All directions on Gor are calculated from the Sardar Mountains.
There are two main directions, Ta-Sardar-Var and Ta-Sardar-Ki-Var. They are
also simply called Var and Ki-Var. Var means a turning toward
the Sardar, almost like facing north. Ki-Var means not turning to the Sardar.
But, Ki-Var is never used as a designation or direction on a map. The Gorean
compass is divided into eight quadrants, as opposed to the four used on Earth.
Starting with Var, in clockwise order, then comes Ror, Rim, Tun, Vask (also
known as Versus Var), Cart, Klim and Kail. There is also a system of longitude
and latitude figured on the basis of the Gorean day with Ahns, Ehns and Ihns.
A Gorean compass commonly has a luminescent dial and needle. The needle
always points to the Sardar Mountains. It may also have a chronometer on
the back. You press a tab to open the back panel and reveal the time piece.
A pasang is about seven-tenths of a mile. Most travel distances are
expressed in pasangs. Speeds are also expressed in these units.
A hort equals 1 1/4 inches. Ten horts equal a Gorean foot, which is
about 12 1/2 inches long. Height is normally expressed in horts. There are
tape measures that are marked in horts.
An ah-il is the distance from the elbow to tip of the middle finger,
about eighteen inches. This is similar to an Earth cubit. Ten ah-il equal
one ah-ral. Cloth is commonly measured in these units. Ah-ils are not used
to express height.
A huda equals five tefa. Six tefs equal one tefa, a tiny basket. A
tef consists of a handful, with the fingers closed, of produce.
A stone equals about four pounds. A weight equals ten stone. Weight
is normally expressed in stones.
A talu is equal to about two gallons.
There is an official Merchant's Stone, Weight and Foot. The Stone
and Weight are solid metal cylinders while the Foot is a metal rod. They
have been standardized by Merchant Law and are kept near the Sardar. Each
city also keeps their own standard and can compare it to the official ones
at any of the Sardar Fairs. Each Merchant will also keep their own standard
that they can check against their city standard. Less scrupulous Merchants
may use deceptive standards to cheat their customers.
The passage of years is measured differently in each city, usually according
to that city's list of Administrators or Ubars. For example, it might be
the tenth year in the Administration of someone or the fifteenth year of
this Ubar. Some cities rely upon the calendar of Ar which is considered a
standard in certain areas. In the Arian calendar, the years are marked in
Contasta Ar (C.A.), since the founding of Ar. Ar is allegedly over 10,000
years old. Some of the barbarian cultures, such as the Wagon Peoples and
Red Savages, have their own calendars. The Wagon People actually have two
Gorean years are generally calculated from one vernal equinox to the next.
Turia though uses the summer solstice as their New Year. There is no known
Gorean term for a year. A year consists of twelve months and thirteen hands.
Each month equals five weeks, each week consisting of five days. This means
a Gorean year has 365 days. There is no known Gorean term for a month. In
between each month is a Passage Hand, a five-day period. In many cities the
Twelfth Passage Hand is a time of carnival, a festival of merriment. Players
of Gor provides an excellent example of a carnival in Port Kar.
The Twelfth Passage Hand is followed by the Waiting Hand, a five-day period
prior to the vernal equinox, which marks the New Year. The Waiting Hand is
a solemn time when little business is done and many Goreans stay home. It
is a time of fasting, meditation and mourning. The doors of many homes are
painted white, sealed with pitch and branches of the brak bush are fastened
to them. The brak bush is meant to keep bad luck away. On the dawn of the
vernal equinox, a ceremonial greeting of the sun takes place within the city.
The end of this greeting is signified by the ringing of great bars suspended
above the city. The people then exit their houses, washing the pitch away
and burning the brak bush. The festivities will last for the first ten days
of the month. The Initiates do not make much of the Waiting Hand in their
ceremonies and preachments so it is unlikely of much religious significance.
En'Kara-Lar-Torvis, commonly called En'Kara, is the first Gorean month,
which would correspond roughly to the middle of the Earth month of March.
It is the month of the vernal equinox. The term translates as the "First
Turning of the Central Fire." The Central Fire is a Gorean term for the sun.
According to Ar and some other cities, Hesius is the second month and Camerius
is the third month. In Ko-ro-ba, the month of Camerius is known as Selnar.
Se'Kara-Lar-Torvis, or Se'Kara, is the month of the autumnal equinox. The
term translates as the "Second Turning of the Central Fire." En'Var-Lar-Torvis,
or En'Var, is the month of the summer solstice. The term translates as the
"First Resting of the Central Fire."
Se'Var-Lar-Torvis, or Se-Var, is the month of the winter solstice.
The term translates as the "Second Resting of the Central Fire." The four
"Lar-Torvis" months are common to most Gorean cities. The names of the rest
of the months vary widely.
A Gorean day is divided into twenty Ahn, numbered consecutively.
The tenth Ahn is noon and the twentieth Ahn is midnight. A Gorean day is
the same length as an Earth day. An Ahn is similar to an Earth hour
but the length of each is different. Each Ahn consists of forty Ehn,
or minutes, and each Ehn of eighty Ihn or seconds. An Ihn is only
a little longer than an earth second. In Earth terms, an Ahn is equal to
1.2 hours, or 72 minutes. An Ehn is equal to 1.8 minutes, or 108 seconds.
An Ihn equals 1.35 seconds.
The duration of an Ahn may vary in other cities. Some cities divide their
days by assigning ten Ahn to their daylight hours and ten to their night
hours. Thus, in the summer, the day Ahns last longer than the night Ahns.
Despite these differences, their days are still the same length as all other
cities. It is only the length of some Ahns that varies.
Time bars are commonly rung in the city to signal each hour. Chronometers,
watches, are rare and valuable. Their hands move counterclockwise and have
a sweeping Ihn hand. Official clocks are adjusted, according to certain
astronomical measurements, by the Scribe Caste. The average Gorean also has
a variety of other simple devices to mark the passage of time. These include
marked or calibrated candles, sun dials, sand glasses, clepsydras (water
clocks) and oil clocks.
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There is little standardization in currency exchange rates throughout Gor.
These ratios vary from city to city. The bankers, or literally the coin
merchants, try to standardize coinage at each Sardar Fair but their motion
never passes. Certain coins though are respected and accepted throughout
the civilized cities. These include such coins as the gold tarns of Ar, Ko-ro-ba
and Port Kar, golden staters from Brundisium, and the silver tarsk of Tharna.
On Gor, the basic unit of currency is the tarsk coin, made of copper or silver.
Each city then decides on the ratio between such coins. A tarsk bit is the
smallest unit of currency. From four to twenty tarsk bits equals one copper
tarsk. From forty to one hundred copper tarsks equals one silver tarsk. Ten
silver tarsks equal one gold tarn disk. Gold tarn disks are also made in
double weight. Some coins may be split into pieces to make change. A coin
is about 1.5" in diameter and 3/8" thick. There is a tarn or tarsk on one
side and usually a letter to identify the city of origin on the other side.
There is no paper currency on Gor.
The early novels mentioned the existence of copper and silver tarn disks
but the later books, especially when discussing exchange rates, omit these
coins. If you monitor the appearance of these tarn disks, they begin to disappear
from the books as they progress. And the initial books neglect to mention
tarsk disks. This seems to be another area where Norman chose to change matters
in the latter books. The latter books should be taken as more authoritative
in this matter as they are the ones where the issue of coinage is more thoroughly
described. Tribesman of Gor, #10, may be the last book to mention
a copper or silver tarn disk.
To most Goreans, a silver tarsk is a coin of considerable value. A gold tarn
disk is more than many common laborers earn in a year. A gold tarn may buy
a tarn or five slave girls. Five pieces of gold is a fortune and one can
live in many cities for years on such resources. For the most part, many
items on Gor will sell for copper tarsks. Business is often conducted by
notes and letters of credit. Most cities have their own mints. Coins are
struck, one at a time, by a hammer pounding on the flat cap of a die. Coins
are not made to be easily stacked. In some cities, such as Tharna, coins
are drilled so that they might be stringed.
A coin is a way in which a government certifies that a given amount of precious
metal is involved in a transaction. It saves the need of weighing and testing
each coin, thus making commerce much easier. But, some less scrupulous people
may shave coins, slicing slivers of metal off of them. This is akin to theft
and fraud. The coin is worth less than it should be.