The Roman emperors, especially from the 4 th century until the Byzantine era, employed court eunuchs (castrated men) at their courts. To understand the practice of castration from different points of view, this article analyzes legislation of the 2nd through 6th centuries collected in Corpus Iuris Civilis commissioned by Justinian I (r.527‐565). Considering eunuch legal status as slave or freedman and the influence of Justinian's codification, the author attempts to clarify how Roman legislators (lawyers of the 2nd and 3rd centuries, emperors, and their legal officers, like quaestor sacri palatii) viewed eunuchs and castration during the period in question. The topics taken up include the terms “castrated” or “impotent” men appearing in the legal sources, content dealing with castrated slaves and the ban on castration, and the legal status of castrated and/or impotent freedman; namely, in matters of marriage, adoption, and inheritance.
The author's conclusions are threefold. First, Justinian I's codification that chose and adopted legal precedents and new legislation influenced a change in the legal language concerning castration; and suggests that improvements in slave and freedman legal status influenced the new legislation regarding eunuchs of both statuses.
Secondly, the recognition of castration by legislators was quite varied. In the prohibition of castration, genital mutilation, whether voluntary or involuntarily, was treated as murder or injurious assault, on the one hand, and as means of servitude, on the other. Moreover, castrated men were defined as those who suffered from impotence due to genital injury, especially during Justinian I's reign. They were considered men who would never recover their reproductive ability to sire their own children in the future. However, references to them in the legal documents did not view castrated men negatively, in spite of the prohibition of castration under Roman law and the existence of prejudice in non-legal contemporary sources. Legislators showed tolerance toward them, accepting their existence in the empire.
Finally, the author's analysis of the legal sources shows that the law did not associate castrated men with their social role as court eunuchs, which has been emphasized as their main role in the research to date, but rather with the more basic physical features of genital injury or impotency. This finding calls attention to the need for a more extensive study of castrated men in Roman imperial society.
This article examines the function of the Imperial Guard (Konoefu 近衛府) in 11 th century Japan. Under the Ritsuryo 律令 codes enacted in 701, the Imperial Guard (Efu 衛府) was put in charge of security at the imperial palace, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This provision remained in tact even under the Engishiki 延喜式 code revisions enacted in 967. The present article focuses on 1) whether the Guard was still assigned to night duty even in the 11th century, and 2) if aristocrats in the 11th century were aware of that function. Although the research to date has argued that Konoefu Imperial Guard no longer functioned in maintaining security at the imperial palace, the author's examination of the night watch advocates a reevaluation of that assertion.
The article begins with an analysis of the regulations regarding the night watch in the Engishiki code revisions. Because all six posts within the Imperial Guard were involved in the imperial palace night watch, the author deems it appropriate to examine the night watch system alone as typical of the function and the character of the Konoefu Imperial Guard as a whole. It is also noteworthy that the night watch was a criterion for promotion; and an examination of the primary sources confirms that the night watch was a routine duty.
Furthermore, manuals related to ritual and dairies of aristocrats mentioning the night watch during the 11th century reveal that not only was the night watch routine duty, but also the Imperial Guard was recognized at that time as an organization dedicated to maintaining security.
Finally, the author finds that the Konoefu Imperial Guard was also responsible for extinguishing and preventing fires, just one more piece of evidence that the imperial court still considered its Imperial Guard effective and that the aristocracy also recognized its functionality.
The author concludes that the Konoefu Imperial Guard was effective in maintaining security during the 11th century, in addition to performing other functions, such as performing rituals and serving the Fujiwara regents.