Sunday, June 27, 2021

Luxorius XII: Gender Roles of Eunuchs

The role of the eunuch (spado) in Roman society was a complicated one; in this poem of Luxorius, we see that eunuchs were bound by strict gender roles. As usual, the poet's tone is critical, but not violent; he is following the same biting style of his predecessors Catullus and Martial.

Rutilo decens capillo

roseoque crine ephebus

spado regius mitellam

capiti suo locavit;

proprii memor pudoris,

bene conscius quid esset

posuit cogente nullo

fuerat minus quod illi.

--Luxorius XII

A young royal eunuch

Dolled up with his golden curls

With roses braided in his hair

Put a headdress* on his head.

Knowing full well that he shouldn’t,

He *knew* what he was doing,

And nobody forced him to wear it,

And he was made worse for it.



Name:  Luxorius

Date:  6th c. CE

Works:  <Poems>



Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans



Little is known about the life of the Roman poet Luxorius except that he lived in Carthage (modern Tunisia, northern Africa) and that his poetry was popular in the court of the Vandal kings. His poetry provides us with rare insight into the changing customs as the Roman Empire transitioned from a polytheistic to a monotheistic society.



Early Roman Lit: through 2nd c BCE: Republican Rome: through 1st c. BCE; Golden Age: 70 BCE to 18 CE; Silver Age: 18 CE to 150 CE; Age of Conflict: 150 CE - 410 CE; Byzantine and Late Latin: after 410 CE

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