In those old times, when in Assyria, Persia and Babylon really powerful civilizations were just beginning to emerge, rulers already existed. Each of them surrounded himself and his yard with the best things that he could get for money. But not only luxury items testified to the greatness of the sovereign. The number of women is the main sign of success, which was considered the benchmark in those times.
The harems of some ancient masters were truly enormous. It often happened that the concubine never personally met with her master, having been there for several years. Of course, the female team in such conditions was replete with intrigues and squabbles that needed to be somehow suppressed.
It was then that the position of the caretaker of the harem appeared. Eunuch - who is this? Translated from the Greek word means "guardian of the bed", which fully reflects the essence of the work of this person. The eunuchs took the post only castrated boys who did not pose a threat to the “living capital” of the ruler, being physically unable to encroach on the honor of the beauties who lived in the harem.
In addition, the main eunuch often became the second most important figure in the state, as the ruler often indulged his loyal servant, who was responsible for the selection of girls.
Where did they come from?
It is believed that in those days only prisoners of war or criminals sentenced to such an extent for rape and fornication were seduced. Of course, it is not. Of course, these categories of eunuchs really were, only they were used exclusively in the form of slaves who did the hardest and dirtiest work. Since they were deprived of male dignity, the owner could not be afraid for slaves.
But such a worker is not a eunuch. Who is this in the classic sense? Where did the candidates for such work come from? There were two ways.
First of all, a merchant could purchase a slave boy at the bazaar and cast him himself or use the services of doctors who specialized in that. By the way, in many countries that used the work of eunuchs, whole families of medics were sometimes engaged in castration.
Secondly, the merchant could have acquired the already besieged youth. Whatever it was, but later he sold such a profitable product to the court of the next ruler. They always needed asexual servants serving the sultan's harem.
But not always eunuchs became slaves. In the same ancient China, fathers often gave their sons to healers themselves. And it's not inhuman cruelty: out of 10-15 siblings in a family to the childbearing age, three survived at best. Mortality due to castration in the countries with developed medicine rarely exceeded 1-3%. The young man who passed the procedure found himself at the court of the ruler, where he had never tolerated poverty and misery.
So who is a eunuch in a harem? Theoretically, the servant who was supposed to entertain the royal concubines and to serve them. In reality, it often turned out that he took over all power, not only in the harem, but throughout the country.
Many believe that eunuchs were tormented by impotence, looking at naked female bodies. This is true if we talk about men, besieged after puberty. If the boy was castrated at the age of 10-12 years, then the result was a completely asexual man who had no sexual desire for women at all.
Especially common were such eunuchs in the Ottoman Empire: the harems there were huge, and the sultans were extremely doubtful. They could not even allow the likelihood of an attempt on their own bed, and therefore acquired only the "right" castrati.
However, there were whole families, deliberately delivering their sons to the court. Each eunuch had very good content. Old eunuchs often lived better than many courtiers, sometimes holding in their hands the reins of government (the sultan's harem is a great place for intrigue).
In ancient China, however, the custom was widespread, according to which the eunuchs attached to their place by relatives were obliged to help them. If we take into account that several eunuchs close to the court could have come from one genus at once, many Chinese surnames had no other sources of income besides the “trenches” from their snarled relatives.
Family life eunuchs
Another interesting fact. Often, eunuchs even started a family, and they adopted only boys of their own kind. In this case, the child could not worry about the safety of their genitals, as the "father" was concerned about the presence of a full-fledged heir. Needless to say, the relatives offered up boys to such adoptive parents. The history of eunuchs knows even the cases of the fact that they adopted the illegal sons of their ruler (and even legal ones).
And again China. Since the Chinese religion says that a person must be whole at the time of transition to another world, eunuchs had to keep their genitals in a special casket. Often, its contents were shown to employers. After the death of the eunuch, the precious box was buried with him. It was believed that in the afterlife the body parts would be reunited with each other.
So, before joining the path of the “custodian of the lodge,” the boy or youth waited for castration. Just distinguished three varieties of this action. In the first case, the genitalia were removed completely. In the second, only the penis was removed. In the third, the eunuch boy lost his testes.
By the way, the operations of the second type of classical "guardians of the bed" just did not subjected. So punished criminals: deprived of the penis, but having testicles, responsible for the production of testosterone, the unfortunate tormented, being unable to perform sexual intercourse. Such workers in the harem were obviously no good.
But the third-type eunuchs, with a preserved penis, were very much quoted among the inhabitants of the harem. Since a certain amount of testosterone could produce the adrenal glands, an erection persisted, and therefore the eunuch could easily perform sexual acts. Rave reviews concubines said that such a servant could make love for hours. In addition, there was no risk of getting pregnant. In general, the life of eunuchs in this case was simply fabulously good.
But these eunuchs were rare in harems, since most of the time only “smooth” eunuchs were taken to the service. Why smooth? Soon we will tell about it, but first it is worthwhile to dwell directly on the technology of castration.
Suffering on the operating table
Whatever method was used when casting spells, the pain was terrible. With two types of castration, associated with the removal of all genitalia or only the penis, a bamboo tube or a piece of a goose feather was inserted into the wound, as this prevented urethral overgrowth in the postoperative period. Inventive Chinese even established the production of artificial rubber penises, which allowed the wives of castrati to experience all the pleasures of family life.
The English scientist Carter Stent already in the 19th century revealed to the world all the horrors of this inhuman procedure, describing in detail the course of its implementation. For two days before the castration, the future eunuch did not drink or eat. On the day of the operation, the person took a hot bath, and he needed a good wash. Then, the upper thighs and lower abdomen were tightly bandaged in order to prevent excessively heavy bleeding. The removed parts were washed three times with a special hot infusion.
After this, the doctor once again asked the candidate for eunuchs or his relatives about consent to the operation, after which, having received an affirmative answer, he abruptly and quickly cut off the genitals. To do this, he used a small curved knife, which was shaped like a sickle.
The postoperative period
The wound was immediately closed with a sheet of paper soaked in cold water and was tightly bandaged. But the torment did not end there: two people raised the eunuch under his arms, after which, supporting him, they made him walk in a circle for two hours. Only after that could a person lie down. He was also forbidden to drink and eat for the next three days. The torment was monstrous. This is how the eunuchs were castrated.
Only on the fourth day the bandage was removed, after which the new eunuch finally could urinate ... or could not. If the urine passed through the urethra normally, everything was fine. Otherwise, the person was not a tenant: the stagnation of urine led to a rupture of the bladder and painful death from peritonitis. So not one eunuch died (who you are, you already know).
Effects of the operation
There were many of them, and all of them had a negative effect on health. People slowed down the metabolism, completely changed the character. The old eunuchs were flabby and had an extremely grumpy and hysterical character. Almost 90% of eunuchs were ardent fans of smoking opium or strong alcohol. They were all incredible courtiers, cruel, cunning and completely ruthless.
The operation often led to problems with urination. Almost all eunuchs had to constantly carry a silver tube, which was inserted into the urethra before urination. Very often, an infection was introduced into the urethra, which resulted in incontinence. Contemporaries recall that it was often possible to recognize the eunuch's approach even in complete darkness, since it was unbearably carried by ammonia from it.
Finally, the man became "smooth." Since the metabolism was hopelessly flawed, he quickly became fat. His skin was thin, stretched and flabby, all the hair on his head and in the perineum fell out. The voice, because of the larynx remaining in place, remained thin and high. According to the conversation, the eunuch was impossible to distinguish from a boy or girl.
However, there was one positive effect from surgical intervention. After studying the data on the average life expectancy of people in different eras, scientists came to the conclusion that castrates lived 12-14 years longer with other things being equal.
Neuter and church
Do you think that the barbaric custom of castration was characteristic only of antiquity? Unfortunately no. Up to the beginning of the 20th century, almost half of the boys were neutered in church choirs. As a rule, their fathers still handed over the children to the monastery. Only one fact: in Italy of those years, up to two thousand boys per year were deprived of their manhood. The official version is a pig attack.
Even if the doctor was forced to perform castration (which was generally forbidden), he always avoided punishment. For this, all you had to say was that in this way he saved an unfortunate child from swelling of the testicles. Moreover, candidates for all high church posts were even checked for the presence of genitalia, which indicates the prevalence of the vicious practice of castration. An end to this was laid only in 1920, when the Pope officially forbade giving holy orders to anyone who “had no loins of his own”.
In the same years, the names of opera singers thundered around the world. Yes, yes, almost all of them were castrati. Do you know why some classic operas are not staged today? The thing is that the female voice cannot reproduce the unique modulations that only the eunuch could give out. Who this is, you now know.