Camerius (Ar)
Selnar (Ko-ro-ba)
Passage Hand
Year 10,174 Contasta Ar

Caste of Merchants

Here are relevant references from the Books where the Caste of Merchants is mentioned.
I make no pronouncements on these matters, but report them as I find them.
Arrive at your own conclusions.

I wish you well,

Supporting References

"The women of the Walled Gardens know whatever happens on Gor," she replied, and I sensed the intrigue, the spying and treachery that must ferment within the gardens. "I forced my slave girls to lie with soldiers, with merchants and builders, physicians and scribes," she said, "and I found out a great deal." I was dismayed at this - the cool, calculating exploitation of her girls by the daughter of the Ubar, merely to gain information.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 108

"No," admitted the warrior. "I am Kazrak of Port Kar," he said, "in the service of Mintar, of the Merchant Caste."
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 115

"I am a merchant," said Mintar, "and it is in my code to see that I am paid."
I set myself to sell my life dearly. Oddly enough, my only fear was what would happen to the girl.
"Kazrak of Port Kar," said Mintar, "do you agree to surrender the balance of your hiring price to Tarl of Bristol if he takes your place in my service?"
"Yes," responded Kazrak. "He has done me honor and is my sword brother."
Mintar seemed satisfied. He looked at me. "Tarl of Bristol," he said, "do you take service with Mintar, of the Merchant Caste?"
"If I do not?" I asked.
"Then I shall order my men to kill you," sighed Mintar, "and we shall both suffer a loss."
"Oh, Ubar of Merchants," I said, "I would not willingly see your profits jeopardized."
Mintar relaxed on the cushions and seemed pleased. I realized, to my amusement, that he had been afraid that some particle of his investment might have been sacrificed. He would have had a man killed rather than risk the loss of a tenth of a tarn disk, so well he knew the codes of his caste.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 121

"I am an honest merchant," said Mintar, "and I would not cheat you, but you do well to handle your own affairs."
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 123

I noted with satisfaction that Pa-Kur, Master Assassin, proud leader of perhaps the greatest horde ever assembled on the plains of Gor, had need of Mintar, who was only of the Merchant Caste.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 131

Talena clung to my arm, fascinated. We watched in one stall a bronzed giant apparently swallowing balls of fire, in the next a silk merchant crying the glories of his cloth, in another a hawker of Paga; in still another we watched the swaying bodies of dancing slave girls as their master proclaimed their rent price.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 132

I wandered about the outskirts of Mintar's compound, which was separated, like many of the merchant compounds, from the main camp by a tough fence of woven branches. Over the compound, as if it were a small city under siege, was stretched a set of interlaced tarn wires. The compound of Mintar enclosed several acres of ground and was the largest merchant compound in the camp.
. . .
Normally, the merchant camp, like the better-organized military camps, not the mélange that constituted the camp of Pa-Kur, is laid out geometrically, and, night after night, one puts up one's tent in the same relative position. Whereas the military camp is usually laid out in a set of concentric squares, reflecting the fourfold principle of military organization customary on Gor, the merchant camp is laid out in concentric circles, the guards' tents occupying the outermost ring, the craftsmen's strap-masters', attendants', and slaves' quarters occupying inner rings, and the center being reserved for the merchant, his goods, and his bodyguard.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Pages 166 - 167

"Thank you," I said. "Though you are of the Merchant Caste, you are a brave man."
"A merchant may be as brave as a warrior, young Tarnsman," smiled Mintar.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 175

But all in all I do not know if the brand is used for its psychological effect or not. Perhaps it is merely a device for merchants who must have some such means for tracing runaway slaves, which would otherwise constitute a costly hazard to their trade.
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Pages 189 - 190

"Free Kal-da for all!" cried Kron, and when the proprietor, who knew the codes of his caste, tried to object, Kron flung a golden tarn disk at him. Delightedly the man ducked and scrambled to pick it up from the floor.
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Page 224

Contests of arms, fought to the death, whereas they may not take place at the fairs are not unknown on Gor, and are popular in some cities. Contests of this sort, most often involving criminals and impoverished soldiers of fortune, offer prizes of amnesty or gold and are customarily sponsored by rich men to win the approval of the populace of their cities. Sometimes these men are merchants who wish thereby to secure goodwill for their products; sometimes they are practitioners of the law, who hope to sway the votes of jury men; sometimes they are Ubars or High Initiates who find it in their interests to keep the crowds amused.
Priest-Kings of Gor     Book 3     Page 11

I was pleased to see that the men of other castes, unlike the Initiates, did not grovel. There were men in that crowd from Ar, from Thentis, from Tharna, recognized by the two yellow cords in their belt; from Port Kar; from Tor, Cos, Tyros; perhaps from Treve, Vika's home city; perhaps even from fallen, vanished Ko-ro-ba; and the men in that crowd were of all castes, and even of castes as low as the Peasants, the Saddle Makers, the Weavers, the Goat Keepers, the Poets and Merchants, but none of them groveled as did the Initiates; how strange, I thought - the Initiates claimed to be most like Priest-Kings, even to be formed in their image, and yet I knew that a Priest-King would never grovel; it seemed the Initiates, in their efforts to be like gods, behaved like slaves.
Priest-Kings of Gor     Book 3     Pages 294 - 295

Among them, too, were soothsayers and haruspexes, and singers and musicians, and, here and there, small peddlers and merchants, of various cities, for such are occasionally permitted by the Tuchuks, who crave their wares, to approach the wagons. Each of these, I was later to learn, wore on his forearm a tiny brand, in the form of spreading bosk horns, which guaranteed his passage, at certain seasons, across the plains of the Wagon Peoples. The difficulty, of course is in first obtaining the brand. If, in the case of a singer, the song is rejected, or in the case of a merchant, his merchandise is rejected, he is slain out of hand. This acceptance brand, of course, carries with it a certain stain of ignominy, suggesting that those who approach the wagons do so as slaves.
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Pages 34 - 35

It was somewhat surprising to me that Kamchak and I, being in our way ambassadors of the Wagon Peoples, were entertained in the house of Saphrar, the merchant, rather than in the palace of Phanius Turmus, Administrator of Turia. Kamchak's explanation was reasonably satisfying. There were apparently two reasons, the official reason and the real reason. The official reason, proclaimed by Phanius Turmus, the Administrator, and others high in the government, was that those of the Wagon Peoples were unworthy to be entertained in the administrative palace; the real reason, apparently seldom proclaimed by anyone, was that the true power in Turia lay actually with the Caste of Merchants, chief of whom was Saphrar, as it does in many cities.
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 83

It might be mentioned, for those unaware of the fact, that the Caste of Merchants is not considered one of the traditional five High Castes of Gor the Initiates, Scribes, Physicians, Builders and Warriors. Most commonly, and doubtless unfortunately, it is only members of the five high castes who occupy positions on the High Councils of the cities. Nonetheless, as might be expected, the gold of merchants, in most cities, exercises its not imponderable influence, not always in so vulgar a form as bribery and gratuities, but more often in the delicate matters of extending or refusing to extend credit in connection with the projects, desires or needs of the High Councils. There is a saying on Gor, "Gold has no caste." It is a saying of which the merchants are fond. Indeed, secretly among themselves, I have heard, they regard themselves as the highest caste on Gor, though they would not say so for fear of rousing the indignation of other castes. There would be something, of course, to be said for such a claim, for the merchants are often indeed in their way, brave, shrewd, skilled men, making long journeys, venturing their goods, risking caravans, negotiating commercial agreements, among themselves developing and enforcing a body of Merchant Law, the only common legal arrangements existing among the Gorean cities. Merchants also, in effect, arrange and administer the four great fairs that take place each year near the Sardar Mountains. I say "in effect" because the fairs are nominally under the direction of a committee of the Caste of Initiates, which, however, largely contents itself with its ceremonies and sacrifices, and is only too happy to delegate the complex management of those vast, commercial phenomena, the Sardar Fairs, to members of the lowly, much-despised Caste of Merchants, without which, incidentally, the fairs most likely could not exist, certainly not at any rate in their current form.
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 84

Saphrar was a short, fat, pinkish man, with short legs and arms; he had quick bright eyes and a tiny, roundish red-lipped mouth; upon occasion he moved his small, pudgy fingers, with rounded scarlet nails, rapidly, as though rubbing the gloss from a tarn disk or feeling the texture of a fine cloth; his head, like that of many merchants, had been shaved; his eyebrows had been removed and over each eye four golden drops had been fixed in the pinkish skin; he also had two teeth of gold, which were visible when he laughed, the upper canine teeth, probably containing poison; merchants are seldom trained in the use of arms.
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 85

I glanced at Saphrar, who was now leaning on his yellow cushions, in his silken pleasure robes, white and gold, the colors of the Caste of Merchants.
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 86

"Do not object that we are entertained in the house of Saphrar of the Merchants," Kamchak had said, "for in Turia power lies with such men."
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 86

Down the stairway, slowly, in trailing white silk bordered with gold, the colors of the Merchants, there regally descended the girl who was Aphris of Turia.
Her sandals were of gold and she wore matching gloves of gold.
Her face could not be seen, for it was veiled, a white silken veil trimmed with gold, nor even her hair, for it was hidden in the folds of the free woman's Robes of Concealment, in her case, of course, done in the colors of the merchants.
Aphris of Turia, then, was of the caste of merchants.
. . .
The father of Aphris of Turia, Tethrar of Turia, had been the richest merchant in this city, itself one of the richest cities of Gor.
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Pages 91 - 92

At a Paga Tavern, one near the great gate, cheap and crowded, dingy and smelling, a place frequented by strangers and small Merchants, the Assassin took the girl by the arm and thrust her within.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Pages 7 - 8

At a gesture from the proprietor, the grimy man in the tunic of white and gold, one of the serving slaves, with a flash of her ankle bells, hurried to the Assassin and set before him a bowl, which she trembling filled from the flask held over her right forearm.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 9

He was further in danger by virtue of his controlling measures restricting certain monopolies important to certain factions among the Merchants, in particular those having to do with the manufacture of bricks, and the distribution of salt and tharlarion oil.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Pages 15 - 16

Whereas it is only the men of high caste who elect members to the Council of the City, the gold of merchants and the will of the general populace is seldom disregarded in their choices.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 16

"Yes," said Portus, "and the rich Merchants, and the great houses, those on the Street of Coins, and on the Street of Brands, hire their own men." He smiled. "Further," said he, "Merchants arm and train squads of such men and rent them, for high wages, to the citizens of given streets and cylinders."
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 17

There were other favored areas, too, about the stands, in the front, each covered by awnings, in which there sat members of the numerous high families of the city; I noted that some of these areas were now occupied by Merchants; I had no objection to this for I have always thought higher of the Merchants than many of my caste, but I was surprised; in the time of Marlenus, when he was Ubar of Ar, I think even his friend, Mintar, that great brilliant toad of a man, of the Caste of Merchants, would not have had so choice a vantage point from which to observe the races.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 140

Then, stumbling, and brushing through spectators, few of whom shared his pleasure, he was making his way down to the tables of the odds Merchants.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 146

The Slavers, incidentally, are of the Merchant Caste, though, in virtue of their merchandise and practices, their robes are different. Yet, if one of them were to seek Caste Sanctuary, he would surely seek it from Slavers, and not from common Merchants. Many Slavers think of themselves as an independent caste. Gorean law, however, does not so regard them. The average Gorean thinks of them simply as Slavers, but, if questioned, would unhesitantly rank them with the Merchants.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 208

It seemed incredible to me that Portus had come to the House of Cernus, for much bad blood had existed between the houses. Surely to come to this place, the house of his enemy, must have been a last recourse in some fearful set of events, to throw himself on the mercies of Cernus, claiming Caste Sanctuary.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 208

Two members of the High Council, who had spoken out against the influence of Merchants in the politics of Ar, presumably a veiled reference to Cernus, were found slain, one cut down by killing knife and another throttled and found dangling from a bridge near his home.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 233

I, Tarl Cabot, am a simple man, poor in many qualities, one who is doubtless much excelled. There is little, I suspect, that I could do better than many others. I am a man who is surely next to nothing, one unworthy of note. Yet I think there is one talent I have, though it is unimportant and unworthy, a gift toward which I have mixed feelings, a gift which is both boon and curse, one which has caused me feelings of horror and guilt, and yet to which I have owed my life and that of those I have loved. It is a gift I have sought not to exercise, a gift I have feared, and sometimes would put aside, but cannot do so. He who is a Singer must sing; he who weaves the beautiful rugs of Ar or Tor must weave; the Physician must heal; the Builder build; the Merchant buy and sell; and the Warrior must fight.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Pages 340 - 341

Sometimes rence merchants, on narrow marsh craft rowed by slaves, enter some pasangs into the delta to negotiate the transactions, usually from the western edge, that bordering the Tamber Gulf. Rence paper is, incidentally, not the only type of writing material used on Gor. A milled linen paper is much used, large quantities of which are produced in Ar, and vellum and parchment, prepared in many cities, are also popular.
Raiders of Gor     Book 6     Pages 7 - 8

Politically, Port Kar is a chaos, ruled by several conflicting Ubars, each with his own following, each attempting to terrorize, to govern and tax to the extent of his power. Nominally beneath these Ubars, but in fact much independent of them, is an oligarchy of merchant princes, Captains, as they call themselves, who, hold council, maintain and manage the great arsenal, building and renting ships and fittings, themselves controlling the grain fleet, the oil fleet, the slave fleet, and others.
Raiders of Gor     Book 6     Page 104

The official "Stone," actually a solid metal cylinder, is kept, by the way, near the Sardar. Four times a year, on a given day in each of the four great fairs held annually near the Sardar, it is brought forth with scales, that merchants from whatever city may test their own standard "Stone" against it.
Raiders of Gor     Book 6     Page 127

As in the case of the official "Stone", so, too, at the Sardar is a metal rod, which determines the Merchant Foot, or Gorean foot, as I have called it.
Raiders of Gor     Book 6     Page 128

My four commercial voyages had been among the exchange islands, or free islands, in Thassa, administered as free ports by members of the Merchants.
Raiders of Gor     Book 6     Page 137

At the mouth of the Laurius, where it empties into Thassa, is found the free port of Lydius, administered by the merchants, an important Gorean caste.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Page 59

Indeed, even merchants and ambassadors were permitted to approach the city only under conduct, and then only when hooded and in bonds, as though none not of Treve might approach her save as slaves or captive supplicants.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Page 191

The Merchants have, in the last few years, on certain trade routes, between Ar and Ko-ro-ba, and between Tor and Ar, established palisaded compounds, defensible stockades. These, where they exist, tend to be placed approximately a day's caravan march apart. Sometimes, of course, and indeed, most often, the caravan must camp in the open. Still, these hostels, where they are to be found, are welcome, both to common merchants and to slavers, and even to travelers. Various cities, through their own Merchant Castes, lease land for these stockades and, for their fees, keep their garrisons, usually men of their own cities, supplied. The stockades are governed under Merchant Law, legislated and revised, and upheld, at the Sardar Fairs.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Page 219

At the age of twelve, Ute had been purchased by a leather worker, who dwelt on the exchange island, administered by the Merchants, of Teletus.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Page 233

Besides, she knew well that, some year, prior to her twenty-fifth year, such a journey must be undertaken by her. The Merchants of Teletus, controlling the city, would demand it of her, fearing the effects of the possible displeasure of the Priest-Kings on their trade.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Page 234

The great merchant galleys of Port Kar, and Cos, and Tyros, and other maritime powers, utilized thousands of such miserable wretches, fed on brews of peas and black bread, chained in the rowing holds, under the whips of slave masters, their lives measured by feedings and beatings, and the labor of the oar.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 13

The representative of the Merchants, to whom I reported my business, and to whom I paid for wharfage, asked no questions. He did not even demand the proof of registration of the Tesephone in 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.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 43

Behind the wagon, in the white robes, trimmed with gold and purple, of merchant magistrates, came five men. I recognized them as judges.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 49

Tabor, though a free island, administered by merchants, would not be eager to affront Tyros, her powerful neighbor. For more than a century there had been bad blood between Tyros and Ar. A merchant of Tabor, accordingly, fearing Tyros, would not be likely to return Talena to Marlenus. Such an act might mean war. It would be far more likely that the girl would be presented to Tyros, the daughter of their enemy, naked and in the chains of a slave, as a token of good will.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 80

"These woods," said Mira, "belong to panther girls. In the morning, Merchant, leave them."
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 91

"You are a patient man," said Rim.
"Patience," I told him, "is a virtue of merchants."
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 96

How hard to me, and cruel, seemed the face of the High Initiate. How rich they were, the initiates, and how little they did. The peasant tilled his fields, the fisherman went out in his boat, the merchant risked his capital. But the initiate did none of these things. Rather he lived by exploiting the superstitions and fears of simpler men.
Marauders of Gor    Book 9    Page 35

The brand used by Forkbeard is not uncommon in the north, though there is less uniformity in Torvaldsland on these matters than in the south, where the merchant caste, with its recommendations for standardization, is more powerful.
Marauders of Gor     Book 9     Page 87

In the crowd, too, I saw some merchants, though few of them, in their white and gold. I saw, too, four slavers, perfumed, in their robes of blue and yellow silk, come north to buy women. I saw, by the cut of their robes, they were from distant Turia.
Marauders of Gor     Book 9     Page 153

Elaborate random selection devices, utilizing coins and sticks, and formulas, were sometimes used by merchants to assure that applying tenders and drovers were selected, if they were not known, by chance. Tenders and drovers were assured that this was to insure fairness. Actually, of course, as was well known, this was a precaution against the danger of hiring, en bloc, unwittingly, an organized group of men, who might, prior to their hiring, have formed a plan to slay the guards and merchants and make off with the caravan.
Tribesmen of Gor     Book 10     Page 39

Too, there were cloth merchants, with their silks and rolls of rep cloth. Cloth is measured in the ah-il, which is the length from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger, and the ah-ral, which is ten ah-ils, I saw sleeve daggers, I brushed a mat salesman away.
Tribesmen of Gor     Book 10     Page 50

From the secret pits of Klima, it was said, no slave had ever returned. Kaiila are not permitted at Klima, even to the guards. Supplies are brought in, and salt carried away, by caravan, on which the pits must depend. Other than the well at Klima, there is no other water within a thousand pasangs. The desert is the wall at Klima. The locations of the pits, such as those at Klima, are little known, and, to protect the resource, are kept secret by mine agents and merchants.
Tribesmen of Gor     Book 10     Pages 117 - 118

It was natural, given the fact that the dina is the "slave flower," that eventually enterprising slavers, warriors and merchants, those with an interest in the buying and selling of women, should develop a brand based on the flower. Beyond this, there exists on Gor a variety of brands for women, though the Kajira brand, which Eta wore, is by far the most common. Some merchants invent brands, as the dina was invented, in order to freshen the nature of their merchandise and stimulate sales.
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Pages 62 - 63

Many of the daughters of merchants are proud sorts, for the merchants themselves, in virtue of their power, tend to vanity and pride, and agitate, justifiably or not, for the inclusion of their caste among the high castes of Gor. Their pampered daughters, protected from work and responsibility, ostentatiously garbed and elaborately educated in caste trivia, tend to be spoiled and soft.
. . .
In taking companionship with one of the Warriors she would raise caste, for the Warriors on Gor are among the high castes, of which there are five, the Initiates, Scribes, Physicians, Builders and Warriors.
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Pages 113 - 114

"I am Tupelius Milius Lactantius, of the Lactantii, of the merchants, of Ar," he said to me, "but we fell upon hard times, and I, though only eight at the time, fell as well, it being my duty, caste discipline, family pride and such."
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Page 209

"I am a merchant," said Ladletender. "If I buy her, I buy her to sell her for a profit."
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Page 217

"You are Dina," she said. "You are slave now within the Keep of Stones of Turmus. This is a merchant keep, under the banner and shield of Turia." That the keep was under the banner of Turia designated it as a Turian keep, distinguishing it in this sense not only from keeps maintained by other cities but more importantly from the "free keeps" maintained by the merchant caste in its own right, keeps without specific municipal affiliations. Similarly, the merchant caste, which is international, so to speak, in its organization, arranges and conducts the four great fairs which occur annually in the vicinity of the Sardar Mountains. The merchant caste, too, maintains certain free ports on certain islands and on the coasts of Thassa, such as Teleus and Bazi. Space in a "free keep" is rented on a commercial basis, regardless of municipal affiliation. In a banner keep, or one maintained by a given city, preference, if not exclusive rights, are accorded to the merchants and citizens of the city under whose banner the keep is established and administered.
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Page 255

This infamous port is the home port of the famed black slavers of Schendi, a league of slavers well known for their cruel depredations on shipping, but it is also a free port, administered by black merchants, and its fine harbor and its inland markets to the north and east attract much commerce.
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Page 321

"What girls here," asked one of the men, who seemed imposing, in helmet and cloak, with four fellows, of the man with the lamp, a short, fat fellow in the merchants' white and gold, "are from the Clouds of Telnus?"
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Pages 324 - 325

He struggled again to his feet and continued on, in the coffle, trudging along the hot wharf.
They would be taken to a holding area, I knew, and there branded slave. They would then row on the merchant galleys of Cos. Warships commonly have free oarsmen; merchant ships commonly, but not always, use slaves.
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Page 342

Often she would send me shopping, my hands braceleted behind my back, a leather capsule, a cylinder, tied about my neck, containing her order and coins. The merchant would then fill her order, tie the merchandise about my neck, put the change in the leather capsule, close it and, sometimes with a friendly slap, dismissing me, reminding me that I was pretty, regardless of being a woman's slave, send me back to my mistress.
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Page 389

It is unseemly for a Warrior to take as a companion the daughter of a merchant.
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Page 421

"You are the daughter of a merchant." He said. "The daughters of merchants are fit only to be the slaves of warriors."
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Page 422

The Sardar fairs are organized, regulated and administered by the Merchant Caste.
Beasts of Gor     Book 12     Page 45

Merchants usually exhibit their best merchandise only later in the evening.
Beasts of Gor     Book 12     Page 63

The merchant's assistant, the scribe, his face and arm bleeding, stood to one side.
Beasts of Gor     Book 12     Page 101

"You seem rich and educated," I said.
"I am both," she said. "I am of the high merchants."
Beasts of Gor     Book 12     Page 127

Schendi was a free port, administered by black merchants, members of the caste of merchants.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 34

The fellow wore the white and gold of the merchant, beneath a seaman's aba. It was not likely that a merchant would wear that garment unless he were entitled to it. Goreans are particular about such matters. Doubtless he owned and captained his own vessel.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 43

White and gold, incidentally, are the colors of the merchants. Usually their robes are white, trimmed with gold.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 108

"Ulafi should have been recruited," said the dark-haired girl. "He will do anything for gold."
"Except betray his merchant codes," said he who was called Kunguni.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 148

Similarly, caste lines tend sometimes to be vague, and the relation between castes and subcastes. Slavers, for example, sometimes think of themselves as being of the Merchants, and sometimes as being a separate caste. They do have their own colors, blue and yellow, those of the Merchants being white and gold.
Fighting Slave of Gor     Book 14     Page 211

"Where are the guardsmen, to apprehend him?" puffed the portly fellow, who wore the caste colors of the merchants, white and gold.
Rogue of Gor     Book 15     Page 154

Sometimes, too, coins are split or shaved. Further, the debasing of coinage is not unknown. Scales, and rumors, it seems, are often used by coin merchants.
Rogue of Gor     Book 15     Page 155

Coin merchants often have recourse to scales. This is sensible considering such things as the occasional debasings of coinages, usually unannounced by the communities in question, and the frequent practice of splitting and shaving coins.
Savages of Gor     Book 17     Page 120

I looked at Grunt. I knew one of his names among the red savages was Wopeton, which means Trader, or Merchant.
Savages of Gor     Book 17     Page 216

"Tal," said I, "I am Tarl Cabot."
"Wopeton," said Grunt, pointing to me. "Hou, Hou, Kola." Then he turned to me. "Your name would be meaningless to them," he said. "I have called you 'Wopeton,' or 'Trader' or 'Merchant'.
Savages of Gor     Book 17     Page 321

Such dramas, incidentally, are normally performed not by professional companies but by groups of citizens from the communities themselves, or nearby communities. Sometimes they are supported by rich citizens; sometimes they are supported by caste organizations; sometimes, even, they are sponsored by merchants or businesses, as a matter of goodwill and promotion; sometimes, too, they are subsidized by grants from a public treasury.
Kajira of Gor     Book 19     Pages 101 - 102

He was the guest of honor at this feast, a feast held by Elto, an Oriental, a member of the caste of merchants, a citizen of Ar, a dealer in salt, one with connections with some of the towns near the Tahari.
Kajira of Gor     Book 19     Page 304

Incidentally, there are many versions of Kaissa played on Gor. In some of these versions, the names of the pieces differ, and, in some, even more alarmingly, their nature and power. The caste of Players, to its credit, has been attempting to standardize Kaissa for years.
A major victory in this matter was secured a few years ago when the caste of Merchants, which organizes and manages the Sardar Fairs, agreed to a standardized version, proposed by, and provisionally approved by, the high council of the caste of Players, for the Sardar tournaments, one of the attractions of the Sardar Fairs. This form of Kaissa, now utilized in the tournaments, is generally referred to, like the other variations, simply as Kaissa. Sometimes, however, to distinguish it from differing forms of the game, it is spoken of as Merchant Kaissa, from the role of the Merchants in making it the official form of Kaissa for the fairs, Player Kaissa, from the role of the Players in its codification, or the Kaissa of En'Kara, for it was officially promulgated for the first time at one of the fairs of En'Kara, that which occurred in 10,124 C.A., Contasta Ar, from the Founding of Ar, or in Year 5 of the Sovereignty of the Council of Captains, in Port Kar.
Players of Gor     Book 20     Page 8

Some two years ago the merchants and builders had opened the road of Cyprianus, named for the engineer in charge of the project, which led to the fairs rather from the southwest. This had considerably reduced the traffic on the road of Clearchus, now to its north, which had approached the fairs in such a way as to favor the traffic from the northwest, with the result that several of the establishments on the road of Clearchus had been abandoned or relocated. One advantage of the more southern route is that it passes through less rough terrain, terrain which provides less cover for highwaymen. In particular, it does not pass, for several pasangs, through the woods of Clearchus.
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.
Players of Gor     Book 20     Pages 99 - 100

Anango, like Asperiche, is an exchange, or free, island in Thassa, administered by members of the caste of merchants.
Players of Gor     Book 20     Page 130

In the houses of administrators, in the domiciles of high merchants, in the palaces of Ubars, for example, slaves, and usually beautiful ones, for they can afford them, are often abundant.
Mercenaries of Gor     Book 21     Page 22

"Many captains," I said, "choose their causes on the scales of merchants, weighing their iron against gold.
Mercenaries of Gor     Book 21     Page 49

"I am a merchant of sorts," he said. "I deal in slaves, wholesale and retail, mostly female slaves."
"A lovely form of merchandise," I said.
Mercenaries of Gor     Book 21     Page 302

"You keep very careful records," I said.
"I am from Tabor," he said.
"Probably you are a merchant, too," I said.
"Yes," he said.
I had feared as much. The merchants of Tabor are famed for the accuracy their accounts.
Mercenaries of Gor     Book 21     Page 86

In any such camp, of course, and there had been in this one, there are usually several merchants. These are generally both wholesalers and retailers, but primarily wholesalers, for retailers are usually indigenous to given cities. These wholesalers usually distribute to retailers, in their individual cities, or, often, also, in well-known slaving centers, of which there are many, for example, Ar, Ko-ro-ba, Venna, Vonda, Victoria, on the Vosk, Market of Semris, Besnit, Esalinus, Harfax, Corcyrus, Argentum, Torcadino, and others. Most of the wholesalers, I suppose, do have permanent headquarters, somewhere, but they, or their agents, often frequent these camps, as well, availing themselves of the considerable advantages accruing to their trade in such places.
Dancer of Gor     Book 22     Page 102

"Doubtless you followed Cosians," I said, "or their suppliers, smelling booty, lured by the possibilities of spoils, of the supposed imminent passage south of men laden with the plate and coin of Ar's Station, men who might succumb to your claims of need and plight, hoping perhaps even to contract an alliance, a companionship, with an enriched officer, or, if necessary, a profiteering merchant."
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Pages 63 - 64

But I addressed a question to our prone captive. "What is your caste?" I asked.
"The Merchants," she said.
"That, on the whole, is a quite well-to-do caste," I said.
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Pages 236 - 237

"Why, too," I asked, "did you, a wealthy woman, of the Merchants, choose to wear artful rags, as though you might be a simple low-caste maid?"
She was silent.
"There were two reasons," I said. "The first is that you feared that the high castes and the richer castes, such as the Merchants, might be less likely to be spared by the enemy, that they might be the subject of more resentment, perhaps because of envy, or perhaps that they would be particularly sought out for vengeance, on the supposition that they, presumably the more powerful castes in the city, might be most responsible for the prolongation of the siege.
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Page 244

"What is your caste?" he asked.
"The Merchants," she said.
"Why are you not in the white and gold," he asked, "on this, of all days?" White and gold, or white and yellow, are the caste colors of the Merchants.
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Page 252

The Merchants often maintain that they are a high caste, and should, accordingly, be included in the councils of high caste.
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Page 368

"At that rate," I said, "you would not be likely to rise rapidly in the ranks of the merchants."
Vagabonds of Gor     Book 24     Page 486

"You are members of the caste of slavers!" she said.
"No," I said.
"But you are slavers!" she said.
"Do not concern yourself with the matter," I said.
"Yes Master," she said.
The distinction, of course, is between belonging to the caste of slavers and being a slaver. Whereas members of the caste of slavers are slavers, not all slavers are members of the caste of slavers. For example, I am not of the slavers, but in Port Kar I am known as Bosk, and he known as many things, among them pirate and slaver. Too, both Marcus and myself were of the warriors, the scarlet caste, and as such were not above taking slaves. Such is not only permitted in the codes, but encouraged by them. "The slave is a joy and a convenience to the warrior." Neither of us, of course, was a member of the caste of slavers. It, incidentally, is sometimes regarded as a subcaste of the merchants, and sometimes as an independent caste. It does have its own colors, blue and yellow, whereas those of the merchants are yellow and white, or gold and white.
Magicians of Gor     Book 25     Page 315

There are some ambiguities in the caste structure. For example, some rank the Merchants as a high caste, and some do not; and some rank the Slavers with the Merchants, and some see them as a separate caste, and so on.
Witness of Gor     Book 26     Pages 225 - 226

"And it did not matter," said she, "what his caste might be, assuming it was high, for I was of the Merchants, one of the highest of castes, there being none higher, I insist on that, saving perhaps that of the Initiates."
I knew little or nothing of the Initiates, but I had heard that such as I were not allowed in their temples, lest we profane them. Normally, if our masters attended their services, we would be chained, or penned, outside, along with other animals.
"So," said she, "whatever his caste, assuming it was high, of course, it would be practical for us to contemplate a companionship, and if his caste should be thought higher than mine, however mistakenly, I could, in such a relationship, be thought to raise caste. Why should I not, in virtue of my beauty, attain to the highest castes, assuming the Merchants was not already regarded, correctly, of course, as such - yes, to the very highest of castes, saving only that of the Initiates, of course."
It seemed clear to me that she did not really believe, whatever might be her protestations, that the Merchants was a high caste. She would be only too eager, it seemed, to "raise caste." What had love to do with such things, I wondered. Why should she wish to raise caste? Surely that was not truly important. Caste considerations seemed to me artificial, and rather meaningless, except as they tended to reflect sets of related occupation. Suppose there was something to caste. Why should she feel herself entitled to raise caste? What was special about her? Why should a Merchant's daughter aspire to a higher caste? With what justification? Why should she be permitted to raise caste? Why should she not look for love in her own caste, or in a lower caste? Why should she not look for love wherever she found it, regardless of caste? But then, I was not Gorean.
Witness of Gor     Book 26     Page 250

Blue and yellow are the colors of the caste, or subcaste, as the case may be, of the Slavers. Some, as noted earlier, regard the Slavers as a caste independent of the Merchants, some regard it as a subcaste of the Merchants. The colors of the merchant caste itself are white and yellow, or white and gold. Needless to say, caste members do not always wear the caste colors. For example, a scribe would normally wear his blue when working but not always when at leisure. Goreans are fond of color and style in their raiment. They tend to be careful of their appearance and often delight in looking well. Not all slave papers are bound in blue and yellow, of course. I had seen copies in the pens which were in plain folders, in envelopes, and such. Indeed, some had been merely clipped together.
Witness of Gor     Book 26     Page 519

He turned to one of the men near him, a tall fellow in white robes trimmed with gold, the dress robes, she had learned, of the Merchants.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 62

High-caste women, in general, or those of the Merchants, she supposed, would not do their own laundry either, but they might have a slave, or slaves, in their own domiciles to attend to such work.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 130

Another was a black woman with a chain collar and disk. It was said she had already been spoken for by a black merchant.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 135

Ellen was startled at the eagerness, the zeal, the openness, the competitiveness, of the slaves. The man was not of the Merchants. He would not be rich.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 242

"Lastly," said the father, "they are ignorant. What is the month following the month of Hesius?"
"I do not know, Master," said Ellen. She had not been familiarized with the Gorean calendar. To be sure, chronologies, and such, can differ from city to city. The Merchants, interestingly, keep their own calendar, for purposes of contracts, delivery dates, letters of credit, and such. Many cities in the northern hemisphere use the chronology of Ar, along with their own. I understand that cities in the southern hemisphere may similarly supplement their own chronologies, but with the calendar of Turia, which, as I understand it, is the largest city in the southern hemisphere.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 259

"So do not let yourself be fooled in the market," said the father. "Do not let an unscrupulous merchant palm a barbarian off on you."
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 259

Note, too, that I am not without precautions. Their little necks are well weighted and such collars would certainly be immediately noted anywhere. Too, they are stripped, which does not encourage straying. Too, they are not likely to stray, as they are well shackled, in accord with sound merchant practice.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 265

Later that day it rained, a long, cold rain, and it rained heavily. The market was muchly emptied, the bustling to-and-fro business of the stalls, of the spread blankets, laden with small goods, the endless, vigorous hagglings, ceasing in the devastating inclemency of the weather. Merchants and their customers, those who did not flee to their homes, or nearby doorways, took refuge against walls and under overhangs, and beneath striped canopies, which soon sagged, and bulged, and, soaking, dripped with the downpour.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 278

How was it then, she wondered, given her obvious excellence and quality, her obvious value, that she had not been purchased by a rich man, someone important, a statesman, a general or a great merchant, surely by some significant personage in Ar.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 306

There was to be a festival camp, celebrating yet another victory of invincible Cos. Merchants, dignitaries, soldiers, travelers, artisans, peddlers, tradesmen, citizens, peasants, villagers, townspeople and others were all making their way into the vicinity of the city, some setting up tents and camps, others renting space either within the city, or about the walls.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 381

And, in the end, she supposed, Brundisium, in turn, might decide that this benevolence might be best exacted of her merchant caste, and particularly of those dealing in wines. But here, again, these were not concerns for such as she, a slave.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 410

And, of course, from time to time, one lane or another was emptied, as its occupants were conducted forward, or perhaps, one should say, "herded forward," as that phrasing seems more accurate. Certainly the men who fetched them, the sales attendants, seemed more like rude herdsmen than solicitous merchants. They carried sticks, and it was not without jabbings, pokings and blows, and impatient expostulations, that they sped their linked, disconcerted, intimidated charges, those lovely, chained she-animals, forward, presumably to a final staging area prior to their sale.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Pages 464 - 465

Although these matters differ considerably from city to city, and silver and gold is often weighed by merchants, common ratios in the vicinity of Brundisium at the time of this writing, given the inflation of the unsettled times, are a hundred tarsk-bits to a copper tarsk, and a hundred copper tarsks to a silver tarsk.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 488

Although the caste of Mirus might be unclear from the particular nature of his garmenture, Ellen supposed him of the slavers, which would be a subcaste of the Merchants, which caste was doubtless the wealthiest on Gor, and one which was often wont to view itself, perhaps in virtue of its wealth, if not as well in virtue of its influence and power, as a high caste, a tendency which, however, was not widely shared, save perhaps, at least publicly, by its clients and sycophants. Goreans respect wealth but tend to value other attributes more highly, and, indeed, to the credit of the Merchants, it should be noted that they usually do so, as well. One such attribute is fidelity; another is honor. Gor is not Earth. In any event, aside from any cultural ambiguity which might attend the station or status of the Merchants, Mirus would presumably concede nothing in caste merit to the fellow who had just, it seemed, dared to gainsay him.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Pages 491 - 492

"They may pass over," said a man.
"They may be merchants, carriers of precious commodities, too rich to risk on the ground. They may have no concern with us," speculated Fel Doron.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Pages 556 - 557

"I am a merchant of Ar," said Mirus, "dealing in various commodities, including slaves."
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 633

A caravan this size, she conjectured, would not be the property of a single merchant, but doubtless of a number of merchants leagued together, traveling thusly for purposes of safety in what were doubtless unsettled, dangerous, troubled times.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 673

And consider that free man who calculates so carefully the advantages of a companionship, who so carefully measures out the prospects of a relationship, as a merchant might weigh grain upon a scale. He treats the woman as an instrument to his future, and thus treats her as more a slave than a slave.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Pages 704 - 705

These two females were in some respects similar, and in other respects quite different. Both were, as we understand it, of the sort which would be attractive, even excruciatingly so, to a human male. One was darkly pelted, with brown eyes, and the other was lightly pelted, or blondishly pelted, with blue eyes. Both were young, the darkly pelted one perhaps a bit older than the other. Each was, as tests later demonstrated, healthy and fertile. Each, too, was characterized by delicate, even exquisite, features, of a sort so clearly different from the coarse type found commonly in the human male. This has perhaps to do with several millennia of sexual selection. Too, both were, as humans understand such things, deliciously figured, this, too, doubtless having to do with generations of sexual selection. Indeed, the figures of both were nearly, if not quite, at what merchants in these matters refer to as the optimum block measurements for their size and weight.
Kur of Gor     Book 28     Page 22

Do you not understand that merchants choose such as you with a profit in mind, that you are that valuable, and that you are such, and carefully selected to be such, that you might drive a man mad with desire?
Kur of Gor     Book 28     Page 430

Gorean slaves, exhibited on slave shelves, often behave similarly, eager to be purchased by a particular master, perhaps a handsome fellow whose eye they hope to catch. And their owners, the merchants, might upon occasion indicate a particular fellow in the crowd, who looks well robed and affluent, to be accosted with posings, assurances of pleasure, the customary "Buy me, Master," solicitation, and such. To be sure, the master's choice might not be the slave's choice, but she does not wish to feel his whip either.
Kur of Gor     Book 28     Page 647

The throats of slaves, of course, are commonly bared, save, of course, for the collar. As they are slaves, they are expected to display the collar, obviously, and publicly, such a lovely badge of servitude.
Indeed, as earlier noted, this display, as certain others, is prescribed by Merchant Law, which is a general, intermunicipal body of law regularly promulgated by the Merchant caste at the great fairs, and tending to be shared by disunited, often hostile, Gorean communities. Even were it not for such law, of course, practical considerations would dictate some obvious ways of marking the distinction between the female slave and the free woman. One might think in terms of a slave bracelet or a slave anklet, or such, but the collar is almost universally preferred, possibly because of the prominence of its mounting, its unmistakable visibility, its way of clarifying the nature of its wearer, as a collared animal, and its beauty.
Kur of Gor     Book 28     Page 703

Some view the Slavers as a caste, others as a subcaste of the Merchants. The colors of the Merchants are yellow and white, or gold and white.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 25

She whom I sought, I had learned, upon inquiries, was the former Lady Portia Lia Serisia of Sun Gate Towers, an exclusive district, near Ar's Street of Coins, where were found most of the banking houses of the city. The name of the enclave was derived from the Sun Gate, one of Ar's major gates, though it was better than two pasangs from the gate itself, the gate's name being derived from the fact that it was regularly opened at sunrise and closed at sunset. Many of the larger merchant enclaves were found near the walls, within which were several warehouses. This is convenient for the receipt of goods coming into the city, and for those being sent from the city. Caravans are usually formed outside the walls. Goods from these warehouses, of course, are often later distributed for retailing throughout the city.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 263

Then I thought, "No, the Priest-Kings would not build such mortal frames, and, if so, not of wood. Stories had it that they rode within ships, but strange ships, round, flat ships, like disks, disks of metal, which moved like clouds, swift as thought, in silence. Some claimed to have seen them over the palisade of the Sardar. But such stories must be false, as they were denied by Initiates, the white caste, highest and worthiest of all the castes, as they were intermediaries between Priest-Kings and mortals. How wise they were, and how powerful they were, how sacrosanct and holy they were, to have the ear of Priest-Kings, to have at their disposal the prayers, the spells, the rituals, the devotions, and sacrifices by means of which Priest-Kings might be swayed, by means of which their favor might be garnered. It was no wonder that that they were consulted by Ubars bearing baskets of gold, and simple Peasants, with a handful of suls. They were celebrated by cities and villages. They were petitioned by Merchants embarking on bold, uncertain ventures, by gamblers with an interest in the summer tharlarion races. Assassins sought their blessing. Some of the loveliest buildings on Gor were their temples. They lived well. They were frauds, laden with corruption.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Pages 29 - 30

Whereas all natural societies are characterized by rank, distance, and hierarchy, acknowledged or not, I think there is no Gorean caste, from the highest to the lowest, which does not regard itself as the equal or superior, in one way or another, to that of every other. Where would society be without the Builders, the Merchants, the Metal Workers, the Cloth Workers, the Wood Workers, the Leather Workers, the Peasant, with the great bow, the ox on whom the Home Stone rests?
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Pages 365 - 366

Demetrion had taken time to don his formal robes, lengthy and abundant, of white and yellow. He was approaching the lowered gangplank, one end resting on the pier, the other fastened, roped, to the bulwarks, on each side of the opened gate. With Demetrion were his aides, also of the Merchants, and two Scribes, one of which was Phillip, my superior in the registry.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 491

Demetrion's aides were as reluctant as he to stoop to retrieve the small, but weighty sack. The two Scribes, as well, looked away. Little love is lost between the Scribes and Merchants. The Scribes is a high caste and the Merchants is the richest caste. Each therefore regards itself as superior to the other, and each, then, would be reluctant to seem to lower itself before the other. I would have been quite willing to retrieve the sack and deliver it to Demetrion, but Phillip, my superior, was in his party, and there is, of course, the dignity, and the prestige, of the caste to maintain.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 493

"Friends," I said. "I see one in the robes of the Merchants, but muchly hooded, who has entered, who looks about, but who does not seem concerned with the tables."
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 506

"I hope," said Eve, "I will be of the Merchants. Their robes are yellow and white, or gold and white. I think I would look stunning in such robes."
Conspirators of Gor     Book 31     Page 25

I had little doubt that the Merchants was the wealthiest caste. It seemed to me, then, that it should be the highest caste. Of what value, for example, was the Scarlet Caste, the caste of Warriors, if not to protect the gold, the wealth, of the Merchants?
Conspirators of Gor     Book 31     Page 26

The house tunics, incidentally, those worn in the house, were commonly drab, usually being brown or gray. There are fashions in such things, of course, for both the free and the slaves, with respect to colors, textures, materials, cuts, hemlines, and so on. How and when fashions changed, and why they changed, was not clear. Doubtless there were setters of trends, say, highly placed officials, wealthy Merchants, Actors, Singers, and Poets, certain women of noble family and high caste, and such, but why should one option rather than another succeed in being adopted, however transiently?
Conspirators of Gor     Book 31     Page 97

I looked to the other occupants, the other merchandise, six girls, in the cell. Each was in a wrap-around tunic. Four were brunets, and two blondes, one a darker blond, one lighter. None were collared. But I had no doubt each was well marked. Gorean merchants do not neglect such details.
Conspirators of Gor     Book 31     Pages 113 - 114

"I am not a slave," wept the light blonde. "I am the Lady Persinna, high in the Merchants, the Lady Persinna of Four Towers!"
Conspirators of Gor     Book 31     Page 116

The Lady Bina had rented the upper-floor of a small, two-floor, common-wall house on Emerald. The front of the first floor, facing the street, was the shop of a pottery merchant Epicrates, who, with his family, lived in the rear. His companion, Delia like himself, could read. This is common amongst the Merchants.
Conspirators of Gor     Book 31     Page 203

She like Epicrates, was of the Merchants, and the Merchants often take themselves as a high caste, though few others do.
Conspirators of Gor     Book 31     Page 221

I did not know the caste of Astrinax, but it seemed likely, if he had caste, that he was of the minor Merchants.
Conspirators of Gor     Book 31     Page 339

For example, it is my supposition that, in the markets, and on the boulevards, and elsewhere, handsome slavers, perhaps disguised in the robes of rich Merchants, do not encounter with you in fact the difficulties which one might expect them to encounter in theory. Forgive me, Mistresses.
Conspirators of Gor     Book 31     Page 367

much of the financing involved in such matters would doubtless be accomplished by means of drafts, notes, letters, and such, things mysterious, even unreal, to many Goreans, but familiar to the Merchants of the coin streets,
Conspirators of Gor     Book 31     Page 499 - 500

You will seek the shop of Amyntas, the wine merchant.
Conspirators of Gor     Book 31     Page 620

"But Master must have a caste," I said.
"My robes," he said, "were I to wear them, would be white and gold."
Conspirators of Gor     Book 31     Page 660

"As you might suppose," he said, "in Merchantry, particularly in high Merchantry, one may become aware of many things. One becomes familiar with routes and cities, with goods and markets, with customs and politics, with fears and rumors. One hears much, one sees much, one learns much. I have dealt with men from Torvaldsland, from Bazi, Schendi, and Turia. It became reasonably clear, in Merchant councils, met at the fairs, that scattered, unusual purchases were being made, and that caravans were occasionally being embarked for obscure destinations, which would seem outside familiar markets.
Conspirators of Gor     Book 31     Pages 660 - 661

I have written it in my native language, surely unknown to most of you, which is called "English !' My master Desmond of Harfax, of the house of Desmond in Harfax, in the high Merchantry of Harfax, has arranged, as I understand it, to have it translated into Gorean.
Conspirators of Gor     Book 31     Page 668

I am told the great merchant houses have sources of information which might be the envy of warring Ubars.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 32

"I am of the Merchants," I said.
"The Slavers," he said.
I shrugged.
"The Slavers," he said.
"Very well, the Slavers," I said. We regard ourselves as a subcaste of the Merchants. Do we not acquire, and buy, and sell? What difference is there, other than the nature of the goods handled?
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 44

I had gathered that many might resent the Merchants, envying their wealth. It was said they raised nothing, and made nothing, but were brigands without lairs, bandits who looted without risk, men who drew blood with knives of gold. Membership in the Merchants, of course, might range from itinerant peddlers to the masters of great houses, dealing with a dozen cities. The Merchants regard themselves, with justification I would think, as a high caste, but few Goreans number them amongst the high castes, which, traditionally, are taken to be five in number, the Initiates, Builders, Physicians, Scribes, and Warriors. None, I suppose, would dispute with the Warriors that they are a high caste. If the Merchants are not a high caste, it is clear they are an important caste. It is said they own councils and sway law, that their gold hides and whispers behind thrones, that cities heed their words, that Ubars are often in their debt. Doubtless amongst the Merchants, as amongst other men, one will find the astute and honorable, the honest and diligent, the noble and loyal, as well as the corrupt and greedy, the cruel and callous, the venal and heartless.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 64

"My caste has something to do with these matters," I said.
"Yours, and perhaps some others," he said.
"I am a mere Merchant," I said.
"A Slaver," he said.
"A Merchant," I said.
"I suppose," said he, "it is merely a matter of the goods, of one sort or another, with which one deals."
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 133

"A Merchant," said he, "is one concerned with profit."
"Commonly, " I said.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 134

She had apparently once been of the Merchants, perhaps the high Merchants, and had even held herself to be of high caste, despite the fact that few Goreans accepted the Merchants as a high caste. It was regarded as a rich caste, but that is not, in the eyes of many, the same as being a high caste. It was, of course, a powerful caste, given its wealth, and even Ubars might court its favor. How are men to be paid, and wars waged, if not with gold?
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 154

"It is a coin," he said. "It is gold, a double tarn, from the mint of the state of Ar."
He held out his hand, and I hastily, with relief, returned the coin. "It must be valuable," I said.
"Yes," he said. "Many laborers might not earn its equivalent in years. There are merchants who have never had their hands on such a coin. Certainly it is the first I have seen.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 544

"Do you know my caste?" he asked.
"The Slavers," I said. "Surely Master is of the caste of Slavers."
"I am of the Merchants," he said. "The Slavers is a subcaste of the Merchants. It is merely a question of the goods with which one deals. The Slavers deal with soft, living goods."
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 546

Men see land differently, the merchant in terms of profitability, the sage in terms of quietude the poet in terms of mood, the painter in terms of beauty, the peasant in terms of home, in terms of soil, fertility, tillability, and yield. But I feared I saw it differently. I was of the scarlet caste. The military eye does not see land as others see it. It sees it in terms of what might be done, and not done, and how easily, sees it in terms of movement, columns, the marshaling of men, the arrangement of troops, the order of battle in terms of passage heights, time, concealment, attack, marches, and tactics. High grass, a wood, may conceal foes. If there is a marsh to the right, would the attack not be likely from the left? Has a frightened animal darted past? What has frightened it? Keep high ground on the shield side.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 9

I doubted that her contract was for sale, and, even if it were, it seemed unlikely young Tajima could afford it. He was not a merchant, not a high officer, not a daimyo.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 119

(speaking of the Pani sword)
Too, perhaps it is unwise to allow, say, a peasant, or merchant, to possess an object of such lethal beauty;
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 345

The colors of the Merchants, which merchants frequently claim to be a high caste, were white and yellow, or white and gold. Some regard the Slavers as a subcaste of the Merchants and others identify it as an independent caste.
Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 103

His robes were white and gold. His sandals were fastened with golden straps. A weighty purse was suspended from a broad belt, encircling a portly belly.
Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 117

The Merchant class is undoubtedly the richest of the Gorean castes, which doubtless has played its role in its pretensions to constitute a high caste, but there are low merchants as well as high merchants, poor merchants as well as rich merchants.
Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 118

Perhaps then, his caste was that of the Merchants. Surely one particularly associated business with that caste, the risks and hazards of economic venturing, the exciting, harrowing matters of profit and loss, of investment and speculation.
Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 183

Whereas most of those present were clad in variations of the Merchant colors, the next group most prominent, or abundant, was the Scribes.
Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 432

I have spoken of the five high castes, as they are usually understood, the Warriors, Physicians, Builders, Scribes, and Initiates. On the other hand, obviously the Merchants is an extremely important caste. It controls much of the wealth on this world. Merchants, with their connections amongst houses in diverse cities, sometimes at war with one another, with their vouchers, notes, seals, stamps, letters of credit, and such, have created a subtle, almost invisible, bur very real, commercial world. Merchant routes link cities. Merchant Law, instituted at, and revised in, the Sardar Fairs, is the only common body of law on Gor. Accordingly, many amongst the Merchants regard their caste as a high caste, and, it seems, with good reason. Surely gold is no more to be ignored than humbler metals, even if they be of edged steel. One might also note, in passing, that controversy may attend such things. For example, some regard the caste of Slavers as a subcaste of the Merchants, and others regard it as an independent caste. My master, Kurik of Victoria, thinks of it as an independent caste, judiciously or not. He seems to prize autonomy and independence. My own view is that it is a form of merchantry, and that its difference from other forms of merchantry is merely in the nature of the goods with which the merchants deal. Ubars wisely refrain from making rulings upon such things. As I may have indicated before, considerable differences may exist within a given caste. For example, a given merchant, such as Mintar, of Ar may be the master of a thousand enterprises and another may be an itinerant peddler;
Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 434

"Yes," said Kurik, "but it is quite possible she is actually of the Merchants. I would not be surprised. Some members of that lofty caste are not particular with respect to which mine it is from which they extract their gold."
Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Pages 448 - 449

It might be mentioned that some of the great merchant houses maintain their own lines of communication. Interestingly, commerce may be in effect between these houses even when their respective cities are at war.
Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 598

In Brundisium, a great mercantile port, there were a hundred tarsk-bits to the copper tarsk. This allowed a subtlety, a delicacy and precision, of bidding, particularly for smaller articles. The values of Gorean currency, particularly to the annoyance of the caste of merchants, varies considerably from city to city, with respect to weight, to purity of metal, and even denomination. In many cities for example, there were only four or eight tarsk-bits to a copper tarsk. This is apparently indexed to the ease of dividing a round coin into equal parts. The tarsk-bits of Brundisium, however, were individual tiny copper coins, either small disks or tiny droplets of copper. Given such vagaries, and the shaving of coins, particularly those of more precious metals, scales are often used in transactions, certainly in a polity's "Streets of Coins." Fortunes, I have been told, have been made in speculating on the shifting, comparable values of these diverse coinages. The double tarn, of gold, minted in the city of Ar, is usually accepted as the single, most valuable coin on Gor. Many cities in the northern hemisphere, even cities hostile to Ar, supposedly, privately, use Ar's "Gold Tarn," the single Tarn, to rank, standardize, and value their own currency. Unfortunately this coin, bearing only, by proud tradition, the simple sign of Ar, is easy to imitate. So one understands the importance of scales, and, as one might expect, the occasional charges and countercharges having to do with the accuracy of the weights used to balance the scales. Weights are standardized against official weights, so to speak, housed in a merchant fortress in the vicinity of the Sardar Mountains. Merchants may have access to this fortress four times a year, during the great Sardar fairs. Similar provisions are made for standardizing liquid and linear measures. Another important, well-known coin, is the golden stater of Brundisium. In the southern hemisphere, the coinage of Turia plays a similar role to that of Ar in the north.
Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Pages 33 - 34

It was my understanding that the Merchants was not considered, at least generally, as a high caste on Gor. To be sure, they were generally accounted the richest of castes.
Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Page 95

The Merchants often claims to be a high caste, which claim, if accepted, would bring one to six high castes. The colors of the Merchants are white and yellow, or white and gold. The Slavers is commonly accounted a subcaste of the Merchants, but some deem it an independent caste. The caste colors of the Slavers are blue and yellow.
Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Page 163

"Should her identity be discovered," said the voice, "that she was the former Lady Julia Leta, might that not prove embarrassing to her master?"
"Particularly," I said, "were her master of the Merchants, and most particularly if he should be a Merchant of Coins."
Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Page 175

Or did she wish me to think that the Merchants was a high caste? Most did not regard it so. Gorean society is built on the acceptance of rank, distance, and hierarchy. On Gor one does not pretend such differences do not exist or are not important. Indeed, rank, distance, and hierarchy stabilize the society. Is the alternative not social anarchy, envy, jealousy, denial, uncertainty, confusion, competition, dishonesty, scrambling about, frustrated ambition, disappointment, fury, and chaos?
Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Page 180

"Your airs annoyed me," I said. "You were never of high caste. You were only of the Merchants and, I suspect, not the high Merchants."
Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Page 181

"You wear the field garment, the trading garment, of the Merchants," he said.

"Think of me so," I said.

"But you wear a sword, sheathed, on a single strap, the leather not fastened across your body, but loose, over your left shoulder," he said.

"Thus," I said, "the blade drawn, the scabbard and belt may be instantly discarded, no longer constituting a perilous, graspable snare or encumbrance."

"You are of the scarlet caste," he said.

"I wear the garb of the Merchants," I said.
Avengers of Gor     Book 36     Page 4

"You come at night," he said. "Merchants do not come at night."

"If I meant you harm," I said, "I would not have worn this raiment, white and yellow, easily seen. I would have dressed like the night, have come in stealth, as the sleen."

"You have no cart, no wagon, no pack," he said.

"No," I said.

"You are not of the Merchants," he said.

"Perhaps not," I said.

"One came before as you," he said, "days ago, seemingly, too, of the Merchants. We welcomed him, we regaled him, we entertained him, we shared paga, our maidens danced before him, we showed him hospitality. Two days later, following his departure, they came, with fire and chains. They took even the trinkets, precious to us, for which we had traded."
Avengers of Gor     Book 36     Page 6

I was more troubled by the fact that on the voyage from the Cove of Harpalos to the beach of Nicosia we had not encountered the small, dark island originally encountered on the voyage from Nicosia to the Cove of Harpalos. Similarly, on the voyage from Nicosia to Sybaris, after painting the Tesephone white and yellow, colors of the Merchants, so that it would stand out, and not be difficult to detect amongst the billows of Thassa, we had again failed to encounter the small, dark island.
Avengers of Gor     Book 36     Page 65

"One who is of the Merchants, who deals in gold, or one who is of the Metal Workers, who crafts ornaments of gold, or some of those who are of the yellow caste, the Builders, could make the determination," I said. "They have access to the crucible, the heat, the chemicals. The determination can be made in several ways."
Avengers of Gor     Book 36     Page 73

"You represent a party," she said, "doubtless of merchants, or predominantly of merchants."

"That is an interesting speculation," I said.

"You wish then to purchase protection for your party," she said. "You will pay, staters and tarn disks, to have certain ships, your ships, those of your party, exempt from attack, kept immune to predation. You wish your ships and goods to be safe on the seas, while the ships of others remain at hazard or fear to leave port."

"That, too, is a possibility," I said.

"And then trade, and shipping, the wealth of the seas, would accrue to your party."

"It would seem so, would it not?" I said.
Avengers of Gor     Book 36     Page 115

"Have you been to a Fair of the Farther Islands?" he asked.

"No," I said.

"One is held each year," he said, "and they alternate amongst the major islands, and amongst the larger towns on the islands. Last year it was on Thera, at Sybaris, the year before on Daphna, at Pylos. You will enjoy the fair. There are many festivities and exhibitions, dozens of markets and sales. You can see prize verr and tarsks. There are always acrobats, fire eaters, jugglers, and rope dancers. Merchants, with their goods, come from as faraway as Cos and Tyros, even from Brundisium on the continent."
Avengers of Gor     Book 36     Page 126

"New ships, with merchants and their goods, still arrive each Ahn," said Clitus.
Avengers of Gor     Book 36     Page 131

"Yes," I said. "Let me now expand on the hint I gave you in the chamber of Archelaos. I represent a consortium of merchants in Brundisium, concerned with the safety of the seas between Cos and the Farther Islands."
Avengers of Gor     Book 36     Page 146

My hand touched his wrist. "Hold, noble officer," I said. "Forgive me. I am chagrined. I am dishonored by my parsimony. Blame it on the thrift of my caste, the desire to save a tarsk-bit wherever possible. I am shamed. This wine is unworthy to celebrate our understanding. Too, could I really suppose that the Admiral of the Fleet of the Farther Islands, the First Captain of Sybaris, High Officer of Cos, could not tell the difference between a decent wine and a ka-la-na worthy at best to fortify common kal-da?"
Avengers of Gor     Book 36     Page 150

"I think," said Thrasymedes, "you may be of the corsairs yourselves, or of their ilk. You would trick us from our walls to have an open, vulnerable town at your disposal. If you are truly of the Merchants, where is your ship?"

"Our ships are elsewhere," I said. "I did not wish to risk having them trapped in the harbor."
Avengers of Gor     Book 36     Page 248

On the eleventh day of the siege, on a gouged street, near the rubble of houses, Thrasymedes, seeing the startled faces of others, had spun about. "What garb is that?" he had asked.

"You know it," I said.

"I deem it not the rich cloth of the Merchants," he had said.
Avengers of Gor     Book 36     Page 254

"Paint the ships white and yellow," I said.

"Why?" asked Tab.

"Is it not suitable?" I said. "Are we not simple, innocent Merchants?"

"I do not understand," said Tab.

"I have my reason," I said.
Avengers of Gor     Book 36     Page 316

"Noble merchant," said a short fellow, squinting up at the boards, "I am no Scribe, no learned man, nor one familiar with figures and accounts, such as yourself."

"What would you like read?" I asked.

"You are of the white and yellow caste, the gold caste," he said.

"White for the records you keep, yellow for the gold you gain. I am a poor man. What would you charge?"

"Nothing," I said.

"But you are of the Merchants," he said.

"Today is a holiday," I said.

"May the Priest-Kings look with favor on the cheating and chicanery of your caste," he said.

"Thank you," I said.
Avengers of Gor     Book 36     Pages 383 - 384

"I am a merchant," said Seremides. "I own wagons, and am in Brundisium to rent them as I can. I, and my colleagues, have inquired assiduously, hoping to take fee for the use of my wagons."

"Why should you think that wagons might now be wanted in Brundisium?" asked he who had introduced himself as Kleomenes of Brundisium.

"For the fields about, for speculators, for the sul harvest," said Seremides.

"It is somewhat late for that," said Kleomenes.

"Why are you speaking to us?" I asked.

"You are not merchants renting wagons, but individuals seeking to learn of the gathering of wagons, wagons being gathered for some overland journey, perhaps for some long journey," he said.
Warriors of Gor     Book 37     Page 86

"Suppose," I said, "two or three ships from the Farther Islands, having been protected on the open sea, broke off from the fleet before its landing south of Brundisium."

"And," said Xenon, swiftly, "disguised as simple merchant ships, made landfall near Samnium."

"They would wait," I said, "for several days, engaging in mercantile activities, thus cloaking their true purpose, while making arrangements and reconnoitering."
Warriors of Gor     Book 37     Page 117

At this point two tarnkeepers in short-sleeved leather jackets, who had ascended the nearby stairs, passed us, and then, having went to the stairs leading to the next level, began to climb them, and were soon out of sight. One had muttered something about merchants.
Warriors of Gor     Book 37     Page 130

"I see your tunics are yellow and white," had said the keep scribe one morning some days ago, looking toward us, away from his standing desk, in the small, first-floor office.

"We are interested in times, schedules, and rates," had said Seremides.
Warriors of Gor     Book 37     Page 131

"The shippers are merchants," he said. "If all goes well, they cheat the Peasantry, load fine, cheaply bought produce aboard, and sell it on the continent."

"Did all go well?" I asked.

"Less so than in the past," he said. "The Peasantry have acquired the great bow."

"On the continent," I said, "the Peasantry has had the great bow for a thousand years."

"They had not had to deal with Cos," he said.
Warriors of Gor     Book 37     Page 151

"Merchants buy and sell," said the Tarnkeeper. "Initiates eschew beans and charge for prayers and spells. Scribes ink scrolls, Builders build, Physicians heal, Bakers bake, Metal Workers work metal, Leather Workers work leather, Players battle on the kaissa board, Warriors, in the kaissa of steel, battle on the field and in the sky.
Warriors of Gor     Book 37     Page 170

"I have been accused of being part Merchant," he said. "I acknowledge freely that I am a scoundrel."
Warriors of Gor     Book 37     Page 275

"I see you are now armed," said the large fellow, now in the Merchant's yellow and white, stepping forth from a doorway. Clearly there was a sword beneath his robes.
Warriors of Gor     Book 37     Page 277

"Still, light will come too soon!" she said. "We need every Ihn. Leave the slave. Forget her. Slaves are cheap, and meaningless. Buy another, if you wish. We must seek a hiding place, find me regalia, preferably that of a rich merchant woman, a splendid disguise, and await our chance to slip from the city."
Warriors of Gor     Book 37     Page 388

"I must be removed safely from Ar," said Talena, "as soon as is practical. Many in Ar, particularly in the lower castes, do not understand me, and do not approve of me, and might wish to do me injury. But, first, I must be well housed and well disguised. The raiment and veils of a woman of the high Merchants will do nicely."

"But many," said Aetius, "do not recognize the Merchants as a high caste."

"Exactly," said Talena. "Thus, all the better, as a disguise. Who would expect that Talena of Ar might conceal herself in the robes of a low caste?"
Warriors of Gor     Book 37     Page 395

"The picture you paint," said Seremides, "is dismal, indeed. You have chosen your colors well to impress upon us possible dangers. Let us tremble. Yet you might, in all fairness, recognize that this road, by all accounts, is familiar and well traveled. Peddlers, minor merchants, Peasants, and others make use of it on a near-daily basis."
Warriors of Gor     Book 37     Page 437

"I think no more so than other travelers," I said. "Presumably we are what we appear to be, Merchants or Peasants, with two wagons, two draft tharlarion, a single slave, and so on.
Warriors of Gor     Book 37     Page 441

"Those of Brundisium, it being a great merchant port," I said, "are noted for thrift."
Warriors of Gor     Book 37     Page 581


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