Hostname: page-component-77c89778f8-gvh9x Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-22T10:50:22.202Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Eunuchs in Burmese history: An overview

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 January 2024

Abstract

Despite the fact that Burmese courts had sizeable harems and that eunuchs are typically associated with harems, little attention has been paid to the presence of eunuchs in Burmese courts. This essay provides an overview of the existing English-language literature on eunuchs in Burmese courts, focusing on the three Burmese courts for which mention of eunuchs has survived in the historical record, namely the court at Pegu of the Taungoo dynasty (1486–1599), the court of Mrauk U of the Arakan kingdom (1429–1785), and the so-called ‘Court of Ava’ of the Konbaung dynasty (1765–1885). Noting the descriptions of eunuchs as Muslim, the essay considers the evidence regarding their numbers, their functions, and their possible origins.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2024. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The National University of Singapore

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Footnotes

Given this essay addresses issues beyond her anthropological specialisation in Thailand, she is particularly grateful for the assistance of Jacques Leider, Victor Lieberman, Jane Ferguson, the anonymous reviewers, and her advisees who suffered Covid-era garden dinners listening to her latest musings on harems and eunuchs.

References

1 Barbosa, Duarte, The book of Duarte Barbosa: An account of the countries bordering on the Indian Ocean and their inhabitants, trans. Dames, Mansel Longworth, 2nd ser., 49, 2 vols. (London: Hakluyt Society, 1921[1518]), vol. II, p. 147Google Scholar. Similarly in 1607, the French traveller François Pyrard explained that even outside the palace, ‘This is in order to put them in charge of the women, and the keys of the house; they trust them in all things, and never their wives.’ The voyage of François Pyrard of Laval to the East Indies, the Maldives, the Moluccas, and Brazil’, trans. and ed. Albert Gray (New York: Burt Franklin, 1887[1619]), p. 332.

2 In reality, some eunuchs married and adopted children. More research needs to be done on the relatives of Burmese eunuchs.

3 See for example, Tougher, Shaun, The eunuch in Byzantine history and society (New York: Routledge, 2008), p. 47Google Scholar; Tsai, Shih-shan Henry, The eunuchs in the Ming dynasty (New York: SUNY Press, 1996)Google Scholar; Hathaway, Jane, The chief eunuch of the Ottoman harem: From African slave to power broker (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

4 Nisbet, John, Burma under British rule—and before (Westminster: Archibald Constable & Co., 1901), p. 205Google Scholar. Nisbet's account reverses the stereotype of eunuchs policing palace women, instead placing eunuchs under women's control. Kings Bayinnaung (r. 1550–81), Bodawpaya (r. 1782–1819), and Mindon Min (r. 1853–78) each had over 50 consorts who bore over 100 children. Servants added to the overall size of the harems. In Nisbet and the Royal Orders of Burma, the term for eunuch is meinmaso (mainmazo). Other terms appear to include panduat and thin'kwot-pyee'thau-thoo. On the latter see Sloan, W.H., A practical method with the Burmese language (Rangoon: American Mission Press, 1876), p. 46Google Scholar.

5 Yule, Henry, A narrative of the mission to the court of Ava in 1855 (Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1968[1858])Google Scholar.

6 This essay emerged as the result of observing a controversial Thai village election held in 1995. As I researched changing electoral laws, I was surprised to learn that women could vote already in 1897: see Bowie, Katherine, ‘Women's suffrage in Thailand: A Southeast Asian historiographical challenge’, Comparative Studies in Society and History 52, 4 (2010): 708–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Realising the original law was drafted by a prince who grew up in the palace led me to research the structure of Thai harems and then harems cross-culturally. Given the importance of eunuchs in the Chinese, Mughal, Ottoman and Persian courts, I became interested in learning more about the role of eunuchs across Southeast Asia.

7 Pimenta, Nicolas, ‘Jesuit letters on Pegu in the early seventeenth century by Nicolas Pimenta and others’, ed. Michael W. Charney, SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research 2, 2 (2004): 180–87Google Scholar. There may have been eunuchs earlier. Ngazishin Kyawzwa who became king in 1382 had a son named Okzana the Eunuch, however, it is unclear if he was castrated; for details see Bagshawe, L.E., The Maniyadanabon of Shin Sandalinka, data paper no. 115 (Ithaca, NY: Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University, 1981)Google Scholar.

8 Pimenta, ‘Jesuit letters’, p. 187. For more on the conquest of Pegu, see ‘Briefe account of the Kingdom of Pegu’ [c.1621], trans. A. MacGregor, Journal of the Burmese Research Society 16, 2 (1926): 99–138). See also Lieberman, Victor, Burmese administrative cycles: Anarchy and conquest, c. 1580–1760 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Charney, Michael, ‘The 1598–1599 siege of Pegu and the expansion of Arakanese imperial power into lower Burma’, Journal of Asian History 28, 1 (1994): 3957Google Scholar.

9 These accounts include those of Nicola di Conti, Ralph Fitch, Duarte Barbosa, Hieronimode Santo Stephano, Ludovico Di Varthema, Alexander Hamilton, Cesar Fredericke and Gaspero Balbi.

10 For details see U San Nyein, ‘Trans peninsular trade and cross regional warfare between the maritime kingdoms of Ayudhya and Pegu in the mid-16th century–mid 17th century’, in Port cities and trade in western Southeast Asia (no editor) (Bangkok: Institute of Asian Studies Chulalongkorn University, 1998), pp. 55–64. On eunuchs in Siam see Bowie, Katherine, ‘Eunuchs in Siam: Before, during and after the reign of King Narai in Ayutthaya, Journal of the Siam Society 110, 1 (2022): 120Google Scholar.

11 Tun Aung Chain, ‘The Portuguese trade in the kingdom of Hanthawaddy 1538–1599’, in Port cities and trade, p. 49. Earlier Taungoo rulers were likely aware of eunuchs. The famous eunuch-admiral Zheng He appears to have stopped in Tenasserim, if not Pegu.

12 Ryley, J. Horton, Ralph Fitch: England's pioneer to India (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1899), pp. 164–5Google Scholar.

13 The Pegu court had a sizeable harem; Fitch noted that ‘the king [Nanda] hath one wife and aboue [sic] three hundred concubines, by which they say he hath fourescore or fourescore and ten children’ (Ryley, Ralph Fitch, p. 164). The high status of queens in the Taungoo courts is reflected in the gifts Nanda's father, Bayinnaung, offered to make merit at the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy; they included ‘a broom made from the hair of himself and his chief queen with which the floor of the sanctuary was to be swept’. Edwardes, Michael, Ralph Fitch, Elizabethan in the Indies (New York: Harper & Row, 1972), p. 114Google Scholar.

14 An even earlier mention occurs in 1612. King Min Yazagyi (1593–1612) sent his son, Min Mangri, to govern Chittagong in 1610. During his attempted revolt in 1612, Min Mangri was ‘protected by his chief eunuch’ (Michael Charney, ‘Arakan, Min Yazagyi, and the Portuguese: The relationship between the growth of Arakanese imperial power and Portuguese mercenaries on the fringe of mainland Southeast Asia 1517–1617’, SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research 3, 2 [2005]: 1114). Whether this eunuch accompanied him from Arakan or joined his court in Chittagong is unclear.

15 Sebāstien Manrique, Travels of Fray Sebāstien Manrique, 1629–1643, ed. and trans. Charles Eckford Luard, Hakluyt Society, 2nd ser., vols. 59, 61 (Oxford: Hakluyt Society, 1926[1669]), p. 142.

16 Ibid., p. 144.

17 Ibid., p. 157.

18 Ibid., p. 201.

19 Ibid., p. 373.

20 Ibid., pp. 373–4. Manrique's editor, Luard, notes that green is the colour ‘connected with the pilgrimage to Mecca, and it is worn by those who have completed it’, Manrique, Travels, p. 373.

21 See Andaya, Leonard, Leaves of the same tree: Trade and ethnicity in the Straits of Melaka (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i, 2008), p. 134CrossRefGoogle Scholar. See also Clarence-Smith, William, ‘Eunuchs and concubines in the history of Islamic Southeast Asia’, Manusya: Journal of Humanities 14 (2007): 14Google Scholar.

22 For example, Thibault d'Hubert, ‘Pirates, poets, and merchants: Bengali language and literature in seventeenth-century Mrauk-U’, in Culture and circulation: Literature in motion in early modern India, ed. Thomas de Bruijn and Allison Busch (Leiden: Brill, 2014), p. 52; Subrahmanyam, Sanjay, ‘Slaves and tyrants: Dutch tribulations in seventeenth-century Mrauk-U’, Journal of Early Modern History 1, 3 (1997): 221CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Stephan Van Galen, ‘Arakan and Bengal: The rise and decline of the Mrauk U kingdom (Burma) from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century AD’ (PhD diss., Leiden University, 2008), p. 145. The Dutch referred to him as ‘eenen den opperste capado’ (Subrahmanyam, ‘Slaves and tyrants’, p. 221). ‘Lascorusil’ or ‘losclosy’ were European transliterations of the Persian form ‘lashkar wazir’.

23 Satyendra Nath Ghosal, ‘Missing links in Arakan history’, Abdul Karim Sahitya-Visarad commemoration volume: Essays on archaeology, art history, literature and philosophy of the Orient, dedicated to the memory of Abdul Karim Sahity-Visarad (1869–1953), ed. E.M. Haq (Dakha: Asiatic, 1972), p. 257.

24 Ibid., p. 258.

26 His international trade networks become clearer during the end of his career. Upset at his rice monopoly, the Dutch contemplated seizing one of the ships he was planning to send to Masulipatnam or Pulicat. He also was ‘reported to have owned ships that were active in combat and blockaded the Tenasserim coast’ (Van Galen, ‘Arakan and Bengal’, pp. 148–9). After Ashraf Khan fell from power, a ship he had sent to Kalingapatnam in Orissa was lost and the new king seized another which was returning from Aceh with pepper and gold. Subrahmanyam, ‘Slaves and tyrants’, p. 224.

27 D'Hubert, ‘Pirates, poets, and merchants’, p. 57.

28 Subrahmanyam, ‘Slaves and tyrants, p. 222. Believed to refer to Ashraf Khan, Manrique (in Travels, p. 352) describes him as ‘his false preceptor, a Mohammedan, who, having twice visited the hateful Mausoleum where the obscene sandals of the descendant of Hagar are said to be preserved [Mecca], was held to be a saint by these Barbarians’. See also Subrahmanyam, ‘Slaves and tyrants’, p. 223; Van Galen, ‘Arakan and Bengal’, p. 149.

29 Ghosal, ‘Missing links’, p. 258.

30 Subrahmanyam, ‘Slaves and tyrants’, pp. 222–3.

31 Ghosal, ‘Missing links’, p. 256. Assuming Manrique is referring to Ashraf Khan, Manrique denounces him as ‘reprobate devotee of iniquity’ and denounces his influence on the king (Subrahmanyam, ‘Slaves and tyrant’, p. 223; Van Galen, ‘Arakan and Bengal’, p. 149). He describes this person ‘in promising to render him [the king] invisible and invincible, undertook that he should obtain the vast Empires of Delhi, Pegu, and Siam, besides many other similar inanities’ (Manrique, Travels, p. 351). Intriguingly Manrique suggests that this royal adviser had acquired his influence with the king and his broader reputation as a saint through his curing powers (ibid., pp. 352–3). Manrique implicates this ‘reprobate’ in black magic, incendiarism, and human sacrifices to secure his hold on the throne. See also Subrahmanyam, ‘Slaves and tyrants’, p. 223; Van Galen, ‘Arakan and Bengal’, p. 149.

32 Van Galen, ‘Arakan and Bengal’, p. 114. Conflict between these two men dated back to 1628 when the Laungkrak ca had tried to overthrow the king. This rebellion was suppressed at the time and a large number of the Laungkrak ca's men were executed. See ibid., p. 145.

33 For details see ibid., p. 148.

34 Subrahmanyam, ‘Slaves and tyrants’, p. 222; for details of the conflict see Van Galen, ‘Arakan and Bengal’, pp. 145–50.

35 Van Galen, ‘Arakan and Bengal’, p. 152.

36 Ibid., p. 169. Van Galen suggests Louwedansougrij was a title which probably referred to the Louwe taung su kri, or chief of the village of Louwe. Taung or ‘river’ Louwe is a village not far downstream of Mrauk U in the Kaladan valley; ibid., p. 53.

37 Ibid., p. 166.

38 Ibid., p. 169.

39 Subrahmanyam, ‘Slaves and tyrants’, p. 228; Van Galen, ‘Arakan and Bengal’, p. 157.

40 Subrahmanyam, ‘Slaves and tyrants’, p. 228.

41 Ibid., p. 228.

42 Van Galen, ‘Arakan and Bengal’, p. 122, 162: Leider, Jacques, Le royaume d'Arakan, Birmanie: son histoire politique entre le début du XVe et la fin du XVIIe siècle (Paris: Ecole française d'Extrême-Orient, 2004), p. 252Google Scholar.

43 Collis, Maurice S., ‘The strange murder of King Thiri-thudhamma’, Journal of the Burma Research Society 13 (1923): 238Google Scholar.

44 Narapati-kri and some of his ministers took former queens of Sirisudhammaraja as their wives Van Galen, ‘Arakan and Bengal’, p. 152.

45 Collis, ‘The strange murder’, p. 242; see also Van Galen, ‘Arakan and Bengal’, p. 150. For more on this queen, see Leider, Le royaume, pp. 270–78.

46 Van Galen, ‘Arakan and Bengal’, p. 54. Van Galen provides details of council roles.

47 Ibid., p. 55.

48 Peletz, Michael, Gender pluralism: Southeast Asia since early modern times (New York: Routledge, 2009), p. 73CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

49 Drawing on evidence that the price of eunuchs was as high as 20 times more than that of other slaves, Jan Hogendorn concludes that mortality rates went as high as 90%; Hogendorn, Jan, ‘The hideous trade: Economic aspects of the “manufacture” and sale of eunuchs’, Paideuma 45 (1999): 146Google ScholarPubMed. The 17th century French jeweller, Jean Chardin, wrote of Persia that ‘only one in four survives’ and the 19th century French army doctor working in Egypt, Antoine Clot Bey, states that two-thirds die. Stent, G. Carter, ‘Chinese eunuchs’, Journal of the North China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 11 (1877): 145Google Scholar. Recovery took about three months.

50 The supply of eunuchs from Java appears to have ended by the end of the 17th century. Clarence-Smith, ‘Eunuchs and concubines’, p. 8.

51 D'Hubert, ‘Pirates, poets, and merchants’, p. 50.

52 Hambly, Gavin, ‘A note on the trade in eunuchs in Mughal Bengal’, Journal of the American Oriental Society 94, 1 (1974): 128CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

53 Marco Polo, The travels of Marco Polo, trans. Aldo Ricci (London: Routledge, 1931[c.1302]), p. 203.

54 Tomé Pires, The Suma Oriental of Tomé Pires: An account of the East, from the Red Sea to Japan, written in Malacca and India in 1512–1515, trans. Armando Cortesão, 2 vols. (London: Hakluyt Society, 1944[1515]), vol. 2, p. 88.

55 Abu'l Fazl-I-Allami, ‘Account of the twelve subhas’, in Ain-I-Akbari, vol. II: A gazettteer and administrative manual of Akbar's empire and past history of India [c.1598], trans. H.S. Jarrett and annotated Jadu-Nath Sarkar (Calcutta: Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1949), p. 136. Also known as Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak and Abu'l Fadl, he describes three types of eunuchs, Sandali, Badami, and Kafuri, associated with sandalwood, almond and camphor colours and three types of castration. In Sandali (also known as atlasi), the entire genitals were removed; for Badami part of the penis was left, and for Kafuri the testicles were either crushed or cut off (p. 135). For further discussion see also see also Hambly, ‘A note on the trade in eunuchs’, pp. 125, 129); Lal, K.S., The Mughal harem (New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan, 1988), p. 188Google Scholar.

56 However the order had little effect. See Hambly, ‘A note on the trade in eunuchs’, p. 129; see also Bano, Shadab, ‘Slave markets in medieval India’, Proceedings of the Indian History Congress 61 (2000): 369Google Scholar.

57 Van Galen, ‘Arakan and Bengal’, p. 224; see also Ludden, David, ‘Investing in nature around Sylhet: An excursion into geographical history’, Economic and Political Weekly 38, 48 (2003): 5080–88Google Scholar.

58 Pyrard, The voyage, vol. I, p. 332.

59 Hambly, ‘A note on the trade in eunuchs’, p. 130.

60 Bano, ‘Slave markets’, p. 366.

61 Hambly, ‘A note on the trade in eunuchs’, p. 130. Baidya (also Vaidya) is a Hindu caste in Bengal associated with Ayurvedic physicians.

62 Barbosa, The book of Duarte Barbosa, vol. II, p. 147; also in Hambly, ‘A note on the trade in eunuchs’, p. 126.

63 See D'Hubert, ‘Pirates, poets, and merchants’.

64 On Ottoman training see Hathaway, The chief eunuch.

65 Subrahmanyam, ‘Slaves and tyrant’, p. 215.

66 Pelsaert, Francisco, Jahangir's India, the remonstrantie of Francisco Pelsaert (Delhi: Idarah-i Adabiyat-i Delli, 1972[1626]), p. 65Google Scholar.

67 See Kathryn Babayan, ‘Eunuchs’, in Encyclopaedia Iranica, vol. IX, fasc. 1, 2012: 64–9. https://iranicaonline.org/articles/eunuchs#iv. See also Bano, ‘Slave markets’.

68 Van Galen, ‘Arakan and Bengal’, p. 153.

69 William Foley, ‘Journal of a tour through the island of Rambree, with a geological sketch of the country, and brief account of the customs, &c. of its inhabitants’, Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal 4, 37–40 (1835): 201. My thanks to Jacques Leider for this reference.

70 The Phra-gyoung are described as former temple slaves and the Dhung as Hindus formerly from Bengal. See ibid., pp. 201–2.

71 Van Galen, ‘Arakan and Bengal’, p. 55.

72 Ibid., p. 200.

73 Leider, Jacques, ‘Forging Buddhist credentials as a tool of legitimacy and ethnic identity: A study of Arakan's subjection in nineteenth-century Burma’, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 51, 3 (2008): 426CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

74 The Royal Orders of Burma (1598–1885) (ROB), ed. Than Tun, 10 vols. (Kyoto: Kyoto University Press, 1985). The ROB editor writes that eunuchs ‘probably were in the Mranma palace from very [early] times. The earliest reference to eunuch was in 1661. His name was Min: Ma Sui: Ussaman. In 1673 another eunuch called Min: Ma Cui: Rajaduta was mentioned.’ The editor also notes that the eunuchs brought from Arakan ‘were given some administrative charges and some even in the fighting forces’ (ROB, vol. 10, p. 76). Lieberman notes that during the succession crisis in 1673, ‘the senior interior minister put a eunuch in charge of the palace with orders to prevent all communication with the outside’ (p. 147). During the crisis of 1661, some 6,000 people from Martaban fled to Siam, raising the question if eunuchs were among them (Lieberman, Burmese administrative cycles, p. 202). Unfortunately the English translation is an incomplete compilation of orders and so contextualising these eunuchs must await someone more knowledgeable than I.

75 ROB, vol. 5, p. 43.

76 Bodawpaya moved the court from Ava to Amarapura in 1782. For more on Cox's mission, see G.P. Ramachandra, ‘Captain Hiram Cox's mission to Burma, 1796–1798: A case of irrational behaviour in diplomacy’, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 12, 2 (1981): 433–51.

77 Symes, Michael, An account of an embassy to the kingdom of Ava in the year 1795 (Edinburgh: Constable & Co., 1827), vol. 2, p. 69Google Scholar.

78 Cox, Hiram, Journal of a residence in the Burmhan empire, and more particularly at the court of Amarapoorah (London: John Warren and G & W.B. Whittaker, 1971[1821]), p. 88Google Scholar. My emphasis.

79 ROB, vol. 10, p. 7. The ROB index mentions two eunuchs 15 May 1867 orders, but I did not find them in the English translation of ROB for that date.

80 ROB, vol. 6, pp. 167–8. It is unclear if eunuchs had relatives or if this refers to their subordinates.

81 ROB, vol. 5, pp. 262–3. These development efforts would have dovetailed with Bodawpaya's broader efforts to support the political and administrative integration of Arakan. These efforts included building new ordination halls and other efforts to encourage the assimilation of the local population (for more, see Leider ‘Forging Buddhist credentials’). The Thinzin Pagoda in Mrauk U (Myohaung), Akyab district, was evidently built by the eunuchs of the royal palace on the hill where they lived and were buried. See List of ancient monuments in Burma (Rangoon: Office of the Superintendent, Government Printing, 1916), p. 6; https://ia801607.us.archive.org/9/items/in.ernet.dli.2015.37793/2015.37793.List-Of-Ancient-Monuments-In-Burma_text.pdf (last accessed 13 Mar. 2023). Regarding the repair of old religious buildings in Sandoway ordered by King Bodawphaya, see ROB, vol. 18, Aug. 1787.

82 Jacques P. Leider, ‘Politics of integration and cultures of resistance: A study of Burma's conquest and administration of Arakan (1785–1825)’, in Asian expansions: The historical experiences of polity expansion in Asia, ed. Geoff Wade (Abingdon: Routledge, 2015), p. 188.

83 Ibid., p. 194.

85 Leider, ‘Forging Buddhist credentials’, p. 416.

87 Fytche, Albert, Burma: Past and present (London: C.K. Paul & Co., 1878), p. 248Google Scholar.

88 Ibid., p. 248.

89 Queen of the Middle Palace; also called Hsinbyumashin.

90 James George Scott, Gazetteer of Upper Burma and the Shan States, 5 vols. (Rangoon: Government Printing, Burma, 1900–01), vol. 1, p. 83. My emphasis.

91 Fryniwyd Tennyson Jesse, The lacquer lady (London: William Heinemann, 1929). Her sources included interviews with Rodway Swinhoe of the Bombay-Burma Corporation, Sir Herbert Thirkell White, former Lt-Governor of Burma; and Sir George Scott who ‘vetted every line of the book’ (ibid., p. viii). She conducted interviews with the characters she has named as Julie, Selah and Fanny, each of whom had access to the inner court. She also interviewed Mrs Hosannah Manook, the daughter of the Minister for Foreigners to the Court of Mandalay and herself a maid of honour to Supayalat, who ‘told me of the women's side of the Palace’ and ‘many episodes which have never found their way into the history books’(ibid., p. viii). Mr Manook is also mentioned by Gascoigne, Gwendolyn Trench, Among pagodas and fair ladies: An account of a tour through Burma (London: AD Innes & Co., 1896), pp. 153–6Google Scholar.

92 Jesse, The lacquer lady, pp. 104–5. My emphasis.

93 Scott, Gazetteer of Upper Burma, vol. 1, p. 84. My emphasis.

94 Ibid., p. 85.

95 Gascoigne, Among pagodas, pp. 153–4.

96 Scott, Gazetteer of Upper Burma, vol. 1, p. 91. My emphasis.

97 Anon., ‘Occupation of Mandalay’, The Mercury, 18 Jan. 1886, p. 4. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/9116407#.

98 Hua, Hsieh Bao, Concubinage and servitude in late imperial China (London: Lexington, 2014), p. 179Google Scholar; Babayan, ‘Eunuchs’.

99 Katherine Bowie, ‘Harems of Asia: The politics of kinship and kingdoms’, manuscript.

100 See for example, Manrique, Travels, pp. 391–2; see also illustrations of King Mindon, for example, https://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/Viewer.aspx?ref=or_16761_f001r. See also Vincent Clarence Scott O'Connor, Mandalay and other cities of the past in Burma (London: Hutchinson & Co., 1907), pp. 7, 85.

101 Patterson, Orlando, Slavery and social death: A comparative study (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1982), p. 315Google Scholar.

102 Tougher, The eunuch in Byzantine history, p. 49.

103 For example, Ottoman eunuchs, despite their origins as Christians, became Muslim, even serving as guards of the shrines in Medina and Mecca. Hathaway, The chief eunuch.

104 On eunuchs in Islamic Southeast Asia, see Clarence-Smith, ‘Eunuchs and concubines’; in Siam, see Bowie, ‘Eunuchs in Siam’; in Vietnam, see Bowie, ‘Eunuchs in Vietnam: What's missing?’, South East Asia Research 30, 4 (2022): 409–25; and Davis, Bradley Camp, ‘Finding eunuchs in imperial Vietnam: Questions and sources’, South East Asia Research 30, 4 (2022): 426–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

105 On the importance of slavery in Burma, see Bryce Beemer, ‘The Creole city in mainland Southeast Asia: Slave gathering warfare and cultural exchange in Burma, Thailand and Manipur, 18th–19th ccntury’ (PhD diss., University of Hawai‘i-Manoa, 2013).

106 On connected histories, see Sanjay Subrahmanyam, for example, ‘Introduction: Revisiting empires and connecting histories’, in Empires between Islam and Christianity 1500–1800 (Albany: SUNY, 2019), pp. 1–25; and Connected history: Essays and arguments (London: Verso, 2022).