Historical Context For Chastity

Does the modern notion of chastity, caging, and cuckoldry, replace the very ancient concept of the Eunuch? What is a Eunuch, and is a chastity cage simply a modern solution to an age-old challenge?

The dictionary definition of Eunuch is eu·nuch

/ˈyo͞onək/

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noun

  1. a man who has been castrated, especially (in the past) one employed to guard the women’s living areas at an imperial court.
  • an ineffectual person.

The Greek translation, eunouchosmeans (1) chamberlain, keeper of the bed-chamber of an eastern ruler, (2) a castrated person, or one who voluntarily abstains from marriage.

Ancient Origins

Ancient human societies deal with the power imbalance of social hierarchies in various ways. Eunuchs played a crucial role in societies as recently as the Ottoman empire. 

The concept of Harems, involved royal male at the top of the social hierarchy having many wives. This was a construct that developed as humans transitioned from hunter-gatherer to agrarian cultures. In nomadic bands, concepts such as ownership and property did not exist. But as humans settled down into geography, power structures, primarily patriarchal, began to develop. 

As those social hierarchies began to take form, the simple math dictated that other men must go without for a single man to have many lovers. Enter the Eunuch. 

The Eunuch in Eastern Empires

Dating back at least 4000yrs, Eunuchs served as court administrators, government officials, and harem minders. These ‘eunuchs’ established role was as “bed chamber attendants” in the imperial palace. Eunuchs were valued as “being good with respect to the mind,” based on their “being deprived of intercourse. The Ancients said Intercourse creates irrational behavior. (sound familiar?)

Eunuchs supposedly did not generally have loyalties to the military, the aristocracy, or a family of their own (having neither offspring nor in-laws, at the very least). Emperors and others viewed Eunuchs as trustworthy. The perception was they would be less interested in establishing a private ‘dynasty.’ Because their condition usually lowered their social status. Eunuchs were easily replaced without repercussion. In cultures that had both harems and eunuchs, eunuchs often served as harem servants.

The old testament has 45 references to Eunuchs. 

And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” (Isaiah 39:7)

Chastity and Cuckoldry 

Our modern age is decidedly euro-centric. European culture followed a different path than eastern cultures. Monogamy is primarily a European ideal perpetuated by the roman catholic church. The appeal of a 1 for one monogamous pair bonding was obvious. Think of this social compact as sort of a chicken in every pot promise for a growing religion spreading through the European continent that had primarily been matriarchal and druidic. 

In many ways, it appealed to men on all levels of society that they too could possess a mate. But again, it comes from a patriarchal point of view.

We enter into an era of female empowerment. Women finally gain genuine autonomy over who they choose as partners. They break the bonds of social constructs that treated them as possessions for ages. 

But the recent explosion of chastity and open cuckoldry evokes ancient notions of the bed-chamber attendants. The Bull serves, for one night (or many) as the Emperor, the chastity cage is a non-surgical method of castration. Still, it produces the same reliable, trustworthy and compliant dynamic. 

References:

Acts 8:26–40 Bible Study Summary: Warren Camp | Hearty Boys. https://www.warrencampdesign.com/acts/part1/week15.php

Isaiah 39:7 NKJV – ‘And they shall take away… | Biblia. https://biblia.com/bible/nkjv/isaiah/39/7