Scribes of Law - See also Magistrates & Praetors
Preparing important Companionship Contracts
The Lady Sabina, I learned from Eta, was pledged by her father, Kleomenes, a pretentious, but powerful, upstart merchant of Fortress of Saphronicus, to Thandar of Ti, of the Warriors, youngest of the five sons of Ebullius Gaius Cassius, of the Warriors, Administrator of Ti, this done in a Companion Contract, arranged by both Ebullius Gaius Cassius and Kleomenes, to which had now been set the seals of both Ti and Fortress of Saphronicus. The pledged companions, the Lady Sabina of Fortress of Saphronicus and Thandar of Ti, of the Four Cities of Saleria, of the Salerian Confederation, had, as yet, according to Eta, never laid eyes on one another, the matter of their match having been arranged between their respective fathers, as is not uncommon in Gorean custom. The match had been initiated at the behest of Kleomenes, who was interested in negotiating a commercial and political alliance with the Salerian Confederation. These alliances, of interest to the expanding Salerian Confederation, were not unwelcome. Such alliances, naturally, might presage the entrance of Fortress of Saphronicus into the Confederation, which was becoming a growing power in the north. It seemed not unlikely that the match would ultimately prove profitable and politically expedient for both Fortress of Saphronicus and the Salerian Confederation. In the match, there was much to gain by both parties. The Companion Contract, thus, had been duly negotiated, with the attention of scribes of the law from both Fortress of Saphronicus and the Confederation of Saleria.
Certifying legal transfer of property.
"Here are the most choice of the female slaves of the House of Cernus," said Marlenus, expansively gesturing to the two or three hundred girls.
There was a cheer from the many partisans of Marlenus in the room.
"Pick your slave," said he.
With great cheers the men hurried to the girls, to pick one that pleased them.
There were shouts of pleasure, and screams, and protests, and cries and laughter, as the men clapped their hands on wenches who struck their fancy. When the men had taken their pick the girls were released from the common chain and the key, that which served to unlock collar, bracelets and anklet, was given to he who had chosen his prize. Scribes at nearby tables endorsed and updated papers of registration, that the ownership of the girls be legally transferred from the state to individual citizens.
Certifying official documents as legal
I did not know the business of the two men from Ar. They were Tenalion, and his man, Ronald. 'The fourth man was Brandon. He was from Vonda. He was a prefect in that city. His certifications on certain documents would be important.
“Do you have a witnessed, certified document attesting to the alleged contents of your purse?” I asked. “Too, was the purse closed with an imprinted seal, its number corresponding to the registration number of the certification document?”
“Yes,” he said.
“Oh,” I said.
“Here,” he said. “I think you will find everything in order.”
I had forgotten the fellow was from Tabor.
“This document seems a bit old,” I said. “Doubtless it is no longer current, no longer an effective legal instrument. As you can see, it is dated two weeks ago. Where are you going?”
“To fetch guardsmen,” he said.
“It will do,” I said.
Scribes as Accountants
Employed by wealthy and powerful men.
It was Caprus of Ar, Chief Accountant to the House of Cernus (a Slaver). He lived in the house and seldom went abroad in the streets.
It was Luma, the chief scribe of my house, in her blue robe and sandals. Her hair was blond and straight, tied behind her head with a ribbon of blue wool, from the bounding Hurt, died in the blood of the Vosk sorp. She was a scrawny girl, not attractive, but with deep eyes, blue; and she was a superb scribe, in her accounting swift, incisive, accurate, brilliant;
Managing the wealth of the employer
She had much increased my fortunes. Freed, she took payment, but not as much as her services, I knew, warranted. Few scribes, I expected, were so skilled in the supervision and management of complex affairs as this light, unattractive, brilliant girl. Other captains, other merchants, seeing the waxing of my fortunes, and understanding the commercial complexities involved, had offered this scribe considerable emoluments to join their service. She, however, had refused to do so. I expect she was pleased at the authority, and trust and freedom, which I had accorded her. Too, perhaps, she had grown fond of the house of Bosk.
"I do not wish to see the accounts," I told her.
"The Venna and Tela have arrived from Scagnar," she said, "with full cargoes of the fur of sea sleen. My information indicates that highest prices currently for such products are being paid in Asperiche."
"Very well," I said, "give the men time for their pleasure, eight days, and have the cargoes transferred to one of my round ships, whichever can be most swiftly fitted, and embark them for Asperiche, the Venna and Tela as convoy."
"Yes, Captain," said Luma.
"Go now," I said. "I do not wish to see the accounts."
Chief Scribes in larger houses may have assistants
"When do you have to report to Caprus?" I asked.
"He is one of us," she said. "He holds me to no close schedule, and lets me leave the house when I wish. Yet I suppose I should report in upon occasion."
"Are there other assistants to him?" I asked.
"He manages several Scribes," she said, "but they do not work closely with him.
Keeping an accounting of treasures and fortunes
"What of the treasures here," I asked, "and Susan, and the other slaves chained here?"
"Scribes from the treasure rooms will be along shortly," he said, "to gather in and account for the cloths and coins. The palace slave master will be along later, too, to release the girls and put them back about their more customary duties." I then began to precede Drusus Rencius to my quarters.
Scribes as Record Keepers
Keeping records of complaints & petitions made to a Leader
“Hail, Gnieus Lelius!” I heard.
Taurentians were about the regent, and, too, some scribes. Notes, it seemed, and names, were being taken. Doubtless a record of the claims, grievances, petitions, and such, was being kept.
Recording decisions made by leaders
As I have mentioned, there were scribes on, or near, the dais with Talena. Lists were being kept, and referred to. One list, for example, had the names of the women upon it, in the order in which they ascended the platform. It was from this list that one of the scribes announced the names. Another list, presumably a duplicate list, was kept as a record of the results of Talena’s decisions.
Recording the votes at a meeting of Captains in Port Kar
"I now ask the table scribe," said Samos, "to call the roll of Captains."
"Bejar," called the scribe.
"Bejar accepts the proposals of Samos," said a captain, a dark-skinned man with long, straight hair, who sat in the second row, some two chairs below me and to the right.
"Bosk," called the scribe.
"Bosk," I said, "abstains."
Samos, and many of the others, looked at me, quickly.
"Abstention," recorded the scribe."
Keeping Official City Records & Documents
It was Caprus of Ar, Chief Accountant to the House of Cernus. He lived in the house and seldom went abroad in the streets. It was with this man that Vella had been placed, her registration, papers and purchase having been arranged. In the House of Cernus, after the sheet, bracelets, leash and collar had been removed, agents of House of Cernus had checked her fingerprints against those on the papers. She had then been examined thoroughly the by Physicians of the House of Cernus. Then, found acceptable, she had knelt while agents of the House signed the receipt of her delivery and endorsed her papers, retaining one set, giving one set to the seller's agent, for forwarding to the Cylinder of Documents.
The demands of Cernus for repayment of moneys owed to him by the Hinrabians became increasingly persistent and unavoidable. Claiming need, he was implacable. The citizens of Ar, generally, found it distasteful that the private fortunes of the Hinrabians should be in such poor state.
Then, as I would have expected, within the month, there were rumors of speculation, and an accounting and investigation, theoretically to clear the name of the Hinrabian, was demanded by one of the High Council, a Physician whom I had seen upon occasion in the house. The Scribes of the Central Cylinder examined the records and, to their horror, discrepancies were revealed, in particular payments to members of the Hinrabian family for services it was not clear had ever been performed; most outstandingly there had been a considerable disbursement for the construction of four bastions and tarncots for the flying cavalry of Ar, her tarnsmen; the military men of Ar had waited patiently for these cylinders and were now outraged to discover that the moneys had actually been disbursed, and had apparently disappeared; the parties, presumably of the Builders, to which the disbursements had been made were found to be fictitious. Further, at this time, the Odds Merchants of the Stadium of Tarns made it known that the Administrator was heavily in debt, and they, not to be left out, demanded their dues.
Scribes as Teachers
Tutoring the sons of rich men
; an intent, preoccupied scribe lean and clad in the scribe's blue, with a scroll, perhaps come north for high fees to tutor the sons of rich men;
Teaching Tarl to read gorean
With annoyance, Torm poked through one of the enormous piles of scrolls and at last, on his hands and knees, fished out one skimpy scroll, set it in the reading device - a metal frame with rollers at the top and bottom - and, pushing a button, spun the scroll to its opening mark, a single sign.
'Al-Ka!' said Torm, pointing one long, authoritative finger at the sign. 'Al-Ka,' he said.
In the next few weeks I found myself immersed in intensive activity, interspersed with carefully calculated rest and feeding periods. At first only Torm and my father were my teachers,...
Teaching others to read
She had been taught to read by another girl, also free, of the Scribes, a thin, brilliant girl, whose name was Luma, who handled much of the intricate business of the great house.
Teaching a Warrior history, geography, caste system and protocol
'You must learn,' Torm had said matter-of-factly, 'the history and legends of Gor, its geography and economics, its social structures and customs, such as the caste system and clan groups, the right of placing the Home Stone, the Places of Sanctuary, when quarter is and is not permitted in war, and so on.'
And I learned these things, or as much as I could in the time I was given. Occasionally Torm would cry out in horror as I made a mistake, incomprehension and disbelief written on his features, and he would then sadly take up a large scroll, containing the work of an author of whom he disapproved , and strike me smartly on the head with it. One way or another, he was determined that I should profit by his instruction.
As rumor has it, Clearchus was a famous brigand of some two centuries ago who decided to legitimize and regularize his brigandage. He proclaimed his area of operations a ubarate, proclaimed himself its ubar, and then proceeded to impose taxes and levy tolls. Interestingly enough, in time, several cities accorded this ubarate diplomatic recognition, generally in return for concessions on the taxes and tolls. Finally a large force of mercenaries, in the hire of the merchant caste, in a campaign that lasted several months, put an end to the spurious reign of Clearchus, driving him from the forest and scattering his men. It is generally conceded, however, that had Clearchus had more men he might have turned out to be the founder of a state.
It is not altogether clear what happened to Clearchus but some historians identify him with Clearchus of Turia, an immigrant, with followers, to Turia, now chiefly remembered as a patron of the arts and philanthropist. The woods of Clearchus, incidentally, to this day, remain a haunt of brigands.
“So is Dietrich of Tarnburg, of the high city of Tarnburg, some two hundred pasangs to the north and west of Hochburg, both substantially mountain fortresses, both in the more southern and civilized ranges of the Voltai, was well-known to the warriors of Gor. His name was almost a legend. It was he who had won the day on the fields of both Piedmont and Cardonicus, who had led the Forty Days’ March, relieving the siege of Talmont, who had effected the crossing of the Issus in 10,122 C.A., in the night evacuation of Keibel Hill, when I had been in Torvaldsland, and who had been the victor in the battles of Rovere, Kargash, Edgington, Teveh Pass, Gordon Heights, and the Plains of Sanchez. His campaigns were studied in all the war schools of the high cities. I knew him from scrolls I had studied years ago in Ko-ro-ba, and from volumes in my library in Port Kar, such as the commentaries of Minicius and the anonymous analyses of “The Diaries,” sometimes attributed to the military historian, Carl Commenius, of Argentum, rumored to have once been a mercenary himself.
Accordingly, because of this commonality of the Home Stone, love of their city, the sharing of citizenship, and such, there is generally a harmonious set of economic compromises obtaining the labor force, in general. Happily, most of these compromises are unquestioned matters of cultural tradition. They are taken for granted, usually, by all the citizens, and their remote origins, sometimes doubtless the outcome of internecine strife, of class war, of street fighting and riots, of bloody, house-to-house determinations in the past, and such, are seldom investigated, save perhaps by historians, scribes of the past, some seeking, it seems, to know the truth, for its own sake, others seemingly seeking lessons in the rich labyrinths of history, in previous human experience, what is to be emulated, and what is to be avoided.
GEOGRAPHERS AND CARTOGRAPHERS
Scribes as Geographers and Cartographers
Exploring and mapping unknown territory
“Surely Shaba will have others of his caste with him, geographers of the scribes,” I said.
The men with him, I suspected, or most of them, were members of his own caste, geographers of the scribes, perhaps, but men inured to hardships, perhaps men who had been with him in his explorations of Ushindi and Ngao, men he trusted and upon whom he could count in desperate situations, caste brothers.
“Look there,” said Shaba, indicating a table to one side, on which there lay a cylindrical leather case, with a leather cap, and four notebooks, heavy and bound with leather.
“I see,” I said.
“There is a map case there,” he said, “and my notebooks. I have, in my journey, charted the Ua, and in the notebooks I have recorded my observations. Those things, though you, of the warriors, may not understand this, are priceless.”
“Your records would doubtless be of value, to geographers,” I said.
“They are,” said Shaba, “of inestimable value to all civilized men.”
“Perhaps,” I said.
“The maps, those records,” said Shaba, “open up a new world. Think not only in terms of crass profit, my friend, of the bounties there to hunters and trappers, to traders and settlers, to planters and physicians, but to all men who wish to understand, who wish to know, who wish to unveil hidden secrets and penetrate hitherto unsolved mysteries. In these maps and records, for those who can understand them, lie the first glimpses of new and vast countries. In these maps, and in these notes and drawings, there are treasures and wonders.”
I thought of Bila Huruma, and the loneliness of the Ubar. I thought of Shaba, and his voyages of exploration, the circumnavigation of Lake Ushindi, the discovery and circumnavigation of Lake Ngao, and the discovery and exploration of the Ua, even to the discovery of its source in the placid waters of that vast lake he had called Lake Bila Huruma. But by the wish of Bila Huruma I had changed its name to Lake Shaba. He was surely one of the greatest, if not the greatest, of the explorers of Gor. I did not think his name would be forgotten.
“I am grateful,” had said Ramani of Anango, who had once been the teacher of Shaba. I had delivered to him, and to two others of his caste, the maps and notebooks of Shaba. Ramani and his fellows had wept. I had then left them, returning to my lodgings. Copies would be made of the maps and notebooks. They would then be distributed by caste brothers throughout the cities of civilized Gor. The first copies that were made by anyone had already, however, been made, by the scribes of Bila Huruma in Ushindi.
MAGESTRATES AND PRAETORS
Magistrates & Praetors - The Caste of Scribes - Law
Tolmar - Magicians (Deputy Commissioner in Records Office)
Venlisius - Magicians (Records Officer)
In the back room I tracked these matters by means of one of the observation portals. One of the two magistrates, he who was senior, Tolmar, of the second Octavii, an important gens but one independent of the well-known Octavii, sometimes spoken of simply as the Octavii, or sometimes as the first Octavii, deputy commissioner in the records office, much of which had been destroyed in a recent fire, was at the other portal. His colleague, Venlisius, a bright young man who was now, by adoption, a scion of the Toratti, was with him. Venlisius was in the same office. He was records officer, or archon of records, for the Metallan district, in which we were located. Both magistrates wore their robes, and fillets, of office. They also carried their wands of office, which, I suspect, from the look of them, and despite the weapons laws of Cos, contained concealed blades.
Law is a function of Scribes
Many castes, incidentally, have branches and divisions. Lawyers and Scholars, for example, and Record Keepers, Teachers, Clerks, Historians and Accountants are all Scribes.
The Companion Contract, thus, had been duly negotiated, with the attention of scribes of the law from both Fortress of Saphronicus and the Confederation of Saleria.
The fellow who had said this wore the blue of the scribes. He may even have been a scribe of the law.
“Are you a legal slave, my child?” asked one of the counselors, a scribe of the law.
High magistrates, powerful in a city, it seems were likely wealthy
Similarly, if it seems understandable that, say, a high magistrate, a general, a Ubar, or such, might enjoy sitting in his pleasure gardens and inspecting his women, having them before him naked, or clothed according to his preferences, it is just as understandable that a less rich or well-fixed person might, similarly, on a more modest level, enjoy the sight of his girl, or girls, indeed, the fewer he has, perhaps the more he will relish the one, or ones, he had.
In Ibn Saran's hand was his scimitar, unsheathed. I moved in the chains. They carried no light, but the moonlight, streaming through the barred window into the cell, permitted us to regard one another.
"It seems," I said, "I am not to reach the brine pits of Klima."
I observed the scimitar. I did not think they would slay me in the cell. This would seem, to the magistrates of Nine Wells, inexplicable, an accident demanding the most rigorous and exacting inquiry.
Checking slaves for brands on rounds through city
If a magistrate should chance upon them in some alley he will commonly say, "Thigh," to them, and they will turn the girl, so that he may see if she is branded or not. If she is branded, he will commonly continue on his rounds.
May check actresses to encure they are slaves
!” On Gor, as I have perhaps mentioned, most of the actresses are slaves. In serious drama or more sophisticated comedy, when women are permitted roles within it, the female roles usually being played by men, and the females are slaves, their collars are sometimes removed. Before this is done, however, usually a steel bracelet or anklet, locked, which they cannot remove, is placed on them. In this way, they continue, helplessly, to wear some token of bondage. This facilitates, in any possible dispute or uncertainty as to their status or condition, a clear determination in the matter, by anyone, of course, but in particular by guardsmen or magistrates, or otherwise duly authorized authorities.
Taking complaints from citizens
“With your permission, Lady Telitsia?” inquired Boots, addressing himself politely to the haughty, rigid, proud, vain, heavily veiled, blue-clad free female standing in the front row below the stage.
“You may continue,” she said.
“But you may find what ensues offensive,” Boots warned her.
“Doubtless I will,” she said. “And have no fear, I shall include it in my complaint to the proper magistrates.”
"The drink she gave me," said Arn, smiling, "was well drugged. I awakened at dawn, with a great headache. My purse was gone."
"Times are hard," said Rim.
"I complained to a magistrate," said Arn, laughing, "but, unfortunately, there was on present who well recalled me, one with whom I had had prior dealings."
Managing the traffic of certain Port cities
The representative of the Merchants, to whom I reported my business, and to whom I paid wharfage, asked no questions. He did not even demand the proof of registration of the Tesephone of Tabor. The Merchants, who control Lydius, under merchant law, for it is a free port, like Helmutsport, and Schendi and Bazi, are more interested in having their port heavily trafficked than strictly policed. Indeed, at the wharves I had even seen two green ships. Green is the color common to pirates. I supposed, did they pay their wharfage and declare some sort of business, the captains of those ships were as little interrogated as i. The governance of Lydius, under the merchants, incidentally, is identical to that of the exchange islands, or free islands, in Thassa. Three with which I was familiar, from various voyages, were Tabor, Teletus and, to the north, offshore from Torvaldsland, Scagnar. Of these, to be honest, and to give the merchants their due, I will admit that Tabor and Teletus are rather strictly controlled. It is said, however, by some of the merchants there, that this manner of caution and restriction, has to some extent diminished their position in the spheres of trade. Be that as it may, Lydius, though not what you would call an open port, was indulgent, and permissive. Most ports and islands on Thassa, of course, are not managed by the Merchants, but, commonly, by magistrates appointed by the city councils. In Port Kar, my city, the utilization of the facilities of the port is regulated by a board of four magistrates, the Port Consortium, which reports directly to the Council of Captains, which, since the downfall of the warring Ubars, is sovereign in the city. I suppose the magistrate, who, with his papers, met us at the dock, did not believe my story. He was smiling, when he wrote down my putative business. He had looked at my men. They did not appear to be merchant rowers. They looked much like what they were, men of Port Kar. Hunters
Sentencing and enslaving Free Women who bare their legs
Contrariwise, almost no free woman would bare her legs. They would not dare to do so. They would be horrified even to think of it. The scandal of such an act could ruin a reputation. It is said on Gor, any woman who bares her legs is a slave. Indeed, in some cities a free woman who might be found with bare legs is taken in hand by magistrates, tried and sentenced to bondage. After the judge’s decision has been enacted, its effect carried out upon her, reducing her to the status of goods, sometimes publicly, that she may be suitably disgraced, sometimes privately, by a contract slaver, that the sensitivities of free women in the city not be offended, she is hooded and transported, stripped and chained, freshly branded and collared, a property female, slave cargo, to a distant market where, once sold, she will begin her life anew, fearfully, as a purchased girl, tremulously as the helpless and lowly slave she now is.
Would investigate the use of lure girls for innocent men to be used in a work chain
That particular chain, I had heard, was employed in the north, currently digging siege trenches for the Cosians who had invested Torcadino. The fellow whom they had bound, of course, and the others in whose capture I had been implicated, were not, as far as I knew, criminals. My master, Tyrrhenius, spoke of his work as "recruitment." He was "recruiting" for the chains of work masters. To be sure, he must do this work surreptitiously. It would be quite unfortunate for him, I gathered, if he were to be discovered to have been involved in such work. Judges, magistrates, and such, would not be likely to look indulgently on these activities.
“Do you have anything to say before I pass such sentence upon you?”
“No,” she said.
“I sentence you to slavery,” he said, uttering the sentence.
She trembled, sentenced.
“It only remains now,” said Aemilianus, “for the sentence to be carried out. If you wish I, in the office of magistrate, shall carry it out. On the other hand, if you wish, you may yourself carry out the sentence.”
“I?” she said.
“Yes,” he said.
“You would have me proclaim myself slave?” she asked.
“Or I shall do it,” he said. “In the end, it does not matter.”
Investigating and arresting for fraud
Some Gorean dice are sold in sealed boxes, bearing the city’s imprint. These, supposedly, have been each cast six hundred times, with results approximating the ideal mathematical probabilities. Also, it might be mentioned that dice are sometimes tampered with, or specially prepared, to favor certain numbers. These, I suppose, using the Earth term, might be spoken of as “loaded.” My friend, the actor, magician, impresario and whatnot, Boots Tarsk-Bit, once narrowly escaped an impalement in Besnit on the charge of using false dice. He was, however, it seems, framed. At any rate the charges were dismissed when a pair of identical false dice turned up in the pouch of the arresting magistrate, the original pair having, interestingly, at about the same time, vanished. (In this case it appears the magistrate was crooked himself
Investigating and sentencing thieves
Some free girls, without family, keep themselves, as best they can, in certain port cities. That her ear had been notched indicated that, by a magistrate, she had been found thief. Ear notching is the first penalty for a convicted thief in most Gorean cities, whether male or female. The second offense, by a male, is punished with removal of the left hand, the third offense by the removal of the right. The penalty for a woman, for her second offense, if she is convicted, is to be reduced to slavery.
Lying on the ground, bound hand and foot, still clad in the white robe, was Talena. The point of the sharpened impaling post lay near her. As the tarn had landed, her executioners, two burly, hooded magistrates, had scrambled to their feet and fled to safety.
Certain magistrates, likely well versed in Merchant Law, were Merchant Magistrates, of the Merchant Caste
Behind the wagon, in the white robes, trimmed with gold and purple, of merchant magistrates, came five men. I recognized them as judges.
The desk of a wharf praetor
The praetor placed the coin on his desk, the surface of which was some seven feet high, below the low, solid wooden bar The height of the praetor’s desk, he on the high stool behind it, permits him to see a goodly way up and down the wharves. Also, of course, one standing before the desk must look up to see the praetor, which, psychologically, tends to induce a feeling of fear for the power of the law. The wooden bar before the desk’s front edge makes it impossible to see what evidence or papers the praetor has at his disposal as he considers your case. Thus, you do not know for certain how much he knows. Similarly, you cannot tell what he writes on your papers.
Wharf Praetor - settling disuputes on the docks
I walked in the morning, an Ahn before noon, on the wharves of Telnus. I could see the great gates of the harbor some two pasangs across the water. The harbor was filled with many craft. I avoided the tar on the planks of the wharf. Beneath the planking of the wharves, here and there, I could see water, and small boats tied at pilings. Men came and went, going to and from ships, and disembarking and embarking cargo. I passed the throne of the wharf praetor, he in his robes, with the two scribes, for the settling of disputes which might occur on the quays. Four guardsmen, too, were there.
Issued or at least enforced warrants
“Return the girl to the praetor’s station on this pier,” said the guardsman.
“What of those who robbed me!” cried the fellow with the torn clothing and the blood behind his ear.
“You are not the first,” said the praetor, looking down at him from the high desk. “They stand under a general warrant.”
Questioning, investigating, and sentencing
“I am innocent,” said the bound man.
“How do you refer to yourself?” asked the praetor.
“Turgus,” he said.
The praetor entered that name in the papers. He then signed the papers.
He looked down at Turgus. “How did you come to be tied?” he asked.
“Several men set upon me,” he said. “I was struck from behind. I was subdued.”
“It does not appear that you were struck from behind,” smiled the praetor.
The face of Turgus was not a pretty sight, as I had dashed it into the stones, and had then struck the side of his head against the nearby wall.
“Is the binding fiber on their wrists from their original bonds, as you found them?” asked the praetor of one of the guardsmen.
“It is,” he said.
“Examine the knots,” said the praetor.
“They are capture knots,” said the guardsman, smiling.
“You made a poor choice of one to detain, my friends,” said the praetor.
They looked at one another, miserably. Their paths had crossed that of a warrior.
They now stood bound before the praetor.
“Turgus, of Port Kar,” said the praetor, “in virtue of what we have here today established, and in virtue of the general warrant outstanding upon you, you are sentenced to banishment. If you are found within the limits of the city after sunset this day you will be impaled.”
The face of Turgus was impassive.
“Free him,” he said.
Turgus was cut free, and turned about, moving through the crowd. He thrust men aside.
Again, passing sentence of punishment
“The Lady Sasi, of Port Kar,” said the praetor, “in virtue of what we have here today established, and in virtue of the general warrant outstanding upon her, must come under sentence.”
“Please, my officer,” she begged.
“I am now going to sentence you,” he said.
“Please,” she cried, “Sentence me only to a penal brothel!”
“The penal brothel is too good for you,” said the praetor.
“Show me mercy,” she begged.
“You will be shown no mercy,” he said.
She looked up at him, with horror.
“You are sentenced to slavery,” he said.
Had cells for holding prisoners
“I hate you,” she sobbed. She threw a wild look at the fellow slumped over the nearby table. He was still unconscious. She was clearly frightened. The dosage she had imbibed, assuming there might have been one in the drink, would doubtless have been one fit for a male. Accordingly, her own period of unconsciousness, given this possibility, might possibly last several Ahn, more than enough time to be carried to a cell in a praetor’s holding area.
Sentencing male criminals to work chains
The "free " chain, on the other hand, consists usually, I had been told, of condemned criminals. Rather than bother with housing these fellows, many of whom are supposedly dangerous, putting them up at public expense, and so on, many cities, for a nominal fee, turn them (pg. 305) over to a work master who accepts charge of them, theoretically for the duration of time remaining in their sentences. For example, if a fellow has been sentenced, say, to two years of hard labor by a praetor, he might be turned over, for a small fee, to the master of a work gang who will see to it, theatrically, that he performs these two years of hard labor.
Some of them were not even men I had trapped, but only men who knew what I had done. Some may have been as innocent as those I had lured, others might have been murderers and brigands, suitably enchained for the expiation of sentences, their custody having been legally transferred to Ionicus, my master, at the payment of a prisoner’s fee, by the writ of a praetor or, in more desperate cases, by the order of a quaestor.
Collecting payment for each prisoner sentenced and turned over to a work chain
"They are from Brundisium," he said.
"Of course," said Aulus.
"A silver tarsk apiece," said the fellow.
"That seems high," said Aulus.
"It is an average praetor’s price," he said. To be sure, some serving shorter sentences, would presumably go for less, and some, more dangerous fellows, perhaps, serving longer sentences, might go for more. "Too," he said, "I expect you pay to much, or more, for the fellows you get from illicit suppliers."
Other tasks performed by Scribes
Working as "printers" to prepare signs (in this case in the employ of Cernus, a Slaver)
Elsewhere in the room there were some free men, Scribes I gathered though they were stripped to the waist, who were inking, using a silk-screen process, large sheets of layered, glued rag paper. One of them held the sheet up inspecting it, and I saw that it was a bill, which might be pasted against a public building, or on the public boards near the markets. It advertised a sale. Other such sheets, hanging on wires, proclaimed games and tarn races. The common thread in these various matters was that the House of Cernus was involved, either in presenting the sale or in sponsoring the races or games.
"Several committees were formed, usually headed by scribes but reporting to the council, to undertake various studies pertaining to the city, particularly of a military and commercial nature. One of these studies was to be a census of ships and captains, the results of which were to be private to the council. Other studies, the results of which would be kept similarly private to the council, dealt with the city defenses, and her stores of wood, grain, salt, stone and tharlarion oil. Also considered, though nothing was determined that night, were matters of taxation, the unification and revision of the codes of the five Ubars, the establishment of council courts, replacing those of the Ubars, and the acquistion of a sizable number of men-at-arms, who would be directly responsible to the council itself, in effect, a small council police or army. Such a body of men, it might be noted, though restricted in numbers and limited in jurisdiction, already existed in the arsenal."
Checking ship registration, proper arrangements for the wharf and cargo in Port cities
Two men from the desk of the nearest wharf praetor, he handling wharves six through ten, a scribe and a physician, boarded the ship. The scribe carried a folder with him. He would check the papers of Ulafi, the registration of the ship, the arrangements for wharfage and the nature of the cargo.
Studying astronomical measurements for adjustment of official clocks.
Chronometers exist on Gor, but they are rare and valuable. Marcus and I did not have any, of intent, at the time, among our belongs. They would not have seemed to fit in well with our guise as auxiliary guardsmen. In many cities, of course, including Ar, time tends to be kept publicly. Official clocks are adjusted, of course, according to the announcements of scribes, in virtue of various astronomical measurements, having to do with the movements of the sun and stars. The calendar, and adjustments in it, are also the results of their researches, promulgated by civil authorities. The average Gorean has a variety of simple devices at his disposal for marking the passage of time. typical among them are marked, or calibrated, candles, sun dials, sand glasses, clepsydras and oil clocks.
Certifying blood lines of mated slaves
Such breedings commonly take place with the slaves hooded, and under the supervision of the master, or masters. In this way the occurrence of the breeding act can be confirmed and authenticated. Sometimes a member of the caste of scribes is also present, to provide certification on behalf of the city. Usually, however, in cities which encourage this sort of registration it is sufficient to bring the papers for stamping to the proper office within forty Ahn. Such rigor, however, is usually involved only in the breeding of expensive, pedigreed slaves. Most slave breeding is at the discretion of the privae master or masters involved. Slaves from the same household incidentally, are seldom mated. This practice is intended to reduce the likelihood of intimate emotional relationships among slaves. Furthermore, make and female slaves are usually kept separate, female slaves commonly performing light labors in housholds and male slaves working in the fields or on the grounds.
Interrogating captives for confessions
"I gestured for the two slaves at the rack windlass to again rotate the heavy wooden wheels, moving the heavy wooden pawl another notch in the beam ratchet. Again there was a creak of wood and the sound of the pawl, locking, dropping into its new notch. The thing fastened on the rack threw back its head on the cords, screaming only with his eyes. Another notch and the bones of its arms and legs would be torn from their sockets.
"What have you learned?" I asked the scribe, who stood with his tablet and stylus beside the rack.
"It is the same as the others," he said. "They were hired by the men of Henrius Sevarius, some to slay captains, smoe to fire the wharves and arsenal." The scribe looked up at me. "Tonight," he said, "Sevarius was to be Ubar of Port Kar, and each was to have a stone of gold."
"Then Samos addressed himself to the Scribe near the rack. He gestured toward the other racks. "Take down these men," he said, "and keep them chained. We may wish to question them further tomorrow."
Keeping tally on raids of the captives taken by each Warrior
"Near the oar pole to which I had been bound, some yards from what had been the circle of the dance, a number of rencers, stripped, men and women, lay bound hand and foot. They would later be carried, or forced to walk, to the barges. From time to time a warrior would add further booty to this catch, dragging or throwing his capture rudely among the others. These rencers were guarded by two warriors with drawn swords. A scribe stood by with a tally sheet, marking the number of captures by each warrior."
Interests and research of Scribes
Suggesting changes to the gorean alphabet
Many Gorean letters have a variety of pronunciations, depending on their linguistic context. Certain scribes have recommended adding to the Gorean alphabet new letters, to independently represent some of these sounds which, now, require alternative pronunciations, context-dependent, of given letters. Their recommendations, it seems, are unlikely to be incorporated into formal Gorean.
Proposing reform to a single chronology
The fellow, incidentally, had given the year of the aforementioned battle as 10,127 C.A. It was natural that he, of Ar’s Station, would give the date in the chronology of Ar. Different cities, perhaps in their vanity, or perhaps simply in accord with their own traditions, often have their own chronologies, based on Administrator Lists, and such. A result of this is that there is little uniformity in Gorean chronology. The same year, in the chronology of Port Kar, if it is of interest, would have been Year 8 of the Sovereignty of the Council of Captains. The reform of chronology is proposed by a small party from among the castes of scribes almost ever year at the Fair of En’Kara, near the Sardar, but their proposals, sensible as they might seem, are seldom greeted with either interest or enthusiasm, even by the scribes. Perhaps that is because the reconciliation and coordination of chronologies, like the diction and convolutions of the law, are regarded as scribal prerogatives.
Proclaiming proper pronunciation and grammar for standard gorean language
Also, some of the dialects of Gorean itself are aimost unintelligible. On the other hand, Gorean, in its varieties, serves as the lingua franca of civilized Gor. There are few Goreans who cannot speak it, though with some it is almost a second language. Gorean tends to be rendered more uniform through the minglings and transactions of the great fairs. Too, at certain of these fairs, the caste of scribes, accepted as the arbiters of such matters, stipulate that certain pronounciations and grammatical, formations, and such are to be preferred over others. The Fairs, in their diverse ways, tend to standardize the language, which might otherwise disintegrate into regional variations which, over centuries, might become mutually unintelligible linguistic modalities, in effect and practice, unfortunately, separate languages. The Fairs, and, I think, the will of Priest-Kings, prevents this.
Studying the language
"In Gorean, " said Bosk, "the most frequently occurring letter is Eta. We might then begin by supposing that the combination of blue and red signifies an Eta."
"I see," said Samos
"The next most frequently occurring letters in Gorean," said Bosk, "are Tau, Al-Ka, Omnioin and Nu. Following these in frequency of occurrence are Ar, Ina, Shu and Homan, and so on."
""How is this known?" asked Samos.
"it is based upon letter counts," said Bosk, "over thousands of words in varieties of manuscripts."
"These matters have been determined by scribes?" asked Samos.
"Yes," said Bosk.
"Why should they be interested in such things?"
"Such studies were conducted originally, at least publicly, as opposed to the presumed secret studies of cryptographers, in connection with the Sardar Fairs," said Bosk, "at meetings of Scribes concerned to standardize and simplify the cursive alphabet. Also, it was thought to have consequences for improved pedagogy, in teaching children to first recognize the most commonly occurring letter."
"I was taught the alphabet beginning with Al-Ka," smiled Samos.
"As was I," said Bosk, "perhaps we should first have been taught Eta."
"That is not tradition!" said Samos.
"True," admitted Bosk, "And these immovative scribes have had little success with their proposed reforms. Yet, from their labors, various interesting facts have emerged. For example, we have learned not only the offer of frequency of occurrence of letters but, as would be expected, rough percentages of occurrence as well. Eta, for expected, occurs two hundred times more frequently in the language than Altron. Over forty percent of the language consists of the first five letters I mentioned, Eta, Tau, Al-Ka, Onion and Nu."