On Gor, a Free Man and a Free Woman (or the family of either) may, for
any number of reasons, decide to legally bind their lives together. This is
the institution of Free Companionship.
Gorean Free Companionship is entered into with the signing of a contract and drinking of the Wine of Free Companionship. All negotiable matters are outlined in this contract. It is binding for one year at which time either party can decide to renew it or simply go their own way.
There are many reasons for a couple to enter into such a contract. For some, it is simply for politcal power. Parents can negotiate such contracts for their children, essentially arranging the companionship for political reasons, including uniting two cities to increase political power. In some of these cases, the two contracted people do not meet until the actual ceremony.
There is also evidence that men and woman entered into free companionship for no more reason then because they were in love.
The Free Women, by entering into a companionship contract, can then move upward in the Caste System, if her companions Caste is higher than hers. She does not, however, have to lower her Caste. However, most contracts occur between members of the same Caste. Men, however, do not move up in Caste thru the free companionship. They will, however, benefit from the power and connections the free woman might have because of her caste association.
Children born during the companionship, claim the father's caste, by birthright. This does not mean that they will be allowed to practice the craft of that caste.
The one sure thing that can dissolve a Free Companionship contract immediately, without delay, is the enslavement of one or the other. No slave can stand in free companionship. Some men have been known to free their favorite slave in order to enter into companionship with them.
"There is no marriage, as we know it, on Gor, but there is the institution of the Free Companionship, which is its nearest correspondent. Surprisingly enough, a woman who is bought from her parents, for tarns or gold, is regarded as a Free Companion, even though she may not have been consulted in the transaction. More commendably, a free woman may herself, of her own free will, agree to be such a companion. And it is not unusual for a master to free one of his slave girls in order that she may share the full privileges of a Free Companionship. One may have, at a given time, an indefinite number of slaves, but only one Free Companion. Such relationships are not entered into lightly, and they are normally sundered only by death. Occasionally the Gorean, like his brothers in our world, perhaps even more frequently, learns the meaning of love." --Outlaw of Gor, page 39
"Port Kar does not recognize the Free Companionship, but there are free women in the city, who are known simply as the women of their men." --Raiders of Gor, page 301
"Companionship with such a person, for anyone of position or power, was unthinkable. It would result in the equivalent of ostracism. With her as companion one could be only rich. Companionship with such a person, an ex-slave, one without caste, one without family and position, would be, politically and socially, a gross and incomparable mistake." --Hunters of Gor, page 195
"Lurius of Jad, Ubar of the island of Cos, was said, by a
long-dissolved companionship, to have a daughter. Phanius Turmus, of Turia,
was said to have two daughters. They had once been enslaved by Tuchuks, but
they were now free. They had been returned, though still wearing the chains
of slaves, as a gesture of good will, by Kamchak, Ubar San of the Wagon
Peoples. Turia was called the Ar of the south.
Cos and Port Kar, of course, are enemies, but, if the Companion Price offered to Lurius were sufficient, I would not expect him to hesitate in giving me the girl. The alliance, of course, would be understood, on all sides, as not altering the political conditions obtaining between the cities. It was up to Lurius to dispose of his daughter as he saw fit. She might not desire to come to Port Kar, but the feelings of the girl are not considered in such matters. Some high-born women are less free than the most abject of slave girls." --Hunters of Gor, page 195
"Beauty in a companion, of course, is not particularly important. Family and power are." --Hunters of Gor, page 196
"The pledged companions, the Lady Sabina of Fortress of Saphronicus and Thandar of Ti, of the Four Cities of Saleria, of the Salerian Confederation, had, as yet, according to Eta, never laid eyes on one another, the matter of their match having been arranged between their respective fathers, as is not uncommon in Gorean custom. The match had been initiated at the behest of Kleomenes, who was interested in negotiating a commercial and political alliance with the Salerian Confederation." --Slave Girl of Gor, page 119
"Normally mating takes place among caste members, but if the mating is of mixed caste, the woman may elect to retain caste, which is commonly done, or be received into the caste of the male companion." --Slave Girl of Gor, pages 241-242
"A Gorean free woman does not change her name in the ceremony of the Free Companionship. She remains who she was. In such a ceremony two free individuals have elected to become companions. The Earth woman, as a consequence of certain mating ceremonials, may change her last name. The first and other names, however, tend to remain constant. From the Gorean point of view the wife of Earth occupies a status which is higher than that of the slave but lower than that of the Free Companion." ==Explorers of Gor, page 413
"'When,' I asked, 'High Lady, will you drink the wine of the Free
Companionship with Lurius, noble Ubar of Cos?'
'I shall return first to Tyros,' she said, 'where I shall be made ready. Then, with treasure ships, we shall return in festive voyage to the harbor of Telnus, where I shall take the arm of Lurius and with him drink the cup of the Free Companionship.'" --Raiders of Gor, page 184
"'The companionship is gone,' said Telima. 'More than a year has
passed,' she pointed out, 'and you have not, together, repledged it.'
'That is true,' I admitted. By Gorean law the companionship, to be binding, must, together, be annually renewed, pledged afresh with the wines of love.
'And,' said Telima, 'both of you were once enslaved, and that, in itself, dissolves the companionship. Slaves cannot stand in companionship.'" --Captive of Gor, page 393
"'It is long since you have been the Free Companion of Talena,
daughter of Marlenus,' said Samos. 'The Companionship, not renewed annually,
is at an end. And you were once enslaved.'
I looked at the board, angrily. It was true that the Companionship, not renewed, had been dissolved in the eyes of Gorean law. It was further true that, had it not been so, the Companionship would have been terminated abruptly when one or the other of the pledged companions fell slave." --Hunters of Gor, page 4
"Some Goreans think of the Free Companionship as being a form of contract slavery..." --Blood Brothers of Gor, page 284
"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, page 122
"We would repledge our companionship. And who knew to what heights I might raise the chair of Bosk? Indeed, with Talena at my side, the daughter of the great Ubar of Ar, my fortunes, in many matters, might be much improved. The companionship would be an advantageous one. She, in virtue of her influences and associations, could bring me much. Who knew to what heights, in time, might be raised the chair of Bosk? Perhaps, in time, it might stand as high, or higher, than the throne of Ar? And might there not come to be, in time, an alliance of Gor's greatest sea power and her greatest land power, and, perhaps, in time, but one throne?" --Hunters of Gor, pages 90-91
"At that point, in Gorean law, the companionship had been dissolved. The companionship had not been renewed by the twentieth hour, the Gorean Midnight, of its anniversary." --Marauders of Gor, page 12
NOTICE: There are many versions of the Gorean Saga books in many languages. Because of this, page numbers are not always the same from version to version. All quotes on this website are from the English, print version published by E-Reads commemorating the 40th anniversary of the first book, Tarnsman of Gor.