Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Roman castrati: eunuchs in the Roman empire

Tougher, Shaun ORCID: 2020. Roman castrati: eunuchs in the Roman empire. Bloomsbury.

Full text not available from this repository.


Eunuchs tend to be associated with eastern courts, popularly perceived as harem personnel. However, the Roman empire was also distinguished by eunuchs – they existed as slaves, court officials, religious figures and free men. This book is the first to be devoted to the range of Roman eunuchs. Across seven chapters (spanning the third century BC to the sixth century AD), Shaun Tougher examines the history of Roman eunuchs, focusing on key texts and specific individuals. Subjects met include the Galli (the self-castrating devotees of the goddess the Great Mother), Terence's comedy The Eunuch (the earliest surviving Latin text to use the word 'eunuch'), Sporus and Earinus the eunuch favourites of the emperors Nero and Domitian, the 'Ethiopian eunuch' of the Acts of the Apostles (an early convert to Christianity), Favorinus of Arles (a superstar intersex philosopher), the Grand Chamberlain Eutropius (the only eunuch ever to be consul), and Narses the eunuch general who defeated the Ostrogoths and restored Italy to Roman rule. A key theme of the chapters is gender, inescapable when studying castrated males. Ultimately this book is as much about the eunuch in the Roman imagination as it is the reality of the eunuch in the Roman empire.

Item Type: Book
Book Type: Authored Book
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Publisher: Bloomsbury
ISBN: 9781847251688
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2022 10:35

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item