Becoming a Eunuch in Byzantium

Eunuchs were a distinct feature of Byzantium. Everywhere you looked, you would find eunuchs. They served in the Great Palace, the Church, the army, the government, wealthy households and even as professionals. During the early days of the Roman Empire, it was shameful to be a eunuch. But this view changed as the Roman Empire evolved into the Byzantine Empire. Eunuchs however, were not natural; they were after all castrated men. Where then did the eunuchs come from? How did a person become a eunuch? Why did the views towards eunuchs change in Byzantium? In this article, I shall look at the background of eunuchs.
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5 Things You Did Not Know About Byzantine Eunuchs

Byzantium was full of wonder and unusual events. Although there are no more eunuchs today, back in Byzantine times, eunuchs were valued members of society. The palace, in particular, prized them for their unique nature and employed them to look after and guard the imperial household. What follows are some interesting details that reveal a little more about the lives of eunuchs in Byzantium.
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The Vital Roles of Eunuchs in Byzantium

Eunuchs were a vital part of Byzantium. Many empires like Egypt, China, Japan and the Muslim Caliphates employed eunuchs. But none of them integrated eunuchs as thoroughly into society as the Byzantines. In Byzantium, eunuchs served in the imperial court, in rich households, in the army and in the clergy. They were everywhere you looked. Eunuchs with the proper skills and talents could hold any job they pleased. Read on to learn about the vital roles of eunuchs in Byzantine society.
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Battles Where Greek Fire Made a Difference

Greek fire was a potent weapon of war that helped the Byzantines to triumph over their enemies. Byzantium usually faced foes who had greater numbers and occasionally, greater wealth than them. There were many times in the empire’s history where the enemies threatened the Byzantine capital itself. But at such crucial moments, the skilful use of Greek fire helped the Byzantines to turn the battle and win. Read on to learn of some of the crucial battles where Greek fire made a difference.
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Greek Fire: The Byzantine Secret Weapon

Greek Fire by Wikipedia

Byzantium fought for its very survival throughout its existence. Often, the empire faced enemies who were superior in military and economic might. Despite these odds, Byzantium always managed to survive. One of the main reasons for its survival was the secret weapon: Greek fire. Used skilfully by its leaders, Byzantium managed to come back repeatedly from the brink of disaster. Read on to learn about Greek fire.
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The first wallpaper of Neo Byzantium

Image Credit: Haefen Hassinger

At last, Neo Byzantium has its first Byzantine Empire themed wallpaper; Basil II. The credit for this wallpaper goes to my talented friend and collaborator, Haefen Hassinger. She took the idea I had and breathed life into it in a way that exceeded my expectations. I believe a short explanation of how the wallpaper came to be will add more meaning to it.
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Useful Wikipedia articles on the Byzantine Empire

Hi all, it’s been a very busy week for me so I was unable to find the time to write. Instead, I shall put up some of my favourite Wikipedia articles about the Byzantine Empire. Beside each link, I will give a brief explanation about why I like and find the article useful.

Wikipedia on Byzantine Empire: This article gives an overview of the 1,000 year history of the empire. I also enjoy the many links within the article to other related subjects that catch my eye. Some of these subjects include emperors, major battles and events and Byzantine military units.

Wikipedia on Byzantine Themes: Byzantium lost large pieces of territories to the Muslim expansion. For the security of the empire, the remaining domains became themes. Themes were the administrative districts that replaced the provincial system from the time of Diocletian and Constantine I.

Wikipedia on Byzantine Army: An indispensible part of Byzantium’s struggle to survive, the Byzantine army evolved through the centuries. This article gives an overview of that evolution.

Wikipedia on Byzantine Navy: The Byzantine navy also played a crucial role in the defence of the empire. This article has a lot of information about the various aspects of the navy. Interestingly, it mentions how Byzantium’s fortunes rose and fell with its control of the sea.

Wikipedia on Walls of Constantinople: For over 1,000 years, the Walls of Constantinople defended the imperial capital from continuous attacks. Its elaborate and complex defensive system enabled it to withstand repeated sieges. But in 1453, the Ottomans finally breached the walls with gunpowder.

Wikipedia on Castles: Throughout its existence, the Byzantine Empire struggled to survive. Its vast wealth and strategic location invited attacks from all sides. As such, defensive fortifications, such as castles, were vitally important to the survival of Byzantium. Although this article is about castles in general, it helps to shed some light on what life might have been like for the Byzantines.

Wikipedia on Eastern Orthodox Church: Christianity played a large part in shaping the Byzantine Empire. To gain an appreciation of the Byzantines, we have to understand their religious views. This article provides that understanding.

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