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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Administrators & Ubars

"The High Castes in a given city," said my father, "elect an administrator and council for stated terms. In times of crisis, a war chief, or Ubar, is named, who rules without check and by decree until, in his judgment, the crisis is passed."     "In his judgment?" I asked skeptically.
    "Normally the office is surrendered after the passing of the crisis," said my father. "It is part of the Warrior’s Code."
    "But what if he does not give up. the office?" I asked. I had learned enough of Gor by now to know that one could not always count on the Caste Codes being observed.
    "Those who do not desire to surrender their power," said my father, "are usually deserted by their men. The offending war chief is simply abandoned, left alone in his palace to be impaled by the citizens of the city he has tried to usurp."
    I nodded, imagining a palace, empty save for one man sitting alone on his throne, clad in his robes of state, waiting for the angry people outside the gates to break through and work their wrath.
    "But," said my father, "sometimes such a war chief, or Ubar, wins the hearts of his men, and they refuse to withdraw their allegiance."
    "What happens then?" I asked.
    "He becomes a tyrant," said my father, "and rules until eventually, in one way or another, he is ruthlessly deposed." My father’s eyes were hard and seemed fixed in thought. It was not mere political theory he spoke to me. I gathered that he knew of such a man. "Until," he repeated slowly, "he is ruthlessly deposed," (1) Tarnsman of Gor  pgs: 42-43 | Chapter: 3:33-41) "You have mastered a tarn, a war tarn. In your veins must flow the blood of your father, once Ubar, War Chieftain, now Administrator of Ko-ro-ba, this City of Cylinders."
(1) Tarnsman of Gor  pgs: 58 | Chapter: 4:17}
  In the center of the amphitheater was a throne of office, and on this throne, in his robe of state - a plain brown garment, the humblest cloth in the hall - sat my father, Administrator of Ko-ro-ba, once Ubar, War Chieftain of the city. At his feet lay a helmet, shield, spear, and sword.
    "Come forward, Tarl Cabot," said my father, and I stood before his throne of office, feeling the eyes of everyone in the chamber on me. Behind me stood the Older Tarl. I had noted that those blue Viking eyes showed almost no evidence of the previous night. I hated him, briefly.
    The Older Tarl was speaking, "I, Tarl, Swordsman of Ko-ro-ba, give my word that this man is fit to become a member of the High Caste of Warriors."
    My father answered him, speaking in ritual phrases. "No tower in Ko-ro-ba is stronger than the world of Tarl, this Swordsman of our city. I, Matthew Cabot of Ko-ro-ba, accept his word."
    Then, beginning with the lowest tier, each member of the Council spoke in succession, giving his name and pronouncing that he, too, accepted the word of the blond swordsman. When they had finished, my father invested me with the arms which had lain before the throne. About my shoulder he slung the steel sword, fastened on my left arm the round shield, placed in my right hand the spear, and slowly lowered the helmet on my head.
    "Will you keep the Code of the Warrior?" asked my father.
    "Yes," I said, "I will keep the Code."
    "What is your Home Stone?" asked my father.
    Sensing what was wanted, I replied, "My Home Stone is the Home Stone of Ko-ro-ba."
    "Is it to that city that you pledge your life, your honor, and your sword?" asked my father.
    "Yes," I said.
    "Then," said my father, placing his hands solemnly on my shoulders, "in virtue of my authority as Administrator of this city and in the presence of the Council of High Castes, I declare you to be a Warrior of Ko-ro-ba."
(1) Tarnsman of Gor  pgs: 62-63 | Chapter: 4:40-51)
The free cities of Gor appointed Kazrak, my sword brother, to be temporary administrator of Ar, for it was he who, with the help of my father and Sana of Thentis, had rallied the cities to raise the siege. His appointment was confirmed by Ar's Council of High Castes, and his popularity in the city is such that it seems probable that in the future the office will be his by free election. In Ar democracy is a long-forgotten way of life that will require careful remembering.
(1) Tarnsman of Gor  pgs: 216 | Chapter: 20:5 )
Chronology, incidentally, is the despair of scholars on Gor, for each city keeps track of time by virtue of its own Administrator Lists; for example, a year is referred to as the Second Year when so-and-so was Administrator of the City. One might think that some stability would be provided by the Initiates who must keep a calendar of their feasts and observances, but the Initiates of one city do not always celebrate the same feast on the same day as do those of another city. If the High Initiate of Ar should ever succeed in extending his hegemony over the High Initiates of rival cities, a hegemony which he claims he possesses already incidentally, a unified calendar might be introduced. But so far there has been no military victory of Ar over other cities and, accordingly, free of the sword, the Initiates of each city regard themselves as supreme within their own walls.
(2) Outlaw of Gor  pgs: 178-179)
"Chronology in Ar is figured, happily enough, not from its Administrator Lists, but from its mythical founding by the first man on Gor, a hero whom the Priest-Kings are said to have formed from the mud of the earth and the blood of tarns. Times is reckoned 'Constanta Ar', or 'from the founding of Ar.' The year, according to the calendar of Ar, if it is of interest, is 10,117. Actually I would suppose that Ar may not be a third of that age. Its Home Stone, however, which I have seen, attests to a considerable antiquity."
(2) Outlaw of Gor  pgs: 179)
 Most Gorean cities are governed by an executive, the Administrator, in conjunction with the high council. Some cities are governed by a Ubar, who is in effect a military sovereign, sometimes a tyrant, whose word is law. The Ubar's power is limited institutionally only by his capacity to inspire and control those whose steel keeps him upon the throne. Sword loyalty is a bond of fidelity sworn to the Ubar. Gorean warriors seldom break this bond. It is not sworn lightly. It is sworn only to those who are thought fit to be Ubar. When the Ubar is thought to be unfit, it is thought, too, he has dishonored the pledge of sword loyalty. It is not then uncommon for him to die beneath the steel of his outraged men. Only a Ubar, it is said, may sit upon the throne of a Ubar. Only when a true Ubar sits upon the throne is it said the pledge of sword loyalty is binding.
(11) Slave Girl of Gor  pgs: 114)
"He did not respond," I said.
    "Of course not," said Ayari. "He is Mfalme of Ukungu. He does not speak to commoners."
    "Tell him he is no longer the Mfalme of Ukunu," I said. "Tell him he was deposed. If there is any longer a Mfalme of Ukungu it is Aibu, the wise and noble."
     Actually Aibu would become a district administrator, as high chieftain of Ukungu, under the sovereignity of Bila Huruma.
    "Tell him," said I, "that Bila Huruma, his own Ubar, speaks to commoners. Tell him that a true Mfalme listens to and speaks with, all men."
(13) Explorers of Gor  pgs: 246-247}
The governance of the confederation is centrailized in Ti. The high administrator of the confederation is a man called Ebullius Gaius Cassius, of the Warriors. Ebullius Gaius Cassius was also, as might be expected, the administrator of the city, or state, of Ti itself. The Salerian Confederation, incidentally, is also sometimes known as the Four Cities of Saleria. The expression "Saleria", doubtless owing its origin to the meadow of Salerius, is used broadly, incidentally, to refer to the fertile basin territories both north and south of the Olni, the lands over which the confederation professes to maintain a hegemony.(14) Fighting Slave of Gor  pgs: 171-172)
Gnieus Lelius, it seems, had been deposed, and Seremides, in a military coup he himself characterized as regrettable, had seized temporary power, a power to be wielded until the High Council, now the highest civilian authority in Ar, could elect a new leader, be it Administrator, Regent, Ubar or Ubara.
(25) Magicians of Gor  pgs: 83)
 Compiled by Ahwi Ash

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