This article is about the Ghiscari people and culture. For the language see Old Ghiscari.
"Lamenting their lost empire, the descendants of Old Ghis grew rich and fat."
―Ser Jorah Mormont[src]

The Ghiscari are a people and culture established in the region of Slaver's Bay on the continent of Essos. Modern Ghiscari culture is centered on the three great slaver-cities of the Bay- Astapor, Yunkai, and Meereen- as well as the region known as "Ghiscar" further south. This region is ruled from the city New Ghis, which is located on an off-shore island.

The modern Ghiscari claim descent from the ancient Ghiscari Empire, one of the earliest civilizations in the known world. However, the Empire's defeat and subjugation by the Valyrian Freehold nearly five thousand years ago make this claim tenuous at best. Culturally, ethnically, and even linguistically, the modern Ghiscari are very much descendants of the Valyrian slave populations who simply embrace the few elements of the old Empire that have survived the millennia.

The modern Ghiscari no longer speak the language of their forebears but a dialect of High Valyrian, which includes a few words of the dead Ghiscari tongue.

The aristocracies of the Ghiscari cities- the Good, Wise, and Great Masters- wear the tokar, a traditional Ghiscari garment worn only by the powerful and rich.

Prominent Ghiscari

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the modern Ghiscari are a mongrel people, a mixture of the original Ghiscari with the many races enslaved by the Valyrian Freehold. While they cling to the glorious past of the Ghiscari Empire, their culture, language and religion have been largely replaced by that of their Valyrian conquerors.

Modern Ghiscari have dense, dark amber skin, and wiry hair dyed with red highlights. Ghiscari men of the Slaver Cities are known to wear their hair teased, oiled, and twisted into fantastic shapes such as wings or horns. They also wear cloaks of yellow with copper disks sewn on. Their tunics are embroidered linen. Below the waist they wear pleated linen skirts and sandals. The richest classes, who are primarily made up of slavers, wear the tokar, an intentionally impractical outfit that forces the wearer to hold it with a hand - a symbol of status, indicating that the wearer does not perform any kind of labor. Ghiscari are also fond of rich foods, such as dog, octopus stew, and duck eggs; it is said that the only meat a Ghiscari will not consume is that of man or dragon.

Just as their Valyrian rivals are often associated with dragons, Ghiscari associate themselves with the symbol of the defunct Ghiscari Empire: the harpy.

See also

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