In those old times, when in fact Assyria, Persia and Babylon were just beginning to emerge really powerful civilizations, 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 goods testified to the greatness of the sovereign. The number of women - this is the main sign of success, which was considered the standard in those days.
The harems of some ancient lords were truly enormous. Often it happened that the concubine never personally met with her lord, having stayed there for several years. Of course, the women's collective in such conditions abounded with intrigues and squabbles, which it was required to somehow suppress.
Warden of the harems
It was then that the position of the caretaker of the harem appeared. The eunuch - who is this? In Greek, the word means "guardian of the bed," which fully reflects the essence of this man's work. The post of eunuchs was taken only by 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 chief eunuch often became the second most important figure in the state, as the ruler often spoiled his faithful servant, who was responsible for the selection of the girls.
Where did they come from?
It is generally believed that in those days only prisoners of war or criminals were condemned, sentenced to such an extent for rape and fornication. Of course, this is not so. Of course, these categories of Skoptsov really were, that's only used them exclusively in the form of slaves, who performed the most difficult and dirty work. Since they were deprived of male dignity, the owner could not fear for the slaves.
But such an employee is not a eunuch. Who is this in the classical sense? Where did they get candidates for such work? There were two ways.
Firstly, the merchant could buy a slave boy in the market and cast it off himself or use the services of specialized healers. By the way, in many countries that used the work of eunuchs, castration was sometimes practiced by whole families of physicians.
Secondly, the merchant could have already acquired a young man who was already a young man. Whatever it was, but later he sold such a profitable commodity to the court of another ruler. They always needed asexual servants serving the Sultan's harem.
But slaves were not always eunuchs. In the same ancient China, the fathers often gave their sons themselves to the healers. And it's not about inhuman cruelty: from the 10-15 offspring in the family to the childbearing age, at best, three survived. Mortality in castration in countries with advanced medicine rarely exceeded 1-3%. Passed the procedure, the young man was at the court of the ruler, where he had never suffered poverty and poverty.
So who is the eunuch in the harem? Theoretically - a servant who was supposed to entertain the royal concubines and serve them. In reality, it often turned out that he cleaned up 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 who were neutered after puberty. If the boy was neutered at the age of 10-12 years, then the result was an absolutely sexless person who did not feel sexual attraction to women at all.
Especially common were such eunuchs in the Ottoman Empire: the harems there were huge, and the sultans - extremely hypochondriac. They could not allow even the probability of an attempt on their odalasks, and therefore they acquired only the "right" castrati.
However, there were entire families, purposefully supplying their sons to the court. Each eunuch had very good content. Old Skoptsy often lived better than many courtiers, sometimes holding the reins of government in their hands (the sultan's harem is an excellent place for intrigue).
In ancient China, the custom was widespread, according to which the castrates, attached to the breadbasket by relatives, were obliged to help them. If we take into account that a number of eunuchs who were close to the court could immediately come from one kind, many Chinese families did not have any other sources of income at all, except for "tranches" from their relatives who were rounded up.
Family Life of the Skoptsi
Another interesting fact. Often the eunuchs even started families, and adopted only boys of their own kind. In this case, the child could not worry about the safety of his genitals, as the "father" was concerned about the presence of a full heir. Needless to say, that the relatives vied with each other to offer the boys such adoptive parents. The history of eunuchs knows even the cases that they adopted illegitimate sons of their ruler (and even legal ones).
And again China. Since the religion of the Chinese says that a person must be whole by the time of transition to another world, the castrates had to keep their genitals in a special casket. Often its contents were demonstrated to employers. After the death of the eunuch, the precious casket was buried with him. It was believed that in the afterlife, parts of the body would reunite with each other.
Categories of skoptsov
So, before entering the path of the "guardian of the box", a boy or a young man was waiting for castration. In total, three varieties of this action were distinguished. In the first case, the genitals were removed completely. In the second removal, only the penis was subjected. In the third, the eunuch boy was deprived of testes.
By the way, operations of the second type of classical "guardians of the box" were not subjected to the same thing. So punished criminals: deprived of a penis, but having testicles responsible for the development of testosterone, the unfortunate were terribly tormented, unable to perform sexual intercourse. Such employees in the harem were clearly useless.
But castrates of the third type, with a preserved penis, were very quoted among the inhabitants of harems. Since a certain amount of testosterone could be produced by the adrenal glands, the erection persisted, and therefore the eunuch could very well perform sexual acts. Enthusiastic reviews of concubines said that such a servant could make love for hours. In addition, there was no risk of becoming pregnant. In general, the life of the eunuchs in this case was simply fabulously good.
But these eunuchs were rare in the harems, as most often only "smooth" eunuchs were employed. Why smooth? Soon we will talk about this, but first it is worth dwelling directly on the technology of castration.
Suffering on the operating table
Whichever method is used in the case of the scaling, the pain was terrible. In two types of castration, associated with the removal of all genitals or only the penis, a bamboo tube or a piece of goose feather had to be inserted into the wound, since this prevented the urethra from becoming infected during the postoperative period. Inventive Chinese even established the production of artificial rubber penises, which allowed the wives of the castrati to experience all the pleasures of family life.
The English scientist Carter Stent, in the 19th century, opened the world to all the horrors of this inhuman procedure, detailing the process of its implementation. The future eunuch did not drink or eat for two days before castration. On the day of surgery, a person took a hot bath, and he needed a good bath. Then the upper part of the thighs and the lower abdomen were tightly bandaged to prevent excessive bleeding. The parts to be removed were washed three times with a special hot infusion.
After this, the doctor once again asked the candidate for eunuchs or his relatives about the consent to the operation, after which he received an affirmative answer and cut off the genitals with a sharp and rapid movement. For this, he used a small twisted knife, which resembled a sickle in shape.
The postoperative period
The wound was immediately covered with a paper sheet soaked in cold water and bandaged tightly. But the torment did not end there: two people raised the castrato under his arms, then, supporting him, forced him to walk in a circle for two hours. Only after that the person could lie down. Drink and eat for the next three days he also was not allowed. The torment was monstrous. This is how the eunuchs were castrated.
Only on the fourth day the bandage was taken off, after which the new skopec could finally urinate ... or could not. If the urine passed normally through the urethra, everything was in order. Otherwise, the person was not a resident: stagnation of urine led to rupture of the bladder and agonizing death from peritonitis. So not one eunuch died (who is this, you already know).
Effects of the operation
There were a lot of them, and they all had a negative impact on health. People slowed metabolism, the character changed completely. The old eunuchs were with flabby skin, possessed an extremely grumpy and hysterical character. Almost 90% of eunuchs were ardent fans of smoking opium or strong alcohol. All of them were incredible courtiers, cruel, cunning and completely ruthless.
The operation often led to problems with urination. Almost all the eunuchs had to constantly have a silver tube, which was inserted into the urethra before urinating. Very often an infection resulted in the urinary canal, which resulted in urinary incontinence. Contemporaries recall that it was often possible to learn about the approach of a scopus even in complete darkness, since it was unbearably carried by ammonia.
Finally, the person became "smooth". Since the metabolism was hopelessly spoiled, he quickly fattened. His skin was thin, stretched and flabby, all the hair on his head and crotch fell out. The voice, due to the remaining larynx in place, remained thin and high. According to the conversation, the eunuch was impossible to distinguish from a boy or a girl.
However, one positive effect of the surgical intervention was still there. Having studied the data on the average life expectancy of people in different epochs, the scientists came to the conclusion that the castrati lived for 12-14 years longer, other things being equal.
Castrates and the 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 castrated in church choirs. As a rule, their fathers were still giving their children to the monastery. The mere fact is that in Italy, up to two thousand boys a year were deprived of their masculine dignity. The official version is the attack of a pig.
Even if the doctor was forced to conduct castration (which was generally forbidden), he always escaped punishment. To do this, just something to say that in this way he saves an unhappy child from a testicular tumor. Moreover, candidates for all high ecclesiastical posts were even checked for genitalia, which indicates the prevalence of the evil practice of castration. The end of this was laid only in 1920, when the Pope officially forbade anyone to be ordained "who was deprived of his loins."
In those same years, around the world, the names of opera singers rattled. Yes, almost all of them were castrati. Do you know why some classical operas are not put today? The thing is that the female voice can not reproduce the unique modulations that only the eunuch could give out. Who you are, you now know.