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Treasured Bodies: Eunuchs in the Ancient World

31 October 2010

The Eunuch in Byzantine History front cover

One of the defining characteristics of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires is their use of eunuchs in political and social organisation. To understand this aspect of the two civilisations, Dr Shaun Tougher of Cardiff University organised a panel on Eunuchs in Byzantine and Ottoman Civilisation as part of the World History Association’s  Byzantine and Ottoman Civilisations in World History conference, which took place in Istanbul in October 2010. The panel brought together established international experts on Byzantine and Ottoman eunuchs - Georges Sidéris (Université Paris-Sorbonne), Jane Hathaway (Ohio State University), Ezgi Dikici (Harvard University) -  to identify and explore fundamental aspects of Byzantine or Ottoman eunuchs and open-up a dialogue between those who work on eunuchs in different civilisations, enriching the field.


To find out more about eunuchs in Antiquity, you can see Shaun Tougher’s interview for The Open University’s Classics Confidential ( or hear Shaun speak on ‘Eunuchs in Antiquity and Beyond’ at the National Museum Cardiff (16th February 201  at 1.05 pm).