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City-State


"I gazed down upon the city. In such places came together the complexities and the poverties, the elementalities and the richnesses of the worlds. In such places were to be found the rare, precious habitats of culture, the astonishing, moving delights of art and music, the truths of theater and literature, the glories and allegories of architecture, bespeaking the meanings of peoples, man-made symbols like mountain ranges; in them, too, were to be found iron and silver, and gold and steel, the chairs of finance and the thrones of power. I gazed at the shining city. How startling it seemed. Such places were like magnets to man; they call to him like gilded sirens; they lure him inward to their dazzling wonders, bewitching him with their often so meretricious whispered promises; they were symbols of races. In them were fortunes to be sought, and fortunes to be won, and fortunes to be lost; in them there were crowds, and loneliness; in them success trod the same pavements as failure; in their plazas hope jostled with despair, and meaning ate at the same table with meaningless. In such places were perhaps the best and worst that man could do, his past and future, his pain and pleasure, his darkness and light, come together in a single focus."--Mercenaries, p. 256-257

The City-State

"The cities of Gor are numerous and pluralistic. Each has its own history, customs and traditions."--Slave Girl, p. 108

Hundreds of cities exist on Gor though many of them were never named or described in the books. We have the names of some Gorean cities, such as Talmont, Cardonicus and Piedmont, but little or no description of them. We also have partial descriptions of some cities but do not have their names. For example, in Tarnsman of Gor, there is reference to the Twelve Tributary Cities of Ar. These twelve cities were conquered by Ar and their Home Stones were kept within the Central Cylinder of Ar. None of these cities are named and their locations are also unknown. Their Home Stones are eventually returned to them but we never learn any further information about them.

Some of the Gorean cities are collectively known by certain labels, such as the High Cities or the Tower Cities. These two terms are not explicitly defined in the books but we can speculate as to their meanings. The Tower Cities most likely refer to those Gorean cities that primarily consist of cylinder buildings, those towering structures common to many of their cities. This would include such cities as Ko-ro-ba, Ar, Tharna, and many more. The High Cities are more difficult to define or categorize. Cities that are specified as High Cities in the books include Ar, Ko-ro-ba, Treve, and Thentis. This term may thus refer to the most important cities on Gor but that is only supposition. It does not refer to altitude as only two of those cities are mountainous cities.

Gorean cities are generally considered "city-states," similar to those of the ancient Greeks. The Greek word for "city-state" was "polis" and our English word "politics" derives from this Greek term. On Gor, a city-state consists of not only the city itself but also whatever surrounding territory that city can exercise its control over. Gor does not consist of countries or nations such as exist on Earth. Cities, not nations, are the important political divisions on Gor. Much of Gor consists of unclaimed territory, land upon which no one currently extends their influence. In addition, exact territorial borders do not exist on Gor. Territories are dynamic, expanding and shrinking over time, dependent upon the fortunes of the different cities. Goreans do not bicker over exact borders.

The cities of Gor are fiercely independent of each other. They often war upon one another, raiding caravans and engaging in small raids. Yet, full-scale wars are rare. It is unusual for cities to ally together though there have been some significant exceptions. In Tarnsman of Gor, about one hundred cities united, under the leadership of Master Assassin Pa-Kur, to attack Ar. That might have been the greatest alliance ever seen on Gor yet it did not last more than a month or so. The "Jason Marshall" trilogy mentions two other important alliances, the Salerian Confederation and the Vosk League, that continue to exist. The Salerian Confederation saw the alliance of four cities on the Olni River. The Vosk League saw the alliance of nineteen towns on the Vosk River.

Cities are vitally important to Goreans, far greater than the average Earth person considers his own city or country.

"For the Gorean, though he seldom speaks of these things, a city is more than brick and marble, cylinders and bridges. It is not simply a place, a geographical location in which men have seen fit to build their dwellings, a collection of structures where they may most conveniently conduct their affairs."--Outlaw, p. 22

A city is considered to be almost a living entity, one with a past, present and future. "For them a city is almost a living thing, or more than a living thing. It is an entity with a history, as stones and rivers do not have history; it is an entity with a tradition, a heritage, customs, practices, character, intentions, hopes. When a Gorean says, for example, that he is "of" Ar, or Ko-ro-ba, he is doing a great deal more than informing you of his place of residence." (Outlaw, p. 22)

"The Goreans generally, though there are exceptions, particularly the Caste of Initiates, do not believe in immortality. Accordingly, to be "of" a city is, in a sense, to have been part of something less perishable than oneself, something divine in the sense of undying. Of course, as every Gorean knows, cities too are mortal, for cities can be destroyed as well as men. And this perhaps makes them love their cities the more, for they know that their city, like themselves, is subject to mortal termination."--Outlaw, p. 22

Cities instill great loyalty and pride within their citizenry. As many Goreans rarely travel, their city may be the only location they ever truly know.

Population

The Gorean books do not provide statistics for the human population of Gor and they provide few statistics for the populations of any of the cities of Gor. Census taking does not seem to be performed in Gorean cities. We do have some estimated figures for the city of Ar and we can try to extrapolate from those figures the populations of other cities as well. As Ar is considered to be possibly the largest city on Gor, we can assume that all other cities have a smaller population than Ar. Ar is thought to contain two to three million citizens. It also contains about a quarter million other free residents, non-citizens. Finally, there are about a quarter million slaves, a higher percentage than the normal Gorean average. In most cities, only 2% to 3% of the female population are slaves. 10% of that number would constitute the average number of male slaves. There are some exceptions such as Ar and Tharna. In Tharna, after the revolt against the Silver Masks, nearly all of the women in their city are now slaves.




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