Eunuchs and Castrati: A Cultural History

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Markus Wiener Publishers, 2001 - History - 327 pages
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This fascinating study of eunuchs guides readers as they travel through various lands and periods, familiarizing themselves with the duties and responsibilities, the unspeakable torments and the passions and joys of these individuals. Eunuchs were not simply bedchamber attendants, as the Greek term suggests. Nor were they always slaves. They could just as well be ascetics, priests, magicians, scholars, physicians, military commanders, admirals or senior officials at the courts of both eastern and western rulers. In the Byzantine empire, the only office they were precluded from attaining was that of emperor.

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