1,908 Pages

Type City-state/Country
Location Far south, near the Ithocot Sea and the Kurchal River
Climate Hot, dry
Bodies of water Kurchal River
Marine Life
Location Information
Established c. 30 KF (1,000 years before events in books)
Official Language Tharian
Religious Head Aethra Papufos
Residents The Tharians
Religion Monotheistic
Patron God All-Seeing
Law Enforcement The Arurimati
Major Events Serial killings of 1039
Blood plague (1,000 years ago)
Port Cities
Major Cities
Major Roads
Notable Buildings Heskalifos
Government Democracy
Head of State The Assembly
Councils The Keepers (can veto Assembly)
Allies Aliput
Main Industry
Trade Partners
Bibliographical information
Circle Universe place
First Mentioned '
First Appeared '
Latest Appearance '
Last Appeared '
Only Appearance Shatterglass
Last Mentioned The Will of the Empress
Only Mentioned '

Tharios (pronounced THAHR-ee-ahss, soft "th") is a city-state in the Circle Universe. Unlike Chammur, it is its own country.



Tharios is located near the Ithocot Sea and the Kurchal River. About two thousand miles across the sea, there is Aliput.


Being so far south, Tharios has a very hot and dry climate.



The city of Tharios is governed democratically, unlike most if not all of the other countries mentioned or visited in the Circle Universe. Tharios has a very strict caste system, which is headed by the First Class, who are considered to be the most wealthy and pure Tharians. In truth, it is actually more of a plutocratic democracy, due to the caste system and because some Tharians do not have any rights, such is the case with the prathmuni.

A member of each of the First Class families sits in the Assembly, which is the core of the Tharian government. Members of other classes, except the prathmuni and the Tharian yaskedasi, also sit on the Assembly, but they have less power and sway than those of the First Class. The entire Assembly numbers around 300 people. There is another council whose members are known as The Keepers. They are elected into their positions from the Assembly and serve a three-year term. They seem to have veto power over the Assembly and the power to close down districts such as Khapik. Both the Assembly and the Keepers decide everything to do with the city. Priests of the All-Seeing also wield considerable power in the city, especially the high priestess Aethra Papufos.

Women are considered to be the equals of men.


All citizens of Tharios are required to do the bidding of a member of the First Class[1]. If a person is not a citizen and is only a resident, like Kethlun Warder, they do not have to defer to the bidding of a member of the First Class.

The class known as the prathmuni are considered to be untouchable and the most undesirable. It is forbidden by the priests to speak with them without cleansing. Furthermore, all death scenes must be cleansed by a priest with no exceptions.

Law enforcement

Tharios is protected by law enforcement, and it is called the arurim. Arurim are located throughout the city in different districts but there are some districts that are of more importance than others. There are several religious practices and laws that impede investigations, as Tharios is an extremely religious city. The cleansing of crime scenes, namely if there is a murder, makes it nearly impossible to track a killer. The cleansing is not only physical, but magical, so seers like Niklaren Goldeye cannot see what occurred using magic.

Another thing that impedes investigation is the idea of okozou, which applies to the lower castes of Tharios like prathmuni and yaskedasi. Okozou means "crime against people who don't matter". The only reason why the city was interested in finding The Ghost and stopping the serial killings was because the bodies were displayed in public and very upper class areas. If the bodies were just left in the slums, the city would be less interested in finding The Ghost.



Like many of their neighbors, Tharians are polytheistic. However, they believe one god still takes precedence over the rest, the All-Seeing, and is considered to be omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. Tharians believe that death destroys everything it touches, which is why one must be cleansed after being near a corpse, or handling a corpse. This applies to all Tharians and foreigners except the prathmuni, who are considered too dirty to even look at. The priests of the All-Seeing are often mages, who cleanse the area with magic as well as with less-magical methods. This makes it hard for law enforcers and detectives like Demakos Nomasdina to capture murderers.

The high priestess Aethra Papufos is considered to be the voice of the All-Seeing on earth. She also does not usually appear in public[2].



The Tharians seem to have two main languages. One being the language called Imperial, which is the tongue that most countries around the Pebbled Sea use, such as Emelan. This is probably because the Kurchal Empire extended all the way down to Tharios. They have another language that is more native, the words given below are in that language.

Some vocabulary

  • arurim—law enforcer or keeper, detective (pl[3]. arurimi)
  • arurimat—police station (pl. arurimati)
  • giladha—one of the visible/desirable people, unlike prathmuni
  • dhasku—word for a woman or girl who is a mage (pl. dhaski)
  • dhaskoi—word for a man or boy who is a mage (pl. dhaski[4]
  • kakosoi—criminal, killer, it may be a derogatory term (exact translation unknown, going off of context clues)[5]
  • koris—Master, sir
  • koria—Mistress, madam
  • okozou—crime against people who don't matter in the eyes of Tharios, like prathmuni and yaskedasi
  • shenos—foreigner (pl. shenosi)
  • skodi—market
  • prathmun—one of the invisible/untouchable people who handle the dead (pl. prathmuni)
  • yaskedasu (feminine noun)—low-class entertainer (pl. yaskedasi); yaskedasoi (masculine noun)[6] (pl. yaskedasi)

Linguistic analysis

Nouns go back and forth between being gendered and being neutral, such as the case with dhaskoi/dhasku vs. shenos/prathmun, the latter of which seem not to have a distinction between masculine and feminine, as Trisana Chandler was referred to as a shenos, as was Niklaren Goldeye. Since yaskedasu ends with the feminine u, it can be assumed that the masculine version is yaskedasoi, seen in the first page of Chapter 14 of Shatterglass. There is also no distinction with prathmun, but this might have something to do with dehumanization, as the prathmuni are considered to be worthless. The same can be said for shenos, as foreigners are looked down on by Tharians, who consider their culture to be the purest. Tharian does not seem to gender non-human nouns, like "market (skodi)" or "police station" (arurimat).

Pluralization seems to be standardized with the suffix i tacked on to the end of the word, replacing the gendered suffix if necessary—e.g. dhaskoi/dhaski—or adding to the neutral word—e.g. arurim/arurimi. The pluralization is the same if it is a gendered noun—e.g. yaskedasu/yaskedasi, yaskedasoi/yaskedasi.


Tharians build largely with marble. Their important buildings are usually quite gargantuan and ornate, namely Heskalifos and Phakomathen.

Jumshida Dawnspeaker's mansion near Heskalifos is large, spacious, and airy to deal with the heat in the city.


Both women and men dress in a similar manner. Women wear a garment called a kyten which is loose and long enough that it reaches their ankles. Depending on the wealth and the class of the woman, the fabric of the kyten can range from quite expensive to quite cheap. Men wear a similar garment that only reaches their knees. The calf-high sandals they wear are made of leather. A popular hairstyle for women are tumbling curls pinned up in a cascading array, with a tilt to show of the slenderness of the neck.

Prathmuni are forced to wear dirty knee-length clothing and straw sandals, their hair is shorn in a similar cropped manner. They must wear these clothes and that hairstyle to be recognized by anyone, and it is a law in Tharios.

Caste system

The Tharian caste system is very strict, with the First Class being at the top and considered to be most desirable, and prathmun at the bottom. The prathmuni are treated like slaves.

The prathmuni were also forced to live outside the city walls where the sewage is dumped. Trisana Chandler was furious to discover this, as she knew the mages at Heskalifos knew about the illnesses borne in human waste. After the prathmuni disappeared from the city to avoid the mobs, it is revealed that they were in the process of negotiating with the Tharian government for better living conditions and even compensation. Hopefully, their living situation was ameliorated after that.


Tharios has many districts, one of which is the pleasure district known as Khapik. The district is where the yaskedasi perform their talents. Yaskedasi can be singers, dancers, acrobats, and other types of performers. Yaskedasi do not have to be Tharian. It is considered more of an occupation than a class. Being a yaskedasu is still considered shameful and immoral in many circles. Dedicate Lark of Winding Circle was a yaskedasu when she lived in Tharios while she was still an acrobat.

About the city


There are several districts, which are usually numbered. Heskalifos and Khapik are two districts which have names.

On the outside of the wall around the city to the northeast lies the Prathmun slum. It is very near the Kurchal River. The slum lies very near to where the sewage is dumped.

General layout

There is one main entrance to the city and it is known as the Piraki Gate, which leads onto the Piraki Road outside of the city. The road also runs on the inside of the city straight from the Piraki Gate to Assembly Square. The Piraki Gate is closest to the Khapik pleasure district and Noskemiou. The wealthier part of the city is on the western side, but there are upscale residences and shops along the Piraki Road. The Hodenekes Slum is located on the other side of Khapik, in the southeastern part of the city.


Tharios has stood for a thousand years. Jumshida Dawnspeaker shed some light on Tharios's conception after the fall of the Kurchal Empire. The Empire, which extended well over the Ithocot Sea, around the Pebbled Sea, and a bit up north. One of the reasons why the Kurchal Empire fell was due to a blood plague which killed thousands of people. Dawnspeaker cited that the blood plague killed so many because of the death that the Kurchal Empire wrought, having gladiators and killing enemies. The city formed to keep themselves safe from the plague and to worship the All-Seeing.


In 1039 KF, a serial killer called The Ghost was terrorizing the city. The Ghost killed only yaskedasi. He was caught and apprehended by Demakos Nomasdina, Trisana Chandler, Niklaren Goldeye, and Kethlun Warder. Demakos Nomasdina received all credit for his capture—the others did not mind at all. He received awards, commendations, and an offer for a better working environment in a nicer part of the city. He declined the latter offer[7].

The same year was also a mark of great change for the city. After The Ghost was revealed to be prathmun, Tris knew that mobs would murder the prathmuni, children and adults alike. She warned as many as she could. Most of the city's prathmuni, except for 29, escaped, and started negotiating better living conditions and compensation with the Tharian government[7]. Although the book ends before the negotiations are finalized, Tharios has really no choice but to give in to their demands, as they do need people to clean up the dead and waste.

Known residents

This is a list of all named residents of Tharios, and includes characters who are not Tharian, but just live there. This list is also not exhaustive.

Upper class

Mages & Artisans

Working class

Lower class



Real world connections

Tharios is likely based on the Grecian city-state of Athens, due to their democracy and belief in absolute fate. The Greeks believed that humans' destinies were almost entirely controlled by their gods, especially the Moirai — the Fates.

The caste system is based on the feudal hierarchy of Japan, with the Yaskedasi being based on the Geisha, and the Prathmun on the Burakumin. The belief in spiritual purity and that association with death taints people mirrors the Shinto religion.


Notes and references

  1. Shatterglass, C. 3 (p. 83; Scholastic paperback)
  2. Shatterglass, C.12 (pg.298; Scholastic paperback)
  3. Stands for plural
  4. Shares the same plural form with feminine noun
  5. Shatterglass (pg. 288; Scholastic paperback)
  6. Shatterglass, Chapter 14
  7. 7.0 7.1 Final chapters of Shatterglass

See also

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.