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Headword: *spadw/nwn h)/toi a)poko/pwn. *spa/dwn
Adler number: sigma,897
Translated headword: concerning geldings or castrated men.
Vetting Status: high
Gelding: a eunuch.[1]
Concerning those who choose willingly to suffer this impudent and impure manner of thought and action Cyril the Great proclaims and publicizes as follows: for those wretches do this because of their impudence, while yet being men they want to experience the same things as women. For, altering their nature on account of nothing good or even because of insolence, they often gladly destroy their god-shaped and man-befitting form; or, being compelled by others to endure this, they then become like plagues on nature, like enemies of their race, and like stains on the state, and like detractors of life. Prostituting themselves immoderately in the manner of maenads, they dance about amidst the most shameful passions and mix their wretched life together with a defiled and corrupted state by wearing about their dubious and hated faces and their bastardized thing.[2] Let them keep far away from the holy precincts. For, when with most shameful and worst judgement they alter and change good and divine work into a bad and misconstrued doctrine and force the spiritual state of being a "eunuch" to serve a forbidden act, they are not only worthy to be assigned punishment by legal decree but also in accord with angelic and apostolic denial to be driven off utterly into the so called outer darkness. For Moses spoke concerning this kind of people, "He whose testicles have been crushed or cut off shall not enter into the house of the Lord." It is indeed possible to see homes full of grandees of such fine-formed faces sporting golden collars on their throats, having a male's nature but a female's appearance and walking about effeminately and talking wantonly just as improperly as courtesans. They even go so far as to toss their hair[3] and laugh uncontrolledly and shamelessly, making a show of their manifest passion. Therefore, with men they, like women, go to bed passively and through their effeminate intercourse are corrupted, but with women they, like guards and semblances of moderation--I suppose--, sleep unashamedly and unblushingly commit their shameful acts. And these persons, being so corrupted and effeminate under the influence of unholy and profane men, both defile and are defiled through their unnatural unholy actions and their disgusting behavior. And they being wretched agitated little women, as I said, befoul and cause harm through their sins just like mad dogs. And thence what is worse is that they become guilty as both supporters and associates of unbounded chastisement, by both corrupting and being corrupted.[4] But O for stupidity, O for deceit and derangement! For men even particularly point them out and accept them as wise so that they trust them and live with them. They then, being allowed to live together and taking license, lay traps bit by bit for wise men who really practice virtue justly and cast these men down pitifully into the shameful pit of Sodom and send them unto the eternal fire. Wherefore, for the future it is altogether fitting that the law and the gospel and the best life and the pious state all loathe them as god-haters and impure. For these have preferred and desired such a detestable life, as far as it is in their power, that they have destroyed cities by disrupting the life-giving purpose of their nature and by being corrupted, and they have terribly wasted manly strength and youth and masculine and noble might, and in short by outraging the intense and burgeoning pinnacle of puberty they have made their captives clearly wretched and ridiculous. These people should be avoided and justly loathed as soul-killers and body-corrupters and cursed and counterfeiters of nature. For nothing is more truly abominable or impure than those who thus give and receive fornication. For, as we have accurately learned, not only the geldings who somehow retain their parts for shameful acts but, in fact, even those who are perfectly cut and castrated are accustomed to being immeasurably wanton and to being shamelessly and insatiably licentious. Indeed, as with those who are born lacking these parts—-alas for the utter absurdity and derangement of it—-these unholy fellows are accustomed to corrupt wretched women with their hands and their fingers and to accomplish their unholy works so perversely. And, indicating this, the wise man once clearly said: "And blessed is the eunuch, which with his hands hath wrought no iniquity"[5] and the virgin "which hath not known the sinful bed."[6] Therefore, they have fittingly been called neither female nor male but rather men-women, iron-condemned,[7] and woman-crazy. Therefore, those who wrongly suppose these to be pure and wise men should listen and not trust the lie and their counterfeit purity and wisdom. For how shall purification come from impurity and how shall truth come from a lie?[8]
And[9] if only the eunuch[10] who was ordained had been affected through a holy life, and his evil were only half-evil. But, in fact, he was an earthworm, glutton, lady-crazy, reckless, drunken, fornicating, venal, low-class, greedy, and iron-condemned[11] even in birth, unmale, unfemale, crazed fellow who often[12] lifted the theatre girls up on his shoulders at drinking parties fit for satyrs and, with his head wreathed in ivy, carried the drinking bowl in hand and served the wine in a costume of the mythical Dionysus.[13]
So he is chaste without having to work for it[14] because of the knife, but he is mad without being able to produce anything[15] through his personal deformity.
And the plural [is] 'geldings'.
[It is said that][16] under Eutropius, Emperor Theodosius' chamberlain, eunuchs as a class increased and grew so great in number because of his importance and power that then even some of those who already had beards wanted to become eunuchs-—and hoped even more to become Eutropiuses—-and were deprived of their life along with their testicles—-and lost Eutropius.[17] He set up gold statues everywhere, and raised up buildings and furnished them more augustly thoughout the whole city.[18]
Greek Original:
*peri\ *spadw/nwn h)/toi a)poko/pwn. *spa/dwn: eu)nou=xos. tau/thn th\n a)ko/laston kai\ a)ka/qarton gnw/mhn kai\ pra=cin tw=n au)qaire/tws pasxo/ntwn, qriambeu/wn eu)= ma/la kai\ sthliteu/wn o( me/gas *ku/rillos ou(/tw fa/skei: a)kolasi/as ga\r e(/neken oi( ta/lanes tou=to drw=si, ta\ tw=n gunaikw=n pa/sxein a)/ndres o)/ntes boulo/menoi. ou)deno\s ga\r xrhsi/mou xa/rin th\n fu/sin metatiqe/ntes h)\ a)selgei/as e(/neken th\n qeo/plaston kai\ a)ndropreph= morfh\n diafqei/rousin e(kousi/ws polla/kis, h)\ u(p' a)/llwn u(pome/nein a)nagkazo/menoi tou=to w(s loimoi\ th=s fu/sews kai\ tou= ge/nous pole/mioi kai\ spi=loi politei/as kai\ zwh=s e)fu/bristoi gi/nontai. di/khn maina/dwn porneuqe/ntes a)me/trws, e)n toi=s ai)sxi/stois o)rxou=ntai pa/qesi miara=| politei/a| kai\ pefqarme/nh| th\n a)qli/an zwh\n sugkera/santes, a)mfi/bola kai\ memishme/na pro/swpa perife/rontes kai\ pra=gma nenoqeume/non. i(erw=n peribo/lwn makra\n a)poixe/sqwsan. e)peidh\ ga\r ai)sxi/sth| kai\ kaki/sth| gnw/mh| to\ kalo\n kai\ qei=on e)/rgon ei)s to\ kako\n kai\ diabeblhme/non do/gma paralla/cantes kai\ metapoih/santes kai\ th\n pneumatikh\n eu)nouxi/an a)phgoreume/nh| pra/cei leitourgei=n a)nagka/santes ou) mo/non a)/cioi nomikh=s yh/fou lamba/nein timwri/an, a)lla\ kai\ e)c a)ggelikh=s kai\ a)postolikh=s a)pofa/sews ei)s to\ lego/menon e)cw/teron sko/tos a)/rdhn a)pelau/nesqai. peri\ ga\r tw=n toiou/twn e)/fh *mwu+sh=s, qladi/as kai\ a)po/kopos ou)k ei)seleu/sontai ei)s oi)=kon kuri/ou. e)/sti gou=n i)dei=n peplhrwme/nas oi)ki/as tw=n megista/nwn toiou/twn teratomo/rfwn prosw/pwn, xrusou=s mhni/skous e)pi\ traxh/lou forou=ntas, fu/sin me\n a)/rrenos, qhlei/as de\ o)/yin e)/xontas kai\ keklasme/nws badi/zontas kai\ teqrumme/nws fqeggome/nous. w(/sper e(tairi/des a)prepw=s w(=de ka)kei=se th\n kefalh\n perisei/ousi kai\ gelw=sin a)kratw=s te kai\ a)naidw=s, oi)strhlasi/an pro/dhlon u(pemfai/nontes. o(/qen met' a)ndrw=n me\n w(s gunai=kes malakw=s eu)nazo/menoi kai\ malakizo/menoi fqei/rontai, meta\ gunaikw=n de/, w(s fu/lakes a(/ma kai\ swfrosu/nhs dh=qen i)nda/lmata, kaqeu/dontes a)naisxu/ntws kai\ a)phruqriasme/nws ai)sxropragou=si. kai\ ou(=toi me\n ou(/tws u(p' a)ndrw=n a)nosi/wn kai\ bebh/lwn fqeiro/menoi kai\ malakizo/menoi katamiai/nousi kai\ katamiai/nontai dia\ th=s para\ fu/sin a)nosiourgi/as kai\ bdeluri/as, au)toi\ de\ gunaikari/a talai/pwra kai\ sesobhme/na kata\ to\ ei)rhme/non a(marti/ais katamolu/nousi kai\ katabla/ptousin oi(=a lussw/deis ku/nes, kai\ to\ dh\ xalepw/teron e)nteu=qen ai)/tioi gi/nontai kai\ pro/cenoi te kai\ me/toxoi th=s a)pera/ntou kola/sews, oi(/ te fqei/rontes kai\ oi( fqeiro/menoi. a)ll' w)\ th=s a)frosu/nhs, w)\ th=s a)pa/ths kai\ paraplhci/as: tou/tous ga\r a)/nqrwpoi kai\ ma/lista prou)/xontes w(s sw/fronas paradexo/menoi, pisteu/ousi kai\ ei)soiki/zousin, oi(/ ge ei)soikizo/menoi kai\ parrhsi/as tugxa/nontes tou\s o)/ntws dikai/ws a)reth=s e)pimeloume/nous sw/fronas a)/ndras katamikro\n delea/santes ei)s to\ tw=n *sodo/mwn ai)sxro\n ba/raqron kathko/ntisan e)leeinw=s kai\ tw=| ai)wni/w| puri\ pare/pemyan. dio\ dh\ loipo\n a)raro/tws pa/nu ge tou/tous kai\ no/mos kai\ lo/gos eu)aggeliko\s kai\ a)/ristos bi/os kai\ eu)sebh\s politei/a bdelu/ttetai li/an w(s qeomisei=s kai\ a)kaqa/rtous. ou(=toi ga\r toiau/thn e)ca/giston zwh\n protimh/santes kai\ puqh/santes, o(/son h(=ken e)p' au)toi=s, po/leis me\n h)fa/nisan, to\n spermatiko\n th=s fu/sews lo/gon parafqei/rontes kai\ fqeiro/menoi, eu)androu=san de\ r(w/mhn a)ndro\s kai\ h(liki/an kai\ th\n a)rrenwph\n kai\ gennai/an i)sxu\n deinw=s e)cana/lwsan kai\ a(plw=s th\n su/ntonon kai\ sfrigw=san a)kmh\n th=s neo/thtos lumhna/menoi fanerw=s a)qli/ous kai\ katagela/stous e)poih/san tou\s a(lo/ntas. ou(/s ge feukte/on protropa/dhn kai\ bdelukte/on e)ndi/kws w(s yuxokto/nous kai\ swmatofqo/rous kai\ e)nagei=s o)/ntas kai\ th=s fu/sews paraxara/ktas. ou)de\n ga\r a)lhqw=s musarw/teron h)\ a)kaqarto/teron tw=n ou(/tw porneuome/nwn te kai\ porneuo/ntwn. ei)w/qasi ga/r, w(s a)kribw=s memaqh/kamen, ou) mo/non oi( spa/dwnes kai\ ta\ mo/ria th=s ai)sxrourgi/as posw=s e)/xontes a)selgai/nein a)me/trws kai\ a)kolastai/nein a)naidw=s kai\ a)kore/stws, a)lla/ ge kai\ oi( te/leon a)po/kopoi kai\ e)ktetmhme/noi. kaqa/per ou)=n kai\ oi( e)k gennhth=s e)sterhme/noi tau=ta [feu= th=s e)sxa/ths a)topi/as kai\ frenoblabei/as] dia\ xeiro\s kai\ daktu/lou fqei/rein ta\s a)qli/as gunai=kas kai\ th\n a)nosiourgi/an ou(/tws e)mmanw=s oi( a)no/sioi katerga/zesqai. kai\ tou=to dhlw=n o( sofo\s a)ridh/lws e)/fh: maka/rios eu)nou=xos o( mh\ e)rgasa/menos e)n xeiri\ a)no/mhma, kai\ parqe/nos, h(/tis ou)k e)/gnw koi/thn e)n paraptw/mati. ei)ko/tws ou)=n a)/qhloi, a)/nandroi, a)ndro/gunoi, sidhrokata/dikoi kai\ gunaikomanei=s proshgoreu/qhsan. a)koue/twsan toi/nun oi( kaqarou\s kai\ sw/fronas tou/tous u(potopa/zontes ma/thn kai\ mh\ pisteue/twsan tw=| yeu/dei kai\ th=| katesxhmatisme/nh| kaqaro/thti kai\ swfrosu/nh|. a)po\ ga\r a)kaqa/rtou ti/ kaqarisqh/setai, kai\ a)po\ yeu/dous, ti/ a)lhqeu/sei; kai\ ei)/qe o( xeirotonhqei\s eu)nou=xos dia\ bi/ou semnou= h)=n h)gme/nos, kai\ h(mi/kakon h)=n to\ kako/n. nuni\ de\ gh=s e)/nteron, gastri/doulon, qhlumane/s, i)tamo/n, me/quson, pornoko/pon, a)rgurw/nhton, a)neleu/qeron, a)rguro/doulon, pro\s au)th=| th=| gene/sei sidhrokata/dikon, a)/nandron, a)/qhlu, e)pimane/s, polla/kis ta\ qeatrika\ kora/sia e)p' w)/mwn basta/san e)n saturikoi=s sumposi/ois, kissw=| th\n kefalh\n e)stemme/non, kai\ krath=ra th=| xeiri\ e)nhmme/non, w)|noxohke/nai e)n prosxh/mati tou= muqikou= *dionu/sou. ou(/tws swfronei= me\n a)/misqa dia\ sidh/rou, mai/netai de\ a)/karpa di' oi)kei/an ai)sxro/thta. kai\ to\ plhquntiko\n spa/dwnes. o(/ti e)pi\ *eu)tropi/ou tou= eu)nou/xou, tou= e)pitro/pou *qeodosi/ou tou= basile/ws, to\ tw=n eu)nou/xwn e)/qnos dia\ th\n e)kei/nou baru/thta kai\ dunastei/an e)s tosou=ton e)pe/dwke kai\ pareta/qh plh/qous, w(/ste tines h)/dh kai\ tw=n geneia/das e)xo/ntwn, eu)nou=xoi boulhqe/ntes kai\ *eu)tro/pioi gene/sqai proselpi/zontes th=s yuxh=s a)fh|re/qhsan su\n toi=s o)/rxesi, to\n *eu)tro/pion a)pole/santes. xrusoi= te a)ndria/ntes a)ni/stanto pantaxou=, kai\ oi)kodomh/mata dihgei/reto kai\ katelampru/neto par' au)tou= semno/tera th=s o(/lhs po/lews.
After the opening gloss (n. 1 below), this entry is a patchwork of various sources, but its centrepiece is a long passage from George the Monk, Chronicon (de Boor) 651.1-654.14: "tau/thn...a)lhqeu/sei;" ("Concerning those...from a lie?")
[1] Likewise or similarly in other lexica; references at Photius sigma427 Theodoridis. On eunuchs see also epsilon 3776 and epsilon 3777.
[2] Apparently a euphemism for their altered membrum virile.
[3] Literally "toss their head" which indicates an effeminate mannerism.
[4] A convoluted sentence translated by Kuster (vol. 3, p. 359): "& quod gravius est, hinc fiunt auctores & conciliatores & participes infiniti supplicii tam qui corrumpunt, quam qui corrumpuntur."
[5] Wisdom of Solomon 3:14 (KJV).
[6] Wisdom of Solomon 3:13 (KJV).
[7] According to Moore (131 n. 411) this word ("sidhrokata/dikoi") is a coinage of Palladius, who is quoted below. Whether it means "condemned-to-irons" ("destined for prison") or "condemned-by-iron" ("damned by the knife of castration") is unclear.
[8] This ends the passage taken from George the Monk (see primary note above).
[9] Here begins a passage adapted with minor changes from Palladius' Dialogus de vita Joannis Chrysostomi (Coleman-Norton) 92.5-18 (web address 1).
[10] The eunuch may actually be someone named "Eunuchos" according to Moore (131 n. 409).
[11] As noted above in the passage from George the Monk, this word sidhrokata/dikon is said by Moore (131 n. 411) to be an invention of Palladius; but compare Basil, Letters 115 (web address 2) for a very similar passage including this term. Indeed, if the letter is genuine, Palladius has followed Basil closely. See also the Sacred Parallels attributed to John of Damascus (PG 95.1594) which adapts Basil rather than Palladius.
[12] Palladius here reads more sensibly "as I have often heard" ("kaqw\s h)/kousa polla/kis") instead of "often" ("polla/kis").
[13] This ends the first passage from Palladius, and the entry now skips a few lines (from 92.18-92.23) to pick up again at 92.24-25.
[14] The word a)/misqa here indicates that the eunuch has not put in the hard work to earn the "pay" of being justly chaste.
[15] The word a)/karpa apparently alludes to the fact that, despite the eunuch's mad sexual activities, he can never procreate.
[16] With minor additions this paragraph reproduces the last paragraph of epsilon 3777.
[17] The phrase set off by em-dashes has been added to the text from epsilon 3777.
[18] This last sentence is added on to the end of the passage repeated from epsilon 3777. Apparently "He" means Eutropius, but the source for these details is unclear.
C. de Boor. 1904, repr. 1978 corr. by P. Wirth. Georgii monachi chronicon. Leipzig (repr. Stuttgart): Teubner
P.R. Coleman-Norton. 1928. Palladii dialogus de vita S. Joanni Chrysostomi. Cambridge: Cambridge UP
Ludolf Kuster. 1705. Suidae Lexicon. 3 vols. Cambridge: Academic Press. (web address 3, web address 4, web address 5)
Herbert Moore. 1921. The Dialogue of Palladius concerning the Life of Chrysostom. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. (web address 5)
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2,
Web address 3,
Web address 4,
Web address 5
Keywords: art history; biography; Christianity; clothing; definition; economics; ethics; food; gender and sexuality; historiography; history; imagery; medicine; politics; religion; trade and manufacture; women; zoology
Translated by: Abram Ring on 4 May 2009@21:26:36.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 5 May 2009@03:33:17.
David Whitehead (augmented n.1; more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics; raised status) on 31 December 2013@05:33:25.
Catharine Roth (typo, re-ordered links) on 11 November 2014@01:09:06.
Catharine Roth (tweaks) on 11 November 2014@01:16:27.
Catharine Roth on 11 November 2014@01:22:27.


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