Eunuch

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The Harem Agasi, head of the black eunuchs of the Ottoman Imperial Harem. Chevalier Auguste de Henikstein - Kislar Agassi. Grand eunuque du G. Seineur. Bakadgi Suluslu. Astahi. Cuisinier du G. Seigneur.jpg
The Harem Ağası, head of the black eunuchs of the Ottoman Imperial Harem.

The term eunuch ( /ˈjuːnək/ ; Greek : εὐνοῦχος) [1] generally refers to a man, typically from antiquity, who had been castrated [2] in order to serve a specific social function. In Latin, the words eunuchus , [3] spado (Greek: σπάδωνspadon), [4] [5] and castratus were used to denote eunuchs. [6]

Greek language language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Man male adult human

A man is a male human. The term man is usually reserved for an adult male, with the term boy being the usual term for a male child or adolescent. However, the term man is also sometimes used to identify a male human, regardless of age, as in phrases such as "men's basketball".

Castration Surgical or chemical action that removes use of testicles

Castration is any action, surgical, chemical, or otherwise, by which an individual loses use of the testicles. Surgical castration is bilateral orchiectomy, and chemical castration uses pharmaceutical drugs to deactivate the testes. Castration causes sterilization ; it also greatly reduces the production of certain hormones, such as testosterone. Surgical castration in animals is often called neutering.

Contents

The earliest records for intentional castration to produce eunuchs are from the Sumerian city of Lagash in the 21st century BC. [7] [8] Over the millennia since, they have performed a wide variety of functions in many different cultures: courtiers or equivalent domestics, treble singers, religious specialists, soldiers, royal guards, government officials, and guardians of women or harem servants.

Sumer Ancient civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia

Sumer is the earliest known civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia, modern-day southern Iraq, during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze ages, and one of the first civilizations in the world along with Ancient Egypt and the Indus Valley. Living along the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates, Sumerian farmers were able to grow an abundance of grain and other crops, the surplus of which enabled them to settle in one place. Prehistoric proto-writing dates back before 3000 BC. The earliest texts, from c. 3300 BC, come from the cities of Uruk and Jemdet Nasr; early cuneiform script emerged around 3000 BC.

Lagash ancient Mesopotamian city-state

Lagash is an ancient city located northwest of the junction of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers and east of Uruk, about 22 kilometres (14 mi) east of the modern town of Ash Shatrah, Iraq. Lagash was one of the oldest cities of the Ancient Near East. The ancient site of Nina is around 10 km (6.2 mi) away and marks the southern limit of the state. Nearby Girsu, about 25 km (16 mi) northwest of Lagash, was the religious center of the Lagash state. Lagash's main temple was the E-Ninnu, dedicated to the god Ningirsu.

Courtier person who is often in attendance at the court of a king or other royal personage

A courtier is a person who is often in attendance at the court of a monarch or other royal personage. The earliest historical examples of courtiers were part of the retinues of rulers. Historically the court was the centre of government as well as the residence of the monarch, and the social and political life were often completely mixed together.

Eunuchs would usually be servants or slaves who had been castrated in order to make them reliable servants of a royal court where physical access to the ruler could wield great influence. [9] Seemingly lowly domestic functions—such as making the ruler's bed, bathing him, cutting his hair, carrying him in his litter, or even relaying messages—could in theory give a eunuch "the ruler's ear" and impart de facto power on the formally humble but trusted servant. Similar instances are reflected in the humble origins and etymology of many high offices.

Slavery System under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work

Slavery is any system in which principles of property law are applied to people, allowing individuals to own, buy and sell other individuals, as a de jure form of property. A slave is unable to withdraw unilaterally from such an arrangement and works without remuneration. Many scholars now use the term chattel slavery to refer to this specific sense of legalised, de jure slavery. In a broader sense, however, the word slavery may also refer to any situation in which an individual is de facto forced to work against their own will. Scholars also use the more generic terms such as unfree labour or forced labour to refer to such situations. However, and especially under slavery in broader senses of the word, slaves may have some rights and protections according to laws or customs.

Litter (vehicle) human-powered wheelless vehicle for the transport of persons

The litter is a class of wheelless vehicles, a type of human-powered transport, for the transport of persons. Examples of litter vehicles include palki or पालकी (India), পালকি (Bengal), lectica, kiệu, sedan chair (Britain), litera (Spain), palanquin, jiao, liteira (Portugal), wo (Thailand), gama (Korea), koshi, ren, Norimono, and kago,, tahtırevan (Turkey) and sankayan (Philippines).

Eunuchs supposedly did not generally have loyalties to the military, the aristocracy, or to a family of their own (having neither offspring nor in-laws, at the very least), and were thus seen as more trustworthy and less interested in establishing a private 'dynasty'. Because their condition usually lowered their social status, they could also be easily replaced or killed without repercussion. In cultures that had both harems and eunuchs, eunuchs were sometimes used as harem servants (compare the female odalisque) or seraglio guards.[ citation needed ]

Harem Womens quarters in the traditional house of a Muslim family

Harem, also known as zenana in the Indian subcontinent, properly refers to domestic spaces that are reserved for the women of the house in a Muslim family. This private space has been traditionally understood as serving the purposes of maintaining the modesty, privilege, and protection of women. A harem may house a man's wife — or wives and concubines, as in royal harems of the past — their pre-pubescent male children, unmarried daughters, female domestic workers, and other unmarried female relatives. In former times some harems were guarded by eunuchs who were allowed inside. The structure of the harem and the extent of monogamy or polygamy has varied depending on the family's personalities, socio-economic status, and local customs. Similar institutions have been common in other Mediterranean and Middle Eastern civilizations, especially among royal and upper-class families, and the term is sometimes used in other contexts.

Odalisque Female slave or concubine in an Ottoman seraglio

An odalisque was a chambermaid or a female attendant in a Turkish seraglio, particularly the court ladies in the household of the Ottoman sultan.

Seraglio

A seraglio or serail is the sequestered living quarters used by wives and concubines in an Ottoman household. The term harem is a generic term for domestic spaces reserved for women in a Muslim family, which can also refer to the women themselves. The Ottoman imperial harem was known in Ottoman Turkish as Harem-i Hümâyûn.

Etymology

Eunuch comes from the Greek word eunoukhos, first attested in a fragment of Hipponax, [10] the 6th century BC comic poet and prolific inventor of compound words. [11] The acerbic poet describes a certain lover of fine food having "consumed his estate dining lavishly and at leisure every day on tuna and garlic-honey cheese paté like a Lampsacene eunoukhos". [12] In ancient classical literature from the early 5th century BC onward, the word generally designates some incapacity for or abstention from procreation, whether due to natural constitution or to physical mutilation. For instance, Lucian suggests two methods to determine whether someone is a eunuch: physical inspection of the body, or scrutiny of his ability to perform sexually with females (Lucian, Eunuchus 12).

Hipponax ancient Greek poet

Hipponax, of Ephesus and later Clazomenae, was an Ancient Greek iambic poet who composed verses depicting the vulgar side of life in Ionian society in the sixth century BC. He was celebrated by ancient authors for his malicious wit, and he was reputed to be physically deformed. Little of his work survives despite its interest to Alexandrian scholars, who collected it in two or three books. He influenced Alexandrian poets searching for alternative styles and uses of language, such as Callimachus and Herodas, and his colourful reputation as an acerbic, social critic also made him a popular subject for verse, as in this epigram by Theocritus:

Lampsacus city

Lampsacus was an ancient Greek city strategically located on the eastern side of the Hellespont in the northern Troad. An inhabitant of Lampsacus was called a Lampsacene. The name has been transmitted in the nearby modern town of Lapseki.

Lucian 2nd-century satirist and rhetorician

Lucian of Samosata was a Syrian satirist and rhetorician who is best known for his characteristic tongue-in-cheek style, with which he frequently ridiculed superstition, religious practices, and belief in the paranormal. Although his native language was probably Syriac, all of his extant works are written entirely in Ancient Greek.

The earliest surviving etymology of the word is from late antiquity. The 5th century (AD) Etymologicon by Orion of Thebes offers two alternative origins for the word eunuch: first, to tēn eunēn ekhein, "guarding the bed", a derivation inferred from eunuchs' established role at the time as "bedchamber attendants" in the imperial palace, and second, to eu tou nou ekhein, "being good with respect to the mind", which Orion explains based on their "being deprived of male-female intercourse (esterēmenou tou misgesthai), the things that the ancients used to call irrational (anoēta, literally: 'mindless')". [13] Orion's second option reflects well-established idioms in Greek, as shown by entries for noos, eunoos and ekhein in Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon, while the first option is not listed as an idiom under eunē in that standard reference work. [14] However, the first option was cited by the late 9th century Byzantine emperor Leo VI in his New Constitution 98 banning the marriage of eunuchs, in which he noted eunuchs' reputation as trustworthy guardians of the marriage bed (eunē) and claimed that the very word eunuch attested to this kind of employment. [15] The emperor also goes further than Orion by attributing eunuchs' lack of male-female intercourse specifically to castration, which he said was performed with the intention "that they will no longer do the things that males do, or at least to extinguish whatever has to do with desire for the female sex". [16] The 11th century Byzantine monk Nikon of the Black Mountain, opting instead for Orion's second alternative, stated that the word came from eunoein (eu "good" + nous "mind"), thus meaning "to be well-minded, well-inclined, well-disposed or favorable", but unlike Orion he argued that this was due to the trust that certain jealous and suspicious foreign rulers placed in the loyalty of their eunuchized servants. [17] Theophylact of Ohrid in a dialogue In Defence of Eunuchs also stated that the origin of the word was from eunoein and ekhein, "to have, hold", since they were always "well-disposed" toward the master who "held" or owned them. [18] [19] The 12th century Etymologicum Magnum (s.v. eunoukhos) essentially repeats the entry from Orion, but stands by the first option, while attributing the second option to what "some say". In the late 12th century, Eustathius of Thessalonica (Commentaries on Homer 1256.30, 1643.16) offered an original derivation of the word from eunis + okheuein, "deprived of mating".

Late antiquity period of transition from classical antiquity to the Middle Ages (Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Near East only)

Late antiquity is a periodization used by historians to describe the time of transition from classical antiquity to the Middle Ages in mainland Europe, the Mediterranean world, and the Near East. The popularization of this periodization in English has generally been accredited to historian Peter Brown, after the publication of his seminal work The World of Late Antiquity (1971). Precise boundaries for the period are a continuing matter of debate, but Brown proposes a period between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Generally, it can be thought of as from the end of the Roman Empire's Crisis of the Third Century to, in the East, the early Muslim conquests in the mid-7th century. In the West the end was earlier, with the start of the Early Middle Ages typically placed in the 6th century, or earlier on the edges of the Western Roman Empire.

Orion of Thebes was a 5th-century grammarian of Thebes (Egypt), the teacher of Proclus the neo-Platonist, and of Eudocia, the wife of Emperor Theodosius II. He taught at Alexandria, Caesarea in Cappadocia and Constantinople. He was the author of a partly extant etymological Lexicon, largely used by the compilers of the Etymologicum Magnum, the Etymologicum Gudianum and other similar works; a collection of maxims in three books, addressed to Eudocia, also ascribed to him by Suidas, still exists in a Warsaw manuscript.

Cubicularius, Hellenized as koubikoularios, was a title used for the eunuch chamberlains of the imperial palace in the later Roman Empire and in the Byzantine Empire. The feminine version, used for the ladies-in-waiting of the empresses, was koubikoularia (κουβικουλαρία).

In translations of the Bible into modern European languages, such as the Luther Bible or the King James Bible, the word eunuchus as found in the Latin Vulgate is usually rendered as officer, official or chamberlain, consistent with the idea that the original meaning of eunuch was bed-keeper (Orion's first option). Modern religious scholars have been disinclined to assume that the courts of Israel and Judah included castrated men, [20] even though the original translation of the Bible into Greek used the word eunoukhos.

The early 17th century scholar and theologian Gerardus Vossius therefore explains that the word originally designated an office, and he affirms the view that it was derived from eunē and ekhein (i.e. "bed-keeper"). [21] He says the word came to be applied to castrated men in general because such men were the usual holders of that office. Still, Vossius notes the alternative etymologies offered by Eustathius ("deprived of mating") and others ("having the mind in a good state"), calling these analyses "quite subtle". Then, after having previously declared that eunuch designated an office (i.e., not a personal characteristic), Vossius ultimately sums up his argument in a different way, saying that the word "originally signified continent men" to whom the care of women was entrusted, and later came to refer to castration because "among foreigners" that role was performed "by those with mutilated bodies".

Modern etymologists have followed Orion's first option. [22] [23] In an influential 1925 essay on the word eunuch and related terms, Ernst Maass suggested that Eustathius's derivation "can or must be laid to rest", and he affirmed the derivation from eunē and ekhein ("guardian of the bed"), [22] without mentioning the other derivation from eunoos and ekhein ("having a well-disposed state of mind").

By region and epoch

Ancient Middle East

Under Assyrian law homosexual acts were punishable by castration. [24] [25]

Limestone wall relief depicting an Assyrian royal attendant, a eunuch. From the Central Palace at Nimrud, Iraq, 744-727 BCE. Ancient Orient Museum, Istanbul Limestone wall relief depicting an Assyrian royal attendant, a eunuch. From the Central Palace at Nimrud, Iraq, 744-727 BCE. Ancient Orient Museum, Istanbul.jpg
Limestone wall relief depicting an Assyrian royal attendant, a eunuch. From the Central Palace at Nimrud, Iraq, 744-727 BCE. Ancient Orient Museum, Istanbul

Eunuchs were familiar figures in the Assyrian Empire (ca. 850 until 622 BC) and in the court of the Egyptian Pharaohs (down to the Lagid dynasty known as Ptolemies, ending with Cleopatra, 30 BC). Eunuchs sometimes were used as regents for underage heirs to the throne, as it seems to be the case for the Neo-Hittite state of Carchemish. [26] Political eunuchism became a fully established institution among the Achamenide Persians. [27] Eunuchs held powerful positions in the Achaemenide court. The eunuch Bagoas (not to be confused with Alexander's Bagoas) was the Vizier of Artaxerxes III and IV, and was the primary power behind the throne during their reigns, until he was killed by Darius III. [28]

Ancient Greece, Rome and Byzantium

The practice was also well established in other Mediterranean areas among the Greeks and Romans, although a role as court functionary does not arise until Byzantine times. The Galli or Priests of Cybele were eunuchs.

In the late period of the Roman Empire, after the adoption of the oriental royal court model by the Emperors Diocletian and Constantine, Emperors were surrounded by eunuchs for such functions as bathing, hair cutting, dressing, and bureaucratic functions, in effect acting as a shield between the Emperor and his administrators from physical contact, thus enjoying great influence in the Imperial Court (see Eusebius and Eutropius). Eunuchs were believed loyal and indispensable.[ citation needed ]

The Roman poet Martial rails against a woman who has sex with partially castrated eunuchs (those whose testicles were removed or rendered inactive only) in the bitter epigram (VI, 67): "Do you ask, Panychus, why your Caelia only consorts with eunuchs? Caelia wants the flowers of marriage – not the fruits." [29] It is up for debate whether this passage is representative of any sort of widely practiced behavior, however.

At the Byzantine imperial court, there were a great number of eunuchs employed in domestic and administrative functions, actually organized as a separate hierarchy, following a parallel career of their own. Archieunuchs—each in charge of a group of eunuchs—were among the principal officers in Constantinople, under the emperors. [30] Under Justinian in the 6th century, the eunuch Narses functioned as a successful general in a number of campaigns. By the last centuries of the Empire the number of roles reserved for eunuchs had reduced, and their use may have been all but over.

Following the Byzantine tradition, eunuchs had important tasks at the court of the Norman kingdom of Sicily during the middle 12th century. One of them, Philip of Mahdia, has been admiratus admiratorum, and another one, Ahmed es-Sikeli, was prime minister.

China

A group of eunuchs. Mural from the tomb of the prince Zhanghuai, 706 AD. Prince Zhanghuai's tomb, eunuchs.JPG
A group of eunuchs. Mural from the tomb of the prince Zhanghuai, 706 AD.

In China, castration included removal of the penis as well as the testicles (see emasculation). Both organs were cut off with a knife at the same time. [31] [32] [33] [34]

From ancient times until the Sui Dynasty, castration was both a traditional punishment (one of the Five Punishments) and a means of gaining employment in the Imperial service. Certain eunuchs gained immense power that occasionally superseded that of even the Grand Secretaries. Zheng He, who lived during the Ming Dynasty, is an example of such a eunuch. Self-castration was a common practice, although it was not always performed completely, which led to its being made illegal.

It is said that the justification for the employment of eunuchs as high-ranking civil servants was that, since they were incapable of having children, they would not be tempted to seize power and start a dynasty. In many cases, eunuchs were considered more reliable than the scholar officials. A similar system existed in Vietnam. [35]

The tension between eunuchs in the service of the emperor and virtuous Confucian officials is a familiar theme in Chinese history. In his History of Government, Samuel Finer points out that reality was not always that clear-cut. There were instances of very capable eunuchs who were valuable advisers to their emperor, and the resistance of the "virtuous" officials often stemmed from jealousy on their part. Ray Huang argues that in reality, eunuchs represented the personal will of the Emperor, while the officials represented the alternative political will of the bureaucracy. The clash between them would thus have been a clash of ideologies or political agenda. [36]

The number of eunuchs in Imperial employ fell to 470 by 1912, when the practice of using them ceased.[ citation needed ] The last Imperial eunuch, Sun Yaoting, died in December 1996.

Qin dynasty

Men sentenced to castration were turned into eunuch slaves of the Qin dynasty state to perform forced labor for projects such as the Terracotta Army. [37] The Qin government confiscated the property and enslaved the families of rapists who received castration as a punishment. [38] Men punished with castration during the Han dynasty were also used as slave labor. [39]

Han dynasty

In Han dynasty China castration continued to be used as a punishment for various offences. [40] [41] Sima Qian, the famous Chinese historian, was castrated by order of the Han Emperor of China for dissent. [42] In another incident multiple people, including a chief scribe and his underlings, were subjected to castration. [43]

Tang dynasty

Indigenous tribals from southern China were used as eunuchs during the Sui and Tang dynasties. [44]

Liao dynasty

The Khitans adopted the practice of using eunuchs from the Chinese and the eunuchs were non-Khitan prisoners of war. When they founded the Liao dynasty they developed a harem system with concubines and wives and adopted eunuchs as part of it. The Khitans captured Chinese eunuchs at the Jin court when they invaded the Later Jin. Another source was during their war with the Song dynasty, the Khitan would raid China, capture Han Chinese boys as prisoners of war and emasculate them to become eunuchs. The emasculation of captured Chinese boys guaranteed a continuous supply of eunuchs to serve in the Liao Dynasty harem. The Empress Dowager Chengtian played a large role in the raids to capture and emasculate the boys. She personally led her own army defeated the Song in 986, [45] [46] [47] [48] [49] fighting the retreating Chinese army. She then ordered the castration of around 100 Chinese boys she had captured, supplementing the Khitan's supply of eunuchs to serve at her court, among them was Wang Ji'en. The boys were all under ten years old and were selected for their good looks. [50] [51]

Yuan dynasty

Eunuchs, concubines, falcons, ginseng, grain, cloth, silver, and gold were sent as tribute by the Goryeo dynasty of Korea to the Mongol Yuan dynasty. [52] [53] [54] [55] [56] [57] Among those who went to Yuan were Empress Gi and the eunuch Bak Bulhwa who caused harm to Goryeo. [58] The tribute payment was a burden on Korea. [53]

King Ch'ungson (1309-1313.) married two Mongol women, Princess Botasirin and a non-royal woman named Yesujin. She gave birth to a son and had a posthumous title of "virtuous concubine". In addition 1324, the Yuan court sent a Mongol princess of Wei named Jintong to the Koryo King Ch'ungsug. [59] Thus, the entry of Korean women into the Mongol court was reciprocated by the entry of Mongolian princesses into the Korean Koryo court, and this affected relations between Korea and the Yuan. Imperial marriages between the royal family of Mongol Yuan existed between certain states. These included the Onggirat tribe, Idug-qut's Uighur tribe, the Oirat tribe, and the Koryo (Korean) royal family. This intermarriage between royal families did not occur between the deposed Chinese and Mongols. [60]

Ming dynasty

There were eunuchs from China's various ethnic tribes, Mongolia, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Central Asia, Thailand, and Okinawa. [61] During the early Ming period, Korean concubines and eunuchs, some of whom oversaw the Korean concubines in the harem, [62] were occasionally demanded as tribute by Ming Emperors, [63] [64] [65] [66] such as the Xuande Emperor, [67] for the imperial harem in imitation of the previous dynasty's precedent, [68] as were Vietnamese women and eunuchs. [69] [70] Korea stopped sending human tribute after 1435. [66] A total of 198 eunuchs were sent from Korea to Ming. [71] The Ming eunuch hats were similar to the Korean royal hats, indicating the foreign origins of the Ming eunuchs, many of whom came from Southeast Asia and Korea. [72]

There were Korean, Jurchen, Mongol, Central Asian, and Vietnamese eunuchs under the Yongle Emperor, [73] [74] including Mongol eunuchs who served him while he was the Prince of Yan. [75] Muslim and Mongol eunuchs were present in the Ming court, [76] such as the ones captured from Mongol-controlled Yunnan in 1381, and among them was the great Ming maritime explorer Zheng He, [77] [78] who served Yongle. [79] Muslim eunuchs were sent as ambassadors to the Timurids. [80] Vietnamese eunuchs like Ruan Lang, Ruan An, Fan Hong, Chen Wu, and Wang Jin were sent by Zhang Fu to the Ming. [81] During Ming's early contentious relations with Joseon, when there were disputes such as competition for influence over the Jurchens in Manchuria, Korean officials were even flogged by Korean-born Ming eunuch ambassadors when their demands were not met. [66] Some of the ambassadors were arrogant, such as Sin Kwi-saeng who, in 1398, got drunk and brandished a knife at a dinner in the presence of the king. [82] [83] Sino-Korean relations later became amiable, and Korean envoys' seating arrangement in the Ming court was always the highest among the tributaries. [66]

During the Miao Rebellions, the Ming Governor castrated thousands of Miao boys when their tribes revolted, and then gave them as slaves to various officials. The Governor who ordered the castration of the Miao was reprimanded and condemned by the Ming Tianshun Emperor for doing it once the Ming government heard of the event. [84]

Zhu Shuang (Prince of Qin), while he was high on drugs, had some Tibetan boys castrated and Tibetan women seized after a war against minority Tibetan peoples and as a result was reprimanded after he died from overdose. [85] [86] [87] [88] [89] [90] [91] [92]

On 30 January 1406, the Yongle Emperor expressed horror when the Ryukyuans castrated some of their own children to become eunuchs in order to give them to the emperor. The Yongle Emperor said that the boys who were castrated were innocent and did not deserve castration, and he returned the boys to Ryukyu and instructed them not to send eunuchs again. [93]

An anti-pig-slaughter edict led to speculation that the Zhengde emperor adopted Islam due to his use of Muslim eunuchs who commissioned the production of porcelain with Persian and Arabic inscriptions in white and blue color. [94] [95] [96] [97] [98] [99] [100] [101] Muslim eunuchs contributed money in 1496 to repairing Niujie Mosque. Central Asian women were provided to the Zhengde Emperor by a Muslim guard and Sayyid Hussein from Hami. [102] The guard was Yu Yung and the women were Uighur. [103] It is unknown who really was behind the anti-pig slaughter edict. [104] The speculation of him becoming a Muslim is remembered alongside his excessive and debauched behavior along with his concubines of foreign origin. [105] Muslim Central Asian girls were favored by Zhengde like how Korean girls were favored by Xuande. [106] A Uighur concubine was kept by Zhengde. [107] Foreign origin Uighur and Mongol women were favored by the Zhengde emperor. [108]

At the end of the Ming dynasty, there were about 70,000 eunuchs (宦官 huànguān, or 太監 tàijiàn) employed by the emperor, with some serving inside the imperial palace. There were 100,000 eunuchs at the height of their numbers during the Ming. [109] [110] [111] [112] In popular culture texts such as Zhang Yingyu's The Book of Swindles (ca. 1617), eunuchs were often portrayed in starkly negative terms as enriching themselves through excessive taxation and indulging in cannibalism and debauched sexual practices. [113]

The path to the occupation

In Ming China, the royal palace usually gets eunuchs in two ways: foreign supplies of eunuchs and domestic supplies of eunuchs. [114] On the one hand, the eunuchs in Ming China come from the foreign supplies, the enemies of Ming China are castrated as a mean of punishment when they are captured by Ming army as prisoners. [115] For example, the population of Mongol eunuchs in Nanjing increased significantly during Yongle's reign when there was a war between Ming China and the Mongols. [116] The foreign eunuchs also comes from the tributes from a lot of small countries around China. [117] On the other hand, the eunuchs also came from locals in China. In Ming China, many men castrated themselves in order to be hired in the palace, when the only way for these men to enter privilege was eunuchism. [118] Besides the royal palace, elites such as officials also hired eunuchs to be servants to their family. [119] With the demand, a lot of men were willing to castrate themselves to become eunuchs.

The daily functions of normal eunuchs

Eunuchs in Ming China also played an critical role in the operation of the imperial palace: their responsibilities varied in significance: their jobs include almost every aspect of the everyday routine in the imperial palace; their responsibilities also included procuring copper, tin , wood, and iron. Also, they had to repair and construct ponds, castle gates, palaces in major cities like Beijing and Nanjing, and the mansions and mausolea in the living place of imperial relatives. [120] They prepared meals for a great number of people in the palace. Taking care of the animals in the palace was also one of their jobs. In a word, the eunuchs' work was the cornerstone of the palace daily operation and the emperor and his relatives' comfortable life. [121]

The relationship with other occupations in royal palace

The eunuchs also highly associated with other lower ranking occupations in the royal palace. For example, some eunuchs would have special relationships with serving women in the palace. Some eunuchs would form a partnership with serving women in order to support each other, called “vegetarian couple" (Duishi). [122] In this kind of relationship, both eunuchs and serving women can be more secure when they encountered conflicts with the those of higher rank such as bureaucrats. [123]

Power of eunuchs in the palace

The eunuchs also had opportunity to rise to higher ranks. The duties and jobs of eunuchs gradually changed in Ming dynasty: in Ming Taizu's time, the emperor decreed that the eunuchs were to be kept in small numbers and of minimal literacy in case the eunuchs seized power. [124] However, in later generations, the emperors began to train and educate the eunuchs and make them their personal secretaries. [125] The lack of the restriction allowed some eunuchs to rise to great power, for example, Wang Zhen, Liu Jin, and Wei Zhongxian especially. There are even eunuch-supervised secret police working for the emperor known as the Eastern Depot and Western Depot. [126] Also, Zhenghe, a very famous eunuch in China's history, became an early pioneer of seafaring and spread Chinese influence to the world. [127]

The reputation of eunuchs in China

However, the reputation of eunuchs was controversial in Ming China. Chinese bureaucrats-scholars always depicted eunuchs negatively: Chinese bureaucrat-scholars, who always depicted the eunuchs as greedy, evil, cunning, and duplicitous. [128] Chinese people seemed to have a stereotypical view toward the eunuchs. The bad reputation may be explained by the fact that the eunuchs, in order to get employment in the royal palace or official houses, needed to be castrated. Castration gave the eunuchs the licence to work in the palace or official houses in Ming China because the officials and emperor in Ming China usually kept many concubines. [129] However, In Chinese society, castration broke with conventional moral rules. A son who could not have male heir to carry on the family name breaks Confician doctrine. [130] The eunuchs, despite their awareness of losing ability to have children but still get castrated in order to get better lives. Another guilty knowledge of eunuchs in palace is to exceed their power to do the areas the don't belong to. Some of the jobs eunuchs do is the dirty work. For examples, they may become the spies of emperors or the officials; another action of the Yongle emperor that had a significant effect is to give the eunuchs the authority to have charge in the implementation of political tasks. As eunuchs' presence and power grew, they gradually took over the duties of the women palace musicians and become the dominant musicians in the Ming palace. [131] When they came to power, eunuchs woulf even interfere the politics such succession to the throne. [132]

Qing dynasty

The Empress is carried and accompanied by palace eunuchs, before 1908 The Qing Dynasty Cixi Imperial Dowager Empress of China On Throne Sedan With Palace Enuches.PNG
The Empress is carried and accompanied by palace eunuchs, before 1908

While eunuchs were employed in all Chinese dynasties, their number decreased significantly under the Qing, and the tasks they performed were largely replaced by the Imperial Household Department. [133] At the beginning of the 20th century, there were about 2,000 eunuchs working in the Forbidden City. [134] [135] The eunuchs at the Forbidden City during the later Qing period were infamous for their corruption, stealing as much as they could. [136] The position of eunuch at the Forbidden City offered such opportunities for theft and corruption and China was such a poor country that countless men willingly become eunuchs in order to live a better life. [136] However, eunuchs as the Emperor's slaves had no rights and could be abused at the emperor's whim. The emperor Puyi recalled in his memoirs that growing up in the Forbidden City that: "By the age of 11, flogging eunuchs was part of my daily routine. My cruelty and love of power were already too firmly set for persuasion to have any effect on me...Whenever I was in a bad temper the eunuchs would be in for trouble." [137] [134]

After the revolution of 1911-12 that toppled the Qing, the last emperor, Puyi, continued to live in the Forbidden City with his eunuchs as if the revolution had never happened while receiving financial support from the new Chinese republic until 1924 when the former emperor and his entourage were expelled from the Forbidden City by the warlord General Feng Yuxiang. In 1923, after a case of arson that Puyi believed was started to cover the theft of his Imperial treasures, Puyi expelled all of the eunuchs from the Forbidden City. [134]

The sons and grandsons of the Tajik rebel, Yaqub Beg, in China were all castrated. Surviving members of Yaqub Beg's family included his 4 sons, 4 grandchildren (2 grandsons and 2 granddaughters), and 4 wives. They either died in prison in Lanzhou, Gansu, or were killed by the Chinese. His sons Yima Kuli, K'ati Kuli, Maiti Kuli, and grandson Aisan Ahung were the only survivors in 1879. They were all underage children, and put on trial, sentenced to an agonizing death if they were complicit in their father's rebellious "sedition", or if they were innocent of their fathers' crimes, were to be sentenced to castration and serve as eunuch slaves to Chinese troops, when they reached 11 years old, and were handed over to the Imperial Household to be executed or castrated. [138] [139] [140] In 1879, it was confirmed that the sentence of castration was carried out; Yaqub Beg's son and grandsons were castrated by the Chinese court in 1879 and turned into eunuchs to work in the Imperial Palace. [141]

Korea

The eunuchs of Korea, called Naesi (내시, 內侍), [142] were officials to the king and other royalty in traditional Korean society. The first recorded appearance of a Korean eunuch was in Goryeosa ("History of Goryeo"), a compilation about the Goryeo period. In 1392, with the founding of the Joseon Dynasty, the Naesi system was revised, and the department was renamed the "Department of Naesi" (내시부, 內侍府). [143]

The Naesi system included two ranks, those of Sangseon (상선, 尙膳, "Chief of Naesi"), who held the official title of senior second rank, and Naegwan (내관, 內官, "Common official naesi"), both of which held rank as officers. 140 naesi in total served the palace in Joseon Dynasty period. They also took the exam on Confucianism every month. [143] The naesi system was repealed in 1894 following Gabo reform.

During the Yuan Dynasty, eunuchs became a desirable commodity for tributes, and dog bites were replaced by more sophisticated surgical techniques. [144] [145] [146]

Eunuchs were the only males outside the royal family allowed to stay inside the palace overnight. Court records going back to 1392 indicate that the average lifespan of eunuchs was 70.0 ± 1.76 years, which was 14.4–19.1 years longer than the lifespan of non-castrated men of similar socio-economic status. [147]

Vietnam

The Vietnamese adopted the eunuch system and castration techniques from China. Records show that the Vietnamese performed castration in a painful procedure by removing the entire genitalia with both penis and testicles being cut off with a sharp knife or metal blade. The procedure was agonizing since the entire penis was cut off. [148] [149] [150] [151] [152] [153] [154] The young man's thighs and abdomen would be tied and others would pin him down on a table. The genitals would be washed with pepper water and then cut off. A tube would be then inserted into the urethra to allow urination during healing. [155] The eunuchs served as slaves to the Vietnamese palace women in the harem- like the consorts, concubines, maids, Queen, and Princesses- doing most of the work. [156] [157] [158] [159] [160] [161] The only man allowed in the Palace was the Emperor, the only others allowed were his women and the eunuchs since they were not able to have sexual relations with the women. The eunuchs were assigned to do work for the palace women, like massaging and applying make up to the women, preparing them for sex with the Emperor. [162] [163] [164] [165]

Lý Dynasty

Lý Thường Kiệt was a prominent eunuch general during the Lý Dynasty (1009-1225).

Trần Dynasty

A boy student was given money in exchange for becoming a eunuch by Tran Canh in 1254 since many men castrated themselves to become eunuchs during the Tran and Ly dynasties. [166]

The Trần Dynasty sent Vietnamese boy eunuchs as tribute to Ming Dynasty China several times, in 1383, 1384 and 1385 [167] Nguyen Dao, Nguyen Toan, Tru Ca, and Ngo Tin were among several Vietnamese eunuchs sent to China. [168]

Fourth Chinese domination of Vietnam (Ming dynasty)

During the Fourth Chinese domination of Vietnam, the Ming Chinese under the Yongle Emperor castrated many young Vietnamese boys, choosing them for their handsomeness and ability, and brought them to Nanjing to serve as eunuchs. Among them were the architect-engineer Nguyễn An [169] and Nguyen Lang (阮浪). [170] Vietnamese were among the many eunuchs of different origins found at the Yongle Emperor's court. [171] Among the eunuchs in charge of the Capital Battalions of Beijing was Xing An, a Vietnamese. [172]

Lê Dynasty

In the Lê Dynasty the Vietnamese Emperor Lê Thánh Tông was aggressive in his relations with foreign countries including China. A large amount of trade between Guangdong and Vietnam happened during his reign. Early accounts recorded that the Vietnamese captured Chinese whose ships had blown off course and detained them. Young Chinese men were selected by the Vietnamese for castration to become eunuch slaves to the Vietnamese. It has been speculated by modern historians that the Chinese who were captured and castrated by the Vietnamese were involved in trade between China and Vietnam instead of actually being blown off course by the wind and they were punished as part of a crackdown on foreign trade by Vietnam. [173] [174] [175] [176] [177] [178] [179] [180] [181] [182] [183] [184] [185]

Several Malay envoys from the Malacca sultanate were attacked and captured in 1469 by the Lê Dynasty of Annam (Vietnam) as they were returning to Malacca from China. The Vietnamese enslaved and castrated the young from among the captured. [167] [186] [187] [188] [189]

A 1472 entry in the Ming Shilu, reported that some Chinese from Nanhai county escaped back to China after their ship had been blown off course into Vietnam, where they had been forced to serve as soldiers in Vietnam's military. The escapees also reported that they found out that up to 100 Chinese men remained captive in Vietnam after they were caught and castrated by the Vietnamese after their ships were blown off course into Vietnam. The Chinese Ministry of Revenue responded by ordering Chinese civilians and soldiers to stop going abroad to foreign countries. [190] [191] [192] [193] China's relations with Vietnam during this period were marked by the punishment of prisoners by castration. [194] [195]

A 1499 entry in the Ming Shilu recorded that thirteen Chinese men from Wenchang, including a man named Wu Rui (吳瑞), were captured by the Vietnamese after their ship was blown off course while traveling from Hainan to Guangdong's Qin subprefecture (Qinzhou), causing them to end up near the coast of Vietnam during the Chenghua Emperor's rule (1447 - 1487). Twelve of them were enslaved as agricultural laborers, while Wu Rui, the only one still young, was castrated and became a eunuch attendant at the Vietnamese Imperial Palace in Thang Long. After years of service, upon the death of the Vietnamese ruler in 1497, he was promoted to a military position in northern Vietnam. There, a soldier told him of an escape route back to China through which Wu Rui then escaped to Longzhou. The local chief planned to sell him back to the Vietnamese, but Wu was rescued by the Pingxiang Magistrate, then was sent to Beijing to work as a eunuch in the palace. [196] [197] [198] [199] [200] [201]

The Đại Việt sử ký toàn thư records that in 1467 in An Bang province of Dai Viet (now Quảng Ninh Province), a Chinese ship blew off course onto the shore. The Chinese were detained and not allowed to return to China as ordered by Le Thanh Tong. [202] [203] [204] [205] [206] This incident may be the same one where Wu Rui was captured. [198]

Nguyễn Dynasty

The poet Hồ Xuân Hương mocked eunuchs in her poem as a stand-in for criticizing the government. [207]

Commoners were banned from undergoing castration in Vietnam. Only adult men of high social rank could be castrated. Most eunuchs were born as such with a congenital abnormality. The Vietnamese government mandated that boys born with defective genitalia were to be reported to officials, in exchange for the town being freed from mandatory labor requirements. The boy would have the option of serving as a eunuch official or serving the palace women when he became ten years old. [208] This law was put in place in 1838 during the Nguyễn Dynasty. [209] The only males allowed inside the Forbidden City at Huế were the Emperor and his eunuchs. [210]

The presence of eunuchs in Vietnam was used by the French colonizers to degrade the Vietnamese. [211]

Thailand

In Siam (modern Thailand) Indian Muslims from the Coromandel Coast served as eunuchs in the Thai palace and court. [212] [213] The Thai at times asked eunuchs from China to visit the court in Thailand and advise them on court ritual since they held them in high regard. [214] [215]

Burma

Sir Henry Yule saw many Muslims serving as eunuchs in the Konbaung Dynasty of Burma (modern Myanmar) while on a diplomatic mission. [216] [217] [218] [219] These Muslim eunuchs came from Arakan. [212] [213]

Ottoman Empire

Chief Eunuch of Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II at the Imperial Palace, 1912. Ottoman eunuch, 1912.jpg
Chief Eunuch of Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II at the Imperial Palace, 1912.

In the Ottoman Empire, eunuchs were typically slaves imported from outside their domains. A fair proportion of male slaves were imported as eunuchs. [220] The Ottoman court harem—within the Topkapı Palace (1465–1853) and later the Dolmabahçe Palace (1853–1909) in Istanbul—was under the administration of the eunuchs. These were of two categories: Black Eunuchs and White Eunuchs. Black Eunuchs were African slaves who served the concubines and officials in the Harem together with chamber maidens of low rank. The White Eunuchs were Europeans from the Balkans or the Caucasus, either purchased in the slave markets or were boys taken from Christian families in the Balkans who were unable to pay the Jizya tax. They served the recruits at the Palace School and were from 1582 prohibited from entering the Harem. An important figure in the Ottoman court was the Chief Black Eunuch (Kızlar Ağası or Dar al-Saada Ağası). In control of both the Harem and a net of spies in the Black Eunuchs, the Chief Eunuch was involved in almost every palace intrigue and could thereby gain power over either the sultan or one of his viziers, ministers, or other court officials. [221] One of the most powerful Chief Eunuchs was Beshir Agha in the 1730s, who played a crucial role in establishing the Ottoman version of Hanafi Islam throughout the Empire by founding libraries and schools. [222] The entire Devşirme system, where the children of Christian families in the Balkans unable to pay the onerous jizya tax were taken away, and, depending upon their sex, became either concubines, in the case of the girls, or, in the case of the boys, were conscripted into Janissary Corps or became eunuchs. The act (emasculation) made Ottoman rule much hated by Christians in the Balkans.

Coptic involvement

Edmund Andrews of Northwestern University, in an 1898 article called "Oriental Eunuchs" in the American Journal of Medicine, refers to Coptic priests in "Abou Gerhè in Upper Egypt" castrating slave boys. [223]

Black eunuch of the Ottoman Sultan. Photograph by Pascal Sebah, 1870s Sebah, Pascal - Ottoman Eunuch.JPG
Black eunuch of the Ottoman Sultan. Photograph by Pascal Sebah, 1870s

Coptic castration of slaves was discussed by Peter Charles Remondino, in his book History of Circumcision from the Earliest Times to the Present, [224] published in 1900. He refers to the "Abou-Gerghè" monastery in a place he calls "Mount Ghebel-Eter". He adds details not mentioned by Andrews such as the insertion of bamboo into the victim. Bamboo was used with Chinese eunuchs. Andrews states his information is derived from an earlier work, "Les Femmes, les eunuques, et les guerriers du Soudan" [224] published by a French explorer, Count Raoul du Bisson, in 1868, though the place does not appear in Du Bisson's book. [225]

Remondino's claims were repeated in similar form by Henry G. Spooner in 1919, in the American Journal of Urology and Sexology. Spooner, an associate of William J. Robinson, referred to the monastery as "Abou Gerbe in Upper Egypt". [226]

According to Remondino, Spooner and several later sources, the Coptic priests sliced the penis and testicles off Nubian or Abyssinian slave boys around the age of eight. The boys were captured from Abyssinia and other areas in Sudan like Darfur and Kordofan, then brought into Sudan and Egypt. During the operation, the Coptic clergyman chained the boys to tables, then, after slicing off their sexual organs, stuck a piece of bamboo into the genital area, and then submerged them in neck-high sand to burn. The recovery rate was ten percent. The resulting eunuchs fetched large profits in contrast to eunuchs from other areas. [227] [228] [229]

Algiers

In the 16th century, an Englishman, Samson Rowlie, was captured and castrated to serve the Ottoman governor in Algiers.

Indian subcontinent

Eunuchs in Indian sultanates (before Mughals)

Eunuchs were frequently employed in Imperial palaces by Muslim rulers as servants for female royalty, as guards of the royal harem, and as sexual mates for the nobles. Some of these attained high-status positions in society. An early example of such a high-ranking eunuch was Malik Kafur. Eunuchs in Imperial palaces were organized in a hierarchy, often with a senior or Chief Eunuch (Urdu: Khwaja Saras), directing junior eunuchs below him. Eunuchs were highly valued for their strength and trustworthiness, allowing them to live amongst women with fewer worries. This enabled eunuchs to serve as messengers, watchmen, attendants and guards for palaces. Often, eunuchs also doubled as part of the King's court of advisers. [230] [231]

The hijra of South Asia

Hijras of Delhi, India. Hidras of Panscheel Park-New Delhi-1994-2.jpg
Hijras of Delhi, India.

The Ancient Indian Kama Sutra refers to people of a "third sex" (triteeyaprakrti), who can be dressed either in men's or in women's clothes and perform fellatio on men. The term has been translated as "eunuchs" (as in Sir Richard Burton's translation of the book), but these persons have also been considered to be the equivalent of the modern Hijra of India.[ citation needed ]

Hijra, an Urdu term traditionally translated into English as "eunuch", actually refers to what modern Westerners would call transgender women and effeminate homosexual men (although some of them reportedly identify as belonging to a third sex). Some of them undergo ritual castration, but the majority do not. They usually dress in saris (traditional Indian garb worn by women) or shalwar kameez (traditional garb worn by women in South Asia) and wear heavy make-up. They typically live in the margins of society and face discrimination. [232] However, they are integral to several Hindu ceremonies which is the primary form of their livelihood. They are a part of dance programs (sometimes Adult) in marriage ceremonies. They also perform certain ceremonies for the couple in Hindu tradition. Other means to earn their living are: by coming, uninvited at weddings, births, new shop openings and other major family events, singing until they are paid or given gifts to go away. [233] The ceremony is supposed to bring good luck and fertility, while the curse of an unappeased hijra is feared by many. Hijra often engage in prostitution and begging to earn money, the begging is accompanied by singing and dancing. Some Indian provincial officials have used the assistance of hijras to collect taxes in the same fashion—they knock on the doors of shopkeepers, while dancing and singing, embarrassing them into paying. [234] Recently, hijras have started to found organizations to improve their social condition and fight discrimination, such as the Shemale Foundation Pakistan.

Religious castration

Castration as part of religious practice, and eunuchs occupying religious roles have been established prior to classical antiquity. Archaeological finds at Çatalhöyük in Anatolia indicate worship of a 'Magna Mater' figure, a forerunner of the goddess Cybele found in later Anatolia and other parts of the near East. [235] Later Roman followers of Cybele were called Galli, who practiced ritual self-castration, known as sanguinaria. [235] Eunuch priests also figured prominently in the Atargatis cult in Syria during the first centuries CE. [236]

The practice of religious castration continued into the Christian era, with members of the early church practising celibacy (including castration) for religious purposes, [237] although the extent and even the existence of this practice among Christians is subject to debate. [238] The early theologian Origen found evidence of the practice in Matthew 19:10-12: [239] "His disciples said to him, "If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry." But he said to them, "Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can" (NRSV).

Tertullian, a 2nd-century Church Father, described Jesus himself and Paul of Tarsus as spadones, which is translated as "eunuchs" in some contexts. [240] Quoting from the cited book: [240] "... Tertullian takes 'spado' to mean virgin ...". The meaning of spado in late antiquity can be interpreted as a metaphor for celibacy. Tertullian even goes so far with the metaphor as to say St. Paul had been castrated. [240]

Eunuch priests have served various goddesses from India for many centuries. Similar phenomena are exemplified by some modern Indian communities of the hijra, which are associated with a deity and with certain rituals and festivals – notably the devotees of Yellammadevi, or jogappas, who are not castrated [241] and the Ali of southern India, of whom at least some are. [242]

The 18th-century Russian Skoptzy (скопцы) sect was an example of a castration cult, where its members regarded castration as a way of renouncing the sins of the flesh. [243] Several members of the 20th-century Heaven's Gate cult were found to have been castrated, apparently voluntarily and for the same reasons. [244]

In the Bible

Rembrandt, The Baptism of the Eunuch, 1626. Rembrandt, The Baptism of the Eunuch, 1626, Museum Catharijneconvent, Utrecht.jpg
Rembrandt, The Baptism of the Eunuch , 1626.

Eunuchs are mentioned many times in the Bible such as in the Book of Isaiah (56:4) using the word סריס (saris). Although the Ancient Hebrews did not practice castration, eunuchs were common in other cultures featured in the Bible, such as ancient Egypt, Babylonia, the Persian Empire and ancient Rome. In the Book of Esther, servants of the harem of Ahasuerus such as Hegai and Shashgaz as well as other servants such as Hatach, Harbonah, Bigthan, and Teresh are referred to as sarisim. Being exposed to the consorts of the king, they would have likely been castrated.

There is some confusion regarding eunuchs in Old Testament passages, since the Hebrew word for eunuch, saris (סריס), could also refer to other servants and officials who had not been castrated but served in similar capacities. [245] [246] The Egyptian royal servant Potiphar is described as a saris in Genesis 39:1, although he was married and hence unlikely to have been a castrated eunuch.

One of the earliest converts to Christianity was an Ethiopian eunuch who was a high court official of Candace the Queen of Ethiopia. Acts 8:27-39 The reference to "eunuchs" in Matthew 19:12 has yielded various interpretations.

Non-castrated eunuchs

The term eunuch has sometimes figuratively been used for a wide range of men who were seen to be physically unable to procreate. Hippocrates describes a particular ethnic group afflicted with high rates of erectile dysfunction as "the most eunuchoid of all nations" (Airs Waters Places 22). In the Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary, the term literally used for impotent males is spado, but may also be used for eunuchs. But this is sometimes generalized to mean that eunuch may be used for impotent males, which is a fallacy.[ citation needed ]

Castrato singers

Eunuchs castrated before puberty were also valued and trained in several cultures for their exceptional voices, which retained a childlike and other-worldly flexibility and treble pitch (a high-pitched voice). Such eunuchs were known as castrati.

As women were sometimes forbidden to sing in Church, their place was taken by castrati. The practice, known as castratism, remained popular until the 18th century and was known into the 19th century. The last famous Italian castrato, Giovanni Velluti, died in 1861. The sole existing sound recording of a castrato singer documents the voice of Alessandro Moreschi, the last eunuch in the Sistine Chapel choir, who died in 1922.

In the contemporary world

The hijra of India (see above) may number as many as 2,000,000, [247] and are usually described as "eunuchs", although they may be more of a male-to-female transsexual individual, but have surgical castration instead of reassignment surgery, and seldom have access to hormones. The loss of testosterone and lack of estrogen means their bodies take on the characteristics of post-pubertal eunuchs.

Notable eunuchs

In chronological order.

First millennium BC

First millennium AD

Second millennium AD

See also

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References

Citations

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  3. eunuchus . Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short. A Latin Dictionary on Perseus Project .
  4. spado . Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short. A Latin Dictionary on Perseus Project .
  5. σπάδων  in Liddell and Scott.
  6. "Words". Archives.nd.edu. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
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