Few people know, but eunuchs or castrati have played an important role in our world for a long time. Usually the sexual component was seized from these men at an early age, in the pre-pubertal period. Such a measure made it possible to make a successful career in the field of public administration and religious bureaucracy. It concerned such ancient civilizations as Chinese, Egyptian, Indian and Byzantine, it is worth mentioning about the Ottoman Empire.
Another measure was the castration of already adult men for their sexual misdeeds. Often there were occasions when men mocked themselves at will, wanting to join the religious ecstasy of some cruel sects. Even today, castration is used by the state as a measure of punishment.
So, in some countries (England, America and others) chemical castration is used. Since 1966 in the Czech Republic castrated criminals who committed atrocities on sexual grounds. True, this measure is voluntary. In the World’s history there were in the end many eunuchs who left a significant mark. Let’s talk about them in more detail.
Dispute (? -69 year).
According to the laws of Rome, it was forbidden to castrate people. This measure could not be applied even to slaves without rights, to which the state left the right to this “dignity.” But no one banned the acquisition of eunuchs beyond the borders of the country. However, the extravagant emperor Nero decided to place himself above any laws, castrating a young fellow named Spore (or Sporus). Such a measure allowed the ruler to then marry this castrato. The story left little information about this very castrato – he was young and liked very much his high patron. Nero decided that the handsome boy was the best candidate for his wife’s role. As a result, on the day of the wedding, a veil with veil was put on the head of a submissive castrato. Nero gave his lover a large dowry, organizing him to the same honeymoon in Greece. The story goes that Nero’s marriage with men was common – the emperor combining marriage with two more men. However, these lovers were not scraped, because Caesar was their wife! According to one of the versions of the reason for Nero’s wedding on castrati became the guilt of the emperor for beating up the death of his previous pregnant wife, Sabina. And the young boy was so much like her … It’s no wonder that Nero called this eunuch with this name. However, the marriage was short-lived, since Nero committed suicide in 68. The widowed castrato did not long to be sad and quickly married Nymphidia Sabina, who wove intrigues in the hope of becoming the ruler himself. But the rivals killed this opponent in the course of a tough pre-election race. The young man-eunuch began to change the owners often, his services were alternately used by the provisional rulers of Rome. It is said that the Dispute was the lover and emperor of Oton, and his vile receiver Vitellia. He was generally obsessed with orgies and gladiatorial battles. Vitellius came up with the following scene. The dispute was to be changed by a woman, and the emperor was going to rape him right in the arena in front of thousands of people. However, the Dispute could not endure such shame, in advance of having committed suicide.
At the dawn of Christianity, the topic of sex among believers was shyly concealed. The first believers tried to be like Jesus in everything and inherit his behavior, so in the fashion was the rejection of such worldly excesses as physical pleasure, family ties and material values. On this occasion, Matvei said: “There are also eunuchs who have themselves oskolili for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.” If normal people interpreted this phrase as a celibate demand, then the Greek Origen took this gospel extract too close to his heart, having actually dipped himself. This castrato was the mentor of the Alexandrian theological school. Origen quietly slept on bare earth, fasted and thought it unnecessary to change clothes. Castration also opened up new opportunities for the philosopher. Now he could calmly train girls without the risk of being seduced.Most likely at that time such selflessness was quite often a phenomenon. It is no coincidence that in 325 on the Nicaea Cathedral self-occultation was officially banned.
Pierre Abelard (1079-1142).
The Middle Ages gave a whole constellation of intellectuals. Among them, the bright star is the name of Pierre Abelard. He became famous as a philosopher, theologian and poet. At the lecture of Abelard at Notre Dame, the entire intelligentsia of Paris considered it an honor to go. One day Pierre became interested in the young pretty girl Eloise, whose uncle Fulber was a priest. The philosopher was older than his beloved for only 12 years. Abelard invited his uncle to settle the girl to him in order to study science. However, youth played a role – Eloise soon became pregnant, and Pierre took her to Brittany. There was a secret wedding. The fact is that the medieval scholastics were prescribed a vow of celibacy. Over time, Eloise realized that their love hinders the spiritual career of the spouse. She left him and went back to Fulber. He decided that Abelard had simply dishonored his niece and abandoned him. The priest’s fury was so strong that he hired urban bandits to cut off the male organ for the philosopher. Under the current rules, this would not allow Abelard to continue his Catholic career. After castration, Pierre was forced to retire to the monastery, becoming a simple novice. There Abelard wrote a book “The Story of My Disasters”, and then again began to teach. Eloise went to the monastery, she secretly corresponded with her husband. Their child was brought up without parents in the Fulber family. Reunited lovers only after death – they were buried in one crypt in the cemetery of Pere Lachaise.
Zheng He (1371-1435).
At birth, this Chinese was named Ma He. He was born in a small village, and his family already had five children. In fact, Ma He was not an ethnic Chinese, his ancestors belonged to one of the Muslim nationalities, who at one time helped the Mongols to keep China conquered in obedience. The roots of this people lie on the territory of present-day Uzbekistan. By the time when the power in China became part of the Ming dynasty, the Mongols finally left the country. Ma He was taken prisoner and was neutered. A young capable eunuch came to serve the future emperor Yongle. He became an army officer and successfully fought against the Mongols. When Yongle came to the throne, the battle commander received a new surname, becoming Zheng. The new emperor became famous for his seven marine expeditions, which allowed to interrupt the centuries-old isolation of China, significantly expanding trade routes. During this campaign, Zheng He became famous. Each trip included dozens of ships, which housed up to 30,000 sailors. These epochal voyages led by Admiral Zheng He allowed the Chinese to discover the markets of Indonesia and Sri Lanka, Siam and Maldives, Bengal and Somalia. 17 countries in Africa and Asia learned about the existence of China. Trade brought so much money that the Porcelain Tower was erected on them in the capital of the country, Nanjing. The eunuch traveler was able to surprise his emperor by bringing him from Africa a strange and unprecedented animal – a giraffe. After the death of the naval commander, the political situation changed, the supporters of isolationism again came to power. As a result, the glorious name of Zheng He for a long time was forgotten.
Wei Zhongxiang (1568-1627).
The eunuchs played an important role in the political life of China until the fall of the empire in 1911. The origin of the castrati was often the lowest – the boys were castrated as a child, in order to give them the opportunity to pursue a career in the service of the emperor. As a result, eunuchs-bureaucrats had great power in the country. Those of them who knew how to use it got into history. His son Zhongxiang’s family did not plan to oskoplyat. The boy grew up in a poor peasant family, quickly married and became a father. But Wei adored to play dice, it is no wonder that he soon lost and began to hide from his creditors.There was only one way out – Weig castrated himself and entered the state service at age 21. His thirty-year career was brilliant. During this time, Zhongxiang had many useful friends who helped him move to power. Historians believe that the best career movement was the friendship with Mrs. Ke, the nanny of the future emperor Tianzi. When that was crowned at the age of 15, then Wei began to distract the monarch from his affairs, offering all kinds of games and entertainment. And Zhongxiang himself became the de facto ruler of the country. Especially in his charge was the internal intelligence service, so all the dissatisfied were under scrutiny. During Vey’s lifetime pagodas were opened in his honor throughout the country, and he himself lived in incomparable wealth. But happiness quickly ended – the emperor suddenly died at the age of 23 years. Wei realized that now his happiness had come to an end, having committed suicide. The new rulers did not forgive the crook – Zhongxiang’s corpse was cut into pieces and scattered around his native village.
The connection between castration and music was first traced in Spain. At the end of the 11th century eunuchs began to appear there, which, thanks to their wonderful voices, began to be attracted to Catholic liturgies. The phenomenon became so popular that by the 16th century castrates had already sung in all the main churches in the Pyrenees. This fashion has spread to Italy. Carlo Throwski, who was later named Farinelli, was born into a family of the courtier, having moved to Naples in 1711. The family chose his life as a boy. Already at the age of 15, the young castrato debuted at the opera. If before 1724 the singer worked mainly in Naples and Rome, then he conquered Northern Italy, and then traveled to Europe, touring even in London. Since 1737, Farinelli became the personal singer of the Spanish King Philip V, and over time the castrato became the knight and leader of all theaters. In Spain, Farinelli was able to deliver 23 operas, becoming not only a legendary singer, but also a prominent music figure. Recently, the remains of the castrato have been found, scientists have been given the right to exhume, trying to solve the mystery better than a singer of the 18th century.
Thomas “Boston” Corbett (1832-1894).
The glory of Corbett came from the assassination of John Wilkes Booth in 1865, which in turn became the assassin of Abraham Lincoln. Corbett was born in England, moving to the New World with his parents at the age of seven. At the age of 20, Thomas entered the community of “newly born Christians”, adopting the new name “Boston” in honor of the city where the dedication took place. By this age, Corbett had become seriously attached to prostitutes, so he decided to scrape himself with scissors to protect himself from temptation. Immediately after the operation, Thomas visited the doctor, and then went to his brothers by faith, where he even had time to walk and dine. Is it any wonder that soon the new fanatic house became a psychiatric hospital? After serving in the army, Corbett moved to Kansas, living in a dug out of his own dugout. The behavior of the strange man was so provocative that he was soon detained. The reason was an attempt to intimidate members of the local House of Representatives with a revolver from the rostrum. Thomas did not like the fact that some politicians in their prayer at the opening of the chamber’s meeting were not sincere enough. Glory came to Corbett from an unexpected angle. By profession, he was a hatter and served as the prototype of the Mad Hatter from the book “Alice in Wonderland.”
Alessandro Moreschi (1858-1922).
Almost three hundred years, castrates-singers with success sang in Italian temples and the choir of the Pope. Although at that time castration was officially banned, many parents understood that the shredding of a young son could be the only chance to escape poverty. The castration of boys for the needs of the Vatican was successfully covered up with accidents, doctors’ testimony and so on. One historian estimated that in the 18th century in Italy, every year, up to 4,000 boys were unhappy from horses. Naturally, all of them were in fact subjected to illegal castration.One of the most famous of these characters was Alessandro Moreschi. He sang in the choir of the Sistine Chapel, and the voice of this castrato became the only one recorded on the phonograph. This happened in 1902 and 1904. However, the singer Moresky was very mediocre. On the surviving record, it is clearly audible how he falsifies. And the quality of the recording did not allow us to understand what the eunuchs were so famous for. Alessandro’s fate was heavy, and eventually he became a drunkard and a drug addict. After all, in the twentieth century, being a castrato is rather humiliating and difficult.