On this page I will discuss how castration, which was initially a severe punishment reserved for serious sexual offenses, came to be used on innocent men and boys in order to make them like eunuchs, in other words, to make them not male, and thus accessible to male lust, and to make them physically incapable of doing what a eunuch would not want to do: impregnate a woman.
Throughout history men have displayed a natural
human desire to have sex with other men, although being a passive partner
was scorned under the popular value systems of almost all recorded Indo-European
cultures, such as the Greek,112 Roman,113
Assyrian, Persian, and Germanic, and in some cases was punishable by law.
But the ancient laws against male passive homosexuality, such as the Assyrian
laws,114 the Levitical laws,115 and
even some of the Byzantine Christian imperial laws,116
were silent about sexual acts in which the passive partner was impotent
with women, i.e. a eunuch, and therefore generally perceived as not "male."
As Aristotle phrased it, "the male is the one that has power to generate
in another ... while the female is the one [that has power to generate]
in itself."117 Since by nature a eunuch does neither,
he is neither male nor female.118 This view of eunuchs
being not male is widely attested.119
Now, as Ulpian and Jesus both noted, the category of eunuch included not only born eunuchs, which are gay men, but also man-made eunuchs. At some point it occurred to some men that they might circumvent the law and satisfy their sexual lusts for other men by having sex with men who had been made eunuchs in advance, through injury to their reproductive organs. This, I can only say, evil practice is first mentioned to my knowledge by Herodotus, as a custom in Sardis in western Asia Minor in the early 6th century BCE.120 In fact, none of the eunuchs mentioned in the Hebrew scriptures or in any other ancient text prior to Jesus are ever called "born eunuchs," because until about the sixth century BCE nearly all people who were called eunuchs were born that way.
In Sardis, the city where silver and gold coins were invented, attractive boys and young men were castrated in order to satisfy the lusts of wealthy customers throughout the Mediterannean. These boys were called ektomias, meaning "the ones who are cut." Prior to Herodotus, institutional castration is cited -- if at all -- only as a punishment for sexual crimes such as rape and, in some circumstances, adultery.121 The Assyrian laws give "being made a saris" along with facial disfigurement as a punishment for the adulterous lover of a married woman (as long as the husband is willing to punish his wife likewise with facial disfigurement), and for a male passive partner in a homosexual act.122 Assuming that "being made a saris" meant being castrated (which is not necessarily the case), then the Assyrian laws would represent the only text prior to the fifth century BCE in which castrated men are called eunuchs.
Roman tradition stated that the practice of
castrating innocent young men and boys was originated by a legendary Assyrian
queen Semiramis,123 who wanted to prevent her male lovers
from having sex with anyone else after she was done with them. But I can
find no confirmation that the practice was started by an Assyrian queen.
This tradition may be based on the myth of Attis and Cybele124
and on the old association between eunuchs and the Mother Goddess that
dates back as far as the first written records of humanity.125
Whatever its origin, the practice of manufacturing eunuchs in order to satisfy men's lust had become a widespread problem by the beginning of the Roman empire. Seneca said lust "castrates scads of boys."126 The emperor Nero notoriously castrated a boy and "married" him in a bizarre wedding ceremony.127 Thinking of Nero, Juvenal pointed out that "never was an ugly youth cruelly castrated in the palace of a tyrant."128 A character in Lucian's Amores laments the practice of "depriving males of their masculinity," by which men "find wider ranges of pleasure."129 Ammianus Marcellinus, a fourth-century eunuch hater, said:
Through disgust with these and their kind, I take pleasure in praising
Domitian of old, for ... he won distinction by a most highly approved
law, by which he had under heavy penalties forbidden anyone within
the bounds of the Roman jurisdiction to geld a boy; for if this had not
happened, who could endure the swarms of those whose small number
is with difficulty tolerated?130
Ammianus's apparent assumption, that the characteristics of cut eunuchs are like those of the small number of born eunuchs, had been disputed by an earlier eunuch hater Adamantios, who in his Physiognomy II 3 said that:
"The characteristics of eunuchs-by-nature are worse than those of other
human beings, and so most of them are savage, deceitful evil-doers,
each one more so than the last. Of the cut eunuchs, though, some
characteristics are changed over at the same time as the cutting, but
most of their congenital nature remains."
By the way, Lucian included some of these common negative views of born eunuchs, as distinguished from cut eunuchs, in his dialogue The Eunuch. The eunuch's opponent observed, for instance, that "a eunuch was in a worse case than a cut priest [to de tou eunouchou kai tôn bakêlôn cheiron einai], for the latter had at leas t known manhood once, but the former had been marred from the very first and was an ambiguous sort of creature like a crow, which cannot be reckoned with doves or ravens" [Eunuchus 8]. Of course, the ambiguity to which he referred concerned the eunuch's gender, since, he charged, "a eunuch was neither man nor woman but something composite, hybrid, and monstrous, alien to human nature" [Eunuchus 6].
In addition to the satisfaction of lust, another reason for castrating innocent boys and men was to ensure that the eunuchs guarding one's household were really safe, and not straight adulterers pretending to be eunuchs in order to gain access. This kind of deceit is complained of in the last two or three centuries BCE, and the early anxiety about it is exemplified by plays about eunuch impostors by Menander and Terence, and by an apocryphal saying from the Wisdom of Sirach (20:4; see Section 2).
In order to avoid the worry, some slaveholding men decided to use castrated boys and men to perform the household functions previously covered by uncastrated, born eunuchs. The victims of this commodification of human suffering were referred to as "man-made eunuchs." It became necessary to call the original type of eunuchs "born eunuchs" or "eunuchs-by-nature" in order to distinguish them from the new artificial kind, just as in our era it became necessary to coin the phrase "natural fibers" for cotton, wool, etc., to distinguish them from polyester and acrylic.
Moreover, some men chose to castrate themselves in order to take on the social roles reserved for eunuchs. The influential church father Origen apparently castrated himself to make himself "a eunuch for the kingdom's sake." Even born eunuchs might voluntarily become man-made eunuchs in order to reassure potential employers or fulfill the requirements of certain religious cults. Josephus, in Jewish Antiquities IV 8,40, indicated that in the case of some, since "it is evident that their soul has become effeminate, they have transfused that effeminacy to their body also." He could very well be referring here primarily to what we today call transsexuals. Meanwhile, already in the ancient world, there was an awareness that castration does not change a man's sexual orientation, to use the modern phrase, or his moral character. Martial ridiculed the case of a straight man who castrated himself to become a priest of Cybele in his epigram III 81:
What is a woman's chasm to you, Baeticus Gallus?
This tongue is supposed to lick undecided men.
For what reason was your dick cut off by Samia with a potsherd
If the pussy was so satisfying to you, Baeticus?
Your head should be castrated, for though you are accepted for a priest because of your groin,
You still deceive the sanctuary of Cybele: in the mouth you are a male.
Thus Martial confirms for us again that being a real eunuch entailed a lack of attraction to women, and availability for sexual activity with other men. In any case, during the first few centuries of the Roman empire, until Western Christianity stamped out the born eunuchs' identity and redefined them as merely perverse males -- for those few centuries, the Romans and Greeks understood there were at least two ways to be a eunuch: natural and artificial.
Several Roman emperors instituted laws against castration, but Domitian is credited for being the first to prohibit the practice.131 Martial called him the one "who recently helped tender youths so that cruel lust would no longer make males sterile." Martial was being a bit sarcastic, as he usually was. His sarcasm is apparent in the following hyperbolic praise of Domitian's action:
"It was once a sport to deceive holy matrimony, and a sport to
castrate innocent males. You prohibit both, Caesar, and you help
future peoples, because you order them to be born and live without
fraud. Because of you, ruler, no one will be either a eunuch or an
adulteror: Previously - o morals! - even a eunuch was an adulteror!"132
Statius said Domitian "forbids the strong sex to perish and, as censor,
stops mature males fearing the penalty of good looks."133
Dio Cassius throws Domitian's action in a different light by stating that
"although he himself also loved a eunuch named Earinos -- seeing that [his
brother and predecessor in office] Titus was especially zealous for castrated
men, in order to insult his memory, he forbade that any person in the Roman
Empire should thereafter be castrated."134
But perhaps Domitian was simply a sober prohibitionist, since he is also credited with outlawing the growing of grapes. In fact, in the same breath Statius praised him for "returning to chaste Ceres acres long denied her and temperate fields."135 But Apollonius of Tyana, presumably a drinker, remarked that by decreeing that "eunuchs shall not be made and vines shall not be planted, and those already planted shall be cut down ..., while he let men be spared, he eunuchized the earth."136 With the knowledge that natural eunuchs were not castrated, we can now see that Domitian's love for the eunuch Earinos was in no way contradictory to his hatred for castration.
Ulpian said it was Hadrian who, "in order to end the practice of making eunuchs,"137 applied the Lex Cornelia, i.e. the law concerning penalties for murderers, to those found guilty of this crime. New prohibitions against castration were promulgated by Justinian138 and Leo,139 as well as by the Salic Law of the Franks.140 Meanwhile, perhaps similar to the Assyrian laws of nearly two millennia prior, the Law of the Visigoths prescribed castration as a punishment for homosexual acts involving males as passive partners, this time punishing both parties as in Leviticus 20:13,141 and also for sodomy,142 a category which included bestiality. These Germanic Christian laws, unlike those of Justinian and Leo, did not recognize a special category of men called "eunuchs," but rather classified all persons as male or female like we do today. The effect of these laws was to turn all openly gay men into man-made eunuchs, or corpses.
The born eunuch category was already on the
way out under the influence of pleasure-hating Christian sexual morality,
because sexual desire or lack thereof, which was the basis for defining
the born eunuch, became irrelevant. All men were supposed to detach themselves
from desire; meanwhile the only legitimate sexual act was the union of
man and woman performed for the sole purpose of procreation. Born eunuchs
who insisted on having sex in the way that came naturally to them were
thought of simply as sodomites unwilling to change their evil ways. The
neutral gender identity disappeared from Europe completely.
But eunuchs continued to flourish in areas outside of the influence of Europe, particularly the Muslim territories. Eunuchs were established to guard the Prophet's tomb in Medinah at least as early as the 12th century CE and perhaps much earlier.143 Anxiety about the trustworthiness of palace eunuchs may have entered Islam after the Crusades and after the conversion and hegemony of the Turks within Islam. The Turkish influence on the Muslims during the Ottoman empire was profound. In Asia Minor there was a nineteen-hundred-year-old tradition of castrating boys in Sardis by the time the Ottoman empire was established. Turks carried the practice with them across the Muslim world to India, where the feminine klibas, or hijras, adopted it for themselves in order to obtain work in the palaces of the Muslim sultanate.144
There were several names used in Arabic for eunuchs of various kinds.
Some words were not specific to eunuchs, since they referred to a profession
or social status: slave, servant, teacher, man of knowledge, etc. But I
found two words specifically used for eunuchs: khasy
and majbub. Majbub
is derived from a word for cutting, jabba,
and can easily be identified as a man-made eunuch. Khasy
seems to me very close to khassa, meaning
"to distinguish" or "to favor," which matches the special status accorded
to eunuchs in ancient Middle Eastern cultures.145 Thus
the categorization would again be between (born) eunuchs and castrated
Yet Western scholars of Islamic history seem unaware that eunuchs might not be castrated. Cengiz Orhonlu, the author of the article on eunuchs in the Dictionary of Islam, and Shaun Marmon, the author of Eunuchs and Sacred Boundaries in Islamic Society, exemplify this problem that makes talking about eunuchs so difficult in modern academic discourse. Marmon's book, which otherwise is an excellent source for information about the highly revered status of eunuchs in Islamic history, asserts unequivocally that "the eunuch, after all, unlike the hermaphrodite, is made, not born."146 Marmon seems to accept without analysis the classification of 'Abd al-Wahhab al-Subki, a fourteenth century jurist, who listed three words for eunuchs. Al-Subki says the mamsuh is the one "whose penis and testicles have been removed," while the khasi is the one "whose testicles alone have been removed." He says the majbub is the one "whose penis has been removed but whose testicles have been left intact."147 What a torture! Take away the conduit for urinating, while leaving the hormone-producing gonads intact. It raises a question of whether Subki was speaking from ignorance, or perhaps was describing a situation existing in the late Middle Ages after Turks had already taken over the Muslim world, that was not the case during the Prophet's time. Meanwhile, Orhonlu defines the khasi "properly speaking," as "the man or animal who has undergone the ablation of the testicles," while defining a majbub as "the complete eunuch, deprived of all his sexual organs,"148 which was what Subki had called a mamsuh.
I do not wish to rewrite some excellent books that have already been written about the roles of eunuchs in the ancient world. Marmon's Eunuchs and Sacred Boundaries, Millant's Les Eunuques à travers les Ages, Ringrose's article "Living in the Shadows: Eunuchs and Gender in Byzantium" in Third Sex, Third Gender, Jaffrey's The Invisibles, and Nanda's Neither Man nor Woman, are all excellent resources for historical information about eunuchs. It must simply be kept in mind when reading them, that the word eunuch did not mean "castrated man" in the ancient world as some of these authors assume. Even Ringrose, who recognizes that "the term eunuch in late Antique and Byzantine sources was broader and more nuanced than the simple phrase 'castrated man' seems to imply," and that it could include "men who were lacking in sexual desire,"149 still assumes that the personality characteristics attributed by ancient authors to eunuchs, such as excitability and lack of self-discipline, were due to "the physiological effects of castration."150 Yet these types of personality traits are familiar negative stereotypes of gay men. She also mistakenly translates the above passage from Adamantios, which distinguishes between natural and cut eunuchs, in a way that blurs that very distinction:
"One early commentator even suggests that a specific personality change
accompanies castration: 'To eunuchs there is, by nature, a mark more evil
than among other men. So they are very savage minded, deceitful, evil doers,
some more than others. Some of the cut eunuchs undergo a sudden change
together with the mark of the cut. Most of them retain the nature of their kind.'"151
(For comparison, please refer above to the paragraph just after footnote marker 130.)
It is as if she was unaware that there were born eunuchs. The editor of the collection in which Ringrose's essay appears, Gilbert Herdt, shows the same lack of awareness in his recent book, in which he mentions "the famed eunuchs of early civilizations and court societies ... These were males whose genitals were removed or castrated for one or another purpose, such as to serve as special court officials, harem guards, or spiritually sacred healers and magicians."152 If the eunuchs were castrated to make them into healers, all I can say is "physician, heal thyself!"
This need to revise even excellent, recent scholarship about eunuchs is simply one of many ramifications of the proof that eunuchs were gay men. The presence of gay men and lesbians in the ancient world impacts the debate on the nature of homosexuality. It calls into question the most recent "newly revised" translations of the Bible into English, which not only maintain the inconsistent translation of the King James Version, they add new alternative mistranslations like "palace official" and "palace master." It redefines the debate about gay people's place within the church, and even calls into question the legitimacy of the Christian church as a keeper of truth (this is putting it as diplomatically as I can). The pope two decades ago published an article declaring homosexuality an "intrinsic moral evil." I have to ask, where does he get his information from?
Please read on!
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113 In Paedagogus III 3, Clement of Alexandria said of the Romans: "I admire the ancient lawgivers of Rome; they abhorred homosexuality, and in the justice of their laws condemned to the mines anyone guilty of allowing his body to be used in a feminine role contrary to the law of nature." This translation is from Simon Wood in Christ the Educator, New York: Fathers of the Church, 1954, p. 218. Greek: "Agamai tous palaious Rômaiôn nomothetas. androgunon emisêsan epitêdeusin outoi, kai to sômatos tên pros to thêlu koinônian para ton tês phuseôs nomon opugmatos katêxiôsan kata ton tês dikaiosunês nomon."
114 See note 73 (Section 3).
115 Leviticus 18:22, 20:13. Lev. 18:22 says "Do not lie with a male the lying of a woman," while 20:13 says "a man who lies with a male the lying of a woman, both of them have committed an abomination." In both cases, the maleness of the passive partner is emphasized, thus making the law inapplicable to sex with eunuchs as passive partners. Hebrew: "ve et-zakar lo tishkav mishkvei ishah" (18:22) and "ve ish asher yishkav et-zakar mishkvei ishah, to'evah 'asu shneichem" (20:13).
116 Justinian, Novellae Constitutiones CXLI, which specifies the activity as arrenes en arresi or "males on males." Greek: "legomen dê tên tôn arrenôn phthoran, hên atheôs tolmôsi tines arrenes en arresi tên aschêmosunên katergazomenoi."
117 Aristotle, Generation of Animals, I 2. Greek:
"tô arren men einai to dunamenon gennan eis
heteron ... to de thêlu to eis auto."
118 In Generation of Animals IV 1, Aristole says that a eunuch, because of his impotency, departs so much from the archetype of maleness that he falls but little short of the concept of femaleness: "henos de moriou epikairou metaballontos holê hê sustasis tou zôou polu tô eidei diapherei. horan d' exestin epi tôn eunouchôn, hoi henos moriou pêrôthentos tosouton exallattousi tês archaias morphês kai mikron elleipousi tou thêleos tên idean."
119 For Egypt: Pyramid Texts 1462c and Kurt Sethe, "Die Aechtung feindlicher Fürsten, Völker und Dinge auf altägyptischen Tongefäßscherben des mittleren Reiches." in Abhandlungen der Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1926, p. 61, where eunuchs are classified separately from males and females. For Sumero-Babylonia and Assyria: Era IV, 55-56 and Ernst Weidner, "Aus den Tagen eines assyrischen Schattenkönigs," Archiv für Orientforschung, Vol. 10 No. 1 (1935), p. 3, p. 5, line 21, where a certain king is said to be "a kulu'u, not a male" (ku-lu-'-u la zi-ka-ru). A kulu'u is the same as an assinnu is the same as a kurgarru is the same as a girsequ is the same as a saris. They are all passive homosexuals, either by nature or practice. See also note 48 (Section 2). In fact, girsequ and saris may be dialect variations of a single word s-g-r-s-g, with the g-sound removed to make saris. For India: Kamasutra II 9 ("third sex") and VI 1 ("pass for male"). For Greece: Aristotle, Generation of Animals IV 1; Babrios, see note 38 (Section 1); Lucian, Eunuchus, passim, Amores, 19, 21. For Rome: Ovid, Amores II 3.1; Martial, see note 54 (Section 2); Suetonius, Claudius 28. For Islam: Qur'an 24:31, 42:50. This is just a sample. Except under Germanic influence, a neutral gender category for eunuchs is always recognized.
120 Herodotus III 48-49, 92. III 48: "Periander son
of Cypselus sent three hundred male children of the Cercyrean nobles to
Sardis to be emasculated for Allyates." Greek: "Kerkuraiôn
gar paidas triêkosious andrôn tôn prôtôn
Periandros ho Kupselou es Sardis apepempse para Aluattea ep' ektomê."
III 92: "From Babylon and the rest of Assyria, there accrued to [Darius]
a thousand talents of silver, and five hundred castrated children." Greek:
"apo Babulônos de kai tês loipês
Assuriês chilia hoi prosêie talanta arguriou kai paides ektomiai
pentakosioi." Herodotus also says the Persians adopted the custom
of having sex with children from the Greeks. Greek (I 135): "ap'
Ellênôn mathontes paisi misgontai."
121 Ancient Egypt, Laws of Manu Book VIII, Emperor Chu-Kung, Roman republican laws (all according to Richard Millant, Les Eunuques à Travers les Ages, Paris: Vigot Frères, 1908, pp. 101-103).
122 Middle Assyrian Laws § 15, 20. See note 73 (Section 3).
123 Ammianus Marcellinus XIV 6.17. [Diodorus Sicilus said Semiramis had intercourse with her most attractive generals and then sent them to the chopping block. The 18th-century historian Ch. Ancillon conjectures that this was not to cut off their heads, but their penises. Semiramis was killed by a eunuch at her son's behest (source: Millant, pp. 86-87). Tarquin the Proud, an Etruscan king of the 6th century BCE, used to "castrate children to better satisfy his unnatural sexual tastes" (source: Millant, p. 130), which indicates it was a Western practice very early.]
124 Minucius Felix, Octavius, 22.4; Firmicus Maternus, Errors of the Pagan Religions, 3.1. The myth of Attis and Cybele, in which Attis refused to sleep with Cybele and was castrated by her for his refusal, is paralleled in the Indian story of Arjuna in the Mahabharata. Arjuna, the mighty warrior, was cursed with impotence by Urvasi because he refused to sleep with her. Indra reduced Arjuna's period of impotence to one year. He spent his year as a eunuch wearing drag and bearing the name Brihannada, a word play which might be rendered into English as "Bigdicca."
125 As exemplified by the eunuch temple servants of Ishtar mentioned on Babylonian clay tablets. For example, see Era IV, 55-56 in P.F. Gössmann, Das Era-Epos, Würzburg: Augustinus Verlag, 1956, pp. 28-29.
126 Seneca, On Anger, I 21. Latin: "... libido ... puerorum greges castrat ..."
127 Suetonius, Nero, 28.
128 Juvenal, Saturae X 306. Latin: "Nullus ephebum deformem saeva castravit in arce tyrannus..."
129 Lucian, Amores, 21. Greek: "tôn
d' arrenôn to arren ekkenôsantes heuron hêdonês
130 Ammianus Marcellinus XVIII 4.5.
131 Suetonius, Domitian, 7: "He prohibited the castration of males." Latin: "Castrari mares vetuit."
132 Martial IX 8.5-6, Latin: "idem qui teneris nuper succurrit ephebis, ne faceret steriles saeva libido viros"; and VI 2, Latin: "Lusus erat sacrae conubia fallere taedae, lusus et inmeritos exsecuisse mares. utraque tu prohibes, Caesar, populisque futuris succurris, nasci quod sine fraude iubes. nec spado iam nec moechus erit te praeside quisquam: at prius (o mores!) et spado moechus erat"; also IX 6.4 "boys mutilated for greed by the panderer's art will no longer lament the loss of their manhood," Latin: "... non puer avari sectus arte mangonis virilitatis damna maeret ereptae ..."
133 Statius, Silvae, IV 3. Translation is from Publius Papinius Statius, Silvae IV, edited with an English translation and commentary by K.M. Coleman, New York: Oxford University Press, 1988. Latin: "... fortem vetat interire sexum et censor prohibet mares adultos pulchrae supplicium timere formae."
134 Dio Cassius, LXVII 2.3. Greek: "... kai dia touto, kaiper kai autos Earinou tinos eunouchos erôn, homôs, epeidê kai ho Titos ischurôs peri tous ektomias espoudakei, apêgoreusen epi ekeinou hubrei mêdena eti en tê tôn Rômaiôn archê ektemnesthai." In the Loeb edition of Dio Cassius's Roman History (Cambridge, 1955), translator Earnest Cary obscured the distinction between ektomias and eunouchos by rendering both words as "eunuch," while rendering ektemnesthai as "to be castrated." In this way, Domitian's policy is made to seem hypocritical when it really is not.
135 Statius, Silvae, IV 3, see note 133 for source
136 Apollonius of Tyana I 42. Greek: "eunouchos te mê poiein ampelous te mê phuteuein, eti kai tas pephuteumenas d' autôn ekkoptein, lelêthe tôn men anthrôpôn pheidomenos, tên de gien eunouchizôn" (source: Maass, p. 436).
137 Digest, XLVIII 8.4.2. Latin: "... ne spadones fierint ..."
138 Novellae Constitutiones Iustiniani CXLII.
139 Novellae Constituiones Leonis LX.
140 Lex Salica XXIX 7: "Anyone who castrates a free man shall be judged liable for a penalty of 8000 denarii, which is equal to 200 soldi." Latin: "Si quis hominem ingenuum castraverit, 8000 dinarios qui faciunt solidos 200, culpabilis iudicetur."
141 Lex Visigothorum III 5.5. Latin: "Masculorum ergo concubitores, vel qui talia consentientes pertulerint, ista sunt legis huius sententia feriendi: ut ubi scilicet mox tale nefas admissum iudex evidentier investigaverit, utrosque continuo castrare procuret."
142 Lex Visigothorum III 5.6. Latin: "Et
i deo huius legis edicto decernimus, ut quicumque amodo vel deinceps, seu
de religiosis, sive ex laicis cuiuslibet aetatis aut generis homo praescripto
fuerit scelere quibuscumque indiciis manifeste detectus, mox iubente principe,
vel quolibet iudici insistente, non solum castrationem virium perferat,
sed insuper illam in se iacturum excipiat ultionis, quam pro his causis
nuper, in anno videlicet tertio regni nostri, sacerdotalis decreti promulgata
sententia evidenti perscriptione depromit."
143 Shaun Marmon, Eunuchs and Sacred Boundaries in Islamic Societies, New York: Oxford University Press, 1995, pp. 31 and following.
144 "The palaces and big families used to employ those persons who were completely dissected and those who were impotent ... Preference was given to those who were dissected because an impotent is likely to get the power in due course, isn't it? And, as we carry testimonials for our job -- so the eunuch had to carry the dissected male organ. They presented it in a glass jar -- with a splint. And whenever they went for employment, they had to produce that." This is part of an historical explanation provided by a detective in Delhi, quoted in Zia Jaffrey, The Invisibles: A Tale of the Eunuchs of India, New York: Pantheon Books, 1996, p. 124-128. "The source of his information, he said, came partly from his own experience, and partly from 'one of our elders,' a former police commissioner in the 1930's, Mr. Sayyid Majidullah, who had written a book on the eunuchs of Hyderabad -- an official bound tome in the Police Department."
145 Marmon, pp. 63-66. Marmon claims the "written creation of a sacred image for the eunuchs was the work of ... [Sunni religious] scholars," but this is incorrect. There is a long history of sacred status for eunuchs and other transgendered persons, as I and many others have shown.
146 Marmon, p. 63.
147 Marmon, p. 62. Subki's chapter on eunuchs is Chapter 28 of Subki's Mu'id an-ni'am wa mubid an-nikam.
148 Cengiz Orhonlu, "Khasi," in The Encyclopaedia
of Islam, vol. 4, ed. by H.A.R. Gibb et al., Leiden: Brill, 1960,
149 Kathryn M. Ringrose, "Living in the Shadows: Eunuchs and Gender in Byzantium," in Third Sex, Third Gender: Beyond Sexual Dimorphism in Culture and History, ed. by Gilbert Herdt, New York: Zone Books, 1996, p. 86.
150 Ringrose, p. 92.
151 Ringrose, p. 93. The original Greek for Adamantios's Physiognomy II 3 is: "Eunouchois tois ek fuseôs kakiô sêmeia estin ê tois allois anthrôpois, kai hôs to polu eisin ômofrones, doleroi, kakourgoi, heteroi de heterôn mallon. tôn de tomiôn eunouchôn enia metaballei hama tê tomê sêmeia, [to] de pleion tês suggenous fuseôs emmenei."
152 Gilbert Herdt, Same Sex, Different Cultures:
Gays and Lesbians Across Cultures, Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1997,