5/2 Time and Measurement Class Handouts

Distance Measurements

The Hort is approximately an inch and a quarter in length (31.75mm).
The smallest actual measurement described is a tenth of a hort which would equal an eighth of an inch (3.175mm).

The Hand is used as a measure of height in several places but no actual comparison in inches is given. On Earth, horses are measured in hands. One hand equals 4 inches (101.6mm).

The Gorean Foot or Merchant Foot is ten horts or roughly twelve and a half inches (317.5mm).

Cloth is measured in the Ah-il, which is the length from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger. But again, no actual comparison in inches is given.

The Ah-ral is ten ah-ils.

A Pace is close to the English yard (91.44cm or 0.9144m).

A Spear Length is used a few times and based on other references this would be six to seven feet (1.82 – 2.13m).

A Lance Length is also used once. Based on the context, this is likely the kaiila lance but no actual length is given.

A Kaiila Length is yet another distance measurement used without any comparison in feet or yards.

A Pasang is approximately .7 of a mile (1.12km).

A League is mentioned only one time as a measure of distance. But once more, no comparison is given. Therefore we don’t know if this is an Earth league, which is 3 miles (4.82km), or maybe a Gorean league which, if related to the pasang, might be 2.1 miles (3.37km).
Tape measures, marked in horts, are used to measure slaves.

Liquid Volume Measurements

The Gill, as a measure of liquid volume is used only once. But in another reference, “The leech plant can draw a considerable amount of blood in a short time”. Perhaps this means a gill is a “considerable amount”. In any event, no Earth comparison is stated.

A Talu is approximately two gallons (7.57 liters).

Dry Volume Measurements

A Tef is a handful with the five fingers closed, not open.

A Tefa is six such handfuls, which is a tiny basket.

A Huda is five of these tiny baskets.

Weight Measurements

The Stone is about four Earth pounds (1.81kg).

A Weight is ten stone.

Compass Direction Measurements

All directions on the planet are calculated from the Sardar Mountains.
The Gorean compass is divided into eight main divisions, and each of these are also subdivided.
There is also a system of latitude and longitude figured on the basis of Ahn, Ehn and Ihn.

Ta-Sardar-Var ~ North ~ Appears on all Gorean maps
Ror
Rim ~ East
Tun
Vask or Verus Var ~ South
Cart
Klim ~ West
Kail

In the formation of most cursive letters, incidentally, there are few, if any, differences among the various cities. The differences tend to have more to do with the “cast” of the hand, so to speak, its general appearance, a function of a number of things, such as size, spacing of letters, linkages among them, length of loops, nature of end strokes, and such. Also, certain letters, at least for commercial or legal, if not personal, purposes, tended to be standardized. An excellent example are those standing for various weights and measures.
Magicians of Gor Book 25 Page 347

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The Gorean day is divided into twenty Ahn, which are numbered consecutively. The tenth Ahn is noon, the twentieth, midnight. Each Ahn consists of forty Ehn, or minutes, and each Ehn of eighty Ihn, or seconds.
Outlaw of Gor Book 2 Page 26

The Gorean day consists of twenty Ahn; the Gorean Ahn, or hour, of forty Ehn, or minutes; the Ehn consists of eighty Ihn, or seconds. An Ihn is slightly less than an Earth second.
Tribesmen of Gor Book 10 Page 352

Ihn = A Gorean ‘second’
Ehn = A Gorean ‘minute’
Ahn = A Gorean ‘hour’
Tenth Ahn = The Gorean noon
Twentieth Ahn = The Gorean midnight

80 Ihn = 1 Ehn
40 Ehn = 1 Ahn
20 Ahn = A Gorean day

1 Ihn = 1.35 seconds
1 Ehn = 1 minute, 48 seconds or 108 seconds
1 Ahn = 1 hour, 12 minutes or 72 minutes
Based on what we know, we can also covert, or compare, a Gorean day to an Earth day.
12:00 AM – 1:12 AM = 1st Ahn
1:12 AM – 2:24 AM = 2nd Ahn
2:24 AM – 3:36 AM = 3rd Ahn
3:36 AM – 4:48 AM = 4th Ahn
4:48 AM – 6:00 AM = 5th Ahn
6:00 AM – 7:12 AM = 6th Ahn
7:12 AM – 8:24 AM = 7th Ahn
8:24 AM – 9:36 AM = 8th Ahn
9:36 AM – 10:48 AM = 9th Ahn
10:48 AM – 12:00 PM = 10th Ahn – Noon
12:00 PM – 1:12 PM = 11th Ahn
1:12 PM – 2:24 PM = 12th Ahn
2:24 PM – 3:36 PM = 13th Ahn
3:36 PM – 4:48 PM = 14th Ahn
4:48 PM – 6:00 PM = 15th Ahn
6:00 PM – 7:12 PM = 16th Ahn
7:12 PM – 8:24 PM = 17th Ahn
8:24 PM – 9:36 PM = 18th Ahn
9:36 PM – 10:48 PM = 19th Ahn
10:48 PM – 12:00 AM = 20th Ahn – Midnight
The passage of time is counted in a variety of ways on Gor. And this narrative is not meant to be all inclusive of every single time keeping device on Gor but I have covered here quite a bit of verified information.
There are precision chronometers on Gor. [1] Chronometers are contained in most compasses [2] but these are rare and valuable. [3] Chronometers can also be found in other items such as chests. [4] One type is referred to as a sun chronometer. [5]

Official clocks are adjusted according to the Caste of Scribes based on various astronomical measurements having to do with the movements of the sun and stars. [6]

Incidentally, the hands of a Gorean clock move in the opposite direction from what we’re used to. [7]

Some cites use time bars which are rung to signal each hour. [8] And even individual houses had time bars. [9]

In some port cites, shields, on high poles, are hoisted or lowered according to the time of day. At the tenth hour, the Gorean noon, a white-smoke fire is lit. At the twentieth hour, the Gorean midnight, a beacon is lit. These things serve to synchronize chronometers in the port, and serve to regulate schedules and the utilization of the tide tables. [10]

In the arctic, due to the proportionately longer day or night, days are counted as ‘sleeps’. [11]

Tournament games are regulated with sand clocks. These clocks are arranged in such a way that each has a tiny spigot which may be opened and closed, this determining whether sand falls or not. These spigots are linked in such a way that when one is open the other must be closed; the spigot turned by a given player closes his own clock’s sand passage and opens that of his opponent; when the clocks must both be stopped, as for an adjournment of play, they are placed on their side by the chief judge in the match. [12]

Other types of sand glasses are used to measure different lengths of time. [13]

One reference mentions time being kept with sand and water. [14]

A water clock or clepsydra, a device in which time is measured by the regulated flow of liquid, were also used by some. [15]

Some other ways to tell time are marked, or ringed candles, sundials and oil clocks. [16] And, in one instance, a month clock is mentioned. [17]
But no, not even on Gor can you escape the alarm clock, there is such a thing that will turn off your warm blankets at a preset time. [18]

Those of the Tahari are taught from childhood to tell time by the speed of a kaiila, by the circle and the stick and by the sun. [19]

Even though the Red Savages are not usually concerned with the precise time of day, [20] at times they too use a stick and circles to tell time. [21]

Some contests of skill are timed by the heartbeat of a standing kaiila. [22]

And even the heartbeat of a slave has been used to count time. [23]

Interestingly it seems some cites have what amounts to a version of Daylight Savings Time. [24]

And, just for comparison, the Kur day is divided into 12 hours, as opposed to the Gorean 20 hours.[25]
Supporting References

[1] There are precision chronometers on Gor, incidentally, and a more mechanical method of time control is technically feasible. The sand clocks, on the other hand, tend to be a matter of tournament tradition.
Beasts of Gor Book 12 Page 85
[2] Like most Gor compasses, mine contained a chronometer, and I took the compass, turned it over, and pressed the tab that would snap open the back and reveal the dial.
Tarnsman of Gor Book 1 Page 78

I poked through the other contents of the saddle pack, delighted to find my old maps and that device that serves Goreans as both compass and chronometer.
Tarnsman of Gor Book 1 Page 144
[3] Chronometers exist on Gor, but they are rare and valuable.
Magicians of Gor Book 25 Page 358
[4] Although it was late, according to the chamber chronometer, fixed in the lid of one of the chests, I prepared to leave the room.
Priest-Kings of Gor Book 3 Page 48
[5] Similarly walking sticks and staffs often have one or more such compartments in them; reached by unscrewing various sections of the stick or staff. Needless to say, some of these, too, contain, daggers or thrusting swords. Such concealed compartments and weapons, and sometimes even builders’ glasses, sun chronometers, and compasses, and such, are found in such objects.
Mercenaries of Gor Book 21 Pages 211 – 212
[6] In many cities, of course, including Ar, time tends to be kept publicly. Official clocks are adjusted, of course, according to the announcements of scribes, in virtue of various astronomical measurements, having to do with the movements of the sun and stars. The calendar, and adjustments in it, are also the results of their researches, promulgated by civil authorities.
Magicians of Gor Book 25 Page 358
[7] Gorean clock hands move in the opposite direction
Nomads of Gor Book 4 Page 3

I thought of time in terms of the bars, and not chronometers. I was not all that familiar with Gorean chronometers, and his casual lesson in the domicile had been brief. I tried to remember it. Most dangerously the chronometers with which I was familiar on my former world not only divided the day differently, but marked the divisions in a different order. On my former world the hands of chronometers begin to rotate to the right, whereas in your chronometers they begin to rotate to the left. Your concept of “clockwise” is thus opposite to that with which I was familiar. When I thought of Gorean time, as it might be measured by a chronometer, I always thought of it analogously to the chronometers of my former world; thus, in my mind I would think of the Fifth Ahn as to the right of the Twentieth Ahn, rather than, as you would think of it, as to the left of the Twentieth Ahn.
Conspirators of Gor Book 31 Page 570
[8] Indeed, I had heard the striking of the time bar, mounted on the roof of the Administrator’s store, as I had approached the town’s outskirts.
Savages of Gor Book 17 Page 93

At certain Ahn I was expected to be in the public rooms of the palace and, at others, even at the ringing of palace time bars, for no reason I clearly understood, I was expected to be in my quarters.
Kajira of Gor Book 19 Page 78

I heard the ringing of the time bar from the arsenal. It was the Twentieth Ahn, the Gorean midnight.
Players of Gor Book 20 Page 38

I heard two of the time bars, far off, across the city, beginning to sound.
. . .
I counted the sounding of the bars, stroke by stroke.
. . .
I heard the tenth bar sound.
It was the tenth Ahn.
Witness of Gor Book 26 Page 513

“No,” she said. “They meet at appropriate times and places, according to schedules, beginning when clocks strike or bells ring, and ending when they strike or ring again.”
Mariners of Gor Book 30 Page 569

At that point the trading bar began to ring.
“It is the twentieth Ahn,” I said.
Mariners of Gor Book 30 Page 549
[9] I normally told Gorean time by the ringing of the bars, often public bars, but sometimes bars within a house. Grendel, however, in the domicile, had taught me to read time from the small chronometer he kept in his pouch.
Conspirators of Gor Book 31 Page 569
[10] The large, yellow shield on the high pole in the harbor had already been hoisted and fallen, and, near it, the fire of white smoke had been lit. When the shield reaches the top of the pole in the harbor and is permitted to fall it is the tenth hour, the Gorean noon. At the same time the white-smoke fire is lit. At the twentieth hour, the Gorean midnight, a beacon is lit. These things serve to synchronize chronometers in the port, and serve to regulate schedules and the utilization of the tide tables.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Pages 343 – 344
[11] Two weeks ago, some ten to fifteen sleeps ago,
Beasts of Gor Book 12 Page 265

Some three weeks ago, more than twenty sleeps past,
Beasts of Gor Book 12 Page 289
[12] A fellow with him carried the sand clocks. These clocks are arranged in such a way that each has a tiny spigot which may be opened and closed, this determining whether sand falls or not. These spigots are linked in such a way that when one is open the other must be closed; the spigot turned by a given player closes his own clock’s sand passage and opens that of his opponent; when the clocks must both be stopped, as for an adjournment of play, they are placed on their side by the chief judge in the match, in this case Reginald of Ti.
Beasts of Gor Book 12 Page 85
[13] each is dragged up the steps of the minor block, bid upon while a one-Ehn sand clock is turned, sold for the highest bid that comes forth in one Ehn,
Assassin of Gor Book 5 Page 112

One of the inn boys, sitting in an apron, on a bench near the large, cylindrical sand clock, glanced at it. “Past the nineteenth hour,” he said. He yawned. He would stay up until the twentieth hour, the Gorean midnight, at which time he would turn the clock, and retire.
Tribesmen of Gor Book 10 Page 180

in the falling sand in the Ahn glass,
Blood Brothers of Gor Book 18 Page 387

‘What time is it?’ he asked. A fellow, glancing at the sand glass, said, ‘A bit past the nineteenth Ahn.’
Mariners of Gor Book 30 Page 73
[14] Time kept with sand and water.
Conspirators of Gor Book 31 Page 8
[15] “It is now the fourteenth Ahn,” he said, casting a meaningful glance at the water clock on the counter to his right.
Fighting Slave of Gor Book 14 Page 212

in the tiny stream of water in the clepsydra,
Blood Brothers of Gor Book 18 Page 387

The average Gorean has a variety of simple devices at his disposal for making the passage of time. Typical among them are marked, or calibrated, candles, sundials, sand glasses, clepsydras and oil clocks.
Magicians of Gor Book 25 Page 358

“It is near the tenth Ahn,” said a man, inspecting the level of the water in the clepsydra. In the depths one cannot tell day from night, except by the clocks.
Witness of Gor Book 26 Page 577

Clepsydras are of two sorts, the inflow and outflow varieties. The inflow devices add water to a container and the level in the container measures a unit of time; the outflow devices drain water, the time measured then by the level of water remaining in the vessel. The device in the quarters of the pit master was an outflow device. Its accuracy is controlled by two major factors, its shape and the size of the aperture though which the water drains. It tapers toward the bottom to keep the water pressure constant, that being required to regularize the speed of the flow, a larger amount of water over a larger area exerting a pressure equivalent in its effect to that of a lesser amount over a smaller area. The second major factor is the aperture itself. This is a drilled plug which is periodically replaced. If this were not the case the passage of the water, over time, even in stone, would enlarge the aperture, deregularizing the device.
Witness of Gor Book 26 Page 580

Some round ships do not have recourse to bars, at all, but use clepsydras, sand glasses, and such, to mark watches, and use watch keepers to alert or rouse the pertinent watch.
Mariners of Gor Book 30 Page 36
[16] the ringed candles,
Blood Brothers of Gor Book 18 Page 387

The average Gorean has a variety of simple devices at his disposal for making the passage of time. Typical among them are marked, or calibrated, candles, sundials, sand glasses, clepsydras and oil clocks.
Magicians of Gor Book 25 Page 358
[17] I reminded myself, again and again, as the month clock rotated, that Caprus was a trusted agent of Priest-Kings, that Misk himself had spoken in the highest terms of him.
Assassin of Gor Book 5 Page 185
[18] In the morning I awoke on the sleeping mat in the corner of my apartment, cold and shivering. It was shortly before dawn. I turned off the power switch on the mat and folded back its blanket sides. It was chilly to the touch now, because I had set the chronometric temperature device to turn to cold an hour before the first light. One has little inclination to remain in a freezing bed. I decided I disapproved of the Gorean devices for separating mortals from their beds as much as I loathed the alarm clocks and clock radios of my own world.
Tarnsman of Gor Book 1 Page 60
[19] “You will tell the time,” said Farouk of Kasra, “by the speed of your kaiila, by the circle and the stick, by the sun.”
Tribesmen of Gor Book 10 Page 62
[20] “The Yellow Knives were standing in the vicinity of a small, raised place, prominent among the Isanna lodges. On this small, raised place stood Watonka. On this small, raised place, too, was a stick, surrounded by two circles, a larger and a smaller. I take it that the measurement of time was being accomplished by this stick and the circles. The inner circle, I think, would have had the edge of the shadow reach it or fall within it about noon.”
“Interesting,” said Cuwignaka.
“Yes,” I said. “Why would they not simply judge noon by the position of the sun?”
“The stick is more accurate,” said Cuwignaka. “Too, the shadow may be watched intently, as the sun may not be.”
“The council is to begin at noon,” I said. “Doubtless they were interested in a more precise judgment of time than might be afforded by simple visual sightings.”
“Why?” asked Cuwignaka.
“I do not know,” I said. To be sure, this question seemed a sensible one. Red savages are not ordinarily concerned with such precise measurements of time.
Blood Brothers of Gor Book 18 Pages 204 – 205
[21] At the feet of Watonka there was a slim, upright stick. In the dirt, about the stick, were drawn two circles, a larger and a smaller. In the morning, when the sun was high enough to cast a shadow, the shadow, I surmised, would have come to a point on the outer circle. At noon the sun, it seemed, in this latitude, casting its shortest shadow, would bring the shadow to or within the smaller of the two circles. When the shadow, again, began to lengthen, the sun would be past meridian. I looked up at the sun, and down to the stick and its shadow. It was, I conjectured, less than half of an Ahn before noon.
Blood Brothers of Gor Book 18 Page 198
[22] The time in these matters is reckoned by the heartbeat of a standing kaiila.
Nomads of Gor Book 4 Page 70
[23] Moreover, she was to be his for the night, once he had counted upon her body, using her beating heart as the clock of the evening’s sport.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 157
[24] The fifth Ahn marks the midpoint of the morning, betwixt the Gorean midnight and noon, as the fifteenth Ahn marks the midpoint of the evening, between noon and midnight. There are twenty Ahn in the Gorean day, as time is figured in the high cities. These Ahn, in the high cities, are of equal length. In certain cities, interestingly, the length of the Ahn depends on the time of year. In these cities, there are ten Ahn in the day, and ten Ahn in the night, and, as the days are longer in the summer and shorter in the winter, so, too, are the Ahn. Correspondingly, of course, the Ahn are shorter in the summer night, and longer in the winter night. The day as a whole, of course, including both day Ahn and night Ahn, comes out to the same overall length as it would in one of the high cities.
Magicians of Gor Book 25 Page 432
[25] “How much time is there?” I asked.
“Three Kur Ahn,” he said. “The device is set on Kur chronometry, synchronized to the rotation of the original world.”
“The same chronometry which is used in the complex?” I asked.
“Of course,” he said.
“That is a little more than five Gorean Ahn,” I said.
“Two Ehn more,” he said.
I nodded. The Kur day was divided into twelve hours, the Gorean day into twenty.
Beasts of Gor Book 12 Page 422

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