Torvaldsland - The Land of the Gorean Viking
Mauraders of Gor brought us the interesting and Vivacious women of Torvaldsland. John Norman's nod to the great Viking culture of Europe. These women are proud, openly carry daggers, and wield by far greater power n their society than their southern counterparts are often allowed to.
Torvaldsland is the home of Farmer-Warriors and their Women. a place where game is to scarce for the Fierce Tarn of the cities to the south. Men here travel by foot or by boat, the women do the same. There are few cities in Torvaldsland and most of them are on the boarders. inspired by the city folk who come there to trade.
The Mark of a Torvaldsland Woman be she the Woman of a high Ranking Jarl, the daughter of a Farmer, or even a bondsmaid is the Kirtle. A very difficult thing to actually find in Second Life as few know what a REAL Kirtle is supposed to be. It is an outer-dress worn over a Chemise that looks much like a bodice with skirting sewn along the bottom edge. There are two main types of Kirtle, those that are open all the way down the front or sides depending on how the bodice part laces. and those with a closed skirt where only the bodice part laces closed.
Norman mentions that most Torvaldsland Free Women wear the closed skirt type kirtles and do NOT wear a plain white kirtle. It seems plain undyed wool is for slaves. Slaves Kirtles will be open and lace down to the belly where they will be open from that point on. This is a very significant difference in style and will make it easy to tell which kirtle is which. if just the top laces it is a FreeWoman's. If it has to be laced further down to close it, it's a slave's.
Ranking is show among Torvaldsland Free Women by their belts. What is on the belt indites many things, including the relative wealth of the woman and how much power she there-by wields, a farm girl might only have her scissors and a couple of Keys besides her knife. While a rich and powerful woman will not only have her Scissors but an expensive imported dagger and a key-ring with many keys to show off the number or rooms and chests she has access to.
It is also noted in the books that when a Woman has a compainion her hair is often wrapped around a Comb. It is not said if she buys the comb herself or if it is a gift from her Companion. That is something that you will have to decide for yourself if you choose to stand in Companionship with a Northern man.
"Her hair was hung in a snood of scarlet yarn, bound with filaments of golden wire. She wore, over her shoulder, a cape of white fur of the northern sea sleen. She had a scarlet vest, embroidered in gold, worn over a long-sleeved blouse of white wool, from distant Ar. She wore, too, a log woolen skirt, dyed red, which was belted with black, with a buckle of gold, wrought in Cos. She wore shoes of black polished leather, which folded about her ankles, laced twice, once across the instep, once about the ankle." ==Marauders of Gor
The free woman was a tall woman, large. She wore a great cape of fur, of white sea-sleen, thrown back to reveal the whiteness of her arms. Her kirtle was of the finest wool of Ar, dyed scarlet, with black trimmings. She wore two broaches, both carved of the horn of a kailiauk, mounted in gold. At her waist she wore a jeweled scabbard, protruding from which I saw the ornamented, twisted blade of a Turian dagger; free women of Torvaldsland commonly carry a knife; at her belt too, hung her scissors, and a ring of many keys, indicating that her hall contained many chests or doors; her hair was worn high, wrapped about a comb, matching the broaches, of the horn of kailiauk ; the fact that her hair was worn dressed indicated that she stood in companionship; the number of her keys, together with the scissors, indicated that she was mistress of a great house. She had gray eyes; her hair was dark; her face was cold and harsh. ==Marauders of Gor
The stake in this challenge was the young man's sister, a comely, blond lass of fourteen, with braided hair. She was dressed in the full regalia of a free woman of the north. The clothes were not rich, but they were clean, and her best. She wore two brooches; and black shoes. The knife had been removed from the sheath at her belt; she stood straight, but her head was down, her eyes closed; about her neck, knotted, was a rope, it fastened to a stake in the ground near the dueling square. She was not otherwise secured. ==Marauders of Gor
The Blue Tooth, I noted, did not look too pleased at the Forkbeard's popularity with his men. Near him, beside the high seat, sat his woman, Bera, her hair worn high on her head, in a kirtle of yellow wool with scarlet cape of the fur of the red sea sleen, and, about her neck, necklaces of gold. ==Marauders of Gor
The Northern woman, from the brief views we get to see of her, seems to run the household, she is the manager of the home base, the keeper of stores and the procurer of supplies. She will organize the home-guard from what men her companion leaves her and make sure that things are ready for her companion when he gets back from his raids
When the War Arrow is sent it will be her and her children who will suffer if she hasn't been a wise woman and stored what she could in case of such emergencies. The War Arrow is a reality every Torvaldslander must face it calls the men to war and the women to hold on tight to their men's land and tend it as brest they can with what thralls and bondmaids as remain behind.
There are Many Customs mentioned in the books about Torbaldsland. The first to remember is the lack of Home Stone. Torvaldsland is also without Caste. All citizens of Torvaldsland are Warriors Warrior-farmrs, Warrior-Hunters, or just plain hunters and farmers in the case of women.
The Books do not go into great detail about all the festivals and celebrations, though they mention that the spring equinox is the new year and woud be celebrated and that there is a Feast Season of Odin, where skalds are bid for and often kidnapped for entertainment. a Kidnapped Skald is well rewarded for his trouble at the end of the Feast Season though.
The Most common celebration is the Thing or Thing-fair. This is a combination of Festival and conclave Men and Women vie for ranking and position within the social structure of Torvaldsland. Men will compete in different sports, like Wrestling, Sword fighting, Running and more. Earig Talmuts of different kinds. Not all Talmuts are strictly prizes, some carry badges of Office attached to them. Women would compete in domestic duties,, the preparing of food, the making of brews, weaving of Cloth and such.
Mauraders of Gor provides many quotes on the Thing. It is also where many duels, both Formal and informal are held. Where Weirguild is paid and where recognition is received for deeds done between Things.
The Following quotes might help explain something of what goes on at a Thing
At the thing, to which each free man must come, unless he works his farm alone and cannot leave it, each man must be present, for the inspection of his Jarl's officer, a helmet, shield and either sword or ax or spear, in good condition. Each man, generally, save he in the direct hire of the Jarl, is responsible for the existence and condition of his own equipment and weapons. A man in direct fee with the Jarl is, in effect, a mercenary; the Jarl himself, from his gold, and stores, where necessary or desirable, arms the man; this expense, of course, is seldom necessary in Torvaldsland; sometimes, however, a man may break a sword or lose an ax in battle, perhaps in the body of a foe, falling from a ship; in such a case the Jarl would make good the loss; he is not responsible for similar losses, however, among free farmers. . ==Marauders of Gor
The Forkbeard lifted his head boldly and, smiling, emerged from the side room, at the entrance to which he stopped and raised his hands, saluting the tables. He was greeted with warmth from the many warriors there. He had won six talmits. "The Forkbeard greets you!" shouted Ivar. I blinked. The hall was light. I had not understood it to be so large. At the tables, lifting ale and knives to the Fork-beard were more than a thousand men. Then he took his way to the bench opposite the high seat, stopping here and there to exchange pleasantries with the men of Svein Blue Tooth. I, and his men, followed him. The Blue Tooth, I noted, did not look too pleased at the Forkbeard's popularity with his men. Near him, beside the high seat, sat his woman, Bera, her hair worn high on her head, in a kirtle of yellow wool with scarlet cape of the fur of the red sea sleen, and, about her neck, necklaces of gold.. ==Marauders of Gor
"The peace of the thing," said the Blue Tooth, "and the peace of my house, for the time of the thing, is upon you. This I have sworn. This I uphold."
There was much cheering. The Forkbeard beamed. "I knew it would be so, my Jarl," he said. The high rune-priest lowered the temple ring. ==Marauders of Gor
The War Arrow
What EVERY Free Woman of Torvaldsland dreads seeing. This is a call to arms no male of fighting trim will ever ignore. It is a symbol that disaster has come and all men of Torvaldsland must fight for their land for their lives. Wise women will prepare as best they can for such hardship, laying in stores of grain, meat, and other such goods against their menfolk leaving for months at a time.
When the war arrow is carried, of course, all free men are to respond; in such a case the farm may suffer, and his companion and children know great hardship; in leaving his family, the farmer, weapons upon his shoulder, speaks simply to them. "The war arrow has been carried to my house," he tells them. ==Marauders of Gor
Attitude towards Men
The books do not show much of the attitude of the Free Women of Torvaldsland towards the Free Men. However given the emphasis on strength that is part of the Torvaldsland culture a Free Woman will want the strongest man she can attract to be her companion. She will despise any weakness and praise any strength.
We don't see much about Free Companionship either in Torvaldsland. Bera, the companion of the BlueTooth ends up being left a slave because she had greatly upset her companion before the Kurii had enslaved her. The books mention that Free Men when the war arrow comes talk to their companions openly and honestly. One can assume that many companionships are formed at least from mutual respect if not love. Men can challenge for a woman, either to enslave her or companion her. It is not known if this has to happen or not. If it does how do women handle it. Such choices again will be left up to the home.
Attitude towards Slaves
General contempt best describes the Torvaldsland Free Woman's attitude about Slaves. They are to useful to kill, being able to dung the fields, shear the Verr and other tasks that a Free Woman would rather NOT do. If the Torvaldsland Free Woman had her way that is all said girls would be used for.
The Plains of Turia - Home of the Gorean Mongol
Huge wagons with Yurts on top pulled by giant cattle, that is the Wagon People of the Plains of Turia. Proud riders of the kaiila, wild men and women of the vast plains. Found in the book Nomads of Gor. They are a delightful cross between earth Mongols and probably the Gauchos of Central and South America. The Wagon folk are devided into Four peoples, The Kassars, the Kataii, the Paravaci and the Tuchuks. These four tribes often fight amongst themselves, soemetimes bitterly. But they all share much the same culture and beliefs, the same Dress and customs.
"The wagons of the Wagon Peoples are, in their hundreds and thousands, in their brilliant, variegated colors, a glorious sight. Surprisingly the wagons are almost square, each the size of a large room. Which is drawn by a double team of bosk, four in a team, with each team linked to its wagon tongue, the tongues being joined by temwood crossbars. The two axles of the wagon are also of tem-wood, which perhaps, because of its flexibility, joined with the general flatness of the southern Gorean plains, permits the width of the wagon. "The wagon box, which stands almost six feet from the ground, is formed of black, lacquered planks of tem-wood. Inside the wagon box, which is square, there is fixed a rounded, tent-like frame, covered with the taut, painted, varnished hides of bosks. These hides are richly colored, and often worked with fantastic designs, each wagon competing with its neighbor to be the boldest and most exciting. The rounded frame is Fred somewhat within the square of the wagon box, so that a walkway, almost like a ship's bridge, surrounds the frame. The sides of the wagon box, incidentally, are, here and there, perforated for arrow ports, for the small horn bow of the Wagon Peoples can be used to advantage not only from the back of a kaiila but, like the crossbow, from such cramped quarters. One of the most striking features of these wagons is the wheels, which are huge, the back wheels having a diameter of about ten feet; the front wheels are, like those of the Conestoga wagon, slightly smaller, in this case, about eight feet in diameter; the larger rear wheels are more difficult to mire; the smaller front wheels, nearer the pulling power of the bosk, permit a somewhat easier turning of the wagon. These wheels are carved wood and, like the wagon hides, are richly painted. Thick strips of boskhide form the wheel rims, which are replaced three to four times a year. The wagon is guided by a series of eight straps, two each for the four lead animals. Normally, however, the wagons are tied in tandem fashion, in numerous long columns, and only the lead wagons are guided, the others simply following, thongs running from the rear of one wagon to the nose rings of the bosk following, sometimes as much as thirty yards behind, with the next wagon; also, too, a wagon is often guided by a woman or boy who walks beside the lead animals with a sharp stick. ==Nomads of Gor
Tuchuk women, unveiled, in their long leather dresses, long hair bound in braids, tended cooking pots hung on "tem-wood tripods over dung fires. These women were unscarred, but like the bosk themselves, each wore a nose ring. That of the animals is heavy and of gold, that of the women also of gold but tiny and fine, not unlike the wedding rings of my old world. ==Nomads of Gor
No veils and long leather dresses hair in braids. Not a lot of description is given to the Free Women of the Wagons, but then one jus.t needs to turn their eyes towards the Mongols to see how such should be carried off. Leathers can be dyed different colors with fur and without fur, beads are another possibility, and the Wagon Folk also trade with others, so cloth is another possibility for Free Women attire. No mention is made of what the Rich wear, no mention of what the Poor wear.
Also there will be nose rings of fine gold to be worn through the nose. This marks them as value to their menfolk a Wagon Woman would as soon be without her dress as without her nose ring. It is her mark of belonging of being a Proud Tuchuk or Paravaci, a noble Kataii or Kassar.
Only other garment mentioned is for a maiden being raised for the "Love War" and her garmet is Described as Thus
She wore a brief leather skirt, slit on the right side to allow her the saddle of the kaiila; her leather blouse was sleeveless; attached to her shoulders was a crimson cape; and her wild black hair was bound back by a band of scarlet cloth. Like the other women of the Wagons she wore no veil and, like them, fixed in her nose was the tiny, fine ring that proclaimed her people. Her skin was a light brown and her eyes a charged, sparkling black. ==Nomads of Gor
This does lead to the possibility of other such garb being permissible to young maidens who are to participate in the Love War. And given that the Love Wars are supposed to happen every year, and how knows how often the girls stand at stake in the Love Wars til they are "To old" for such? Such questions are left unanswered in Norman's Works.
Like all women, the Wagon Women will be expected to fill the traditional rolls of women all over, those of Companion and mother. Unfortunately Norman doesn't take the opportunity to show many of the roles that Free Women would have in this culture, the only other example he gives is the role of Prize in the Love Wars. These Free Women are spoiled rotten to make them into highly desirable slaves to conquer and own.
The books almost make brief mention that the women of the Wagon folk participate in the defense of their wagons. Though HOW they do so is not listed. They may hand weapons off to the men (A very clever thing to actually do if you think about it), maybe use bows to strike at anyone in range? The books are not clear on this subject at all. But they don't make any mention of women being fully trained in the use of anything more dangerous than a cooking knife.
The books also mention that women sometimes guide the bosk by walking beside them and poking them with a sharp stick. It is possible that they also guide them from up on the wagons with the lead ropes. The books are not clear on how the wagons actually work.
One of the particularities of the Wagon Folk is that they do not each anything that was grown in the earth...but this isn't fully explained, does that mean they do not eat bread? No fruit? is this a Retorical saying, or a litteral truth? Do they not eat bread or fruit? How do they deal with the diseases not eating enough fruit and vegetables can cause? Most likely what they mean is they eat nothing that was planted in the ground by men. They do not eat suls and probably do not eat a lot of bread, but fruit that grows above the ground might be a welcome bit to their diet.
Beliefs and "Religion"
A rule of thumb is that the Wagon Folk honor, respect, and revere the Priest-kings but do no worship them. Only Men are allowed to pray to the Spirit of the Sky and then only on Kailla back and armed. And they hold as sacred the ability to fight and tend the bosk. Women are allowed to pay the Haurspex (Omen Takers) for amulets and other such items to ward off illnesses and bad luck.
"The Tuchuks and the other Wagon Peoples reverence Priest-Kings, but unlike the Goreans of the cities, with their castes of Initiates, they do not extend to them the dignities of worship. I suppose the Tuchuks worship nothing, in the common sense of that word, but it is true they hold many things holy, among them the bosk and the skills of arms, but chief of the things before which the proud Tuchuk stands ready to remove his helmet is the sky, the simple, vast beautiful sky, from which fans the rain that, in his myths, formed the earth, and the bosks, and the Tuchuks. It is to the sky that the Tuchuks pray when they pray, demanding victory and luck for themselves, defeat and misery for their enemies."The Tuchuk, incidentally, like others of the Wagon Peoples, prays only when mounted, only when in the saddle and with weapons at hand; he prays to the sky not as a slave to a master, nor a servant to a god, but as warrior to a Ubar; the women of the Wagon Peoples, it might be mentioned, are not permitted to pray; many of them, however, do patronize the haruspexes, who, besides foretelling the future with a greater or lesser degree of accuracy for generally reasonable fees, provide an incredible assemblage of amulets, talismans, trinkets, philters, potions, spell papers, wonder-working sleen teeth, marvelous powdered kailiauk horns, and colored, magic strings that, depending on the purpose, may be knotted in various ways and worn about the neck." ==Nomads of Gor
The giving of names
It is mentioned in the books that for male children they are known as as First son, Second Son and so forth until they master the arts of weapondry. It is not said if something similar holds true for women but it is entirely possible that women will not gain a name until she bleeds for the first time. When she can bare children would be a sign that she will be a productive member of society.
Another belief of the Tuchuks revolves around the selection of a name for male offspring. No name is given at birth. Instead, the male-child is known simply as First Son or Second Son until such time as he masters the use of all the weapons of war and the hunt. The Tuchuks regard names as being precious; they are not to be wasted on those who are not likely to survive. ==Nomads of Gor
The games of Love and War (the Love War)
Held every year this is a series of battles between one man of Turia and one man of the Wagon People for a citizen of their respective people. The Wagon People raise women especially for these games, indulging them shamefully, often spoiling them rotten. Attitudes that would not be tolerated in most women are tolerated and even openly encouraged in the women picked for the Love Wars.
"She seemed much different than the other Tuchuk women," I said.
Kamchak laughed, the colored scars wrinkling on his broad face. "Of course," said Kamchak, "she has been raised to be fit prize in the games of Love and War." ==Nomads of Gor
There are two systems used by the Wagon people, one is kept by the Year Keepers, who keep track of the names of the years. A skilled Year Keeper will have over a thousand year names at his (?her?) disposal. The second calander used is one based on the phases of one of Gor's three moons. This calander is used only by Free Women and most likely is tailored to their needs. The books do not say if there are Female Year Keepers. If there are there is no hint as to what their duties would be. But given the usual tendency in Gor they would be responsible for training new Year Keepers from childhood. Training their memories to be able to hold over a thousand year names.
The Omen Year
This is not really a year but part of two separate years, this once every 10 year event is a time to trade, to seek companions, to establish heirarchies and possibly to elect an Ubar-san. It comes in three parts and they all center around the movements of the Bosk around Turia. Women will often visit the Haurspex at this time to get special omens and amulets. This is also a time for trading and friendly contests between the Wagon Peoples. There are probably events that the women participate in, though the books do not mention them, we only get to see what the men do.
Instead of Castes the Wagon folk have Clans. Some of them are similar to the City folk's castes, such as the clan of Weavers, others have no direct correspondant like the Clan of Torturers. And while ALL males are expected to be Warriors and tend the bosk first and foremost, women are. This can lead to women in certain clans becoming very skilled in such things. Some Clans like the Torturers would not bother to train their women, the Clan of Weavers obviously would encourage her to learn all she can.
It is not said if these clans provide the support system of the Castes of the cities. If they do, then how this is handled isn't explained. It is not explained what happens when a woman of one clan companions a man of another, does she change clans, retain her own? These and other questions will probably not be answered so it will be a mater of choice for the group roleplaying whichever tribe you wish to be of.
Perhaps the most important thing of all to the Wagon People are the bosk. It is a crim to kill one without good reason and doubly so to kill a pregnant female. The foolish killing of a bosk can get you strangled or suffocated in it's hide, the killing of a pregnant female will get you trampled to death. Women of the Tuchuk are most likely the ones who handle the slaughter and skinning of bosk. It is not said how bosk are treated among the wagon folk beyond the two laws and the reverence they are given. Do bosk only die of old age? Are the weak and sick culled for the health of the whole?
It is mentioned that bosk are sacrificed during an omen year, is this the only time bosk are killed? If so, how to they decide which bosk are worthy of sacrifice, how is it carried out? Are certain bosk more sacred than others? Hopefully some day Norman will return to the Plains of Turia and answer these questions
The sharing of Grass and earth (dirt)
This is an important rite for women to be aware of, even if they cannot preform it. It marks someone who is a friend of their tribe. A Man of the Wagon Folk has decided this outsider is worthy to be treated as one of them. As a woman of the Wagon People you would show him all the deference you would show the man who shared grass and earth with him. Also you would know which man has stood as responsible for the stranger's action. Who to tell if the man has broken a law or acted in a way unbecoming of the People.
A fortune teller and a keeper of esoteric lore, he serves much the same role for the Wagon People as an Initiate would serve for the City Dwellers but is given much more respect by the wagon people. Women will visit a Haruspex seeking answers, cures for things the clan of healers cannot heal, talismans to ward off bad luck, amulets to bring bountiful birthings to the bosk and more. Again the books do not mention if there are Female Haruspex but given that they handle sacrifices and the reading of omens it is very unlikely. Women will probably show a great deference to the Haruspex as he is the master of forces she doesn't understand and isn't permitted to know.
I heard a haruspex singing between the wagons; for a piece of meat he would read the wind and the grass; for cup of wine the stars and the flight of birds; for a fat-bellied dinner the liver of a sleen or slave. ==Nomads of Gor
Attitude towards Men
Again, not covered well in the books. The only real interaction we get to see between a Free Woman and Free Men is that of a spoiled rotten Love War Prize girl. She was arrogant and haughty. The sort of person you would like to see get enslaves (The most common Free Female depicted in the Gor Novels) and not shed a tear about it. But taking into account that the Wagon Folk have more Free Women than slaves one can extrapolate that most Wagon Women treat their men with respect, probably honor strength and skill with quiva, bow, lance and spear.
Free companionship is not well covered in Nomads. We see Kamchak free Aphris of Turia, she chose to stay with him instead of returning home, so he made her his Ubara-sana, his compaion and maybe co-rulers. This shows that at least SOME companionships are based on love. But often among nomadic people such things are done to seal treaties unite families and strengthen bloodlines. Women in these situations might not show the love that Aphris showed for Kamchak, but they would respect their Companion and abide by the terms of the verbal contract they had forged with their partner.
Attitude towards Slaves
We do get some examples of a cold contempt of slaves by the Free Women, they probably see slaves as needful nusences, useful for helping tend the Bosk and collect dung to fuel the fires and not much else except distracting the men folk from their other duties. The books don't mention Wagon Women killing slaves so that probably isn't something they do. There is a mention of the Wagon Folk getting an enjoyment out of owning people of the "Civilized" areas. It is possible this attitude is shared by the Wagon Women.
The Alar - The Gorean Gypsies and Alan
"Alars, incidentally, are renowned for their capacity to wreak havoc, conduct massacres, chop off heads, and such, and then get a good night's sleep afterwards." ==Mercenaries of Gor
Introduced in Mercenaries the Alar are a nomadic people and the reason why most Men of the City-States DISPISE men in pants. The Alar are roudy, often seen as Rude and have a tenancy to think they own anything that isn't tied down….And they keep a knife handy to cut the ties. They are not a serious threat to most cities, given they have little interest in political power, but can be an annoyance as they tend not to pay for pasturage and other such things.
Used to a hard nomandic lifestyle the Alar tend to be self-reliant and independent, following their own ways and only really respecting their own people. They are excellent riders of the middle weight saddle thalorion, even some of their women can ride very well, and tend to their flocks and herds around their wagons. Unlike the Wagon People, the wagons of the Alar are much smaller and usually used just for sleeping.
She now wore one of the simple, corded, belted, woolen, plain, widely sleeved, ankle-length dresses of the Alar women. It was brown. She had belted it snugly, and had, too, drawn its adjustment cording snugly from its loop about the back of her neck down to her breasts where she had crossed it and then taken it back, both cords, between and under her breasts, again to her belt, tying it closely at the sides of her body. This is not uncommon among Alar women. Even though they are free they are apparently not above reminding their men that they are females. It is a simple arrangement, but not unattractive. It covers almost everything, with seeming modesty, but in such a way, that it is likely to lead a man to think in terms of removing it. Boabissia, however, was presumably unaware of these things. From her point of view, she had probably done nothing more than to garb herself in the accustomed manner of the Alar woman. Even so, however, putting herself in a dress, in itself, seemed to represent some sort of considerable change in her. She wore, too, as she had last night, her dagger in her belt." ==Mercenaires of Gor
Simplicity of line seems to be the mark of Alar Women's clothing. The pictures i've seen of Alan dress shows them to be a Jacket-dress that is so belted. The books don't mention what is worn under the dress, it could be trews or leggings and boots. Alar women do not go veiled, though they may do so if they enter a city, the books do not stay. Alar are fierce and proud, not afraid to speak their minds to their men, but from what little we get to see they do so respectfully in the most part.
As much as some might wish it no where in Mercenaries of Gor does it say that Alar women wield anything more fearsome than a dagger. Still they might be expected to know much of it's use, both as tool and weapon. The Alar are a warrior culture, every man can fight, they will raid when trade cannot get them what they want or needs. This can lead to fights with the more settled people of the cities, towns and villages. The Women would need to be ready to face tose consequences.
It is in this book where we see what might the Gorean attitude on being presented with a child. There is a celebration of the birth of a new Alar. The proud father dispalyed the child for all to see and called for gifts to be given, the other Free Women and the Free Men cheered this generosity. This is perhaps the most important role for any woman in Gor but the Alar are the only people mentioned as giving gifts to celebrate it. It is not known if they also give gifts for Girl Children or if that's what Mothers do for Daughters. But a Father will give gifts on the birth of a healthy son
From this we can extrapolate that the role of Companion is equally important. As without such a child is not possible for any man. Alar women dress to please a man's sense of beauty by the books, yet with an eye towards modesty and not attracting the eye of the strange men of the cities. An Alar woman would want to stay with her people and if that isn't possible then with a different band of Alar.
There is no mention made if there are any other rolls for Alar women, but given that Alar keep herds it is not unreasonable to assume that women would help with the care of livestock. Verr and vulo might be tended by a Free Woman for her Father, Brother, or Companion. Also it is possible, since verr are raised among the Alar, that the spinning of thread and the making of cloth is an industry that the women indulge in. They probably also help in the butchering of the animals, the making of leather and the preservation of the meat. These roles are important to the survival of Nomadic people.
The laager of the Alars, like that of similar folks, is a fortress of wagons. They are ranged in a closed circle, or concentric, closed circles, draft animals and women and children within. Also, not unoften, depending on the numbers involved, and particularly when traversing, or sojourning in dangerous countries, verr, tarsk and bosk may also be found within the wagon enclosure. ==Mercenaries of Gor
Meant, obviously, to protect the weaker members of the Alar community, the Laager would be a factor of Free Women's lives. They would have the duty of keeping the children and animals from wandering outside the circle of wagons to make sure enemies didn't make it inside. It is not stated what all the roles of a Woman would be when a Laager is formed.
Traditions of the birth of a child
Then Genserix reached down and lifted up the child. The women cried out with pleasure and the men grunted with approval. Genserix held the child up now, happily, it almost lost in his large hands, and then he lifted it up high over his head.
"Ho!" called the warriors, standing up, rejoicing. The women beamed.
"It is a son!" cried one of the women.
"Yes," said Genserix. "It is a son!"
"Ho!" called the warriors. "Ho!"
"What is going on?" asked Feiqa.
"The child has been examined," I said. "It has been found sound. It will be permitted to live. It is now an Alar. Too, he has lifted the child up. In this he acknowledges it as his own."
Genserix then handed the child to one of the warriors. He then drew his knife. "What is he going to do?" gasped Feiqa.
"Be quiet," I said. Genserix then, carefully, made two incisions in the face of the infant, obliquely, one on each cheek. The infant began to cry. Blood ran down the sides of its face, about the sides of its neck and onto its tiny shoulders. "Let it be taken now," said Genserix, "to its mother."
The woman who had brought the child to the side of the fire now took up the blanket in which it had been wrapped, and, wrapping it again on its folds, took it then from the warrior, and made her way back to the wagon.
"These are a warrior people," I said to Feiqa, "and the child is an Alar. It must learn to endure wounds before it receives the nourishment of milk."
Feiqa shrank back, frightened to be among such men.
On the face of Genserix, and on the faces of those about us, the males, were the thin, white, knifeedge lines, the narrow scars, by which it might be known that each had, in his time, undergone the same ceremony. By such scars one may identify Alars.==Mercenaries of Gor
Among the Alar, every child, male or female will be examined to see if there are any birth defects that indicate the child will not make it to adulthood or that the child will be a burden on its family for the rest of it's existence. If the child doesn't pass the examination the child is most likely killed, though the books do not say how this is accomplished, but it is possible it will be left out to die of exposure.
Acknowledging the child is his
After a child is examined the father of the chid has the option of then acknowledging the child as his, of recognizing the child as of his blood and celebrating the birth of a new member of his family. In the books we see what happens with the birth of a son, it is not said if the birth of a daughter is just as celebrated or not. Or if a Father acknowledges daugthers in the same way he would a son. It is possible he would not and it is the women who celebrate the birth of daughters and acknowledge them.
The Marking of boy chidren
This is the first and only rite of passage we get to see for young Alar males and it is done shortly after the child is acknowledged and accepted by his people, two cuts are made on his face, one to each cheek and are left to scar. This will mark him for the rest of his life as an Alar and no Alar will ever fail to acknowledge him as being of the people because of those scars.
One would assume that the mother will take care that the wounds, while well tended to will scar as this is a mark that the child needs to carry for the rest of its life. She will be proud of the mark and celebrate it, brag about how well her infant son handled himself how little he cried and how stoic he was.
Attitude towards Men
We only get to see one Free Woman up close and she was more desiring of being treated as a man. However form her example we can see that the men were held in some regard. Most Free Women probably greatly respected their men and the stronger the man the more he was admired and respected. This is another common theme in John Normans works. Only the strong man is worthy of respect and should be given it. From the scene with the birth of the child we can also see that the Alar celebrate the function of women in their society.
Most likely Alar Women are proud of their Companions, their Brothers and Fathers. Such men are accorded great respect, and most likely it is returned. Given their nomadic existance the men probably fiercely defend their women against any outsider. This could be why we do not see much of the Free Women. Tarl Cabot is there, not as a friend of the band like he was in Nomads but as a hired outsider.
If Alar Women do not trust men who are not Alar they would avoid Tarl at all costs, staying in the wagons when their duties alow and not speaking to him. Leaving it to the Menfolk to handle the stranger and make sure he respects the privacy of the women.
Attitude towards Slaves
Perhaps the most extreme in the books Alar Women kill slaves at the slightest provocation. And to an Alar Woman, breathing slaves are provocation enough. Why this is so is not explained. Norman's Goreans seem to be hard-wired for this response. And the Alar have an over-abundance of this trait. This could also be why Alar women dress the way they do, with tightly laced dresses that show off their curves while covering their bodies from neck to ankle. They are making sure that their men know that they are women too, and are willing partners in all things.
"Yes," he said, "but usually to buy our captures, picked up generally in raids or fighting."
"Why are there so few slaves among the wagons?" I asked.
"The free women kill them," said Hurtha." ==Mercenaries of Gor
The Barrens - Gorean home of the Amerindians
Somehow in Gor we now have Cowboys and Indians with a history far longer than they had on Earth. But in the end it doesn't matter as we get the culture and traditions of the Red Savages which is a compilation of many of the plains indians. Replace the Horse and the Buffalo with the kaiila and the kailiauk. You will find the Shirt-dress, the moccasins, the elaborate loincloths and chest "Protectors" and much more.
The Barrens are much like the prairies of North America, flat rolling land of few trees and waterways. A river can dry up in a matter of days, then flash-flood when a freak rain-storm hits upstream. Snow can melt and the day get hot in the middle of winter, and you can get blizzards in the middle of spring. The Barrens are a very chancy land and have lead to a tough and strong people.
He had spoken to a girl who was standing near the stirrup of another girl, mounted on a kaiila. The standing girl, to whom Cuwignaka had spoken, had come with the Isanna. She had come walking at stirrup of the mounted girl. She wore a rather plain shirt dress, with knee-length leggings and moccasins. Her braided hair was tied with red cloth. There were glass beads about her neck. She was quite lovely. The girl on the kaiila, too, was very lovely, indeed, perhaps even more lovely than she afoot. but her beauty, in any event, was much enhanced by her finery. Her dress was a soft-tanned hide, almost white, fringed into which, about the breasts and shoulders, were worked intricate patterns of yellow and red beading. Her leggings and moccasins were similarly decorated. Her braided hair, glossy and long, was bound with silver string. Two golden bracelets adorned her left wrist. She wore two necklaces of beads, and another on which were threaded tiny, heavy tubes and pendants, spaced intermittently, of silver and gold. Across her forehead hung a tiny silver chain on which were tiny silver droplets. ====Blood Brothers of Gor
Here you want to think of the woman of the Apache, the black foot, the Navajo. They will be wearing long shirt-dresses, beautifully beaded and decorated, they will wear soft moccasins designed to be comfortable and durable often with leggings to protect them from the skin of the Kaiila. Lovingly hand made object that, if they traded them, would bring great monetary rewards. Leggings may be seen as a type of "Pants" worn by the women of the plains, made of soft-tanned hides and often tied around the legs with Cords.
Such clothing will not be easy to make and will be carefully cherished. The more work put into making it the more cherished it is and the better care that is taken care of it. There are probably outfits among the Red Savages that have passed fro parent to child over a generation or two. Such is the quality and skill of the workmanship. Such was often the traditions of the plains Indians on whom they were based.
Capes are also a part of the garb of the Red Savages, and they wear them with pride such can be works of art. Everything that a Free of the Red Savages wears should be at least somewhat decorated, the more important the member of the tribe the more decorated it should be. Their best will often be worn for special occasions and when on "Display" before other tribes.
Women, too, in their shirtdresses and knee-length leggings, and beads, bracelets and armbands, and colorful blankets and capes, astride their kaiila, riding as red savages ride, participated in this barbaric parade. ==Blood Brothers of Gor
Among the Red Savages the roles of Women are companion and mother, yet it sometimes feels as if they are more than other groups. Here a Free Man often pays more attention to his companion, he will take the time to decorate her face, to help her get ready for major ceremonies and such. While it is not stated in the books it seems that in Red Savage culture your Free Companion is to be as valued as anything around you. You care for her as she cares for you.
It is mentioned that the Red Savages made distinctions between what was women's work and what was men's and while each might offer to help with the other's work such aid was normally turned down. A Man might offer to help with cooking, but he'll be thanked and told it is not needed. A woman may offer to help with a Man's Kaiila but she'll be thanked and told it is appreciated but unnecessary. It is entirely possible there are things that are purely women's rolls among the Savages that we are not being shown because of Norman's lack of empathy with female characters who are not slaves.'
It should also be noted that Free Women of the Red Savages ride much the same as the men do. And they will bring their children up on their mounts with them. They even make sure that their children are dresses in appropriate miniature of their parents, and that infants are kept safe wen traveling in special baby-cradles that are designed to hang from either tent-pole or kaiila back. These being in a shape that if they fall will avoid them striking the ground with anything breakbale.
Summer Festivals are times of celebrations each tribe celebrates their festival at a different time. Warfare and other aggressive actions are curtailed during these times. Also slaves may be freed though rarely in the time of the feasts and give aways which is sort of like an Indian Christmas. During the summer festivals, and the time of the great dances, warfare and raiding is commonly suspended on the prairie. This is a time of truce and peace. The celebrating tribe, during its own festival period, naturally refrains from belligerent activities. Similarly, interestingly, enemy tribes, during this period, perhaps in virtue of an implicit bargain that their own festival times be respected, do not attack them, or raid them. ==Blood Brothers of Gor
This would also be a time for the Free Women of the plains to show off their skills, to trade with other tribes, and probably to seek out companions if they cannot find them among their own. This is a time of celebration and the telling of many stories. Not only slaves would most likely dance at this time. Among the plains Indians even women danced, as did warriors. Such dances would be on display and shown off to allies and enemies alike.
As this is a time for the freeing of slaves, this is probably also the time of many forming companionship. Often such festivals among the Plains Indians were used for courtship, for the playing of the flute to convince a woman that she wanted a particular man. This is probably true of the Red Savages.
"This is," said Kog, to Samos, "a story skin."
"I understand," said Samos.
"It is an artifact of the red savages," said Kog, "from one of the tribes in the Barrens."
"Yes," said Samos. ==Savages of Gor
The books mention that Tarl Cabbot recognized such as being similar to those done by American Indians on Earth. They will be painted with esoteric symbols that tell a story, they can be about a variety of subjects from creation myths to a story about how one tribe survived a particularly hard winter and they wanted to pass how they did it on to future generations should such a hard time come again.
As mentioned in the Summer Festivals there is dancing among the Red Savages and not just slave dance. There are war dances and hunting dances. There are probably dances to celebrate the birth of children and the changing of the seasons. Rain dances and prayer dances. Of course most of these dances are not mentioned in the books as Norman transplanted a culture that many of his readers would have grown up with a decent passing knowledge of. And would have been able to fill in many of the blanks.
Relationship with the Kailiauk
"The red savages depend for their very lives on the kailiauk" said Kog. "He is the major source of their food and life. His meat and hide, his bones and sinew, sustain them. From him they derive not only food but clothing and shelter, tools and weapons." ==Savages of Gor
Again the similarity between the Plains Indians and the Red Savages is deliberately drawn so that the ready can see it. Instead of the Red savages being dependent on the buffalo it is changed to the Kailiauk. Whos herds can number in the millions to tens of millions. With the simple weapons that the Red Savages use they would never be able to seriously decimate the herds and with the respect they hold for their prey they would not willing be as wasteful as the white man was with the buffalo.
Red Savages also have story-telling. These are stories of battles, conquests, hunts or other significant events. The "story" is sometimes an "owned story" which means that only the owner of the story is permitted to re-tell it. "It is a good story," said a man. "Through the years it will bear much retelling." "And it is not an owned story," said a man. "We all may tell it." "Yes," said another. Many stories among the red savages are owned stories, stories which only one man has a right to tell. If one wishes to hear the story one must ask the owner to tell it. ==Blood Brothers of Gor
It is not said if there are women's stories or if they work the same as men's stories but I am certain that this is something that women would enjoy. Among the plains Indians such was told by both men and women. And both sexes enjoyed the stories of the other sex. If this does hold true for the Red Savages a female storyteller is a great roll for a woman who wants something more than the tanning of hides and beading of clothing to be her work. Owned stories would obviously be of great value to their teller, and care should be taken if you choose to be a woman story-teller, in designing your own Owned Stories.
"Marvelous," I said. It is not unusual for a master to care for a slave's hair. Too, they will, upon occasion, groom kaiila and tie streamers and ribbons in
their long manes. That he had painted her face was also impressive. Usually, among the Kaiila, it is free women who are permitted face paint, and
then, commonly only at times of great festivals. This paint is commonly applied by the woman's mate. ==Blood Brothers of Gor
The painting of a woman's face is a sign of how well she is loved by her companion as such is something only he can do for her and as the quote above showsit is only at the times of great festivals. A woman with a painted face at any other time should be greatly honored that hermate would do such for her, she should be bragging and boasting about his kindness, his generosity, his love for her. She would be almost vain about how beautiful she looks with her face painted. But it is a fine line to walk, to vain and she may be thought of as slave.
Magic and Dreams
Red Savages believe in magic and have a variety of objects that they believe have magical powers, such as their shields and medicine masks. Medicine bags are also popular. Dreams are part of this magical word as well and in dreams you can travel great distances, visit with the dead, or with powerful spirits and return safely home when you wake up. Both Men and Women can practice at least some forms of magic. Dreams are available to everyone and great importance can be placed upon them. This is especially true of dreams that come after performing the ritual of the Sweat Lodge. The books do not say if women can do the sweat lodge themselves however a dream from a sweat lodge ritual could be given to a woman and such are considered a very special gift as not every person who does the ritual gets a dream.
A Free Woman's Maiden
These are slaves that are owned by Women of the Tribe. They may be white but I've noticed they are mostly captives from other tribes that may or may not have been reduced to slavery. They serve their mistresses as a domestic servant and sometimes as a messenger. Many of them endure a hard slavery others are treated with a cold appreciation for their services. Many of them are reguarded as being "Almost Free as they are a woman's maiden" by men. From this one can assume that they are not required to service men the way most slaves are. How much lattitude a Maiden is given will need to be a function of the tribe's will.
"Do not speak to my maiden," said the girl on the kailla.
"Iwoso is a Yellow Knife," said Cuwignaka. "She was taken when she was twelve. Bloketu is the daughter of Watonka."
"I see," I said. The girl, Iwoso, did not wear a collar. I had suspected, however, from the plainness of her dress, the fact that she was on foot, with the Isanna, and seemed clearly in attendance on the girl astride the kaiila, that she was not of the Isanna, but was, rather, one owned by them, or, at least, living with them.
"Iwoso has high status with the Isanna," said Cuwignaka. "You can see that she is not even collared."
Beaded and/or Braided Collars
The mark of personal possession, beaded collars and braided collars are not just for slaves, though they do wear them, but for spears, arrows, and other personal property. Such ownership marks are a very important part of tribal life. The beading and braiding on an arrow shaft says who killed what and determines the division of meat. On a set of moccasins says who owns them the same with any other goods that a person might own. Both men and women have such markings and will use them for their possessions. The books do not say if men make their own or if they leave that to the women to do for them, so such will be the choice of your particular tribe.
Attitude towards Men
With Norman's refusal to show how the average Free Woman feels about the Average Free Man we are again left to extrapolate. The women of the Red Savages do not take companions who are not proven warriors, who cannot paint their faces for them, and they will openly demean such as being still children and are encouraged to do so. Only men of courage and strength deserve them as companions, as mothers to their children. This is a very understandable attitude.
The books do mention the divide between men's and women's work and the manners used by both sides to refuse the help of the other with such tasks. It also mentions such things as the painting of women's faces which is done by men for women. This indicates a strong interaction of many positive associations between men and women. The Women must feel safe among their Menfolk, they trust their honor and integrity.
Attitude towards Slaves
This is about the same as the attitude of most Free Women towards their enslaved sisters. The Women of the Red Savages do sometimes see uses for slaves in doing those tasks and duties they do not wish to, but for the most part they would rather have them sold off or traded for more useful items like arrowheads and glass beads.
It should also be noted that some Red Savage Women keep slaves, often captives from other tribes that are called Maidens. They are primarily domestic servants for the Free Women and while the one in the books tricked her mistress and turned the tables on her enslaving her while gaining her own freedom. There are many maidens who are not successful or who do not plan on doing such. Such females may or may not be treated better than other slaves it all depends on the Free Woman who owns them.
The Tahari - Gorean Arabs and North Africans
The sun beats down during the day like a merciless hammer, man and women alike flee to shaded places and move as little as possible. Night is the time of action for many in the Tahari, when the sun no longer tries to suck the moisture from your very bones and the heat is not an oppressive blanket that attempts to smother you.
Following me down the gangplank, clad in a black haik, could have been only my companion, the pitiful free woman who shared my poverty. The haik, black, covers the woman from head to toe. At the eyes, there is a tiny bit of black lace, through which she may see. On her feet were soft, black, non-heeled slippers, with curled toes, they were, decorated with a lind of silver thread. ==Tribesmen of Gor
Some of the nomads veil their women, and some do not. Some of the girls decorate their faces with designs, drawn in charcoal. Some of the nomad girls are very lovely. The children of nomads, both male and female, until they are five or six years of age, wear no clothing. During the day they do not venture from the shade of the tents. At night, as the sun goes down, they emerge happily from the tents and romp and play. ==Tribesmen of Gor
Despite there being many tribes amog the Tahari there are few quotes about how the women dress. We learn that some tribes veil their women and others do not. This is true of many North African and Arabian tribes. There is the possiblity that some tribes of the Tahari veil men instead. There are tribes like that in North Africa.
The only Garment mentioned is the Haik, an all emcompasing garment that is often an Abeya with a Burka. There are other types of common female headgear worn by the North African and Arabian tribes, they include the Hijib or headscarf and the Nijib the headscarf with face covering. Such are probably also worn by the tribes of the Tahari.
In thinking North African/Arabic layers will be a key to the garbs worn by the women. Often under the Abeya will be worn trews and a blouse of silk, cotton or linnen, light weight material that cools quickly yet protect the body from the sun. Many Tahari women are mentioned as measuring their stride, some even daring the chain to do so, though such women wisely keep the key if they do. Others settle for the much safer piece of rope.
Some bold Tahari maidens will wear a virgin bell around their left ankle, some unwise maidens try out slave-bells and end up collared and sold in far away oasis or lands. So such is not recommended if you wish to play a Free Woman for any length of time.
One of Norman's weaknesses is that he doesn't always pay attention to how the people he's trying to portray really dress. Many North African tribes favor darker colors over white, as these colors encorage a chimney effect that can keep it up to 20 degrees cooler inside their robes than outside and sometimes even more.
City women will not be as limited in color pallet as the Tribal women who will chose their clothing in traditional colors, cuts, designs, and decorations. City women will experiment with light and dark colors as they do not need to worry about being recognized as a member of which band of which tribe. All women, though will decorate themselves as best they can afford to show off their status and wealth. In some tibes coins may be hung from headscarves in others they showing of wealth may be braided wire or delicate beadwork.
In the end each tribe will have to decide how they want their women to look and each city will need to indicate what is the Fashion of the time, though realize that fashion can change.
The books do not give many Rolls for Free Women directly. It is by looking at the culture from which the Tahari is plucked from that we get a clue as to what women will be doing besides being Companion and Mother. The biggest things to remember about the Tahari is that everyone there is water-conscious. They pay attention to where the water goes and try not to waste a drop. They plan their activities so that heavy work is done during the cool of the day and try to either sleep or do very light work during the heat.
Women of the Tribes will probably have many duties to perform. In many tribes the women tend the flocks with the aid of those boys not yet old enough to take up weapons and defend their territory. Such is probably true in the Tahari. Women will also work weaving carpets. Many of them being both weavers and carpet callers, making the beautiful and expensive Taharan rugs that are displayed proudly in the homes of the wealthy in cities like Ar Cos and Ko-ro-ba.
It is IMPORTANT to remember, though, that while there IS a swords-woman in tribesman she is an exception and not usual. She has been deceived by the Salt Ubar and is being used as a distraction to hide his deeds. Women of the Tahari are not sword wielding warriors, no matter how much we might wish it was true.
About the only role that women will NOT have is any part in the salt trade. This is mostly handles by Men, if your companion is part of the salt trade you might keep his books, otherwise women had no real part in it. Male slaves did the mining, female slaves were sent there only as an extreme form of punishment.
Unfortunately Norman doesn't much deal with the customs of the Tahari. We have no clue what holidays they had, what festivals they celebrated, or even much about trade except the salt trade. Norman may have been working under the assumption that most readers would not care for such details, as many do not see the Arabs as having a rich tradition of celebrations. However this isn't the truth. And there are a few customs mentioned in the books, though they are not well described. One can look to their Earth Counterparts to get a feel for them.
The Destruction of wells
It is difficult for one who is not of the Tahari to conjecture the gravity of the offense of destroying a source of water. It is regarded as an almost inconceivable crime, surely the most heinous which might be perpetrated upon the desert. Such an act, regarded as a monstrosity, goes beyond a simple act of war. Surely, in but a few days, word that Aretai tribesmen had destroyed, or attempted to destroy, a well at Two Scimitars would spread like fire across the desert, inflaming and outraging men from Tor to the Turian outpost merchant fort, and trading station, of Turmas. This act, perpetrated against the Bakahs at Two Scimitars, a vassal tribe of the Kavars, would doubtless bring full-scale war to the Tahari.
"Even now the war messengers ride," said the merchant.
The tribes, at the various oases, and in the desert, in their nomad territories, and at their kasbahs, would be summoned. It would be full war.
A well had been broken. Tribesmen of Gor
That simple quote says much about the sacredness of wells and water in the Tahari, few things will unite the tribes faster than the destruction of a water source, it is a stab into the very heart of their way of life, it is worse than rape, worse than gouging out the eyes of infants, it is a cruel and senseless act. As a Woman of the Tahari if you meet any man even rumored to have harmed a well you would turn your back on him ignore him if it is safe to do so and do the minimum you can if it is not.
Such men are unnatural and unright and to be greatly feared.
The Status of the Tribe
This is an important thing for every Tahari Tribeswoman to know. Which tribes her people are subordinate to and which ones she's above. While most of the time each tribe is independent of the others, it times of comflic and war High and Noble tribes can command Troops from their vassal tribes. These men are expected to fight their best for their superior tribe, but also, if conquered, to be ready to stand and support their new over-lords.
This means that Today's enemy could be tomorrow's ally or vassal. It all depends on who wins and how much they win.
On the raising of chidren
They are taught written Taharic by their mothers, who draw the characters in the sand, during the day, in the shade of the tents. Most of the nomads in this area were Tashid, which is a tribe vassal to the Aretai. It might be of interest to note that children of the nomads are suckled for some eighteen months, which is nearly twice the normal length of time for Earth infants, and half again the normal time for Gorean infants. These children, if it is significant, are almost, uniformly secure in their families, sturdy, outspoken and serf-reliant. Among the nomads, interestingly, an adult will always listen to a child. He is of the tribe. Another habit of nomads, or of nomad mothers, is to frequently bathe small children, even if it is only with a cloth and a cup of water. There is a very low infant mortality rate among nomads, in spite of their limited diet and harsh environment. Adults, on the other hand, may go months without washing. After a time one grows used to the layers of dirt and sweat which accumulate, and the smell, offensive at first, is no longer noticed. ==Tribesmen of Gor
Here we see that mothers teach their children their letters among the tribes. So it can be assumed that among the tribes an illiterate woman is a mark of shame as she cannot do her duty to her children. Also note that chidren are nursed until they are at least a year and a half old. This is slowly being acknowleged in the western world as GOOD for the children, as healthy and natural, chidren with longer nursing times have better survival rate.
Also it should be noted that nomadic children are secure in their families one would assume this holds true for the girl children as well as the boys. Since the words of chidren are taken seriously by mother and father children probably learn early to tell the truth, to speak with honor, and to provide important information first and trivia afterwords.
Finally we are told that bathing small children is important, so much so that even if it's just wiping down the child with water from a cup it is done almost every day. Norman implies that this is part of why the infant mortality rate in the Tahari is low and it is entirely possible he is correct. These are aspects that should be part of any woman's RP if she is doing a tribesman and probably even part of the RP of City Folk, at least in part. Some of these habits and customs woud have been brought to the cities by hirelings for the city guard and caravan guards.
Attitude towards Men
Unfortunately we do not get even the crumbs that most books give us of such interactions. However this may be a good thing as it leaves it open to many different interpretations. The books do not even mention if Free Women were kept in hareem, though one can assume that slaves most likely were so treated, as they are a valuable property. Though there is no mention of Eunuchs in the books, there may or may not have been such men. And if there were, we have no idea of how Free Women would react to them.
Attitude towards Slaves
There is little to no mention of the attitude the Tahari Free have about slaves. But given Norman's tendencies one would assume that the Free Women hate/resent the slaves and believe they are only useful for menial labor. The resentment of slaves is a common theme in Norman's works and if he doesn't mention such an attitude assume it is on par with the women of the great cities.
The Shendi - Gor's South and east Africa
Wild and exotic plants and flowers dark and mysterious jungles, unexplored miles of rivers and streams, the Schendi has everything and Elizabethan explorer dreamed of. This is the home of the Jungle tribes, of the black men and women who live interesting lives and the home of one of the richer men in Gor.
The tribes of the Inner Schendi jungles remind me a bit of the native people of Australia or the jungle tribes of Africa, even up to the point that some are cannibals. Some are farmers and some hunters and fishermen; they live in smallish tribes, making their dwellings out of what is available in the jungles. Some tribes live high up in the canopies and others on the ground. ==Explorers of Gor
He then left my side. There were more than two hundred individuals in the great court, both men and women, of high station, and certain commoners with causes to plead. Too, there were guards, and chieftains, and envoys. The robes were generally of animal skin, some marvelously marked. There was much gold and silver jewelry. Anklets and wristlets of feathers were common. The hair of the men and women was worn in a variety of fashions. Too, there were ornate headdresses in evidence, usually of skins and feathers. In the lips of some of the men were brass plugs. Facial tattooing, in various designs, was common. The opulence and color of the court of Bila Huruma was quite impressive. I was sure that it would have shamed the display and pageantry of many Ubars in the north. There were various racial types represented in the court, almost all black. I was the only white present. There were some brown fellows from Bazi, though, and one of the attending physicians was oriental. Even among very similar black types there was variety in hair style and tattooing, and dress, which I took as evidence of cultural or tribal difference. One of the difficulties in the ubarate of Bila Huruma was this sort of racial and tribal heterogeneity. Fortunately most of these people, generally all from the Ushindi region, spoke closely related dialects. This heterogeneity was surely a challenge to the ubarate of Bila Huruma and that his government was as stable as it was said as much, I think, for the intelligence of his governance as for the ruthlessness of his policies and the indomitability of his will. ==Explorers of Gor
Once again we do not get to see most of the rolls that Free Women are able to assume but since Schendi is a mix of several different cultures including the Caste system of the City-States of Gor one can extrapolate that just about every possible role on the planet is available here. Schendi the city is a Free Poert and while most of the population is black they do have other races well represented here as well.
Women will be found practicing trades, being mothers, behing companions, running businesses, teaching children and everything else women do in the world of Gor. The Schendi offers the broadest stroke for a woman's roll as here can be found curious Tuchuk, salt and slave traders from the Tahari, members of the tribes of the jungles of Schendi, Merchants from Turia and much more. All of these people will need to find good and services they understand and the city will provide.
He had, I had heard, already more than two hundred companions, not to mention perhaps twice the number of slave girls, captures, purchases and gifts. If the body of Tende appealed to him he could get heirs upon it. If it did not, he could forget her, leaving her neglected, a sequestered souvenir of state, another girl lost in one of the womens' courts in the palace. ==Explorer's of Gor
The quote does not say how it is that Bila Hurama is able to have more than one Free Companion, just that he does. It also implies that, unlike most companionships, these last for more than a year. If that is true it must be a lonely life for the women he doesn't care for. Not even Marlineus of Ar, the most famous Ubar, has ever had more than one companion at a time. It is possible that multiple companions is a tradition of the Schendi as it is a tradition of many easter and southern African tribes.
If this is true it can lead to many interesting RP opertunities. How much do the Free Women cooperate with each other, are they encouraged to plot against each other, if not what are the penalties for getting caught. What is the limit on how many companions a man can have. Is Divorce permissible, how are heirs determined? This raises so many questions that we do not have answers to. These are questions that those who RP a Schendi tribe will have to answer for themselves about Multiple Companions.
The next to appear before Bila Huruma were two members of the nobility, a man and his companion… He complained of her that she had been unwilling to please him. By one word and a stroke of his hand between them Bila Huruma dissolved their companionship. He then ordered that the man be put in the dress of a woman and beaten from the court with sticks. This was done. He then ordered that the woman be stripped and a vine leash be put on her neck. She was then sentenced to a barrack of askaris for a year, that she might learn how to please men. ==Explorers of Gor
I find it interesting that he punished both sides of the companionship in nearly euqal humiliating ways for their problems, which they probably could have sorted out themselves and just simply waiting out the year and not renewed. This seems to point out that in the Schendi at least bringing out one's dirty laundry is frowned upon. Other sentances issued during the time we get to sell Bila Huruma passing judgements are usually impartial though often harsh.]
Speaking languages other than Gorean
"Go away!" cried the fellow in Ukungu and Ushindi.
"We are friends!" called Ayari, speaking in Ushindi.
"Go away!" screamed the fellow again, this time in Ushindi. He was, we gathered, the village linguist. Other men, too, some eight or nine of them, and some seven or eight boys, of various ages, cameout farther on the platform, balancing themselves expertly over the flowing waters, to bid us be on our way.
Apparently several of the tribes speak their own languages, and Gorean is NOT the universal lanaguage in the Schendi that it is in the rest of Gor. This is important to remember as this means that you will NOT always understand others and others will not always understand you. Most likely what is going on is various seed-cultures of African tribes were brought in and scattered throughout the area and they blossomed into the Schendi tribes of today. However most of these tribes fell back on their original tongues and didn't keep the Gorean they were raught. Probably because of the lower tech level of the forest dwelling tribes.
If you wish you can Role play speaking a different language here. It will be up to the tribe if they understand Gorean, and if so, how much they understand.
This is the book where we get to meet the intersting Free Women know as the Taluna, which are covered in a previous essay. These women have left behind the protections of City and Caste to live an independent life in the wilds of the Shendi jungles. If you want to know more about them please read my essay "So you think you want to be a Free Woman: Panther Taluna and other interesting rolls"I go into more depth about the Taluna and their culture and traditions.
Attitude towards Men
The books make little mention of the relationships between men and women in the Schendi except for the one example of the Divorce and some enforcement of Laws. Women are expeted to be law-abiding citizens, and can expect most men to do the same. The laws and rules of Schendi are often harshly enforced by Bila and his officers. This would lead to Free Women probably feeling safer than they would be in a city with less strictly enforced laws and so many foreigners.
This is also the region where the Taluna are found, so it is also possible that some Free Women find the attitudes and conditions to harsh and flee to the jungles to live out their lives according to their wishes. While most Taluna are white women there is nothing in the books to confirm or deny that there are black Taluna as well.
Attitude towards Slaves
Again there is little said in this book directly about how Free Women react to slaves. One should assume that the usual dislike is there, as is the gruding recognition of some usefulness in slaves as domestics and manual laborers. The Women of the Schendi may or may not be used to hard work of their own. We are not given much insight into how the tribes manage their day to day affairs. It is entirely possible that most tribes in the Shendi do not keep many slave either selling them off to the slave traders or just not taking very many in the first place. Slaves an be an expensive commodity as they are not edible as are verr and bosk.
Also there is the simple fact that most slaves are female and are kept for sex. Such things an distact the men from their needed duties in a woman's eyes. Men can be expected to need to tend to fish traps, handle large sale agriculture, bag game to suppliment the diet and many other things that furring a slave can interfere with. This would give the women justification in disliking them.
The Pani - Gorean Asia and Japan
To many people it is about time for this to happen, one of the more male dominated of Modern earth cultures is brought to Gor the Pani are Norman's verion of the Japanese. They come wielding Katana and wearking kimono, with their tea ceremonies and their contract women. They bring a new depth and breath of live into the world of Gor.
There were free Pani women in the castle, perhaps companions of officers, and several contract women. These women, demure in their kimonos, their tiny hands in their sleeves, would sometime, in their short, careful steps, visit kenneled slaves. They looked upon them much as one would look on caged verr. Sometimes they spoke softly amongst themselves, laughed, and turned away. Mariners of Gor
"The blackness of teeth was apparently regarded as cosmetically appealing. Indeed certain beauties of the Pani. I would learn, blackened their teeth to enhance their charms." Swordsmen of Gor
Japense clothing of the ancient times is obviously the bi-word here. Kimonos of all sorts would be worn. The Length of the Kimono and the layers indicating status, longer sleeves meaning youth, as would more colorful Kimono. A woman who stands in companionship would most likely wear a more conservative Kimono than a woman who was looking for such.
A dark colored kimono of a subdued pattern is the mark of the woman who stands in companionship. This does NOT mean the kimono is simple it just means that the pattern is not brightly colored or overly fanciful. While a girl seeking her first companion might choose a Kimono with a beautiful japanese fire-bird flying in and out of the clouds of sunset on it, the woman who is comfortably companioned would wear a kimono with a simple but elegant crane in a small stream.
The blackening of teeth was something that Geisha and Orien would do to improve their beauty and was looked upon with favor for them and also for women of the higher japanese castes, like the Samurai. It seems that Norman chose to continue this tradition with his Pani. So if you want to emphasis the beauty of a contract woman she would need to blacken her teeth. The books do not say if such is done to "Collar Girls" (Aka Slaves) to improve their beauty or not.
In Second Life the choices in Kimono range greatly from Kimono designed for system body that are only a few linden to the latest mesh Kimono that can range in the 500 or more linden range. Though I did not yet find quotes on them I will assume that parasols and fans are the accompaniments of choice for the Pani Woman, depending on weather and other such conditions.
The Pani free women, incidentally, seem, except for the companions of high officers, and such, to have much lower status than the typical Gorean free woman, certainly one of upper caste. For example, an older sister, even a mother, must defer to a male child, bowing first, and such. Mariners of Gor
While the books imply that women have a lesser status in the Pani World, such was probably far from the truth. In Japanese culture women were often seen to have a lower status than what they truly had due to the deference and manners they showed their men. Good manners was important to the japanese so much so that men and women almost spoke to seperate languages. The way a woman says thank you is different from a man. Women in Japan are expected to be the epitomy of gracious good manners, and such is likely true for the Pani. Their women would pride themselves on how well spoken they are and how polite they can be.
While I have not yet found book quotes about it, if one looks at the japanese culture one learns that it was often a woman's job to handle all the money of the household, to make sure everyone was paid, supplies were bought and/or sold in a timely manner and all taxes gathers and paid. If such could not happen for any reason a woman would use her own funds, if those were not enough she would see what she owned that she could sell, often starting with her own hair. She would not criticize her companion at all.
Women also would handle the raising of children, just like their continental sisters. While they were expected to show deference to a male child, if Norman held true to Japanese culture, the father would teach his son to honor his mother's wishes as he owes her his existence. The Deference shown to men is a way of saying "Thank you" for their performing their duties of protection and sheltering.
A concept that is uniquely oriental is the Contract Woman. These women were sold as children to gain an education in the arts and a chance for a better life then their parents. Such women were often held in great esteem in the oriental world, and would have the option of buying back their own contracts if they so desired. While Norman doesn't mention if this is true of His contract women I would assume that it is possible
of the lesser Pani were already returning to the wharf. Some bore sedan chairs, by means of which contract women might be carried to the castle. Mariners of Gor
Lord Nishida had two contract women, as the expression is, at his disposal, Sumomo and Hana. These women, I gathered, were not slaves. Certainly they were not collared. On the other hand their contracts could be bought and sold, and the women would accompany the contracts, which did not, to me, seem all that different from being slaves. To be sure, they had a higher status, and were presumably respected and treated with courtesy. ==Mariners of Gor
"I suppose Tajima had been interested in whether or not Sumomo might serve at such a feast. She would not. She was a contract woman, and above such vulgar applications." Swordsmen of Gor
It might be noticed in these quotes that Contract women are often compared to slaves. Technically they are a type of slave, as it has been mentioned in a couple of the books that Free Women could self-contract a temporary slavery (Something Norman seems to have forgotten in his later books). But in Pani Culture they are not seen as such, they do not provide sexual pleasurea at all. You would seek out a Contract Woman if you wanted to listen to skillfully played music, or have your home artfully decorated with Flowers. These women are trained in the art of conversation and on a multitude of topics from political or mundane.
These women are ment to satisfy a man's soul not his body, his body is for the Collar Girl, and not his need to run his household and bare his Heirs, that is the place of the Free Woman. Contract women are there to provide him with a bit of culture a refined but relaxing atmosphere to shed the trapping of power and just be a person.
Contract women are a new and exciting role for Gorean Free Women to try out. Some of the Gorean Low Castes might be seen as the provenience of Contract Women among the Pani, examples are the Entertainers caste and subcastes, and the caste of Musicians/Singers/Poets.
The books show that much of the Pani customs are taken from those of Japan and some from China. Suicide is seen as a way of regaining honor for both men and women, though, of course, such is rarer in women then in men. Pani Women will have the option of suicide over slavery, and it is up to you which you will choose. But as Japanese history shows, many women raised to that culture often did choose suicide over dishonor.
Manners are a byword of the Pani, they are a very stratified culture where manners is the grease that keeps the wheels turning, again much like ancient Japan. The highest ranked people among the Pani are not the Initiates, as with most of Gor, but the Warrior. This definitely reflects the Japanese culture which Norman took the Pani from. Samurai were seen as the highest calling one could have and to be born a Samurai was a reward for virtue in past lives. And while he doesn't show if such attitude is there among the Pani it is entirely possible it is.
So the Biword for women who wish to portray the customs of the Pani are Japan and Manners. A Pani Woman would know how to do an elaborate tea service, the basics of arranging flowers, unless she's a contract woman then that could be her specialty, and gnerally be a very well rounded woman of arts and culture. If you are not a Contract Woman you will be expected to know how to run your Companion's business and/or Household, how to balane the finances and be willing to do anything to make sure that all debs are paid.
Deference is shown in Pani Culture by the bow. How deeply you bow depends on the difference between your ranks. The greater the difference the deeper the bow. The Companion of a great Damiyo might only bow her head to one of her Companion's Warriors but would bow her upper body to one of her Companion's Fellow Damiyo. The Bow should be graceful and elegant and NEVER mistaken for the Gorean slave bow.. NOT bowing is considered an insult among the Pani. EVERYONE bows to each other. be it a simple bowing of the head to putting your head to the floor. but everyone bows
Attitude towards Men
Respect. That is the keyword for being a Pani Woman. Free Men are to be treated with great respect and to be obeyed. Pani women show deference to any male, the more mature the male the more respect and deference shown. Rank will also play a roll in this. A high ranking Free Woman of the Pani might not obey a Man of lower station, but will honor his words with at least an acknowledgment and possibly a thank you.
Such manners was a tradition of Japan. Norman once again doesn't go deeply into how Free Women of the Pani acted. He often avoids the subject of Free Women in his books and leave it to those of us who enjoy his writings to extrapolate what he means by examining the base cultures he pulls such items from.
Attitude towards Slaves
I glanced at the two women of the "strange men" on the lacquered platform. They were looking at Cecily, but I saw no evidence of envy, hostility or jealousy. This was quite different from the way in which the Gorean free woman would look upon a slave girl. They see the slave as a vulnerable, but hated rival, with whom, with the interest of men, they could not compete. These women, however, seemed to view Cecily more as one might view a lovely pet, doubtless of great interest to men but not really constituting a threat to themselves, and their position. I would later learn that these were, indeed, "contract women," who, as girls, were often sold to pleasure houses, most often by their parents. Sometimes, too, they would sell themselves to such a house, to be trained in the arts of pleasure, for example, music, dancing, singing, conversation and such. As their contracts could be bought and sold they were in effect, slaves, but they were not thought of such. For example, they occupied an understood, accepted and generally respected niche in their society. They were not tunicked, not branded, not collared, and so on. They were not "collar-girls." Indeed they regarded themselves, without arrogance, and with much justification, as far superior to collar-girls. They were in their view a different category all together. ==Swordsmen of Gor
Contract women are NOT intimidated by slaves at all. This quote above indicates they often see them as "Pets" or as a convenience to deal with a man who needs a good physical romp in the furs. It is entirely possible that this attitude has rubbed off onto the Pani Free Woman. As there is no mention of Free Women being intimidated by Contract Women. On the Other hand it may be that there are such jealousies.
If there are then they will most likely be better masked than on the continent as Pani Free Women show greater deference to men then their main-land counterparts. As I study the Pani more over time and hopefully as Norman expands on this culture perhape we'll get to see a more accurate view of the role of Slaves amongst the Pani.
Perhaps this quote best sums up the attitude of the Pani about slaves and the relationships between Men and Women.
"They were, in their view, in a different category altogether. The collar-girl was an animal who might be put to the straw in a stable, and would not even be permitted within the refined precincts of the pleasure house. The collar-girl was ignorant of the simplest things, even the proper serving of tea, the careful, delicate, symbolic arrangements of flowers, and such. She would be of little interest to a gentleman, save for her performance of lengthy, servile labors, and her squirmings, gaspings, moanings, thrashings, and beggings, perhaps back-braceleted, in his arms. Certainly the contract women knew the attractions of simple collar-girls for males, but they did not regard them as rivals. When, wearied of a world's concerns, he wished to spend a leisurely, elegant evening, gratifying his various cultivated senses, physical, intellectual, and aesthetic, his choice would not be the collar-girl, but the women trained to comfort and delight him in traditional and cultural manners. Interestingly, though I suppose there must be exceptions to this generalization, the women of the "strange men" seem generally reconciled to the fact, and will even expect, that their males will seek gratifications beyond the walls of their own domiciles. Nothing culturally heinous seems to be associated with this matter. As many companionships are arranged between families, with considerations not of love, or even of attraction, paramount, but of wealth, prestige, status, and such, and the young people often being scarcely considered in the matter, this is, I suppose, understandable. The female companion's complacency in this matter, or her understanding, or her tolerance, is, one gathers, quite different from what would be expected in the case of, say, a Gorean free companion, who, commonly, would find these arrangements outrageous and insufferable. For example, she would not be likely, resignedly, without question, to pay a bill arriving at her domicile from a pleasure house, pertaining to a pleasant evening spent there by her companion. In the light of these considerations, to the extent they might apply, then, it should be clear why the "contract women" would not be likely to concern themselves overly much with collar-girls. First, they regard the collar-girls as far inferior to themselves, and thus scarcely in the category of rivals, and, secondly, they share the general view, as I understand it, of the women of the "strange men," namely that they have little or no hold over a male, and he may be expected to pick flowers, so to speak, where he pleases. If, however, a contract woman might find herself in love with a client, she, being quite human, and utterly helpless in her contractual status, might, understandably, resent his interest in, say, another contract woman, or, even, as absurd as it might seem, a collar-girl."
-Swordsmen of Gor
The Red Hunters - Gorean Inuit
The women of the Red Hunters are saucy and straightforward, they seem to fear little yet uphold strong beliefs besides the men. She looked at me angrily. She wore the high fur boots and panties of the woman of the north. As it was, from their point of view, a hot day, one which was above the freezing point, she, like most of the women of the Red Hunters, was stripped to the waist. About her neck she wore some necklaces. She seemed pretty, but her temper might have shamed that of a she-sleen. The fur she wore, interestingly, was rather shabby. Her carriage and sharpness of tongue, however, suggested she must be someone of importance. I would later learn that the unmated daughters of even important men, namely, good hunters, were often kept in the poorest of furs. It is up to the mate, or husband, if you wish, to bring them good furs. This is intended as an encouragement to the girls to be a bit etching, that they may attract a man, and subsequently, have something nice to wear. If this were the plan, however, clearly it had not worked in the case of my pretty critic. I was not surprised. It would be a bold fellow indeed who would dare make her a present of fine feasting clothes. She tossed her head and turned away.
Her hair was worn knotted in a bun on the top of her head, like that generally of the women of the Red Hunters. Their hair is worn loose, interestingly, out of doors, only during their menstrual period. In a culture where the gracious exchange of mates is commonly practiced this devise, a civilized courtesy, provides the husbands friends with information that may be pertinent to the timing of their visits. This culture signal, incidentally, is not applicable to a mans slaves in the north. Animals do not dress their hair and slaves, generally, do not either. ==Beasts of Gor
The description is clear a fur top of some sort, if the weather is cold a parka is probably added to it, with fur panties and tall fur boots. Such a costume would be hard to find in Second Life but one can get close to it, maybe using a fur mini-skirt in place of panties and finding the tallest fur boots one can. You may wish to portray yurself as single or companioned, that is determined by the quality of your furs. A single female will be dressed in poor quality furs, a companioned women obviously would be dressed in the best her companion could afford to give her.
From this quote it seems that the women of the Red Hunters are fearless. Secure in their status as Free Women. This may or may not be true for the particular band one is a part of. But remember to carry yourself proudly if you choose to be a Red Hunter, you are a survivor, you can handle cold that would kill other Goreans
Once more there is the lack of writing down rolls, but it does mention some of the duties of a Free Woman, the chewing of hides to tenderize them, the sewing of garments, and other such domestic tasks. Such are the duties of Free Women and also of slaves. The Red Hunters do not seem to have as many slaves as most other Gorean Cultures do so their Free Women step up and take care of many of the jobs slaves would be doing. Hard tedious work that requires little strength but does require patience and constant repetative motion.
One can assume that all the traditions of the Inuit mother and companion woud be the duties of a Red hunter woman. And such a woman is very much the generalist in most things, but might have a specialty or two for which she earns some renown. One woman might be know for the quality of her chewed hides, another for her mix of brains applied to a hide to tan them.
Again Norman avoids going into details about the customs of the Red Hunters. But he does give us a few tidbits. One of these is the fact that people of the Red Hunters will almost never say their own name. They may fear if they use it it will loose it's magic and/or escape them. Instead they will freely give you the name of a Friend who will happily tell you their name. This way you can learn the names of those around you while learning at least one other person's name.
The Red Hunters are seasonal people following different animals in different seasons. Such is how they get leather for their clothing and food for their bellies. These migrational habits lead them to follow many different kinds of animals as shown in the quote below.
The red hunters lived as nomads, dependent on the migrations of various types of animals, in particular the northern tabuk and four varieties of sea sleen. Their fishing and hunting were seasonal, and depended on the animals. Sometimes they managed to secure the northern shark, sometimes even the toothed Hunjer whale or the less common Karl whale, which was a four-fluked, baleen whale. But their life, at best, was a precarious one. Little was known of them. Like many simple, primitive peoples, isolated and remote, they could live or die without being noticed. ==Beasts of Gor
The ways of life of the Red Hunters may be a mystery but this leaves it open for many interpretations. We get a vivid description of how the women dress, a bit of their way of life being cold climate nomads, and one of their "magics" that also applies to some of the northern native American tribes like the Inuit. Using theys as a key one can make a vibrant people
Attitude towards Men
We do not get to see much at all about the Red Hunter's attitudes about each other except for a female who is so fowl tempered that she ends up getting collared. Norman favored such things. Yet if this was a common thing why would women be disagreeable enough to get collared as it is an undesirable fate. Most likely such things are exceptions and not the rules.
Most likely most of the Women of the Red Hunters are independent as they an be, trying not to depend on the men for to much. The Men handle things like hunting the huge game, women could do things like manage fish traps and hunt small game the equivalent of rabbits on earth. Such was often the place of women amoung northern peoples on earth. They nabbed small game as they could to add to the cooking pot as well as did clothing, cook ware, eating utensils and such domestic items.
It is mentioned that Women of the Red Hunters need to approve of the bride price given for them. And once they do their companion because their sole provider. Such things are probably carefully thought through, each man around them examined for what he brings to the table for the woman and then a careful choice is made as to who is first choice on down.
Attitude towards Slaves
Again the attitude towards slaves is the general contempt. There is nothing special here unlike the Pani or the Alar. These women don't much appreciated slave's sexual antics but can find use for them as domestics.