Return to Born Eunuchs Library

Prof. Theodor Hopfner, University of Prague

Das Sexualleben der Griechen und Römer von den Anfängen bis ins 6. Jahrhundert nach Christus [The Sex Life of the Greeks and Romans from the beginning to the 6th Century AD], Volume 1, 1st Half, Prague, 1938, pp. 435-455.


Eunuchoids, sexual intermediates, hermaphrodites.


Eunuchoids and sexual intermediates (i.e. feminine males and virile females); the Amazons and the fashionable virility of Roman ladies of the imperial period:

In the above presentation of the primary sex characteristics of the two sexes, we already referred to various anomalies in them that do not however influence the entire sexual character and appearance of the respective individual. Nonetheless, Aristotle says:1 "Many men remain impubescent from birth and incapable of procreation, because they are defective in the parts used for procreation, and likewise women remain impubescent from birth." These are likely also the same men whom Aristotle2 refers to as the "feminine males" (andres theelukoi) "who are not capable of procreation because they emit only thin and cold seed." This reasoning points toward an underdevelopment of the testicles, which for this reason, and because they are conspicuously small or even absent, makes the affected individual into an apparent eunuch, a "eunuch due to a natural defect" (ek fuseoos kakias), as Polemon3 and Adamantios4 put it, or a "castratus [Verschnittener] from the mother's womb" as it says in the Gospel of Matthew.5 By the way, the Greeks had the expression eunouchias for this, which is defined as "feminine by nature" (ek fuseoos theeludrias).6 In the Talmud7 such a being is called "sari" and is characterized as follows: "The sari is a human being who in his twentieth year still has not two hairs on his body and even if he should gain them later, he is still a sari. He has no beard, his hair (on his head) is fine and soft, and his skin is smooth. His water (urine) does not foam and he does not urinate with others. His semen is not firm, but rather clear like water and his "wine" (sweat?) is not sour; his voice is like that of a woman." This depiction proves the absence of the secondary sex characteristics in particular, caused by the failure of the internal secretions of the sexual glands (testicles). This causes a change in the entire appearance in a conspicuous manner, approximating the prepubertal castratus and the female, which Moll describes as follows: "Eunuchoids are male individuals in whom the testicles and penis are extraordinarily small, the former often only the size of peas; the armpit and pubic hair is sparsely developed, the beard not at all, while the head hair and eyebrows are well developed; the face tends to be sallow and wrinkled; usually obesity is associated with it, especially generous fat deposits in the lower abdomen, buttocks, and breasts." The Bilderlexikon der Sexualwissenschaft [Pictorial Lexicon of Sexology] provides an image of a eunuchoid that matches this.8 By the way, the creation of such people, "who cannot perform coitus,"9 "do not have coitus with women at all",10 or who are described "as sterile men",11 was also attributed to certain birth constellations in which Saturn and Mars were dominant and which characteristically also caused cinaedi (pathics) and eunuchs. Moreover, the "castrati by nature" are said to be mostly cruel (i.e. sadistic?), treacherous, and evil.12 Firmicus Maternus also mentions such birth constellations that lead to the creation of "born eunuchs".13

Hippocrates14 called the son of Celeures in Corinth a eunuchoid; on the other hand, in the following two cases, it is not certain whether they should be placed in this category: The sophist Philiskos had a half-female voice and his walk, his posture, and his outfit were disagreeable; he was also apparently smooth (i.e. without body hair) and beardless like a woman, all of which the emperor Caracalla criticized when he asked for a hearing before him.15 The philosopher Favorinus of Arelate (Arles) was born a "hermaphrodite" which could be seen already in his appearance; for he was beardless, even at an advanced age, and his voice had a clear, delicate, high-pitched sound like that of eunuchs. Nonetheless. he was very ardent in love, so that he was once even accused of adultery by a consul. The sophist Polemon called him "a total old woman".16 Since we also hear that he had no testicles, one might consider a diagnosis of bilateral cryptorchism, but that is contradicted by the feminine voice. We also have him described to us as a(n ass) "licker". Likewise, Johannes Abbas is described as a "eunuch by nature".17

There can be no doubt that all those pathics who, without any artificial intervention, tended by nature toward the passive role in homosexual intercourse and also seemed feminine in their entire appearance, should be described as sexual intermediates, but they are not to be spoken of until the chapter on male homosexuality.

As there were feminine males, so too were there masculine females by nature (gunaikes arrenoopoi) who according to Aristotle18 "had no menstruation and were therefore sterile"; they were also called arrenoopades and "hermaphrodites" (androgunoi),19 although their external sex organs did not exhibit anomalies in any case even if the rest of their appearance made a very masculine impression. In Latin, the term "virago" is used,20 which has passed over into modern medical usage; in addition, the term "vira" is found, meaning approximately "female man".21 The Talmud22 also knows this intermediate, calling her "aionolith" and saying about her: "She is a woman who, when she is twenty years old, still does not have two hairs on her body; she also has no breasts and she dislikes coitus; she also has no mons veneris and she has a masculine voice." Aristotle23 too says that the man-like women are nauseated by the joys of love (hai hupandroi katakoreis pros ta afrodisia). The viragines in the work of the astrologer Firmicus Maternus24 also appear as frigid, since the creation of these female intermediates was attributed to certain constellations;25 here26 it is also stated expressly that they never have sex with men, and if they do (have to) do it, they never conceive or give birth, but they are also classed together with men "who suffer from unjust acts"27 (i.e. castration or misuse as pathics) and with sterile women.28 Original models of the virago are the eternally virgin Athena,29 who rejected all sex, and in the heroic age the daughters of Geraistos, who loathed marriage and sexual intercourse and for whom their father therefore founded the City of Virgins (Parthenopolis) in Macedonia.30 Since such "viragines" were also characterized by a manly appearance, a cow that remained permanently sterile was analogously called taurea "bullish".31 Here the Amazons should also be mentioned, whose name is derived as "the breastless", from mazos "the breast", since they allegedly either cut out or burned out32 the right breast, in order not to be hindered in spear casting;33 in Latin, therefore, they were sometimes called "one-breasted" (unimammae),34 although their name is also derived from hama zoosai, i.e. "the ones who live together" since they only lived with one another, not with men.35 Due to their lust for war, they were considered the progeny of Ares (Mars) with Harmonia on the Thermodon.36 It is well-known that Homer37 already mentions an invasion of Phrygia by Amazons and that they are supposed to have once advanced as far as Greece. The legend of the assistance given by the Amazons to the Trojans belongs to the post-Homeric period, and their queen Penthesilea is killed by Achilles, making sure as she was falling that none of the private parts of her body were exposed.38 She was located in various places, particularly in northeast Asia Minor, on the Thermodon in Themiskyra39 or even in Africa,40 or in Illyria,41 and was often connected with the Scythians42 and Sauromatians43 in southern Russia. The characteristic thing is "that the Amazons lived on their own without men, but had sex at particular times with men from neighboring peoples, and of the children thus conceived and born they either threw away the males or lamed them by cutting their sinews, and raised them as slaves, but as for the girls, they raised them as hunters and warriors after burning out their right breast." Thus they submitted to sexual intercourse only for the sake of procreation, limiting it to the least necessary amount, "although they were not turned off to men by nature."44 For this reason, the Amazon queen Thalestris is supposed to have visited Alexander the Great and been at his disposal for thirteen days.45

But the term "virago" is also applied to a girl or woman who like the Amazons "did the business of men",46 as well as a "very brave woman who intends to rule over the man"47 and "behaves like a man and is like a man";48 while in this case we are undoubtedly dealing still with a virile constitution, Juvenal49 describes the merely fashionable virility of the ladies of his degenerate time:

"Who does not know that women oil themselves50 and put on fencing outfits? Who has not seen the marks on the pole?51 She makes it hollow by continual strikes with rapiers and chaffs it with the shield. She follows every rule! Such a woman would be worthy to dance in rows during Flora's festival,52 if her heart did not have higher plans the goal of her efforts is the actual arena!"

He also ridicules the ladies53 who go boar-hunting with spears, as in another place54 impassioned huntresses are called "viragines."



A person "who has both sex organs, those of males and of females," was called hermaphroditus55 or "two-sexed" (digenees),56 or also difuees, since he unites two natures (fuseis) in himself;57 and commonly man-woman (androgunos),58 half-man (heemiandros,59 semivir)60 or half-woman (heemigunaix),61 so that we encounter expressions with which people commonly characterized the effeminate demasculinized [men] as well.

Legendary hermaphrodites that united both sexes in themselves, who have one breast male, the other female, and are supposed to impregnate as well as conceive in alternating acts of procreation, were even imagined as entire peoples,62 for example as the so-called Androgynes of Africa above the Nasamonians.63 Lucian64 characterizes the hermaphrodite more correctly when he says that he is even more pitiful than the castratus, for the latter "had at least once known what manhood was, but the former had been from the beginning a dogged, ambiguous creature, an effeminate half-man of such indeterminate forms and traits that one could in fact not know whether he was a boy or a girl." Aristotle65 already correctly emphasizes that one of the sex organs of the hermaphrodites was always more greatly developed and more sharply pronounced, while the weaker organ was always non-functioning, and, because it was against nature, it was only a deformity or growth (fuma). This is also indicated by an epigram:66 "If you see Callistion naked, you will say: Here the double letter of the Syracusans stands on its head." The scholiast says about this that the psi (which consists of pi and sigma) was invented by the Syracusan Epicharm.67 If one turns this psi upside-down, one sees a schematic depiction of a male hermaphrodite, on top is the male penis, below the female cleft with the external voluptuous labiae. That is the most common form of hermaphroditic formation, as described as well for the son of the Aetolian Polycritos: For he was born while the male sex organs (i.e. the penis) were fully developed, but the female organs were only hinted at between the thighs;68 the same thing is reported with regard to a hermaphrodite born in Rome in 125 BC.69 The physician Leonides70 distinguished the following four types of hermaphrodites, three of which belong to the male sex, and one to the female: In the men, there appeared namely: a feminine pubic slit either 1. in the space between the anus and the base of the male member (kata ton perinaion) or 2. in the middle of the scrotum (thesis aidoiou gunaikeiou tetrichoomenou), or in the 3rd case the urine was eliminated through the scrotum as if through a female organ (i.e. in this case the male penis is totally absent and the scrotum has a cleft for the outflow of urine); this anomaly could not be fixed. In the females, i.e. the female hermaphrodites, there was sometimes a kind of male member above the (normal looking) female member in the region of the mons veneris, in which three parts protruded here, namely something like a male penis and two additional parts like testicles. Three of these anomalies can be fixed, by removing what is superfluous and letting it heal like a wound. In Case No. 1, Leonides describes the most common type of male pseudo-hermaphrodite, caused by extreme hypospadia of the lower part of the urinary tracts (hypospadiasis penisscrotalis) and simultaneous bilateral cryptorchism; for in this case the organ gives the impression as if the cleft of the female vagina were located at the base of the penis, while the empty testicular pockets to the right and left of it can give the impression of being the large labiae. That is what Moll says;71 also included is a depiction of such an individual,72 who also displays a hanging fat breast. Such a hermaphrodite was deemed in one particular case73 to be a female and was even married. By the way, we also possess a depiction of the member of a pseudo-hermaphrodite of Leonides' Type 3 in the form of a votive gift made of silver:74 From one side, the object looks like a normal male member, a limp penis with an exposed head hanging over the scrotum; on the other (reverse) side however, it clearly shows a complete hypospadia, in which the urinary opening is found in the middle of the scrotum in the form of a female vaginal cleft.

Such hermaphroditic formations are by no means as rare as one might think: Neugebauer75 has observed no less than over a thousand cases, albeit only male or female pseudo-hermaphrodites, while genuine hermaphrodites, i.e. individuals who have double-sexed hermaphroditic glands (testicles and ovaries) have become known only in very small numbers.76 One famous hermaphrodite was namely Marie Madelaine Lefort, in whom the uterus and vagina were well developed, but the labia were fused together while the greatly overgrown clitoris simulated a penis; she had no sex drive at all.77 One perhaps genuine hermaphrodite, who put his sex organs on show for money in France, is described by Schurig:78 He had a male member of the size of a middle finger with a head, ligament and foreskin, but the member was not perforated; the urinary tract and the vagina opened below it and the testicles were in one of the two labiae.However, female hermaphrodites can arise by the fact that the ovaries drop down through the inguinal canals and thus arrive under the skin of the large labiae, where the latter may appear then like the two pockets of a male scrotum with testicles; if overgrowth of the clitoris occurs as well, then this type of anomaly gives the impression as though both sex organs were present, since the vaginal opening is located between the apparent testicles in their containers.79 In this case, only a histological finding can determine whether they are genuine or fake hermaphrodites. Such individuals may be considered men, as one even had a beard and was married.80 Surgical correction has been performed by Halban, Sellheim, and Strassmann.81 By the way, Neugebauer and Hirschfeld assume hermaphroditism is hereditary; for the latter found among twenty-four hermaphrodites six siblings, Taruffi among five siblings as many as four hermaphrodites.82 Antiquity however attributed even this anomaly to the influence of certain birth constellations,83 in one case the constellation that was also supposed to cause paralytics, ridiculous humpbacks, dwarves, and curved-spines (paralytici, ridiculi gibbi, nani, incurvi),84 namely the dean stars [? Dekansterne] were blamed for monstrous birth defects and for sudden accidents, pains and diseases, fevers, chills, and unexpected and inexplicable events in general.85 However, it is also disputed that hermaphrodites or children destined for castration have their destinies dictated by providence (pronoia).86

It is especially noteworthy that hermaphrodites are born under the same constellations as pathics,87 and that Pliny88 reports that hermaphrodites were once viewed as bad omens, but in his time, i.e. the first century AD, as "objects of lust" (in deliciis habitos); the same thing is indicated by Martial89 and Lucian,90 and Plutarch91 even says: "There are people in Rome who think nothing of paintings and statues, or of beautiful boys and girls that are offered for sale, but rather they hang out in the market for freaks, in order to see people with crooked arms or feet,92 with three eyes or with an ostrich head, and to inquire whether

"a hermaphroditic hybrid, a squatting thing"93

has been born. But when Pliny94 says that an androgyne got married, it is not certain whether that means a male pseudo-hermaphrodite as in the case described by Dohn, or a pathic, who were also described as androgynoi. The Latin Anthology95 is quite unequivocal in speaking of the sexual activity of a hermaphrodite (viewed as female) with girls or women:

"You monster, of the female type with a double organ,
Whom the forced craving for desire makes into a man,
tell me, if your cleft is in heat, why don't you want
to give yourself to us so you could be laid?
For if you do not grant what you ought to tolerate,
you will only be harmed by it; but if you offer to us
that organ, by reason of which you are a woman,
you will become a whole girl!"

On the other hand, it is emphasized that the hermaphrodite, although dual-sexed, is unable to enjoy or provide lust,96 and also that he is easily cowed.97 After someone dreamed that he was playing the role of a hermaphrodite (androgunou, or a pathic?) in a comedy, he became ill in his member.98

Mythical hermaphrodites included the son of Aphrodite and Hermes, "Hermaphroditos,"99 the demon Agdistis,100 among the heroes the ancient Attic king Cecrops,101 but based on a fabricated reason; he is supposed to have been a man on top and a woman below. But if the Assyrian king Sardanapal is described as a hermaphrodite,102 that is only supposed to signify that he was bisexual in orientation, taking the active role in sex and also letting himself be abused as a passive. Among historical persons, the aforementioned sophist Favorinus was called androgunos and hermaphroditos,103 and even eunuch,104 since - as a eunuchoid? - he lacked testicles; for when posed the question to the young philosopher Demonax as to what his father had given him on his journey, the latter answered sarcastically: "Testicles."105 Demonax also criticized him for his beardlessness.106 Once Favorinus was discovered as an adulteror with a woman; but since he was suspected of being a eunuch or rather a hermaphrodite, some people demanded that he undress and show whether he had testicles, and others that prostitutes should be fetched from the nearest brothel and he should offer proof of his manhood before their eyes; finally it was agreed that the decision of whether this man should be allowed to call himself a philosopher should be made in Rome.107 If someone encountered a hermaphrodite when leaving the house, that was viewed as a bad sign and he went back inside,108 as it was also asserted that a hermaphrodite always had a definite omen, a good one or a bad one.109 Usually it meant something bad, as even his birth was a great misfortune,110 for which reason the hermaphroditic son of the Aetolian Polykritos was supposed to be burned along with his mother.111 In Rome, the ancient law of the Twelve Tables112 demanded the killing of all freak births, because they brought bad luck to the community, especially hermaphrodites, so that after his destruction a public atonement (procuratio) had to be performed.113 There is historical documentation of this: When in the year 200 BC a child of indeterminate sex was born in the Sabine region, and at the same time a being of the same kind was found who was already sixteen years old, both were immediately drowned in the sea, after which the Sibylline books ordered, in addition to the usual atonement, the following as well: Three choruses, consisting of nine virgins each, were supposed to proceed through the city singing a song written by P. Licinius Tegula, and to bring an offertory gift to Juno Regina; on an earlier occasion, the famous L. Livius Andronicus had written such a song.114 The same fate was met by hermaphrodites born in 209 and 207 BC in Sinuessa and Frusino, although the latter hermaphrodite at birth was already as large as a four-year-old child (?). These children were drowned in the sea in a box;115 this time as well, the Etruscan entrail interpreters (haruspices) ordered a prayer festival in all temples.116 Moreover, in the year 186 a twelve-year-old hermaphrodite found in Umbria had to be carried across the border and killed,117 just as in the year 125 BC, after which the Sibylline books ordered sacrifices to Demeter, Persephone, Hades-Pluto, Apollo, and Hera with special rites.118 Hermaphrodites who predicted the civil war between Caesar and Pompey were burned on orders from the Etruscan priests;119 also in 54 AD a hermaphroditic birth pointed toward the death of Claudius.120

The same terrible significance attended the birth of hermaphroditic animals, for example the birth of a hermaphroditic lamb in Caere in 206 BC.121 Hermaphroditic formations also occurred frequently in goats, who were called tragainai "female billies".122 In addition, the pontifices at the time of Emperor Philip the Arabian came upon a male pig during the sacrifice who also had a female organ, based on which they prophesied pamperedness in the coming age and a great spread of vice (passive homosexuality);123 but already in the campaign of Xerxes in 480 BC a mule - which is usually a sterile animal - gave birth to a hermaphroditic offspring whose male organs were above the female organs.124 When the philosopher Ariston of Chios saw a steer with an enormous womb (?) meetra, he cried out: "Woe, now Arkesilaos has tangible proof against the unmitigated clarity of knowledge!"125 It is asserted about the rabbit that it combines both sexes in itself and can impregnate and conceive at the same time,126 and in fact that it propagates itself even without males (by self-impregnation),127 which is the reason the Jews abstain from its meat.128 The ichneumon ("Pharaoh's rat") is also supposed to be double-sexed, and when they are defeated in a fight, they revert to the lesser sex, and are mounted and impregnated by their victorious species mates;129 the hyena in particular was regarded as hermaphroditic.130 However, Aristotle131 already correctly explained that the male hyenas have a cleft below the penis that was wrongly taken for a female vagina,132 although it is a blind alley.133 When seen in a dream, therefore, the hyena meant a virago (gunaika androodee), a poison mixer or a person who was addicted to unnatural-homosexual drives (kinaidon, i.e. the pathic).134 Also the trochos fish was supposed to combine both sexes in itself and impregnate itself,135 and so was, finally, the fly.136 Mention was already made above of the numerous hermaphroditic divinities in the Occident and the Orient. It was even deemed a bad sign if a hen crowed as if it were a rooster,137 and this leads into the following Part.


Sex Transformation
i.e. (apparently) female individuals become males:

Antiquity found in mythology the first documentation of this phenomenon, that is still observed today again and again: The girl Kainis (Caenis), whom Poseidon had raped, demanded of him that he transform her into a boy, in order not to have to suffer the pain of the defloration any longer;138 Hypermestra139 and Galateia140 also became men, while Sithon (Scithon) went back and forth between being a man and being a woman.141 The best-known story is that of Teiresias: Once when he saw a copulating pair of snakes, he struck them with a cane and became a woman; after seven years he became a man again through the same occurrence.142 He is even supposed to have changed sex seven times and to have been called the daughter of Phorbas among the Cretans.143 According to other versions, the transformation into a woman was supposed to have occurred because he saw Athena bathing naked,144 which is exactly what happened to Siproitas with regard to Artemis.145 Sostratos146 gave other reasons in an elegy dedicated to the fate of Teiresias: according to it, he was a girl first, and was raised by Chariclo; at the age of seven, Apollo had sex with her, giving her in exchange a talent for music, but when she no longer wanted to give herself to him, he changed her into a man, so that she would come to know the power of Eros. As a man, Teiresias gave his famous judgment before Zeus and Hera about the sexual lust of men and women, and for that reason Hera made him into a woman, with whom Callon the Argive had sex, and she gave birth to a boy who was cross-eyed because of Hera's wrath. Once she laughed at the image of Hera in Argos, after which Hera changed her into an ugly man. But Zeus had mercy on him and made him into a beautiful girl, who emigrated from Argos to Troizen and was attacked there by Glyphios while bathing; but the girl defeated and strangled him. Since Glyphios was the favorite of Poseidon, the Fates transformed the girl into Teiresias at the behest of the god, and took away his prophetic skill, which he got back again from Chiron. When Aphrodite and the Charites fought over the prize for beauty at a dinner given by Peleus and Thetis, Teiresias gave the prize to the Charite Kale, after which Aphrodite changed him into an old woman, to whom however Kale gave such luxurious hair that Arachnos fell in love with her in Crete and boasted that he had slept with Aphrodite herself. As punishment, Aphrodite changed Arachnos into a cat, and Teiresias into a mouse. He is supposed to have preferred life as a woman to life as a man;147 this story was attributed to the fact that he was the first to teach that some of the planets were masculine and some feminine, according to their effects;148 this story has residual effects when an elegy149 deals with the transformation of a girl Teiresia into a man on her wedding night, although this may be based on an historical event.

Such transformations signified bad luck to the Roman state,150 for example, when in 214 BC in Spoletum a woman changed into a man,151 and in 171 BC in Casinum a girl changed before her parents' eyes, and had to be abandoned on a deserted island by order of the haruspices.152 The same thing happened in Antiochia on the Meander in 45 AD: In this case, a beautiful 13-year-old girl, already engaged, suddenly while on the street suffered severe pain in her lower abdomen so that she cried out. When she was brought home and treated for enteritis by the best doctors, the pain lasted three days and three nights, after which it became so severe on the fourth day that the sick girl screamed loudly and whimpered. But suddenly it all passed and it appeared that a male organ had grown out of what she had previously taken for her vagina. Having thus become a male youth, the erstwhile girl traveled to Rome and was presented there to the Emperor Claudius, who had an altar to Jupiter, the defender against evil, erected on the Capitol in commemoration.153 Likewise, in Mevania in Italy in 53 AD an engaged girl became a boy and around the same time in Epidauros the girl Sympherusa became a Sympheron, who later lived as a gardner.154 In fact, in 116 AD, in Laodicea in Syria, a wife Aiteta, whom her husband even used to have sex with, changed into a man and from then on called herself Aitetos.155 In addition, Licinius Mucianus156 relates that in Argis he saw a certain Areskon who had once been called Areskusa and had been married; but then a beard and manhood appeared on him, so that he dissolved the first marriage as a woman and, having become a man, he took a wife; a boy whom he saw in Smyrna had had the same fate. Pliny157 saw a citizen in Thysdrus in Africa who had turned into a man on the day of his wedding. The following case is especially interesting:158 In Abai in Arabia, there lived a man of Macedonian heritage, named Diophantos, who betrothed Herais, his daughter by an Arabian woman, to a certain Samiades, with whom she lived for one year, after which her husband embarked on a long journey. During his absence, Herais was afflicted with a severe inflammation on her lower abdomen, and as the place became more and more swollen and a great fever came as well, the doctors thought it was a tumour in the cervix, and used all sorts of means that were supposed to prevent gangrene. But on the seventh day, the skin split open and a male organ with two testicles emerged from the sex organs of Herais. Only her mother and two maids were present when it happened, and they kept quiet about it and gave Herais all the care she needed, but they considered her a hermaphrodite from then on. After she healed, Herais kept her female clothing and lifestyle. But when her husband returned home, out of shame she did not want to let him see her, which finally led to a trial as to whom she belonged to, her husband or her father. When the judge awarded her to the husband, Herais told about her experience, presented her sex organs, and insisted that as a man she could not be forced to live together in marriage with a man. The doctors, who now examined her, said that the male member was encased in a egg-shaped sheath of feminine form that had an opening through which the superfluous substances were emitted. They caused this tube-shaped opening to heal up by artificial suppuration, by which means they created the normal male formation. Herais entered the cavalry of King Alexander, under the name of her father Diophantos, and participated in the king's retreat to Abai. But her former husband killed himself out of love for her and out of shame for the unnatural wedding, but he appointed Diophantos heir to his estate. "Something similar happened later in Epidamnos: There lived a girl there, an orphan, named Kallo; from birth she had the canal given to women (i.e. the vagina), but next to it she also had from birth a kind of tube next to the pubic hair through which she eliminated the superfluous fluid (i.e. urine). When she reached the flower of youth, she married a man and lived with him for two years, but she could not complete the conjugal cohabitation, but rather had to endure unnatural sex (by the anus). Then a kind of inflammation occurred around the genital area, that was associated with severe pain. The doctors who were called refused to treat her, and so an apothecary agreed to do it. When he cut open the swollen place, two testicles and a penis emerged, but the latter did not have an opening. Then the apothecary made a cut into the penis and inserted a silver tube, penetrating until he reached the urinary tract; then he cause an artificial suppuration in the old fistular opening and healed it up. After that he demanded a double fee, because he had been entrusted with a sick woman and he had made a healthy boy. From then on Kallo started wearing male clothing and called herself Kallon.159 Some report that before her transformation she had been a priestess of Demeter and because she had seen things there that men are not allowed to see, she was accused of religious sacrilege. Such cases are also supposed to have occured in Naples and elsewhere, and not only private persons but entire peoples and states took such things for miraculous signs: Thus at the start of the Social War (90-88 BC) a man near Rome is supposed to have married such a man-woman and reported the matter to the Senate, after which the Senate, trusting in the word of the Tyrrhenic sacrifice interpreters, ordered that that man-woman should be burned alive; also in Athens soon afterwards a person was killed in the same way for that reason, since they did not know how to correctly judge his condition.

If men dream that they are transformed into women or that they have something feminine on them, for example, a female organ, female accoutrements or clothing, shoes or hair tresses, that always means the same thing,160 namely something good for a poor man or slave, because the former, like a woman, will find a nourisher and the latter will do his work with less to complain about, since women's work is easier. For a rich man, however, such a dream has a bad meaning, especially if he manages state affairs as well, because women usually stay at home and are excluded from state administration. On the other hand, if women dream that they have become men, then for married women that means they will give birth to a boy, and for single women that they will marry; but to a married women, it can also mean widowhood, to a female slave it can mean a heavier burden, and to a prostitute it can mean that she will be much in demand, which is a good thing for her.161

But sex transformation is also supposed to have been observed with animals: Thus a she-goat that was supposed to be sacrificed to Aphrodite before the departure of Theseus and his children to Minos in Crete was suddenly transformed into a he-goat (tragos), whence the goddess acquired the epithet Epitragia.162 In addition, the rabbit163 and the hyena164 are supposed to change sex every year, or rather the latter were supposed to become male immediately after being laid,165 just as hens also changed into roosters,166 which signified bad luck in the Roman state,167 e.g. in 217 BC. Finally, the same thing is told about a peacock who became a hen; connected to the latter report is the comment that once in Benevent a youth changed shape into a girl,168 which stands completely on its own [?].


1 Historia animalium VII 1.5.

2 De generatione animalium II 7.

3 Physiognom. II 26.

4 ibid. II 2.

5 19:12.

6 Pseudo-Aristotle, Problemata IV 26.

7 Yebamoth, pp. 94/95.

8 III p. 239.

9 Firmicus Maternus, Mathesis III 9.1.

10 ibid. VII 19.5

11 Manetho, Apotelesm. III (II) 277/86.

12 Adamantios, Physiognom. II 2.

13 Mathesis VII 25.1/2.

14 De morb. vulgar. IV, tom. XXIII p. 535 K.

15 Philostratus, Vit. sophist. II 30.

16 Philostratus, ibid. I 25.9.

17 Apophthegm. Patr., De abbate Theodoro Pherm. 10, Migne Patrologia Graeca 65, p. 190.

18 De generatione animalium II 7, p. 747, 1/2.

19 Hesych.

20 Glossarii Lat. II, p. 209.28; 209.16; Servius, Aen. XII 468.

21 Servius, ibid.

22 See J. Bergel, Die Medizin der Talmudisten, 1885.

23 Fragment 285.8, p. 222.3/4.

24 Mathesis IV 6.4.

25 ibid. VI 30.15.

26 III 5.24.

27 III 11.11.

28 VII 25.4.

29 idem, De errore 16.1.

30 Eustath. on Dionys. 327 (Parthenopolis), Müller FHG IV p. 510.

31 Servius, Aen. II 140.

32 Etym. Magn., Isidor. IX 2 (64); Apollodoros II 5.9.

33 Isidor. ibid.

34 Ibid. Orig. IX 2.64; Titianus in Servius, Aen. XI 651.

35 Servius, Aen. I 490. Isidor IX 2 (64); but see Steph. Byz., entry for Ephesos.

36 Pherecydes in Stephan., entry for Akmonia.

37 Iliad III 189, VI 186.

38 Quint. Smyrn. I 622/23.

39 Herodotos IX 27; Diodorus IV 16 and elsewhere.

40 Diodoros III 53 ff.

41 Strabo, XI 5, 1/5 p. 504/5.

42 Justin II 4, Herodotos IV 110 ff.

43 See in general Realencyclop. I col. 1754 ff.

44 Plutarch, Thes. 26.

45 Diodorus XVII 77; Strabo XI 5, p. 505; Curtius Rufus VI 5 (19); Justin II 4, XIII 3 (where she is called Minithya); orosius III 18.5 (Halestris or Minothea); Martian, Capella IX 925; Arrian (VII 13) doubts the whole story on textual source grounds and says that the satrap Atropates staged the thing.

46 Isidor, Orig. XI 2 (22).

47 Gloss. Lat. IV p. 579, 18.

48 ibid. IV p. 192, 28 and 51, p. 193, 29.

49 Sat. II 6, 245ff.

50 Like athletes.

51 That they used for practice.

52 It was denounced as indecent.

53 I 1.22/23.

54 Firmicus Maternus, Mathesis VII 9.1.

55 Suidas I 1, p. 702, 10/11; Phot.; Suid. I 2, p. 523, 7/8; Etym. Magn.; Anecd. Bachm. I p. 236, 1/2; Psellus, De re med. 1373, I p. 243 Id. with the addition agchithuros hee fusis.

56 Suid. I 1, p. 702, 10.

57 Hesych., entry for difua.

58 ibid.; Herodot., Dictionar. voc. Hippocrat.; Isid., orig. XI 3 (11) and often.

59 Hipponax, Fragment 114 (72), PLG II 3 p, 781 in Suid., entry for arren.

60 Gloss. lat. II p. 225, 19.

61 Suid., ibid.

62 Augustine, De civitate Dei XVI 8.1.

63 Aristotle, Pol. II 1.13; Calliphanes (FHG II 179) in Plin. VII 15; Isidor., Orig. XI 3 (11).

64 Eunuch. 8; Dialogi deor. 23.

65 De generat. animalium IV 4, p. 772, 26 ff.

66 Meleager, Anthol. Pal. V 191.

67 See Plin. VII 56.

68 Hieron. of Alex. and Ephoros in Phlegon, Mirab., FHG III p. 613, fragment 31.

69 Phlegon, Mirab. 10.

70 Paulus VI 69, tom. II p. 112 H.

71 Albert Moll, Handbuch der Sexualwissenschaft, Leipzig, 1912, p. 114, see Fig. 56 (p. 116).

72 ibid., No. 61 (p. 120).

73 Dohn in Moll, ibid.

74 Römer, Jahrbuch für sexuelle Zwischenstufen 5 (1903). p. 900, Fig. 87.

75 F. von Neugebauer, Hermaphroditismus beim Menschen, 1907, also in Jahrbuch für sexuelle Zwischenstufen 7 (1905), in which 2072 relevant documents are cited! See also the Bilderlexikon III: Sexualwissenschaft (1930), [BLSW III], p. 662/64 with schematic cross-sections.

76 See Moll, Handbuch, p. 120/21, 126, 127/28.

77 Josef Rohleder, Vorlesungen über das gesamte Geschlechtsleben des Menschen, vol. I, 4th edition, Berlin 1920, p. 383/84.

78 Muliebria, p. 89/90.

79 Moll, Handbuch, p. 114.

80 idem, ibid., p. 122; see Schurig, p. 95/96 and the figure in BLSW III, p. 234/35 and especially p. 378 ff.

81 BLSW III, p. 339/40.

82 Rohleder I, p. 375/76.

83 Manetho VI (III) 276 ff; I (V) 127; Firm. Mat. VII 25, 1/2; VI 30, 5.

84 Ibid., III 2.23; see III 5.24.

85 Ibid. II 4.5.

86 Aristid. rhet., Or. 50.412.

87 Firm. Mat. III 6.22.

88 Hist. nat. VII 34.

89 III 72.

90 Philopatr. 24.

91 De curiositate 10.

92 To be compared with the one-legged prostitute in Paris who had a lot of business due to her defect.

93 Quote from Euripides, see Plut. Thes. 15.

94 Hist. nat. VII 36; see Ausonius, Epigr. 76 (69) and 12, p. 340 P.

95 No. 471, tom. IV p. 401 Behrens

96 Auson., Epigr. 102 (100) p. 349.

97 Lucian, Eunuch. 7.

98 Artemidor IV 27.

99 Auson., Epigr. 103 (101); Vibius Sequens, De font. p. 22 Oberl.

100 Pausan. VII 17, 10/12.

101 Suidas II 1, p. 198, 10.

102 Schol. Lucian. Dial. mort. VI 2; Anecd. Bachm. II p. 337, 23.

103 Suidas II 2, p. 1402, 7.

104 Lucian, Eunuch. 7.

105 Lucian, Demon. 12.

106 idem, ibid., 13.

107 Lucian, ibid., 10/12.

108 idem, Apophras 17, Eunuch. 6.

109 Diodorus IV 6.

110 Cicero, De divin. I 43.

111 Phlegon, Fragment 31, FHG III p. 613 ff.

112 Cicero, De leg. III 8.

113 Mommsen, Strafrecht, p. 904.

114 Liv. XXXI 12, 6/10.

115 idem, XXVII 37.5ff; Orosius V 4.8.

116 Liv. XXVII 11.5.

117 idem, XXXIX 22.5.

118 Phlegon, Mirab. 10.

119 Lucan., Phars. I 579/81.

120 Tacitus, Annales, XII 64.

121 Livy XXVII 11.3.

122 Aristot. De gen. anim. IV 4, p. 770 34ff.

123 Aurel. Victor 28.

124 Herodotos VII 57.

125 Diogenes Laertius VII 162.

126 Aelian XIII 12.

127 Archelaos in Pliny VIII 218.

128 Joh. Lydus, De mens. IV 91, p. 138 W.

129 Aelian. X 47.

130 Herodoros in Arist., De gen. anim. III 6, p. 757, 3/13.

131 De gener. animal. III 6.

132 Diodor XXXIII (XXXIII) 186.

133 Aristot., Hist. animal. VI 32.

134 Artemid. II 12.

135 Herodoros in Aristot., De gener. animal. III 6.

136 Lucian, Encom. Muscae 12.

137 Terentius, Phormio 708.

138 Ovid., Met. XII 189ff and frequently.

139 idem, VII 848ff (Mestra), Antonin. Lib. 17.

140 Antonin. Lib., ibid.

141 Ovid., Met. IV 280.

142 Antonin. Liberal. 17; Apollodor, Bibl. III 6.7; Hygin, fab. 75; Phlegon, Mirab. 4 after Hesiod and Dicaearchus; Ovid., Mte. III 323 ff; Lycophron, Alex. 683; the Melampodia (FEG), p. 153); Pausan. IX 33.2.

143 Ptolem. Hephaest. in Phot., Bibl., cod. 190, I p. 146b 39/41.

144 Anecd. Bachm. II p. 328, 18/20.

145 Callimach, Hymn. in Dian. 237 ff.

146 Eustath. p. 1665, 48 ff.

147 Lucian., Mortuor. dialogi 28.1.

148 Pseudo-Lucian, De astrolog. 11.

149 Euenos in Athen. III, No. 9 in Bergk, PLG II p. 600.

150 Augustine, De civ. Dei III 31.

151 Livy XXIV 10.10.

152 Pliny, Hist. nat. VII 36.

153 Phlegon, Mirab. 6 (FHG III 618).

154 idem 7 and 8.

155 idem 9.

156 Plin. VII 36.

157 ibid., see Gellius IX 4.15.

158 Diodor XXXIII (XXXII) 186.

159 See Anecdota Bachm. II p. 344, 12ff.; Phot., Bibl. cod. 244, tom. II p. 377b 14ff.

160 Artemidor IV 83.

161 idem I 50.

162 Plut. Thes. 18.

163 Donat., In Eunuch. 426; Democrit (Geoponica XIX 4).

164 Aelian I 25; Horapollo II 69; Kyranid., p. 74, 1 R; Oppian, Cyneget. III 288.

165 Ovid, Met. XV 409/10.

166 Augustine, De civ. Dei III 31.

167 Livy XXII 1.13.

168 Auson., Epigr. 76 (69) p. 390 Peiper.