High Castes

The High Castes are more educated than the Low Castes, often being taught the Second Knowledge. Members also are not as superstitious as those of the Low Castes, since they know more. Their speech accent is more refined. Even High Caste people can be illiterate. The ability to read and write does not necessarily limit an individual’s ability to perform their work. Of course, this depends on the caste. For instance, it would be a distinct disadvantage for a scribe to be illiterate, since they are the record keepers, accountants and historians. On the other hand, many warriors are proud of being illiterate.

Initiate: First of the High Castes, they are the supposed representatives of the Priest-Kings in Gorean society. They are responsible for guiding the spiritual life of Goreans through their rituals and prayers to the Priest-Kings. Some are rumored to have the ability to call down the wrath of the Priest-Kings, or the dreaded "Flame Death," upon those who commit blasphemous acts or who conspire against the Priest-Kings. They are recognized by their white robes, their shaven heads and faces, and their refusal to eat meat or imbibe alcohol. They are also required by their caste codes to be celibate. They tend to be learned and well read, although they are feared and often distrusted by those of the lower castes. Their caste color is white.

Scribe: This is the second most important of the High Castes. There are various divisions and rankings, from simple copiers to savants. There are a number of sub-castes including lawyers, scholars, record keepers, teachers, clerks, historians, accountants, geographers, and cartographers. Much of the copy work, lower-order clerical work, trivial account keeping is done by slaves. The scribes help render the Gorean language more uniform. They are accepted as arbiters of such matters and stipulate that certain pronunciations and grammatical formations are preferred over others. This is usually done at the Sardar Fairs when the caste comes together in great numbers. Their caste color is blue.

Builder: This is the third caste in line of importance of the High Castes. This caste includes such sub-castes as Architect, Draftsman, Stonemason and others. In general, they are the builders and inventors of Gor. The Glass of the Builders, a telescope, is one of their inventions. They also created the energy bulb, a special type of light bulb, over a century ago. With help from the Physician's Caste, they also developed the slave goad. In general, only free men are allowed to build on Gor. Only the city of Port Kar was constructed by slaves. The Builder Caste can also verify the authenticity of gold. Though this is an important caste, little is told about it in the books. Their caste color is yellow and their symbol is a metal angle square.

Physician: Fourth of the High Castes, this is the caste of those who concern themselves with the healing arts. Surgeons, apothecaries, medical researchers and health practitioners are all members of this caste. They are universally recognized as non-combatants during time of war. Their caste color is green.

Warrior: Fifth and lowest of the High Castes, this caste includes infantry, tharlarion cavalry, and tarnsmen. They are known to have one of the strictest sets of caste codes in use on Gor. Members of this caste comprise the military branch of Gorean government. Their caste color is scarlet.

Guardsman: The books do not state that such a caste exists. Any guardsmen in a city appear to be of the Warrior Caste. Being a guardsman is a position within the city government and is not an actual caste.