. For example, Talena, daughter of Marlenus, became the Ubara of Ar in Magicians of Gor. Being Ubara is the highest position that any woman can attain on Gor, a position as high as any man can achieve. 

“To be Ubara of Ar was the most glorious thing to which a woman might aspire. It meant she would be the richest and most powerful woman on Gor, that armies and navies, and tarn cavalries, could move upon her very word, that the taxes of an empire the wealthiest on Gor could be laid at her feet, that the most precious of gems and jewelries might be hers, that she would be the most envied woman on the planet.” 

Hunters of Gor, p.300-301

A Regent substitutes as a ruler of a city while the true ruler is away for some reason. For example, when Marlenus left Ar to make a punitive raid against Treve, he appointed Gneieus Lelius, High Councilor and First Minister, as Regent of Ar. The books do not specify the powers of Regents and whether they possess the same power as the absent ruler or whether there are some restrictions on their powers. 

A city ruler may possess certain regalia indicative of their position and power. This could include a crown of Tur leaves, a medallion bearing a replica of the city’s Home Stone, or a signet ring bearing the city’s symbol. The regalia bestows great power on its wielder, even if they are not the actual ruler. For example, Marlenus gives the signet ring of Ar to Verna, a panther girl ruler and tells her the power it will provide to her. 

“With that, he said, you are safe in the realm of Ar. With that you can command the power of the city. This is as the word of the Ubar. With this you can buy supplies. With this you can command soldiers. Any who come upon you and see this ring will know that behind you stands the power of Ar.” 

Hunters of Gor, p.301

A city government will possess a bureaucracy of civil servants such as ministers, councillors and much more. These individuals occupy positions and such positions do not form Castes. For example, the guardsmen of a city do not form a Caste of Guardsmen. They simply occupy a position within that city.

A city may have Ambassador to handle their foreign relations. Such Ambassadors are considered to possess diplomatic immunity and are thus immune from hindrance or harm while they are in a foreign city. Heralds, special messengers, possess a similar immunity. Heralds wear a gold slash on the left temple of their helmet to denote their status. 

Back to the City-State Organisation in Gor

Written by Ubar Luther in

©2020 by Azrael Phoenix

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