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The Perfect Servant – Eunuchs and the Social Construction of Gender in Byzantium - Chicago Scholarship Online
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The Perfect Servant: Eunuchs and the Social Construction of Gender in Byzantium

Kathryn M. Ringrose


This book reevaluates the place of eunuchs in Byzantium, using the modern concept of gender as a social construct to identify eunuchs as a distinct gender and to illustrate how gender was defined in the Byzantine world. At the same time, the author explores the changing role of the eunuch in Byzantium from 600 to 1100. Accepted for generations as a legitimate and functional part of Byzantine civilization, eunuchs were prominent in both the imperial court and the church. They were distinctive in physical appearance, dress, and manner, and were considered uniquely suited for important roles in B ... More

Keywords: eunuchs, Byzantium, gender, imperial court, church, procreation, inheritance, social boundaries, spiritual boundaries

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2004 Print ISBN-13: 9780226720159
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226720166.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Kathryn M. Ringrose, author