Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bern, Cathedral Facade. Judgment Day. How the deed was done.

Castration was commonplace in the medieval and ancient worlds, with the procedure producing male vocalists who sang in the range of female alto or contralto, or who could then guard the ruler's women without the ruler fearing intrusion.  Cyrus the Great had only castrated men in his personal service, including doormen.  The "third sex" -- a reference term. It served to make them more tractable; or was used as punishment.

How was it done?  There, upper right, above the pointed arch, an imp with nippers. Judgment Day.  The losers.

Bern Cathedral facade, parade to doom
See the implement at Archeology Odyssey November-December 2004 at p.56, article The Cruelest Cut, Castration in the Ancient World, For a contribution, obtain online access.  There is a bronze castration clamp shown, from ancient Londinium,

Some priests, the Gallae, did it to themselves, dedicating the act to Cybele, Phrygian goddess of nature and fertility.

See more of Bern at posts 10/09 here.

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