13 eunuchs killed in fire in India - Yahoo! News A eunuch ( /ˈjuːnək/; Greek: Ευνούχος is a person born male most commonly castrated, typically early enough in his life for this change to have major hormonal consequences. (Less commonly, in translations of ancient texts, "eunuch" may refer to a man who is not castrated but who is impotent or celibate.) Castration was typically carried out on the soon-to-be eunuch without his consent in order that he might perform a specific social function; this was common in many societies. The earliest records for intentional castration to produce eunuchs are from the Sumerian city of Lagash in the 21st century BC. Over the millennia since, they have performed a wide variety of functions in many different cultures: courtiers or equivalent domestics, treble singers, religious specialists, government officials, military commanders, and guardians of women or harem servants.