European illustration of one of the "white eunuchs" of the Ottoman Sultan's court (1749)

A eunuch (play /ˈjuːnək/; Greek: Ευνούχος) is a person born male most commonly castrated, typically early enough in his life for this change to have major hormonal consequences. (Less commonly, in translations of ancient texts, "eunuch" may refer to a man who is not castrated but who is impotent or celibate.)

Castration was typically carried out on the soon-to-be eunuch without his consent in order that he might perform a specific social function; this was common in many societies. The earliest records for intentional castration to produce eunuchs are from the Sumerian city of Lagash in the 21st century BC.[1][2] Over the millennia since, they have performed a wide variety of functions in many different cultures: courtiers or equivalent domestics, treble singers, religious specialists, government officials, military commanders, and guardians of women or harem servants.


Etymology and origins

The English word eunuch is from the Greek eune ("bed") and ekhein ("to keep"), effectively "bed keeper".

Eunuchs would probably be servants or slaves who, because of their function, had been castrated, usually in order to make them reliable servants of a royal court where physical access to the ruler could wield great influence. 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 (e.g., chancellor originally denoted a servant guarding the entrance to an official's study). Eunuchs supposedly did not generally have loyalties to the military, the aristocracy, nor 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]

In Latin, the words eunuchus, spado, and castratus were used to denote eunuchs.[3]

Eunuchs by region and epoch

Ancient Middle East

Eunuchs were familiar figures in the Assyrian Empire (ca. 850 till 622 BC) in the court of the Egyptian Pharaohs (down to the Lagid dynasty known as Ptolemies, ending with Cleopatra). Political eunuchism became a fully established institution among the Achamenide Persians.[4]

Ancient Greece, Rome and Byzantium

The practice was also well established in Europe among the Greeks and Romans, although a role as court functionaries 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, enjoyed great influence in the Imperial Court (see Eusebius and Eutropius). Eunuchs were believed loyal and indispensable.[citation needed]

However, it was not uncommon for wives to sleep with partially castrated eunuchs (those whose testicles were removed or rendered inactive only) whose sexual competence persisted for some time after the castration, hence the bitter epigram: "Do you ask, Panychus, why your Caelia only consorts with eunuchs? Caelia wants the flowers of marriage – not the fruit." [5]

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.[6] Under Justinian in the 6th century, the eunuch Narses functioned as a successful general in a number of campaigns.

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, Peter the caid, was prime minister.


Records of eunuchs in China date to the Shang dynasty, when the Shang kings castrated prisoners of war.[7] In China, castration included removal of the penis as well as the testicles. Both organs were cut off with a knife at the same time.[8][9][10][11] Men sentenced to castration were turned into eunuch slaves of the Qin dynasty state perform forced labor for projects such as the Terracotta Army.[12] The Qin government confiscated the property and enslaved the families of rapists who received castration as a punishment.[13] Men punished with castration during the Han dynasty were also used as slave labor.[14]

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. 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. 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 it being made illegal. During the early Ming period, China demanded to send the eunuchs as tribute to Korea, where some of them oversaw the Korean concubines in the harem of the Chinese Emperor.[15][16]

When the Ming army finally captured Yunnan from Mongols in 1382, thousands of prisoners were killed and, according to the custom in times of war, their young sons – including Zheng He – were castrated.[17][18] During the Miao Rebellions (Ming Dynasty), Chinese commanders castrated thousands of Miao boys when their tribes revolted, and then gave them as slaves to various officials.[18]

The sons and grandsons of the 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 serving as a eunuch slave to Chinese troops, when they reached 11 years old, and handed over to the Imperial Household to be executed or castrated.[19][20][21] 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.[22]

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.[23]

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 alternate political will of the bureaucracy. The clash between them would thus have been a clash of ideologies or political agenda.[24]

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.


The eunuchs of Korea, called Naesi (내시, 內侍), 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).[25]

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.[25] The naesi system was repealed in 1894 following Gabo reform.

Early on, castration consisted of daubing a boy's genitals with human feces and having a dog bite them off.[26] During the Yuan Dynasty, eunuchs became a desirable commodity for tributes, and dog bites were replaced by more sophisticated surgical techniques.[27]

Ottoman Empire

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

In the Middle Eastern empires, eunuchs were typically slaves imported from outside the Islamic domains. A fair proportion of male slaves were imported as eunuchs.[28]

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 Africans who served the concubines and officials in the Harem together with chamber maidens of low rank. The White Eunuchs were Europeans from the Balkans. 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 the Harem and a perfect 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.[29]

The eunuchs in the Ottoman Empire were created mainly at one Coptic monastery, at Abou Gerbe monastery on Mount Ghebel Eter. The Coptic priests sliced the penis and testicles off Nubian or Abyssinian slave boys around the age of eight.[30] 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 and after slicing their sexual organs off, stuck a piece of bamboo into the genital area, 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.[31][32][33]

Indian subcontinent

Eunuchs in Indian royalty

Eunuchs were frequently employed in Imperial Indian palaces as servants for female royalty, and often attained high-status positions in Indian society. 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, ability to provide protection for ladies' palaces and trustworthiness, allowing eunuchs 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.[34][35]

As a result of the number of high-status job openings available for eunuchs, poor families often converted one of their sons into a eunuch and had him work in the imperial palaces to create a steady source of revenue for the family and ensure a comfortable lifestyle for the son. This practice of castration was banned throughout the Empire in 1668 by Aurangzeb, but continued covertly.

The hijra of South Asia

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, a Hindi and Urdu term traditionally translated into English as "eunuch", actually refers to what modern Westerners would call male-to-female transgender people and effeminate homosexuals (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 (a unisexdress worn by both men and women in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh) and wear heavy make-up. They typically live in the margins of society, face discrimination[36] and earn their living in various ways, e.g., by coming uninvited at weddings, births, new shop openings and other major family events and singing until they are paid or given gifts to go away.[37] The ceremony is supposed to bring good luck and fertility, while the curse of an unappeased hijra is feared by many. Other sources of income for the hijra are begging and prostitution. The begging is accompanied by singing and dancing and the hijras usually get the money easily. 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, and embarrass them into paying.[38] Recently, hijras have started to found organizations to improve their social condition and fight discrimination. There has even been a wave of hijra entering politics and being elected to high political positions. In the epic Mahabaratha of India, Arjuna, one of the five heroes – a person who is originally a handsome man, warrior and great archer – becomes Brihannala, disguised as a hijra, when the five spend their last year of exile in the kingdom of Virata. Brihannala/Arjuna lived among the palace women as a teacher of song and dance.[citation needed]

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 Cybele goddess found in later Anatolia and other parts of the near East.[39] Later Roman followers of Cybele, were called Galli, who practiced ritual self-castration, known as sanguinaria.[39]

The practice of religious castration continued into the Christian era, with members of the early church castrating themselves for religious purposes,[40] although the extent and even the existence of this practice among Christians is subject to debate.[41] The early theologian Origen found scriptural justification for the practice in Matthew 19:12,[42] where Jesus says, "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.[43] Quoting from the cited book:[43] "...Tertullian takes 'spado' to mean virgin...". The meaning of spado in late antiquity can be interpreted as a metaphor for celibacy, however Tertullian's specifically refers to St. Paul as being castrated.[43]

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[44] and the Ali of southern India, of whom at least some are.[45]

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.[46] Several members of the 20th century Heaven's Gate cult were found to have been castrated, apparently voluntarily and for the same reasons.[47]

Eunuchs in the Bible

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.[48][49] 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 eunuch.

The reference to "eunuchs" in Matthew 19:12 has been considered by some Christians as referring to homosexual men, particularly in the case of those eunuchs "so born from their mother's womb".[50][51] Some other Christians oppose this argument and state that the Bible's use of the word "eunuch" refers strictly to men incapable of sexual intercourse or reproduction, through either birth defect or castration.

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. Such eunuchs were known as castrati. Unfortunately the choice had to be made at an age when the boy would not yet be able to consciously choose whether to sacrifice his reproductive capabilities, and there was no guarantee that the voice would remain of musical excellence after the operation.

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 recording of a castrato singer documents the voice of Alessandro Moreschi, the last eunuch in the Sistine Chapel choir, who died in 1922.

Non-castrated eunuchs

According to Byzantine historian Kathryn Ringrose,[52] while the pagans of Classical Antiquity based their notions of gender in general and eunuchs in particular on physiology (the genitalia), the Byzantine Christians based them on behaviour and more specifically procreation. Hence, by Late Antiquity the term "eunuch" had come to be applied not only to castrated men, but also to a wide range of men with comparable behavior, who had "chosen to withdraw from worldly activities and thus refused to procreate".[53] The broad sense of the term "eunuch" is reflected in the compendium of Roman law created by Justinian I in the 6th century known as the Digest or Pandects. That text distinguishes between two types of eunuchs – spadones (a general term denoting "one who has no generative power, an impotent person, whether by nature or by castration",[54] D 50.16.128) and castrati (castrated males, physically incapable of procreation). Spadones are eligible to marry women (D, institute posthumous heirs (D 28.2.6), and adopt children (Institutions of Justinian 1.11.9), unless they are castrati.

Eunuchs in the contemporary world

The hijra of India (see above) may number as many as 2,000,000,[55] and are usually described as eunuchs, although they may be closer to male-to-female transsexual people, 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.

The most commonly castrated men are advanced prostate cancer patients. In the United States alone there are more than 200,000 new cases of prostate cancer diagnosed each year. It is estimated that over 80,000 of these men will be surgically or chemically castrated within six months of diagnosis.[56] With the average life expectancy after castration, there are approximately a half million chemically or surgically castrated prostate cancer patients at any time in the U.S. alone.[citation needed] While most of these men would deny the term "eunuch," they meet all physiological characteristics of post-pubertal eunuchs. Some do, however, embrace the term for the historic and psychological grounding that it gives them.[57][58]

Convicted sex offenders who have been castrated are rare; although there is debate as to whether the drastic reduction of testosterone and the consequent diminishing of libido might have an effect on recidivism.[59]

The most common group that actually embraces the term "eunuch" are the contemporary voluntary eunuchs, who number 7,000 to 10,000 in North America, with many more around the world.[60][61][62] Many of these are males who have a Male-to-Eunuch Gender Dysphoria. While they are born with male genitalia, their brain tells them that they are not male, but neither are they female. They seek castration to align their bodies with their brain sex. A second large group of the contemporary eunuchs have a Body Integrity Identity Disorder. This occurs when the brain does not accept the presence of some specific body part.

Notable eunuchs

In chronological order.

  • Shikhandi (30th century BCE) was used to guard Arjun during the Mahabharata so that Bhishma would not fight a eunuch ultimately leading to defeat of Bhishma
  • Aspamistres or Mithridates (5th century BCE): bodyguard of Xerxes I of Persia, and (with Artabanus) his murderer.
  • Artoxares: an envoy of Artaxerxes I and Darius II of Persia.
  • Bagoas (4th century BCE): prime minister of king Artaxerxes III of Persia, and his assassin. (Bagoas is an old Persian word meaning eunuch.)
  • Bagoas (4th century BCE): a favorite of Alexander the Great. Influential in changing Alexander's attitude toward Persians and therefore in the king's policy decision to try to integrate the conquered peoples fully into his Empire as loyal subjects. He thereby paved the way for the relative success of Alexander's Seleucid successors and greatly enhanced the diffusion of Greek culture to the East.
  • Philetaerus (4th/3rd century BCE): founder of the Attalid dynasty of Pergamum
  • Sima Qian (old romanization Ssu-ma Chi'en; 2nd/1st century BCE): the first person to have practiced modern historiography – gathering and analyzing both primary and secondary sources in order to write his monumental history of the Chinese empire.
  • Ganymedes (1st century BCE): highly capable adviser and general of Cleopatra VII's sister and rival, Princess Arsinoe. Unsuccessfully attacked Julius Caesar three times at Alexandria.
  • Pothinus (1st century BCE): regent for pharaoh Ptolemy XII.
  • Unidentified eunuch of the Ethiopian court (1st century CE), described in The Acts of the Apostles (chapter 8). Philip the Evangelist, one of the original seven deacons, is directed by the Holy Spirit to catch up to the eunuch's chariot and hears him reading from the Book of Isaiah (chapter 53). Philip believed the section prophesies Jesus' crucifixion, which Philip described to the eunuch. The eunuch was baptized shortly thereafter. That passage in Acts is the first recorded case of the conversion of someone who had presumably been marginalized for gender reasons.
  • Cai Lun (old romanization Ts'ai Lun; 1st/2nd century CE): reasonable evidence exists to suggest that he was truly the inventor of paper. At the very least, he established the importance of paper and standardized its manufacture in the Chinese empire.
  • Origen: early Christian theologian, allegedly castrated himself based on his reading of the Gospel of Matthew 19:12 (For there are eunuchs, who were born so from their mother's womb: and there are eunuchs, who were made so by men: and there are eunuchs, who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven. He that can take, let him take it.). Despite the fact that the early Christian theologian Tertullian wrote that Jesus was a eunuch, there is no corroboration in any other early source. (The Skoptsy did, however, believe it to be true.) Tertullian also wrote that he knew, personally, the author[citation needed] of the Gospel of Matthew, and that he was a eunuch. Again, this is not attested elsewhere, nor is the account of Origen's self-castration.
  • Eutropius (5th century CE): only eunuch known to have attained the highly distinguished and very influential position of Roman Consul.
  • Chrysaphius: chief minister of Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius II, architect of imperial policy towards the Huns.
  • Narses (478–573): general of Byzantine emperor Justinian I, responsible for destroying the Ostrogoths in 552 at the Battle of Taginae in Italy and saving Rome for the empire.
  • Solomon: general and governor of Africa under Justinian I
  • Staurakios: chief associate and minister of the Byzantine empress Irene of Athens
  • Ignatius of Constantinople (799–877): twice Patriarch of Constantinople during troubled political times [847–858 and 867–877]. First absolutely unquestioned eunuch saint, recognized by both the Orthodox and Roman Churches. (There are a great many early saints who were probably eunuchs, though few either as influential nor unquestioned as to their castration.)
  • Joseph Bringas: chief minister of the Byzantine Empire under Romanos II (959-963).
  • Jia Xian (c. 1010- c. 1070): Chinese mathematician, Invented the Jia Xian triangle for the calculation of square roots and cube roots.
  • Ly Thuong Kiet (1019–1105): general during the Lý Dynasty in Vietnam. Penned what is considered the first Vietnamese declaration of independence. Regarded as a Vietnamese national hero.
  • Pierre Abélard (1079–1142): French scholastic philosopher and theologian. Forcibly castrated by his girlfriend's uncle while in bed .
  • Malik Kafur (fl. 1296–1316): a eunuch slave who became a general in the army of Alauddin Khilji, ruler of the Delhi sultanate.
  • Zheng He (1371–1433): famous admiral who led huge Chinese fleets of exploration around the Indian Ocean.
  • Judar Pasha (late 16th century): a Spanish eunuch who became the head of the Moroccan invasion force into the Songhai Empire.
  • Carlo Broschi, called Farinelli (1705–82): renowned Italian castrato.
  • Kim Cheo-seon: one of the most famous eunuchs in Korean Joseon Dynasty, ably served kings in the Joseon dynasty. His life is now the subject of a historical drama in South Korea.
  • Mohammad Khan Qajar: chief of the Qajar tribe. He became the King/Shah of Persia in 1794 and established the Qajar dynasty.
  • Shu Diao: intrigant eunuch who was responsible of a successor civil war in the feudal state of Qi
  • Zhao Gao: favourite of Qin Shihuangdi, who plotted against Li Si (died 210 BC)
  • Zhang Rang: head of the infamous "10 Changshi" (Ten attendants) of Eastern Han Dynasty
  • Huang Hao: eunuch in the state of Shu; also appears in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms
  • Cen Hun: eunuch in the state of Wu during the Three Kingdoms Period
  • Gao Lishi: a loyal and trusted friend of Tang emperor Xuanzong
  • Le Van Duyet: famous 18th century Vietnamese eunuch, military strategist and government official (not a true eunuch, he was born a hermaphrodite)
  • Li Fuguo: The Tang eunuch who began another era of eunuch rule
  • Yu Chao'en: Tang eunuch who began his "career" as army supervisor
  • Wang Zhen: first Ming eunuch with much power, see Tumu Crisis
  • Gang Bing: patron saint of eunuchs in China who castrated himself to demonstrate his loyalty to emperor Yongle
  • Yishiha: admiral in charge of expeditions down the Amur River under the Yongle and Xuande Emperors
  • Liu Jin: a well-known eunuch despot
  • Wei Zhongxian: most infamous eunuch in Chinese history
  • An Dehai: corrupt eunuch of Qing Dynasty – favorite of Empress Dowager Cixi
  • Li Lianying: a despotic eunuch of the Qing Dynasty
  • Boston Corbett (1832 – presumed dead 1894): who killed John Wilkes Booth, castrated himself to avoid temptation from prostitutes
  • Sun Yaoting (1902–1996): last surviving imperial eunuch of Chinese history


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  18. ^ a b Shih-shan Henry Tsai (1996). The eunuchs in the Ming dynasty. SUNY Press. p. 16. ISBN 0791426874. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  19. ^ Translations of the Peking Gazette. 1880. p. 83.,+be+delivered+imperial+household+made+eunuchs+slaves+to+soldiery+turkestan#v=onepage&q=whether%20they%20have%20attained%20full%20age%20or%20not%2C%20be%20delivered%20imperial%20household%20made%20eunuchs%20slaves%20to%20soldiery%20turkestan&f=false. Retrieved 2011-05-12. 
  20. ^ The American annual cyclopedia and register of important events of the year ..., Volume 4. D. Appleton and Company. 1888. p. 145.,+be+delivered+imperial+household+made+eunuchs+slaves+to+soldiery+turkestan#v=onepage&q&f=false. Retrieved 2011-05-12. 
  21. ^ Appletons' annual cyclopedia and register of important events: Embracing political, military, and ecclesiastical affairs; public documents; biography, statistics, commerce, finance, literature, science, agriculture, and mechanical industry, Volume 19. Appleton. 1886. p. 145.,+be+delivered+imperial+household+made+eunuchs+slaves+to+soldiery+turkestan#v=onepage&q&f=false. Retrieved 2011-05-12. 
  22. ^ Peter Tompkins (1963). The eunuch and the virgin: a study of curious customs. C. N. Potter. p. 32. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  23. ^ For an extended discussion see Mitamura Taisuke,Chinese Eunuchs: The Structure of Intimate Politics tr.Charles A.Pomeroy,Tokyo 1970, a short, condensed version of Mitamura's original book =三田村泰助, 宦官, Chuko Shinsho, Tokyo 1963
  24. ^ Huang, Ray (1981). 1587, A Year of No Significance: The Ming Dynasty in Decline. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-02518-1. 
  25. ^ a b (Korean) 내시 - 네이버 백과사전
  26. ^ Peter McAllister (2010). Manthropology: The Science of Why the Modern Male Is Not the Man He Used to Be. Macmillan. p. 280. ISBN 0312555431.,+however,+had+it+worst+of+all.+In+ancient+times+they+were+castrated+by+having+their+genitals+smeared+with+human+feces+and+then+being+exposed+to+packs+of+hungry+dogs#v=onepage&q=Korean%20eunuchs%2C%20however%2C%20had%20it%20worst%20of%20all.%20In%20ancient%20times%20they%20were%20castrated%20by%20having%20their%20genitals%20smeared%20with%20human%20feces%20and%20then%20being%20exposed%20to%20packs%20of%20hungry%20dogs&f=false. Retrieved 2011-01-11. 
  27. ^ Gwyn Campbell, Suzanne Miers, Joseph Calder Miller (2009). Children in slavery through the ages. Ohio University Press. p. 137. ISBN 0821418777. Retrieved 2011-01-11. 
  28. ^ Lewis. Race and Slavery in the Middle East, Oxford Univ Press 1994.
  29. ^ Lad, Jateen. "Panoptic Bodies. Black Eunuchs in the Topkapi Palace", Scroope: Cambridge Architecture Journal, No.15, 2003, pp.16–20.
  30. ^ Henry G. Spooner (1919). The American journal of urology and sexology, Volume 15. The Grafton Press. p. 522. Retrieved 2011-01-11. "In the Turkish Empire most of the eunuchs are furnished by the monaster)' Abou-Gerbe in Upper Egypt where the Coptic priests castrate Nubian and Abyssinian boys at about eight years of age and afterward sell them to the Turkish market. The Coptic priests perform the "complete" operation, that is, they cut away the whole scrotum, testes and penis."
  31. ^ Northwestern lancet, Volume 17. s.n.. 1897. p. 467. Retrieved 2011-01-11. 
  32. ^ John O. Hunwick, Eve Troutt Powell (2002). The African diaspora in the Mediterranean lands of Islam. Markus Wiener Publishers. p. 100. ISBN 1558762752. Retrieved 2011-01-11. 
  33. ^ American Medical Association (1898). The Journal of the American Medical Association, Volume 30, Issues 1-13. American Medical Association. p. 176. Retrieved 2011-01-11. 
  34. ^ "Akbar-Birbal Anecdotes". Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  35. ^ "Ghilmans and Eunuchs". Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  36. ^ Ravaging the Vulnerable: Abuses Against Persons at High Risk of HIV Infection in Bangladesh, Human Rights Watch, August 2003. Report online.
    See also: Peoples Union of Civil Liberties (Karnataka) Report on Human Rights Violations Against the Transgender Community, released in September 2003. Reported in Being a Eunuch, By Siddarth Narrain, for Frontline, 14 October 2003.
  37. ^ Eunuchs 'cut off man's penis'. By Baldev Chauhan, BBC correspondent in Himachal Pradesh. BBC News. Thursday, 24 July 2003.
  38. ^ "Dancing eunuchs taxing red-faced shopkeepers. Reuters. November 10, 2006". Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  39. ^ a b Roller, Lynn (1999). In search of god the mother. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520210240. 
  40. ^ Caner, Daniel (1997). "The Practice and Prohibition of Self-Castration in Early Christianity". Vigiliae Christianae (Brill) 51 (4): 396–415. doi:10.1163/157007297X00291. JSTOR 1583869. 
  41. ^ Hester, David (2005). "Eunuchs and the Postgender Jesus: Matthew 19:12 and Transgressive Sexualities". Journal for the Study of the New Testament (Sage Publications) 28 (1): 13–40. doi:10.1177/0142064X05057772. 
  42. ^ Frend, W. H. C., The Rise of Christianity, Fortress Press, Philadelphia, 1984, p. 374, which in footnote 45 cites Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica VI.8.2
  43. ^ a b c Moxnes, By Halvor (2004). Putting Jesus in his place. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 85. ISBN 9780664223106. 
  44. ^ "Yellamma cult of India". Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  45. ^ "The Mystery of the Threshold: "Ali" of Southern India". 2006-11-25. Archived from the original on 2006-11-25. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  46. ^ Christel, Lane (1978). Christian religion in the Soviet Union. State University of New York Press. p. 94. ISBN 9780873953276. 
  47. ^ "Some members of suicide cult castrated, CNN, March 28, 1997". 1997-03-28. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  48. ^ The Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon at Heartlight.
  49. ^ EUNUCH Biblical at Gender Tree.
  50. ^ Faris Malik. "Thesis: Eunuchs are Gay Men". 
  51. ^ Mattai "the Preacher" (2003-2009). "Is the Bible Against Homosexuality?". 
  52. ^ "Wells, Collin. Review of The Perfect Servant: Eunuchs and the Social Construction of Gender in Byzantium, 2003 by Kathryn M. Ringrose". Retrieved 2006-10-21. 
  53. ^ "Review of Herdt, Gilbert (ed.) (1994) Third Sex, Third Gender: Beyond Sexual Dimorphism in Culture and History". Retrieved 2006-10-21. 
  54. ^ "Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary". Retrieved 2006-10-21. 
  55. ^ Reddy, Gayatri, With Respect to Sex: Negotiating Hijra Identity in South India, 310 pp., University of Chicago Press, 2005 ISBN 0226707555 (see p. 8)
  56. ^ Shaninian, Vahakn B., et al. (2006), Determinants of Androgen Deprivation Therapy Use for Prostate Cancer: Role of the Urologist. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, vol. 98, pp. 839–45
  57. ^ Wassersug, Richard J. (2007 ), Disfiguring Treatment? No, It Was Healing. The New York Times, March 27
  58. ^ Wassersug, Richard J. (2003). Castration anxiety. OUT, September 2003, pp. 66–72.
  59. ^ Wille, Reinhard & Klaus M. Beier (1989), Castration in Germany. Annals of Sex Research, vol. 2, pp. 103–33
  60. ^ Johnson, Thomas W, et al. (2007). "Eunuchs in contemporary society: Characterizing men who are voluntarily castrated" (Part I). Journal of Sexual Medicine, vol. 4, pp. 930–945
  61. ^ Brett, Michelle A, et al. (2007). "Eunuchs in contemporary society: Expectations, consequences, and adjustments to "(Part II). Journal of Sexual Medicine, vol. 4, pp. 946–955
  62. ^ Roberts, Lesley F, et al. (2008). "A passion for castration: Characterizing men who are fascinated with castration, but have not been castrated." Journal of Sexual Medicine, vol. 5, pp. 1669–1680

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Eunuch — Sm Entmannter, Haremswächter erw. exot. (16. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus l. eunūchus, dieses aus gr. eunoũchos Kämmerer , eigentlich Bettschützer , zu gr. eunḗ f. Bett und gr. óchos Träger, Halter , zu gr. échein halten . Da die Aufsicht über… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • Eunuch — Eu nuch, Eunuchate Eu nuch*ate, v. t. [L. eunuchare.] To make a eunuch of; to castrate. as a man. Creech. Sir. T. Browne. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • eunuch — [yo͞o′nək] n. [ME eunuk < L eunuchus < Gr eunouchos, guardian of the bed, chamberlain, eunuch < eunē, bed + echein, to have, hold: see SCHEME] 1. a castrated man in charge of a harem or employed as a chamberlain or high officer in the… …   English World dictionary

  • Eunuch — Eu nuch, n. [L. eunuchus, Gr. ?, prop., keeping or guarding the couch; ? couch, bed, + ? to have, hold, keep.] A male of the human species castrated; commonly, one of a class of such persons, in Oriental countries, having charge of the women s… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Eunūch — (griech., Verschnittener, Entmannter, Kastrat), im allgemeinen ein der Hoden, auch wohl des Penis beraubter, somit zur Zeugung unfähiger Mann (s. Kastration), im engern Sinn ein Verschnittener, dem im Orient die Obhut über den Harem anvertraut… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Eunuch — Eunūch (grch., »Betthüter«), s.v.w. Kastrat, insbes. die Verschnittenen, die im Orient die Harems bewachen …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Eunuch — Eunuch, griech., eigentlich Betthüter, Verschnittener, Wächter im Harem …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Eunuch — Eunuch,der:⇨Entmannte …   Das Wörterbuch der Synonyme

  • eunuch — late 14c., from M.Fr. eunuque and directly from L. eunuchus, from Gk. eunoukhos castrated man, originally guard of the bedchamber or harem, from euno , comb. form of eune bed, of unknown origin, + okhos, from stem of ekhein to have, hold (see… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Eunuch — Eunuch: Die Bezeichnung für »(entmannter) Haremswächter« wurde im 18. Jh. aus lat. eunuchus griech. eun ūchos »Kämmerer« (eigentlich »Betthalter, schützer«) entlehnt. Bestimmungswort ist das etymologisch ungeklärte Substantiv griech. eunē̓… …   Das Herkunftswörterbuch

  • eunuch — {{/stl 13}}{{stl 8}}rz. mos IIb a. IIIc, lm M. owie || y {{/stl 8}}{{stl 7}} mężczyzna, któremu usunięto jądra; kastrat, rzezaniec <gr.> {{/stl 7}} …   Langenscheidt Polski wyjaśnień

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