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"Best play with Mardian": eunuch and blackamoor as imperial culturegram.

IN HIS FAMOUS DISCUSSION of family resemblances, Ludwig Wittgenstein argues that we arrive at such concepts as language, game, or number by naming not a class of phenomena having one thing in common but, rather, a network of similarities or relationships among those phenomena. "We extend our concept of number," writes the philosopher, "as in spinning a thread we twist fiber on fiber. And the strength of the thread does not reside in the fact that some one fiber runs through its whole length, but in the overlapping of many fibers." (1) In the essay that follows, I weave a single thread through a series of texts. The thread is twisted out of various fibers, overlapping with each other in many different ways. It is continuous, but as it runs, the stitch appears and disappears, vanishing beneath the fabric, then surfacing again to describe new patterns. The materials I pass through--which include New Comedy, Hellenistic oratory, biblical narrative, and Renaissance drama from England and the Netherlands--are dense, and I interlace rather than unravel them. Nor does the essay trace a straight line through the texts. Instead, it leads into dark corners and unexpected intersections: at best, it helps the reader map a labyrinth from the inside.

Wittgenstein provides a necessary caveat to this essay's topic, which, baldly stated, is a chronological account of a hitherto-un-remarked cultural trope: the pairing of a eunuch and a blackamoor. My termini are Terence's Eunuehus (The Eunuch) and a seventeenth-century Dutch adaptation of this epochal play by Gerbrand Bredero entitled Moortje (The Little Moor). Bredero replaces the eponymous castrate of Terence's comedy with the figure of a Moorish woman, an intriguing substitution that in fact derives from the source text: Terence's castrate first appears onstage in the company of a female slave from Ethiopia. Although the pairing of these figures in Eunuchus may seem incidental, a survey of ancient and early modern literature reveals the opposite to be true: wherever we find a eunuch, we nearly always find a black character as well. While its details may vary--the eunuch can be a foreigner or a native, his impotence real or feigned; the black character can be African or Indian, female or male, royalty or a slave--the dyad is so persistent that its manifestations in drama qualify it as a "theatergram of association," to use Louise George Clubb's neologism for a routinely linked couple of stage personae. (2) Yet this association is not limited to the theater. I locate it also in classical biography and holy scripture, and argue, for example, that Cleopatra and Mardian in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra belong to the same network as Favorinus and Autolecythus in Philostratus's Lives and the Ethiopian eunuch in the Acts of the Apostles. The similarities among these texts do not converge but crisscross in ways both intricate and critically overlooked.

Before beginning my survey, however, I must note the broader context in which this pairing of eunuch and blackamoor recurs--the powerful and protean culture of empire, where these two figures share a political history grounded in two millennia of travel and conquest, enslavement and exile. What gives the texts discussed here their energy, and often their comedy, is also generally what marks them as imperial: the meeting of diverse or unequal cultures, unexpected breaches of group or individual boundaries, and attempts to resolve such ruptures by processes of exclusion, integration, or reform. Specifically, eunuch and black figures share the status of outsiders, sexual or racial strangers in the heart of empire; and in seeking greater autonomy and mobility, the characters employ tactics familiar to students of comedy: chief among these are strategies of impersonation, assimilation, and conversion. Such tactics may compromise the outsider's identity, but they also force accommodation at the center; neither the polity nor its subjects are left unchanged. My primary aim here is not to address these larger social formations, but alternating between local readings and contextual analysis is one way of asking to what extent this neglected motif of discourse and performance--which, adapting Clubb's term, we may tentatively call a culturegram--is engendered and sustained by Europe's vexed encounter with and, at times, willed embrace of its imperial outsiders.

I

Premiered in 161 BC, Eunuchus was Terence's most successful play in his own lifetime. It is the story of a foreign woman and a eunuch. The woman is Thais, a courtesan born in Rhodes and now living in Athens without friends, family, or the legal and political rights of citizenship. The eunuch is a gift sent to her by her young Athenian lover Phaedria. The gift is no simple matter. At the start of the play, Thais sends Phaedria to the country because she means to accept from another admirer, the braggart soldier Thraso, another gift, a slave called Pamphila whom she has recognized as her foster sister and a free citizen of Athens. Meanwhile Phaedria's younger brother Chaerea spots Pamphila on the street, falls in love with her, and contrives to follow her into Thais's house by disguising himself as the eunuch. Once inside, he rapes her, and the play must deal with the consequences.

As this summary reveals, Eunuchus doubles its foreign women and eunuchs; there is, to be precise, a true and a false one of each. Doubling is endemic to Terence's play, with its two Greek sources, two plot lines, two brothers, and so forth. Recent critics have elaborated this point and taken fresh interest in the status of foreigners and eunuchs in the play, but they have oddly passed over a signal intersection of these concerns. This occurs when a conversation between Thais and Thraso is interrupted by Phaedria's manservant, who explains that he has come to present her with his master's gifts. Yes, gifts, for there are two of them: two slaves, the first of whom is a young African woman. In Richard Bernard's first complete English translation of 1598 she is called on stage as follows: "Ho, bid those come forth adoores here quickly, which I commanded to be brought out. Come thou forward hither. This woman came as farre as/Ethiopia." (3) Of this presentation Thais says nothing, although Thraso and his parasite disparage the slave girl as a trifle. In contrast, the delivery of Phaedria's second gift is a coup de theatre: "Ho, Dorus, where art thou? come hither to me. Lo, Thais, what an Eunuch I have brought for you. See you not how well-favoured he is, and one in the flower of his youth?" (117). Thais is delighted and Thraso dumbstruck as Phaedria's servant boasts of the eunuch's accomplishment in letters, athletics, and music: "I present him to you as one skilfull in any point meet for a young man to know that is free-born" (117). The true eunuch is of course no citizen but a slave like the African woman, as the audience knows from the early scene in which Phaedria complains that his purchases for Thais are being repaid with scorn: "Did I not set all my other businesse apart, to fetch you a waiting maide out of Ethiopia, after you told mee once your minde? A little after you said you would have an Eunuch, for that women of great estate have of them: I have gotten one of them too. For which two, I payd yesterday 20 good pounds" (107). The joke in the delivery of these gifts is that the person praised as Dorus resembles a wellborn Athenian because he is one, and indeed that the false eunuch's skills include sexual conquest. Chaerea's secret is safe until the true eunuch turns up later, disheveled and confused, and is made to confess; but by then Pamphila's virginity is a thing of the past.

Another thing of the past, neither seen nor mentioned after the presentation, is the Ethiopian maid; she disappears from the play and has done likewise from modern criticism. A typical scholarly judgment holds that she "is decrepit and has no importance." (4) There is no evidence of her decrepitude, but it is true that her importance is far from obvious. Hers is a nameless and mute part, appearing in one scene, omitted from synopses and lists of characters up through early modernity. So what is this character doing in the play? That Thais wants first an African, then a eunuch, and that Phaedria buys her both suggests she is fickle and he generous, but her lapses of attention and his gift of Dorus prove that. Does Terence intend the Ethiopian as a double to Pamphila, the false foreigner bought as a slave in Rhodes whom Thais knows to be and finally reveals as an abducted Athenian? The juxtaposition is a dramatic opportunity exploited by later adaptors, but not by Terence, who simply contrasts the maid with Dorus (in fact the disguised Chaerea) as a workaday servant upstaged by a dazzling chamberlain. Is this all that can be said for her?

In his edition of Eunuchus, John Barsby glosses Thais's request for an ancillula ex Aethiopia in terms of the prestige of blackness. Acknowledging that Ethiopia was a rather vague designation in antiquity, he argues that the "point is not so much the geographical location as the color of the skin; dark-skinned slaves were fashionable in Greece from the time of Alexander's conquests and continued to be so in the Roman period." (5) The contrast in script and performance between this African and her eunuch partner could hardly be greater. Verbally, her origin is marked while his is left open; visually, her complexion is darkly saturated while his, to agree with ancient accounts of eunuchism, would appear bleached. The color difference is decisive: alongside Barsby's note on blackness we must set Augustine's description of a castrate's typical facies dealbata, a whitewashed face. (6) This whiteness makes it easy for Chaerea to impersonate Dorus. When the false eunuch is said to bear a facies liberalis, the "well-favoured" look of a free man, Terence is not only pointing out the imposter's citizen status but also juxtaposing the two slave characters in terms of freedom versus fixity, one's unmarked pallor and unverifiable eunuchism versus the other's evident and immutable blackness. Life may have followed art in the Roman theater, where many actors were foreigners, even former slaves, for while the man playing Dorus was probably not a real eunuch (though how could one be sure?), the woman playing the Ethiopian might in fact have been African. (7) On the other hand, art may have followed life: perhaps it was the availability of a black actor that brought the African character into being.

Terence was of course African also, though no ancient source describes him as black. His biography as written by Suetonius tells us only that Publius Terentius Afer was born in Carthage and became in Rome the slave of the senator Terentius Lucanus. (8) The young man's intelligence and good looks won him first a liberal education, then his freedom; he soon became a favorite among the literary nobility. Suetonius does not explain how a Carthaginian slave could rise to mastery of two foreign languages and literatures, but this hardly disqualifies his account of Terence's origins. It is entirely plausible that a gifted North African--whatever his ethnic provenance--upon whom all the advantages of citizenship had been bestowed could eventually surpass even the Roman elite in his accomplishments. (9) When we review Eunuchus in the light of this biography, moreover, Phaedria's two gifts to Thais begin in some respects to resemble avatars of the playwright himself. On the one hand is a mute and nameless African slave, at worst a household chattel, at best an exotic attendant for display. (As a foreign woman she is further marked, like her courtesan mistress, as an object of exchange among enfranchised men.) Her fate could, under other circumstances, have been that of Terence. Instead, he was destined to become the elegant young eunuch, or better still, his freeborn impersonator--a gifted and ambitious youth eager to shuck the guise of servitude and impotence and conquer the world of his dreams. O fortunatum istum eunuchum! exclaims Chaerea at the idea that Dorus will have easy access to the house of Thais; even luckier, we might add, is the man who goes where only slaves and eunuchs may, and without paying the price of entry.

Attending to Terence's pairing of Ethiopian girl and eunuch, as well as the multiple characters with whom each slave is associated, allows us to appreciate Eunuchus as enacting the limits of physical impersonation and cultural assimilation in the late republic. At the center of the play stands the indeterminate and transversal figure of the eunuch, which recent scholars of Terence have seen both as "a positive symbol for social change" that "opens up a space of possibility for an expanded definition of what is humanus" and as a uniquely successful theatrical motif that revives and paradoxically propagates castration as "a founding trope of comedy as dramatic genre." (10) Yet at the margin of the play we must also recognize the African woman, a figure whose dispossession is unredeemed and whose destiny is to be effaced. In our critical assessment of Terence's kaleidoscopic doubles and inversions, we should not ourselves leave her out of the account.

II

Nor should we forget that in Eunuchus the true eunuch, Dorus, is marginal as well. In the spirit of Terence's ambiguous title, claims made by critics on behalf of "the eunuch" in the play tend to conflate Dorus with his imposter Chaerea, passing over the very different fates of the characters; it surely matters that Dorus gets insulted and beaten whereas Chaerea is eventually forgiven and even rewarded for his actions. If, on the other hand, we look a little beyond the republican theater of Terence to the Hellenistic-Imperial age of oratory, we find a striking example of a eunuch who was a powerful cultural agent in his own right--and, as it happens, associated with another black servant. The eunuch in question flourished in the long second century AD. This period, as Philostratus implied by naming it the Second Sophistic, was a renaissance of rhetors in which the prestige literary activity was declamation. As resident teachers or touring eminences, a new generation of Sophists packed mansions, libraries, and theaters all over the Greco-Roman world, secured civic or diplomatic appointments, and accepted statues in their honor. Competition among these virtuosi was intense, and it is one such rivalry--between a scion of the Hellenistic kings and a parvenu from southern France--that produced the following denunciation:
 He was libidinous and dissolute beyond all bounds.... His voice was
 like a woman's, and likewise his extremities and other bodily parts
 were uniformly soft.... He used to go about cities and marketplaces,
 gathering crowds in order to display his wickedness and indulge his
 taste for sexual debauchery.... He made men believe that he could
 compel women to pursue men the way men pursue women, using a
 hidden voice to make himself credible. He was a master of evil
 doing, and made a practice of collecting lethal poisons which he
 secretly offered for sale. (11)


The writer of this polemic, Polemo of Laodicea, was a physiognomist; its target, Favorinus of Arles, was a eunuch. It was inevitable that when the former sought to discredit the latter he did so by linking his competitor's physical anomalies with moral depravity, asserting at the outset that "no one is more perfectly evil than he who is born without testicles." Polemo depicts Favorinus as an androgyne, a ventriloquist, and a mountebank, and the caricature is corroborated by the more moderate account given in Philostratus's Lives: "He was born double-sexed, a hermaphrodite, and this was plainly shown in his appearance; for even when he grew old he had no beard; it was evident too from his voice which sounded thin, shrill, and high-pitched, with the modulations that nature bestows on eunuchs also.... [H]e used to say in the ambiguous style of an oracle, that there were in the story of his life these three paradoxes: Though he was a Gaul he led the life of a Hellene; a eunuch, he had been tried for adultery; he had quarreled with an Emperor and was still alive." (12) Philostratus has little interest in the distinction between a eunuch and a hermaphrodite, much less in the etiological speculations of modern classicists (an ancient case of cryptorchism? or Reifenstein's syndrome?). What he notes is that Favorinus had a congenital anomaly, which, like his other circumstances, he shaped into an exceptional identity--the Greek Gaul, the insubordinate favorite, the virile eunuch. This bravura self-fashioning secured Favorinus, itinerant and iconoclast though he was, the favor of the intellectual elite. Polemo was an enemy but Plutarch a friend. Favorinus's circle included the senator Herodes Atticus, and the Lives gives us a fascinating glimpse into this friendship:
 He was very intimate with Herodes the sophist who regarded him as
 his teacher and father, and wrote to him: "When shall I see you,
 and when
 shall I lick the honey from your lips?" Accordingly at his death he
 bequeathed to Herodes all the books that he had collected, his house
 in Rome, and Autolecythus. This was an Indian, entirely black, a pet
 of Herodes and Favorinus, for as they drank their wine together he
 used to divert them by sprinkling his Indian dialect with Attic
 words and by speaking barbarous Greek with a tongue that stammered
 and faltered. (25-27)


The anecdote evokes body and language in performance. Herodes' letter echoes a fragment of Aristophanes in which a pupil longs to draw eloquence from his master's mouth, but what passes between Herodes and Favorinus is an estate, a library, and the body of a slave. Autolecythus means "he who carries his own oil-flask," and the bequest is itself an act of carrying over, a traffic between households that parallels the transfer of women from fathers to husbands. Here Philostratus suggests a commerce in Indians between Europeans: the blackness of Autolecythus is emphasized. By his bequest Favorinus perpetuates the triangle of the two Sophists and the slave, in which the Hellenized eunuch from Provence displaces his eccentricities of birth onto the "entirely black" body of his Indian "pet." This corporeal dynamic finds confirmation in the arena of language. For what should we make of this Gaul who spoke flawless Greek (over and above Latin and a Celtic dialect) entertaining himself to the sound of the broken Attic of an Indian? It is hard not to infer a certain insider's smugness on Favorinus's part--the satisfaction, one would say nowadays, of successfully passing. (13) In this triangular theater of identity, the performance of Autolecythus effectively aligns his master with Herodes, guaranteeing Favorinus's status as a white Westerner and a Hellene and even, in a culture where rhetoric was the ultimate proving ground of upper-class masculinity, his status as a man.

The paradox of the eunuch is to be at once a crosser and a supervisor of boundaries. Favorinus achieved the dual authority of a cultural intermediary, traveling between places and languages, and a cultural custodian, in language and lifestyle more Greek than the Greeks (as the command performances of his "barbarous" servant underscored). The duality persists in a satire by Lucian, the star rhetorician of the next generation. Lucian's Eunouchos--which alludes to the case of Favorinus--concerns two competitors for a chair of philosophy, one of whom is a eunuch. (14) The eunuch's rival argues that castrates ought to be excluded not only from philosophy, but from public life, because they are "neither man nor woman but something composite, hybrid, and monstrous, alien to human nature." (15) In rebuttal, the eunuch claims that an alien to human nature makes the best philosopher, since that profession requires "an investigation of soul and mind and knowledge of doctrines" rather any "physical endowment." In a philosopher, sexual potency should be counted a handicap; a eunuch would be the best teacher because he "would not incur that charge against Socrates of leading the youngsters astray" (341). For all its burlesque, Lucian's dialogue raises serious questions about an outsider's access to culture, society, and authority. Does a eunuch's hybridity render him less than human or more than human? Is foreignness an asset or a liability? Are such qualities grounds for inclusion in or exclusion from community life?

Like Terence and Favorinus, Lucian of Samosata was a talented alien successfully incorporated into the Roman empire. A Syrian of humble, perhaps Semitic origins, he learned Greek in Asia Minor, secured patrons in Athens, traveled as an orator as far west as Gaul, and finally received a government position in Egypt. While Lucian had exceptional gifts, his brilliant career also owes something to an imperial educational system that extended its benefits across the entire Mediterranean world and beyond. Yet the pairings of Terence's slave characters on the one hand and of Favorinus and Autolecythus on the other remind us that access to the multiethnic interchange making up Roman civilization came with a limit and at a price. In Eunuchus the price of advancement is impersonation; in Philostratus's Lives it is in a broader sense assimilation. The limit in both cases is encountered by that unlucky character who lacks the smarts, looks, or charm necessary to succeed--and just happens to have a black skin. Such an observation is admittedly out of step with the current view among historians of antiquity that dark skin color did not serve as the basis of invidious distinctions in Greece and Rome, and in particular that "black emigres were not excluded from opportunities available to others of alien extraction, nor were they handicapped in fundamental social relations--they were physically and culturally assimilated." (16) This view is as totalizing as the modern accusations of ancient racism it seeks to refute and relies on unverifiable attributions of blackness to eminent figures; the author just cited, for instance, repeatedly invokes "dark-or black-skinned Terence" on the sole basis of the soubriquet "Afer," which proves nothing about his appearance. (17) Our dramatic and rhetorical examples trouble such generalizations and reveal Roman cosmopolitanism still to be marked by cultural divisions and social inequalities.

III

Terence's drama and Philostratus's biography portray a diptych of outsiders with diametrical fates: in each text a eunuch achieves, despite considerable obstacles, a measure of social mobility whereas a dark-skinned slave is blocked and relegated to the margins. The motif may be read as evidence of an structural inequity in Roman multiculturalism. Yet by the late first century the two figures were also appearing together in texts that worked hard to narrow the distance between them. Luke's Acts of the Apostles, the founding narrative of Christian empire, begins with the baptism and conversion of a man who is both an Ethiopian and a eunuch. In Acts 1:8 Jesus disperses his followers to bear witness "unto the uttermost part of the earth," and in 8:26-40 the evangelist Philip travels the Gaza road and meets someone from just such a distant land. The pilgrim, who has been to worship in Jerusalem, is "a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians"; riding in his chariot, he is reading from the book of Isaiah. (18) Philip offers to interpret this scripture, and his interpretation so moves the Ethiopian eunuch that at the nearest body of water the man requests and receives baptism, then continues his journey rejoicing. This epochal conversion story has hitherto been discussed either as "the baptism of the eunuch" or as an example of "washing the Ethiopian." Such a separation is artificial, however, since the pilgrim's eunuchism and his blackness are equally and inextricably meaningful properties. By synthesizing the two figures we have identified in this essay, this character ascribes a new inclusiveness to Christian community.

The Ethiopian eunuch is often described as Christianity's first gentile convert, but this oversimplifies his religious affiliation. (19) Although the man converted by Philip comes from "the uttermost part of the earth," he reads the Bible and has traveled to Jerusalem to worship, which suggests he is an adherent to the Jewish faith who has not become a full proselyte, as indeed he could not, since Deuteronomy 23:1 decrees that "he that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord." The Ethiopian eunuch's double alienation from the Judaic assembly at Jerusalem is echoed in the scripture he reads, the words of Isaiah that Acts 8:32-33 renders as follows: "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: in his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth." (20) Isaiah's subject here is the suffering servant, which Philip interpreted as a foreshadowing of Christ's passion (8:35). But the ostracism of the servant also resonates with the traveler's alien status as an Ethiopian in Palestine and a eunuch among Jews. In this context the vocabulary of "shearing," "cutting off," and interrupted "generation" assumes new relevance. When Isaiah reveals at 56:3-5 the benefits of the servant's atonement, he stipulates that these will extend to all who keep God's commandments, no one excluded: "Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them I will give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off." In the eschatological commonwealth, neither foreigners nor castrates will be outsiders. Isaiah's prophecy engenders Luke's story of the Ethiopian eunuch, which symbolizes the fulfillment of Jewish messianic hope in the universal church of Jesus Christ. The episode in Acts is, after all, directly followed by another roadside conversion, that of Saul of Tarsus on the way to Damascus. Later, as the apostle Paul, he reformulates Greco-Roman and Jewish cosmopolitanism as a new community "where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor flee: but Christ is all, and in all" (Colossians 3:11). Or to apply Pauline doctrine to the narrative of Acts: after Christ, the Ethiopian's nation and the eunuch's kin will include all of humankind.

The rite by which castrate and foreigner enter into universal community, by which the dry tree is regenerated and the difference among strangers washed away, is immersion in water. Baptism is the Christian analog for Mosaic circumcision (the church fathers call the former the washing of water, the latter the washing of blood). As an outward symbol of interior purification it claims typological precedents in the deluge and the passage through the Red Sea. These are Old Testament reminders that water brings divine retribution as well as salvation, but God also rebukes his people by withholding water from them, as he does in the book of Jeremiah by punishing Judah's pride with a devastating drought. The prophet links the long dry season in Palestine to the spiritual barrenness of the Hebrews, warning that destruction must surely follow their intransigent disobedience: "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil. Therefore will I scatter them as the stubble that passeth away by the wind of the wilderness. This is thy lot, the portion of they measures against me, saith the Lord; because thou hast forgotten me, and trusted in falsehood." After Isaiah's promise of redemptive change comes Jeremiah's prophecy of inevitable doom. Whereas in Isaiah all who thirst are welcomed to the waters (55:1) and the eunuch's dry tree receives again the gift of life, in Jeremiah those who seek water in the wells return with empty vessels (14:3) and are to be scattered like stubble, their fate immutable as the Ethiopian's skin. Or rather, as the Ethiopian's skin has become: for the ancients held Africa's hot, dry climate responsible for its natives' scorched complexions and frizzy hair. In this environmental view a people's piety is, like their skin color, a matter of second nature. Calvin later insists that Jeremiah does not deny free will "for it is not simply the nature of man that is spoken of here, but the habit that is contracted by long practice." (21) Israel's intransigence will lead to defeat, captivity, and exile, and the alleviation of those punishments will be achieved only by the sacramental purification of baptism.

Luke's story in Acts 8 responds to both Isaiah and Jeremiah; the pilgrim's baptism washes away his supposedly unregenerate conditions of eunuchism and blackness. The dual symbolism engaged no patristic commentator more than Jerome, who refers to the story time and again. "By the reading of the prophet the eunuch of Candace the queen of Ethiopia is made ready for the baptism of Christ," Jerome writes; "Though it is against nature the Ethiopian does change his skin and the leopard his spots." (22) Christian precept here overwrites classical proverb, recorded first in epigrams by Lucian on "vainly washing your Indian body" and "wasting words, trying to scrub an Ethiope white," and later in a tale by Aphthonius about a man who buys an Ethiopian slave and tries in vain to wash away his color, the motto being that "people's natures remain exactly as they first presented themselves." (23) Against both adage and fable--against nature itself--Jerome asserts the transfiguring power of the sacrament of regeneration. In other writings he shrewdly adapts the supernatural argument to the pilgrim as castrate, invoking "the holy eunuch (or rather 'man' for so the scripture calls him)" and "the eunuch of Queen Candace in the Acts of the Apostles, who on account of the strength of his faith gained the name of a man." (24) The episode of the Ethiopian eunuch is a fitting touchstone for Jerome the scholar-saint, reclusive translator, and militant controversialist, whose twin gifts to Christianity are asceticism and the Vulgate. At the sack of Rome he advocates a withdrawal as before the doom of the world, but after his death Christendom itself triumphs; the former invaders, now converts, spread their new faith to Africa, Asia, Europe, even Britain. Their imperial charge is to baptize the barbarian, their tool the Latin Bible as translated by Jerome.

IV

Conversion is the opposite of metamorphosis. Ovid writes about changes of body, Luke about changes of soul; the baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch neither whitens the skin nor restores the sexual organs but is believed to effect a deeper spiritual cleansing and regeneration. In Christian Britain from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, historians, preachers, and poets endorsed Jerome's supernatural view of the incident in Acts. On the question of blackness, the Venerable Bede wrote in the first century AD of the Aethiops dealbatus or whitewashed Ethiope, his heart purged of sins, and in the 1640s Richard Crashaw held the line that it is "no longer a forlorne hope / To wash an AEthiope," since "his gloomy skin a peaceful shade / For his white soule is made." (25) Regarding eunuchism, Jerome's insistence on the manhood of the convert led some writers to celebrate familial or sexual renunciation--metaphorical castration--as an ideal and others to cancel out his physical anomaly entirely: when Donne invoked "that Eunuch, which was Treasurer to the Queen of AEthiopia," his point was merely that early gentile converts to Christianity were important people, "Rulers, Persons of place, and quality." (26) As Christian interpreters shifted attention from the spectacular body of Luke's pilgrim, however, they risked draining the story of the exoticism it had been designed to display. Their turn from literalism diminished the power of their legend, the embodiment of their faith's apocalyptic penetration to the uttermost part of the earth.

By contrast, the revival of paganism excited fresh interest in the specificity of human forms, in their marvelous susceptibility or resistance to manipulation and change. Among such humanist conundrums were Ethiopians and eunuchs. In the 1500s Erasmus collected the adages Aethiopem lavas ("you are washing an Ethiope") and Aethiopem dealbare ("to whiten an Ethiope"); he declared the phrases "particularly apposite when a matter of doubtful morality is decorated by a gloss of words, or when praise is given to one who does not deserve praise, or an unteachable person is being taught" and later added a version of the fable, commenting that "that which is inborn is not easily altered." (27) And from the 1600s John Bulwer and Charles Ancillon returned to the topic of eunuchism, tracing it to the reign of Sammu-ramat in the ninth century BC. "Semiramis Queen of the Assyrians," writes Ancillon, "was the first that introduced this kind of mutilation"; the "multitudes of eunuchs in her time," he adds, "looked pale and wan and deformed." (28) Ancillon claims Semiramis seduced her best soldiers, then had them "made eunuchs through an effect of jealousy, lest after having received from her the greatest favors, they should go and have engagements with other women." (29) Bulwer maintains she secured the throne by dressing in men's clothes, even by masquerading as her own son; in his view she castrated not men but boys, so that she "might make them have small voices, and to be more womanish, that conjoined with her, she might the better conceal her usurpation and counterfeit manhood." (30) Against Jerome's spiritual fancies, Erasmus, Bulwer, and Ancillon reassert classical knowledge grounded in the body, in the spectacle of the flesh.

Renaissance art inherits both classical and Christian traditions and hence treats eunuchism and blackness as problems of metamorphosis and conversion. This is clearest in theater, the medium that strives to balance the power of body and word, aiming to effect and display changes of form and, if not of soul, then of mind. If early modern England's chroniclers and metaphysicals showed a fascination with eunuchism and blackness, her dramatists were no different. In a remarkable number of plays from this period the diptych of Ethiopian and eunuch returns, in various guises, to center stage. Written and performed in the first phase of English seaborne empire, these plays depict the Mediterranean and North Atlantic as a territory of interaction between empires, first Roman and Egyptian, then Christian and Muslim. They refract the expansion of European maritime interests in Africa through portrayals of military and commercial engagement, especially naval conflict from illicit piracy through sponsored privateering to open warfare, and through evocations of cultural and religious crossings including contests of wit, entanglements of romance, and spectacles of ritual initiation. Set in Ptolemaic Egypt, Sharifian Morocco, and Ottoman Tunis, the dramas transpose Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian precedent as they body forth the fears and fantasies of their own time.

We begin in Alexandria, 40 BC, and London, AD 1606-7, toward the end of Act 1 of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. In the absence of her Roman lover, the Egyptian queen is killing time by teasing her servants:

Cleopatra: Thou, eunuch Mardian!

Mardian: What's your highness' pleasure?

Cleopatra: Not now to hear thee sing. I take no pleasure In aught an eunuch has.

(1.5.8-10)

Well then, what does Cleopatra want with Mardian? She teases him a bit about affections but in fact fancies his conversation as little as his music; her own desires, the scene reveals, are to moon over Antony, to receive his gifts and reported words, to write him another love letter. So why does she summon Mardian only to dismiss him? Most simply, because she can. A royal mistress may banter at her whim with her maid, messenger, musician, or fool; Mardian fills all these roles and more, since his status as a eunuch in classical Egypt suggests high administrative or financial office. Certainly he is no mere Renaissance castrato; and when Cleopatra implies as much, Shakespeare is enjoying, as a recent editor notes, both a deliberate anachronism and a "metatheatrical joke at Mardian's expense." (31)

To isolate these lines as a vignette, however, would be to ignore how typical the moment is of Cleopatra's relation to Mardian throughout the play. On two other occasions the queen calls on or instructs her eunuch only to send him away or ignore the consequences of his actions. In act 2 Cleopatra invites Mardian to join her at billiards, he modestly accepts the invitation, and she turns his self-deprecation into a quibble about eunuchs--until she briskly drops the idea of billiards and decides to go fishing instead:

Cleopatra: Come, you'll play with me, sir?

Mardian: As well as I can, madam.

Cleopatra: And when good will is showed, though't come too short, The actor may plead pardon. I'll none now--

(2.5.6-9)

Then in act 4 Cleopatra dispatches Mardian to Antony to lie about his mistress's suicide ("Say that the last word I spoke was 'Anthony,' / And word it, prithee, piteously") and bids him "bring me how he takes my death" (4.14.8-10); but at no point does she exact or refer to such a report from Mardian, and in the final scene he stands silent and unmentioned. Most modern editors, in fact, alter the folio entry direction and remove Mardian from 5.2 entirely. The joke is irresistible: How does a queen (or an editor) treat a eunuch? By cutting him off.

But what are we to make of these reiterated yet abrupt and seemingly pointless interactions? How does Cleopatra, in Charmian's words, "Best play with Mardian" (2.5.4)? What is the "pleasure" they share? One might start in the theater, with how stagy their relationship is, repeatedly conjuring a performance in which the "actor" must "word" his part "piteously" and win an audience's favor with his "pardon." To be sure, the two characters are joking, with their bawdy quips about how "well" a castrate might please a woman sexually, with his "good will" that nonetheless may "come too short"; but the performers in the roles are, on the other hand, serious and shrewd in planting a seed of indulgence among spectators of this ambitious and contradictory drama. What connects the fiction and the performance, what emerges in Antony and Cleopatra as the sexual and theatrical site of "play" and source of "pleasure," is consistently the body--speaking and hearing, showing and seeing, taking risks of communication and response and promptly going back on them. Except, of course, that Mardian and Cleopatra aren't neutral instances of "the body." Far from it: their bodies are particular, compelling, and mysterious. The resemblances and differences between those bodies demand attention.

Let us return to where we began. In 1.5 Cleopatra rejects "aught a eunuch has"--in the instance, a singing voice--and points up what he hasn't, not just sexually but cognitively. Mardian's castration, she claims, limits what he can do and even think: "being un-seminared, thy freer thoughts / May not fly forth of Egypt" (11-12). (This is a grim fate for a character named after the Mardians, the nomadic Persian tribe that produced Cyrus the Great.) To such deficiency Cleopatra opposes herself as excess: her thoughts fly to Antony wherever he is, and they enjoin him in return to "Think on me, / That am with Phoebus' amorous pinches black, / And wrinkled deep in time" (27-29). Her sense of self, then, is spatially elastic, temporally profound, and sensually saturated; her blackened skin, as befits a "serpent of old Nile" (25), is an alluvial concentrate of color and force. To be black and wrinkled, however extravagant the self-description may seem to us in a Shakespearean heroine, is plainly for Cleopatra a source of "pleasure," and it logically follows that Mardian's body should not have these qualities. This makes sense, since one visible effect of castration before puberty is indeed a pale, smooth skin: modern medicine confirms classical and Renaissance observations that a eunuch is beardless and looks bleached. (32) Such evidence supports Cleopatra's distinction between herself-as-presence and Mardian-as-absence. She is dynamic, pinched, and folded, and the epidermal analog for that is blackness; his relative stasis, on the other hand, suggests an unlined pallor, the smooth, white surface of a statue. (33) Without an early performance record for the play, moreover, we may even imagine the characters in blackface and whiteface respectively, an inversion and displacement of Shakespeare's earlier partnership in Othello of a Moorish general and his alabaster bride.

In Antony and Cleopatra the Alexandrian court marks out a force field whose magnetic poles are eunuch and queen, almost-man and more-than-woman, pallid service and its dark power. This disposition is clear from the opening lines of the play. Philo announces the arrival of Cleopatra by deploring how Antony's eyes "now bend, now turn / The office and devotion of their view / Upon a tawny front" (1.1.4-6) and how his heart has "become the bellows and the fan / To cool a gipsy's lust" (9-10); at the same time, ironically, Philo is directing the spectator's eyes toward the royal entry and the chorus of castrates holding actual fans: "Flourish. Enter Antony, Cleopatra, her ladies, the train, with eunuchs fanning her" (10 s.d.). The eunuchs literalize Antony's metaphorical bellows and prefigure his emasculation in Egypt, but this is not their only function as attributes to the queen. From her first entry to her final exit (if we retain the folio's inclusion of Mardian in 5.2) Cleopatra surrounds herself with eunuchs whose "visible presence," as Michael Neill nicely remarks, "makes them bulk much more significantly in performance than they do in a printed text." (34) As her jokes with Mardian reveal, the queen uses the chorus to make a spectacle of her ethnic and erotic distinction; their fans frame her "tawny front" and cool her "gipsy's lust." This purpose echoes in the later account of Cleopatra's water-triumph, where the fans of "pretty dimpled boys" seem to "glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool" (2.2.212-14). At these points Cleopatra's complexion flushes with energy drained from the eunuchs and boys. The counterpoint of her potency and their sterility is embodied in a chiaroscuro of color difference: an African queen set against an entourage of whiter or whitened slaves.

This polarity is reversed when Cleopatra elects to die "after the high Roman fashion" (4.16.88). Addressed in defeat by Caesar's flattering deputy as "Most noble empress" (5.2.73), she imagines an "Emperor Antony" (76) to whom she proclaims herself "marble constant" (240) and cries "Husband, I come!" (286). How far the final scene has shifted from the pageantry described by Enobarbus: the river has become a monument, the burning barge a bed, the colored fans now fig leaves tracked with slime. Each of these changes is Roman in a different way. Cleopatra's monument is Egyptian, but the image of Egypt as a land of obelisks and pyramids is a Roman (and Renaissance) fantasy (in comparison, her first thoughts of dying in a ditch or "on Nilus' mud" (58) subvert this convention and are abandoned). Similarly, the suicide occurs not on the voluptuous "bed of Ptolemy" once scorned by Caesar (1.4.17) but on the funerary "lover's bed" of Roman (and Renaissance) tragedy to which Antony has already heroically committed himself (4.15.101). In fact, it grows ever more difficult to purge Cleopatra's final spectacle of the travesty it was designed to foreclose:
 The quick comedians
 Extemporally will stage us, and present
 Our Alexandrian revels--Antony
 Shall be brought drunken forth, and I shall see
 Some squeaking Cleopatra boy my greatness
 I'th' posture of a whore.
 (5.2.216-21)


In Roman and Renaissance terms, these lines cede the queen's power to that of the boy. As a character Cleopatra fears impersonation by an almost-man, high-voiced and pale-faced, in an attitude of unrealizable desire--in short, a version of Mardian. At the same moment, the metatheatrical joke turns serious and inward, revealing the dark queen as a white boy after all, an "actor" who, though his "play" should "come too short," still "may plead pardon." From this point of view, it hardly matters if Mardian is or isn't on stage in the final scene; Cleopatra is, and both in the fiction and in the performance she is already doubling for him.

In the end, of course, power devolves to another boy entirely. Octavius, "the boy Caesar" (3.13.17), declaims the play's tragic summation and imperial redirection: "Our army shall / In solemn show attend this funeral--/And then to Rome" (5.2.363). The epilogue secures Egypt's conquest in story and dissolution onstage, urging both army and audience into a future where "the young Roman boy" (4.13.48) will return home a man to shape a republic into an empire. Cleopatra foresees and tries to control her assimilation into that world--if not as "an Egyptian puppet" (5.2.208) then as Antony's marble-constant wife--but her fate ultimately seems closer to a conversion, and not in merely cultural terms. This will not surprise if we recognize her announcement "I am again for Cydnus" (228) as an allusion to two great changes: to a historical meeting with Antony on the Cilician river and to the birth, thirty years later in its riparian city of Tarsus, of the Saul who will convert to Paul. Critics have been slow to mark the Christian images and echoes that gather about the queen in her final scenes, limiting their gloss to her maternal pieta with Antony, then with the asp, but the effect is more global than this. (35) Cleopatra's praise poem for her lover resonates with the Magnificat, the song of thanks attributed to Mary in Luke's gospel, and the serpent-trailed fig leaves cannot but evoke that woman's transgression which the Madonna is supposed to correct. In the Renaissance of Antony and Cleopatra the highest Roman fashion turns out to be conversion to Christianity. Even the queen's defeat by Octavius signals this conflation of a unified polity with a universal faith. For it was the innovation of Luke, greatest of Pauline mythographers, to establish a causal link between an administrative reform of the new emperor and the birth, in King David's city of Bethlehem, of the boy who would bring history itself full circle: "And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus ..."

V

Probably written just before the death of Elizabeth, part 1 of Thomas Heywood's The Fair Maid of the West falls between Twelfth Night and Antony and Cleopatra and dramatizes what the Shakespeare plays respectively anticipate and assume--the creation of a eunuch at a foreign court. Bess Bridges, the fair maid, travels from England to the Azores to Morocco in search of her beloved; after some misadventures she finds him at the court of Fez, where King Mullisheg rewards her fellowship with honors, including one which Bess's apprentice Clem accepts before realizing it is the job of chief eunuch. During the final scene Clem receives this dubious promotion offstage but reappears straight afterwards to lambaste his castrators: "No more of your honor, if you love me!" he exclaims. "Is this your Moorish preferment, to rob a man of his best jewels?" (126-27). (36) This "Moorish preferment" was known in the period to draw Christian sailors and soldiers to "turn Turk," becoming renegade pirates or Ottoman advisers. Conversion to Islam was associated with becoming a eunuch, not only because Muslims used eunuchs as slaves, but also because unlike Christians they practiced circumcision, a procedure conventionally identified with castration. (37) Clem short-circuits these associations when he mishears the king's order to have him "gelded" (92) as "gilded"--an ironic misprision for the play's inveterate punster.

It is Clem's punning that gets him into trouble with the Moroccan king in the first place. When Mullisheg pardons visiting merchants on Clem's behalf, the apprentice gives him double-dealing thanks: "May'st thou never want sweet water to wash thy black face in, most mighty monarch of Morocco" (5.2.64-65). In Africa fresh water is a welcome wish, but Clem also implies that the king's face could do with a washing, like the body of the proverbial Ethiopian. When Bess later secures the king's pardon for a proselytizing Christian preacher, Mullisheg requires from her a kiss in return, and Clem adds a caustic aside: "Must your black face be smooching my mistress's white lips with a Moorian? I wish you had kissed her a--" (80-81). Jean Howard notes here "a racist fear of miscegenation, of the contamination of the white woman by a polluting and inferior blackness," and the pun on "Moorian" and "murrain" (a pestilence or infection) further supports her view. (38) Yet the apprentice is also disclosing the craftsmanship of early modern makeup, and the real risks of whiteface and blackface coming into contact onstage. (39) His words mark blackness as an enigma of nature and of culture, so it is fitting that his comeuppance is castration, a somatic and confessional torque by which early moderns were intrigued and perplexed.

Some twenty-five years later, part 2 of The Fair Maid picks up where part 1 ended, on a wedding night--except the newlyweds aren't Bess and her lover but King Mullisheg and a new character, his black bride Tota. From her opening soliloquy the audience learns that Tota is African but not Moroccan: she laments having left "our country" to be "a mere neglected lady here in Fez" (1.1.2-3). (40) Mullisheg's crush on Bess has driven Tota to thoughts of revenge, but who will avenge her? Heywood does not resist the magnetism we have noted between queens and eunuchs; Tota's first strategy is to recruit Clem for the job. From the moment he is summoned, the castrate tropes incessantly on eunuchism, femininity, and blackness. He rails at the "barbers of Barbary" who have deprived him of his "stone" (50-52), calls the queen a "witch" (55), and when asked to compare England and Morocco, says, "I hold our nation to be the cleanlier.... Because they never sit down to meat with such foul hands and faces" (73-76). But how, asks Tota, are the English ladies?

Clem: You shall meet some of them sometimes as fresh as flowers in May and as fair as my mistress, and within an hour the same gentlewoman as black as yourself or any of your Morians.

Tota: Can they change faces so? Not possible. Show me some reason for't.

Clem: When they put on their masks.

Tota: Masks? What are they?

Clem: Please to put off yours and I'll tell you.

(1.1.78-85)

The Fair Maid reverses the badinage of Antony and Cleopatra. Whereas Cleopatra teased Mardian about his castration while locating her eroticism in the blackness of "Phoebus' amorous pinches," Clem mocks Tota's blackness while bemoaning the "medicine" that has forced him to become "chaste" (1.1.91). He reprises the jest on washing the Ethiope, adding that Englishwomen vacillate between "fair" and "black," a simultaneous allusion to festival disguises and female inconstancy. The queen's retort "Not possible" echoes the "Impossible" attached to Alciato's Ethiopian emblem, but Clem shifts the focus back to theater, in which sphere his "masks" denote the black velvet or silk coverings ladies wore to entertainments as well as "masques" like Jonson's Blackness, where face and body paint replaced cloth to effect the disguise. Clem invites Tota to remove her mask and reveal her body beneath. In the play world, the joke is that Tota wears no mask; in the world of the players, it is that whoever impersonates her is neither black nor a woman. If the queen were truly to put off her disguise, the result would be the same as the castrate's removing his--nothing of eunuchism, femininity, or blackness would remain, and two white boy actors would stand naked on the stage.

Heywood's innovation in The Fair Maid is twofold. Part I creates a eunuch whose castration is not, as in Shakespeare, fantasy or fait accompli but inflicted in real time (if offstage) at the behest of one character on another who made fun of his black face. Part 2 adds out of nowhere a black queen who draws the eunuch into a debate about the faces of English and Moorish women. Their raillery holds eunuchism and blackness up to scrutiny as theatrical constructions as much as natural phenomena. This said, however, Clem and Tara remain marginal in Heywood's romance; their interaction extends not far beyond the "metatheatrical joke" shared by Mardian and Cleopatra. To illustrate by contrast how such figures may take center stage in cross-cultural Renaissance drama, we need to shift the scene from Fez to Tunis, where a Jacobean pirate play reworks the interlocking pair of eunuch and queen into figures of circumcised or castrated Christians and Muslim maids within the early modern religious and cultural crisis known as "turning Turk."

Philip Massinger's The Renegado (1624) dramatizes the predicament of displaced Europeans in Ottoman North Africa, the religious and sexual temptations of which appear as fantasies of miscegenation and emasculation. Massinger echoes not only The Fair Maid but especially Robert Daborne's A Christian Turned Turk (1612). Daborne's tragedy portrays the West's encounter with the East as an inexorable process of blackening, a descent into apostasy, fornication, and adultery epitomized by the Chorus's grim pledge that "black deeds will have black ends" (8.27-28). (41) In contradistinction, Massinger's tragicomedy promises that "good intents / Are, in the end, crowned with fair events" (1.1.161-62) and unfolds serial instances of whitening or becoming fair: reversions or conversions to Christianity, sexual renunciation or vows of chastity, and ultimately a return to Europe, presented as a rejection of or escape from eunuchism and blackness. (42) The Renegado's title refers to a famous historical pirate but applies equally to other characters: germane to our purpose is the romantic couple, a Venetian and a Turkish princess, and their servants, one of whom is a eunuch while the other nearly becomes one.

At first the romance of the hero Vitelli and the princess Donusa seems ill-starred. Vitelli's servant Gazet warns that a man who turns Turk will be circumcised and "lose / A collop" of his penis (38-39) or be "caponed," that is, castrated, by razor-toting muftis (58). Meanwhile, Donusa's English-born eunuch Carazie answers his mistress's question whether women are fleer in his country or hers by saying that "Women in England, / For the most part, live like queens" (1.2.21-28). Imagining Europe as a topsy-turvy world where women control their husbands and enjoy many paramours, Donusa meets Vitelli and lures him to her palace. The pair become lovers, to the chagrin of their servants: Carazie snubs Vitelli as a "haberdasher of small wares," to which Donusa's maid retorts "Pish! Thou hast none" (2.3.4-5); and Gazet complains that among the Turks "a Christian / Hardly gets off but circumcised" (2.6.6-7). These responses associate the foreign woman with emasculation; if Donusa wants to live more like a queen, they suggest, what she may be after is a eunuch.

Yet fears of Christians turning Turk soon yield to signs of Turks turning Christian. Early in the play Donusa has favored the suit of a bashaw named Mustapha, but after meeting Vitelli she changes abruptly, castigating Mustapha for his "wainscot face" and "toad-pool-like complexion" (3.1.48-50). Donusa expresses her revulsion in terms of European prejudice, declaring that Mustapha needs "some French tailor / To new-create [him]" (58). "Let your barber wash your face, too," her invective concludes, "You look yet like a bugbear to fright children" (59-60). In this scene Massinger reprises Heywood, though with the signal difference that he shows one African literally denigrating another. How different, we might ask, are the two characters meant to appear onstage? Is Mustapha in blackface but Donusa not? We cannot know for sure: when Vitelli later refers to the "immaculate whiteness of [her] virgin beauties" (3.5.4-5) he may speaking morally or physically or both. It is however safe to say that in scorning Mustapha Donusa betrays her desire to "new-create" herself, that she is preparing herself for a new role.

Meanwhile, another form of remaking is being imagined. Vitelli's man Gazet dreams of preferment at the palace; when he hears Carazie is a eunuch, he asks what responsibilities the job entails and learns that these include serving the princess at table, singing her to sleep at night and sleeping with her as her "bedfellow" (3.4.48). He can hardly believe his luck: "O rare! / I'll be an eunuch, though I sell my shop for't / And all my wares" (49-51). Carazie's reminder that the job means "parting with / A precious stone or two: I know the price on't" (51-52) implies that the forfeit of his office is known rather than seen--eunuchism is the unreadable opposite to manifest blackness. None the less, Gazet's euphoric cry "I am made! an eunuch!" (56) joins the making of career to the unmaking of castration in parallel fashion to Donusa's order that Mustapha wash his face and, by unmaking his complexion, remake his prospects for a royal match. But Gazet never becomes a eunuch, nor is Mustapha washed white; instead, it is Vitelli and Donusa who undergo analogous changes. In each case an imaginary Islamic threat is redeemed with an established Christian practice: first Vitelli counters the sexual temptation that threatens circumcision or castration with the discipline of celibacy, and later Donusa opposes the blackening taint of contamination or miscegenation by accepting the sacrament of baptism. Let us examine these strategies of renunciation and compensation.

From his arrival in Tunis, Vitelli depends upon the counsel of a Jesuit mentor who warns against the "wanton ends" of "Turkish dames" who, "If lust once fire their blood for a fair object / Will run a course the fiends themselves would shake at" (1.3.8-13). So when Vitelli finds himself yielding to Donusa, he pleads with his confessor to "instruct [him] how / To put off the conditions of a man" (3.2.1-9). In due course Vitelli confronts the princess as a zealot for chastity, returning her gifts and invoking "holy thoughts" against the "fierce temptation" she offers (3.5.36-39). That this scene follows Gazet's plan to be castrated is no coincidence: Vitelli too is proposing voluntary eunuchism, albeit of the spiritual variety that Christ, according to St. Matthew, called "eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake." (43) Besides the debauchery of the renegade pirate, it seems that Christian men among the Turks have the option between castration and celibacy, both practices that "put off the conditions of a man." Protestations of abstinence can be misinterpreted; the authorities who find Vitelli haranguing Donusa think they have surprised a lovers' tryst, and he is condemned to death for a liaison he has renounced.

Donusa appeals to the sultan, who agrees to pardon Vitelli only if he converts to Islam. When Donusa begs Vitelli to turn Turk he turns the tables on her, casting doubt on her religion by deploying a moral chromatics. Where he earlier chided his mistress that "the sating of your lust hath sullied / The immaculate whiteness of your virgin beauties," he now encourages her to turn from her faith and "Look truly fair, when your mind's pureness answers / Your outward beauties" (4.3.146-47). The strategy works; Donusa succumbs, declaring her conversion with the words "thus I spit at Mahomet" (158). Though called by the viceroy an "apostata" (159), she is not yet incorporated into the Christian church, and Vitelli resolves to secure her the sacrament of baptism. Learning that anyone with pious intent may baptize, he meets Donusa in the presence of the overlords, sends Gazet for spring water, and takes his last request by performing an unannounced Christian rite:
 The clearness of this is a perfit sign
 Of innocence, and as this washes off
 Stains and pollutions from the things we wear,
 Thrown thus upon the forehead, it hath power
 To purge those spots that cleave the mind,
 If thankfully received. Throws [water] on her face.
 (5.3.111-16)


This is the drama's great apostasy, Donusa its truest renegade. With passionate conviction she declares herself "another woman," once "blind" but now feeling "films of error / Ta'en from my soul's eyes," and denounces the "imposter Mahomet" as a "false prophet" (121-33). Vitelli's baptismal formula echoes Donusa's earlier condemnation of Mustapha and fulfils the prescriptions offered there to "wash" and "new-create" the self. As in the case of Mustapha's complexion, we may justifiably ask whether the "stains and pollutions" Vitelli cleanses from Donusa might have been literalized on stage as dark makeup. But whether or not blackface was used, the topos of washing the Ethiope white can accommodate this theatrical baptism either way. On the one hand, it creates an opportunity for a spectacular reversal by Christian ritual of what classical antiquity thought the very definition of the impossible. On the other, it allows for a distinction between classical literalism and Christian symbolism, an implicit defense of the invisible transformations of sacramental mystery. These options, which we may respectively call tactics of presentation and representation, are the discontinuous but inextricable orders of the early modern theater. (44)

Donusa's baptism is not the last of the play's "fair events." The enraged Sultan orders the two captives put to death, but Vitelli's sister fakes a desire to turn Turk and thereby delays their execution long enough to arrange an escape from prison and safe passage out of Tunis. With the converted Ottoman princess and her servants--including Carazie--onboard, the company of Europeans sails triumphantly for home.

VI

A European ship departs the African coast for home, bearing an exotic woman and a eunuch: the future projected by Massinger's Renegado is the prehistory of Terence's Eunuchus. One can imagine an early modern playwright working up a sequel to Massinger's play in which princess and castrate are intercepted by corsairs and sold as slaves on the Mediterranean market, only to end up as gifts dispatched by a lover to his acquisitive girlfriend. Donusa and Carazie would thus find themselves starring in a new version of a comedy nearly eighteen hundred years old: a Eunuchus for the Renaissance.

Something very like this new Eunuchus was produced, though not in English. Its imperial setting was neither Terence's Athens nor Massinger's Venice, nor anywhere in the Mediterranean, but the center of the new Atlantic economy--Amsterdam. Performed in 1615 and printed two years later, the play was the first full-scale comedy of the Dutch Golden Age. Entitled Moortje (The Little Moor), it was written by Gerbrand Adriaensz Bredero, the Amsterdam poet, painter, and playwright comparable to his contemporaries Lope de Vega and Shakespeare. Bredero invited a grander comparison by modeling his play after Terence's, thereby bringing New Comedy to the Netherlands. The first edition of Moortje sports a panegyric sonnet by a fellow dramatist that ends as follows:
 As much as Rome took boastful pride in plays,
 Of swelling scenes and theaters made her bays,
 So much to Amsterdam your rhyme brings fame;
 The African's travail in Latin verse
 You now, our Bredero, in Dutch rehearse:
 Henceforth let 'our Dutch Terence' be your name. (45)


Terence was African and Roman; now Bredero has written a Dutch play about an African. As its title makes plain, Moortje replaces the eunuch of Terence's plot, the domestic servant in whose guise the young man gains access to his beloved, with a Moorish slave. In his preface, Bredero explains that in a drama relocated to late sixteenth-century Amsterdam a harem attendant would be fantastical, but a black slave just exotic enough: "[Terence's Eunuchus] most concerned a person who was neither man nor woman, the sort often used in those parts as chamberlains and guards of voluptuous princesses and queens; but since such persons are not so well known here, I have taken the liberty of changing him to a Moor, with an eye to the antique cities, customs and tastes of outlandish peoples who yet have very little contact and community with our countrymen." As interesting is what Bredero does not gloss, which is that the Moor he has substituted for the eunuch is female. What was in Terence a double gift, a eunuch and an Ethiopian maid, Bredero presents as one, a slave girl from the West African Portuguese colony of Angola; Dorus and his unnamed fellow servant are united in the Moorish woman Negra.

What results from shifting the role of intermediary from a eunuch to a black woman? To replace a eunuch with a woman mars the irony of Terence's play, whose crucial if unstaged action is a sexual conquest performed by an apparent castrate; on the other hand, the shift enables fresh associations among characters, especially between the play's two female slaves. In Eunuchus, the link between the two plot lines is slavery: the first romance, between the elder brother and the courtesan, is deferred because only her rival suitor can release her young ward from slavery; the second, between the younger brother and the ward, becomes possible only when the eunuch and Ethiopian are dispatched by the elder brother to the courtesan as gifts. By removing the eunuch from the picture, Moortje lays new emphasis on the contrast between the equivalents of the ward and the Ethiopian. On one side Bredero places the European ward Katryntje, once sold into slavery by an unscrupulous former guardian and now the property of the braggart suitor; on the other is the African servant Negra, purchased by the elder brother on the local slave market.

On the seventeenth-century Dutch stage the two predicaments signify differently. The courtesan's ward is an anachronistic romance figure, a wandering orphan whose metropolitan roots are revealed only at the play's end. (She turns out to be the long-lost sister of a wealthy burgher from the Hague.) The Angolan servant, by contrast, is a figure out of contemporary Amsterdam, a reminder of the republic's deepening investment in the transatlantic slave trade. While these characters point to similarities between the slavery of the Roman and Dutch empires, they underscore the epochal shift of early modern enslavement--that the slaves were all black and nearly all the masters white. This emerging hierarchy of skin color accounts for the text's ambivalence toward slavery. On the one hand, the purchase of Negra is described by the elder brother in dispassionate commercial terms that translate the source passage in Terence almost verbatim:
 Two days ago you bade me buy for you
 A Moorish woman, and I found one too
 From Angola by our good captain brought;
 At highest price, and privately, I bought
 And give her to you now; must I be crowned
 With banishment, and someone else enthroned?


Yet when the same character hears the story of Katryntje auctioned off among the "Turks or Barbarians" (232), he erupts in moral outrage:
 Inhuman practice! Godless knavery!
 To sell like horses people into slavery!
 Some even in this city ply such trades,
 In Farnabock, but won't escape God's gaze.


In the trading that led up to the formation of the Dutch West India Company in 1621, Angola was a major source of slaves and Farnabock (the Brazilian port of Pernambuco) a major market, so it is striking that the first is accepted but the second denounced. By something like a moral chiasmus, a romantic archaic instance of slavery raises cries of injustice, while a realistic modern instance of slavery is all but passed over. Bredero's preface endorses this position, complaining that Katryntje's former guardian "took this white maiden to sell to some Moorish potentate or king" (pref., 29-30), but bluntly reporting that to placate his girlfriend the brother "gives her at her request a Moorish slave" (pref., 44-45). The distinction emerging here is not between Christian and Muslim, or even European and African, but between white and black; the abstracted physiology of skin color is appearing as the decisive criterion of a new and narrow categorization of race.

How was this distinction represented in Bredero's play? The disguise plot offers some insight. As far as we can tell, in the original Eunuchus the younger brother simply exchanges clothes with the eunuch; but in Moortje he also applies black makeup to his face and hands. The idea comes to the young man, Writsart, via his servant Koenraat; when Writsart envies the Moor's proximity to the inaccessible maiden, Koenraat proposes that his master get hold of "the negress's garment" (1093) and some cosmetics: "Then should we with soot, / With black lime, or with grease of other sort, / Besmirch your face, and likewise both your hands." Thus transformed, the pseudo-Moor enters the courtesans' house, not to be seen until an act later, when a friend who is looking for Writsart spies a figure on the street with a familiar gait, but wonders how to explain its bizarre appearance. Is Writsart impersonating the black king Melchior for the feast of Epiphany, or wearing Moorish disguise for the Shrove Tuesday carnival? He approaches the man in amazement: "Who's blackened you? You let yourself be thus besmirched?" (1582).

Interestingly, Writsart's blackface draws more attention than his cross-dressing. Since the friend likens him to Melchior rather than, say, the black bride of the Song of Songs, the outfit must look odd but not feminine. Writsart, too, emphasizes skin color in his ensuing explanation: his elder brother, he says, bought his girlfriend "a pitch-black Moorish girl" (1620), then Koenraat dressed him in her robe and thus "made a negro out of [him]" (1633). On the other hand, the guardians of the deflowered girl are more exercised about the young man's hidden masculinity. The courtesan's servant complains to Writsart's elder brother Ritsart that "your negress has robbed that girl of her honor" (1835) and proceeds to describe her confusion at discovering the sexual violation: "How could a woman manage such a thing? / It counters nature. Could a black man dare? / His heart would have been purged of lust by fear." The servant's suspicion that the perpetrator is neither a woman nor black is confirmed moments later when Negra is brought onstage. From a chaotic dialogue in which Negra is referred to with both masculine and feminine pronouns, the questioners extract the truth. It remains to confront and expose the impostor, still disguised as a Moor, who swiftly offers to make amends by marrying the young woman and is later restored to the community in his customary appearance and apparel, that is, "as himself" (3120 s.d.).

Until this point Writsart's disguise is consistent and, for the most part, convincing. If we therefore pause, like the maidservant, to speculate on the offstage rape, we can only imagine it happening in blackface and in drag. In both Terence and Bredero, the rape is described only by the ward's guardian: by this account it is a brutal violation, in which the girl's clothes are shredded, her hair ripped out in handfuls. The assailant, by contrast, matter-of-factly reports he has had his way with her. What he does describe in detail is the inspiration for the deed, and this takes the form of an ecphrasis of the paintings in the woman's bedchamber. In Eunuchus, the painting shows Jupiter launching a shower of gold into Danae's lap, a model of divine subterfuge and seduction that the young man proceeds excitedly to follow. In Moortje rather different scenes are depicted, and the changes at the hand of Bredero, himself a successful painter, deserve our scrutiny:
 But scarcely was her mistress out the door,
 When up the maiden threw her gaze to stray
 Upon a painting, in which Mars and Venus lay
 In Vulcan's capture. And besides this same
 Hung the rape of the fair Roman dame.
 This I beheld inflamed: sight led to thought,
 And only strengthened the design I'd wrought.


If to us the two paintings, of Mars and Venus and of Tarquin and Lucretia, are commonplaces of illicit passion, both are richer images in seventeenth-century eyes. First, the image of Vulcan surprising Venus and Mars is a clear warning that the young man's transgression will not pass unnoticed; but it is even more important to recall that the sexual conquest in this story belongs not to Mars but to Venus. The triumph of Venus is a Renaissance allegory of emasculation: its iconography is the stripping of armor and weapons, symbols of the god's phallic power and aggression. When Shakespeare's Mardian tells Cleopatra that even though he cannot act on his desires, he does still "think / What Venus did with Mars" (Antony and Cleopatra, 1.5.12-18), the syntax--what Venus did with Mars--says it all. A similar effeminization is discernible in Bredero's lines, which are spoken by a male actor still in women's costume and intimate a fear of sexual and textual reversion to the status of a eunuch. The maidservant exploits this fear when she terrorizes Koenraat by musing how her mistress will punish his master for his wrongdoing:
 To geld him--that were bearable indeed,
 I could allow't; but cut it off complete,
 As do the Turks? She'd even let him die,
 To warn some other young man not to try.


She further speculates that if Writsart is doomed to be "cut in Jewish style" (2863), then perhaps Koenraat should expect that treatment himself. The threat is adapted from Terence, where it implied that pretending to be a eunuch could lead to actual castration; here the implication is that pretending to be an infidel might subject one to such rites (circumcision or castration) as infidels (Turks or Jews) were widely known to perform.

What of the second painting, the rape of Lucretia? For early moderns the rape was an initiation of historical change: Lucretia's violation and suicide led directly to the expulsion of the Tarquins and the establishment of the Roman republic. Versions of the story like Shakespeare's are counternarratives to the Aeneid, promoting such republican sentiment as reached fever pitch in the United Provinces, only recently triumphant over the imperialism of the Hapsburgs. Yet a further twist to the rape of Lucretia may be discerned in Bredero's ecphrasis, and like the tale of Venus and Mars it concerns adultery. Many accounts of the myth suggest with grim irony that Lucretia submits to Tarquin only because he threatens her reputation for chastity. In these accounts, Tarquin has brought a servant with him; he tells Lucretia that if she does not submit, he will kill her and the servant then and there, so that when they are discovered the next morning they will be thought to be lovers who have died in a suicide pact. Fearing for her reputation, Lucretia gives in. What is remarkable is that a tradition as old as Servius's commentary on Virgil identifies this servant as an Ethiopian. (46) This is more than a scholarly curiosity, for among seventeenth-century paintings of this episode are instances where the servant is present--and is a black man. (47) Here the threat over Lucretia is the spectacle not just of adultery but of miscegenation. The taint of blackness underlies theatrical allusions to the story, as when in the heroine of The Fair Maid swears to the Moroccan king that before giving in to his sexual advances she will "with Lucretia character thy lust / 'Twixt these two breasts" (2, 3.3.133-34). In Heywood's play, with its jokes about smearing on or washing off the blackness, the legend of Lucretia channels anxieties about racial as well as sexual contamination. In Bredero's, these very fears are strikingly evoked by a Dutchman in the costume and cosmetics of a Moor.

For two reasons this essay finds in Bredero an apt if provisional end point. First, his play unites in one character the two stage figures whose progress we have charted over a continent and two millennia. Second, he refers his readers and audience back to Terence, with whom our chronology began. The epilogue to Moortje closes on the following couplet: "Thank not our poet for virtue learned in mirth, / But Affrick's chief, who gave Rome's theater birth." Bredero's invocation of Terence is at once a gesture of attribution and a guarantee of authority. No acknowledgment is made of the changes wrought on the Latin play, although the phrase "Affrick's chief" hints at the adaptation Bredero has composed. For Moortje is Eunuchus Africanized, a revision whose major achievement consists in laying bare an imperial context assumed but unexamined in its original. As representations, the plays appear as social texts that invite the reader to map disjunctions and continuities between ancient and modern forms of empire; as presentations, they take shape as a counterpoint of theater effects leading the audience through shifting performances of gender and race. Perhaps Eunuchus stands to Moortje in a literary relation comparable to the theatrical one of the eunuch to the black woman: as paired elements in a force field of contradiction and compensation. Balanced against the respect expressed in Bredero's epilogue, after all, must be the rivalry implied in reworking Terence in the first place. And if the prologue to Eunuchus makes the famous point that nullumst Jam dictum quod non dictum sit prius ("there is nought said, that hath not been said heretofore"), then the epilogue to Moortje is literally underwritten by the motto for which Dutch speakers still remember its playwright today: 't Kan verkeeren--"All is changeable." (48)

Notes

This essay has benefited enormously from the advice and encouragement of the following readers: Leonard Barkan, Brenda Bosman, Alan Dessen, Barbara Mowat, Stephen Orgel, William Sherman, and Mary Tonkinson.

(1.) Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, trans. G. E. M. Anscombe (Oxford: Blackwell, 2001), 28e.

(2.) Louise George Clubb, Italian Drama in Shakespeare's Time (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989), 8.

(3.) Richard Bernard, Terence in English (Cambridge: John Legatt, 1641), 117.

(4.) David Konstan, "Love in Terence's Eunuch: The Origins of Erotic Subjectivity," American Journal of Philology 107 (1986): 370.

(5.) Terence, Eunuchus, ed. John Barsby (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 114.

(6.) Gary Taylor, Castration: An Abbreviated History of Western Manhood (New York: Routledge, 2000), 140-41.

(7.) Terence would have known of the eunuch priests of the goddess Cybele (at whose festival Eunuchus was first presented) but I have found no evidence that classical eunuchs worked as actors. Augustine's later denunciation of actors and eunuchs in book 6 of the City of God mentions no overlap between them. By contrast, the employment of blacks in the classical entertainment industry is verifiable; see Frank M. Snowden, Jr., Blacks in Antiquity: Ethiopians in the Greco-Roman Experience (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1970).

(8.) Suetonius, trans. J. C. Rolfe (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1920), 2:453.

(9.) The question of Terence's ethnicity remains open. T. F. Carney avers that the playwright was "a descendent of the Italiote Greeks taken in huge numbers to slavery in Carthage by Hannibal," and that Suetonius infers from this provenance a "Berber not negroid" appearance; see his commentary on P. Terenti Afri Hecyra (Pretoria: Classical Association of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, 1963), 5. But Greek origins, even if true, would prove no ethnicity conclusively.

(10.) Cynthia S. Dessen. "The Figure of the Eunuch in Terence's Eunuchus," Helios 22 (1995): 137; Keir Elam, "The Fertile Eunuch: Twelfth Night, Early Modern Intercourse, and the Fruits of Castration," Shakespeare Quarterly 47 (1996): 10.

(11.) Polemo, De physiognomia, in Richard Forster, Scriptores Physiognomonici Graeci (Leipzig: B.G. Teubner, 1893) 1:160-64. Forster gives an Arabic text with a Latin translation; I use the English version provided by Maud W. Gleason in her Making Men: Sophists and Self-Presentation in Ancient Rome (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995), 7.

(12.) Philostratus, The Lives of the Sophists, trans. Wilmer Cave Wright (London: William Heinemann, 1922), 23. Further citations will be parenthetical and to this edition.

(13.) The phrases "successful pass" and "triangular theater of identity" are drawn from Amy Robinson, "It Takes One to Know One: Passing and Communities of Common Interest," Critical Inquiry 20 (1994): 715-36.

(14.) For a fuller context, see Graham Anderson, Lucian: Theme and Variation in the Second Sophistic (Leiden, Brill 1976), 62-65.

(15.) Lucian, trans. A. M. Harmon (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1936), 5:337.

(16.) Frank M. Snowden, Jr., Before Color Prejudice: The Ancient View of Blacks (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983), 108.

(17.) Snowden, Blacks in Antiquity, 188,217.

(18.) Acts of the Apostles 8:27. Biblical quotations follow The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments; Authorized King James version (New York: Thomas Nelson, 1975).

(19.) The label properly applies to Cornelius, the Roman centurion later baptized by Peter.

(20.) The New Testament quotes Isaiah 53:7-8 from the Septuagint. In the Old Testament, verse 8 reads, "He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken."

(21.) Cited in William L. Holladay, Jeremiah 1: A Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah, Chapters 1-25 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1986), 415, quoted in Jean Calvin, Commentaries on the Book of Jeremiah and Lamentations, trans. John Owen (Grand Rapids, MI: W. B. Eerdmans, 1950), 2:191.

(22.) Jerome, Letter 56.6, in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace (Grand Rapids, MI: W. B. Eerdmans, 1892), 6:146.

(23.) For histories of the proverb see J. M. Massing, "From Greek Proverb to Soap Advert: Washing the Ethiopian," Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 58 (1995): 180-201; Kim F. Hall, Things of Darkness (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995); Karen Newman, Fashioning Femininity (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991); and Allison Blakely, Blacks in the Dutch World (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1993). On Lucian, English translation by W. R. Patch, The Greek Anthology (London: W. Heinemann, 1918) 4:274-75. On Aphthonius, English translation by B. E. Perry, Aesopica: A Series of Texts Relating to Aesop or Ascribed to Him (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1952) 481 no. 393.

(24.) Jerome, Letter 53:5 and Against Jovianus 1:12, in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 6:98, 6:356. See also Mathew Kuefler, The Manly Eunuch: Masculinity, Gender Ambiguity and Christian Ideology in Late Antiquity (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001), 270-71.

(25.) Bede is cited in C. K. Barrett, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on The Acts of the Apostles (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1994), 1:434. Richard Crashaw, Steps to the Temple (London: T.W. [sic], 1648), 15.

(26.) The Sermons of John Donne, ed. George R. Potter and Evelyn M. Simpson (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1984), 10:35-36. 27. Cited in Massing, "From Greek Proverb to Soap Advert," 182-83.

(27.) Charles Ancillon, Traite des Eunuques (Berlin: 1707). The text was translated into English as Eunuchism display'd (London: E. Curll, 1718). I quote the redaction in Secret Sexualities: A Sourcebook of 17th and 18th Century Writing, ed. Ian McCormick (New York: Routledge, 1997), 24. The same point is made by John Bulwer, Anthropometamorphosis (London: William Hunt, 1650), 354.

(28.) Ancillon, Traite des Eunuques, 24.

(29.) Bulwer, Anthropometamorphosis, 354-55.

(30.) William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Anthony and Cleopatra, ed. Michael Neill (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), 173n.

(31.) Gary Taylor, Castration: An Abbreviated History of Western Manhood (New York: Routledge, 2000), 140-41,150-51.

(32.) Cf. Othello's description of Desdemona's "whiter skin of hers than snow, / And smooth as monumental alabaster" (5.2.4-5). Critics have noted the role of statuary in Antony and Cleopatra, though it has not been tied to Mardian or to race in general; the most recent of these is John Michael Archer, Old Worlds: Egypt, Southwest Asia, India, and Russia in Early Modern English Writing (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001), 58-62.

(33.) Michael Neill, introduction to The Tragedy of Anthony and Cleopatra (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), 113.

(34.) Ibid., 124. In his Shakespearean Tragedy (Washington D.C.: Folger Books, 1984), Leeds Barroll deems it "unlikely" that Cleopatra's conversion is "the ethical emphasis of the tragedy" (248); he also notes but demurs at readings of the queen as a "Satanic Virgin Mary" (182). Ania Loomba's Shakespeare, Race and Colonialism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002) frames Cleopatra within Renaissance ambivalence to Old Testament models of alien femininity but finds in the play "no reassuring scenario of a foreign queen's assimilation" (133).

(35.) Quotations from Heywood follow The Fair Maid of the West, Parts I and II, ed. Robert K. Turner, Jr. (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1967).

(36.) Daniel J. Vitkus, introduction to Three Turk Plays from Early Modern England (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000), 4-5. Vitkus expands on these and related plays in Turning Turk: English Theater and the Multicultural Mediterranean, 1570-1630 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003).

(37.) Jean E. Howard, "An English Lass Amid the Moors," in Women, "Race," and Writing in the Early Modern Period, eds. Margo Hendricks and Patricia Parker (New York: Routledge, 1994), 113.

(38.) The irony is that white makeup, with its lead or mercury base, was more dangerous to kiss than black. This was familiar enough to feature in the plots of several Jacobean tragedies: see Annette Drew-Bear, "Face-Painting in Renaissance Tragedy," Renaissance Drama 12 (1981): 71-93, esp. 87-89.

(39.) Eldred Jones remarks that "Heywood ... seems to have deserted Morocco in his creation of Tota" and suggests that her character is influenced by contemporary figures such as Zanche in The White Devil; see his Othello's Countrymen: The African in English Renaissance Drama (London: Oxford University Press, 1965), 109-16, esp. 113.

(40.) Robert Daborne, A Christian Turned Turk, ed. Daniel J. Vitkus. For an account of this play in relation to the present essay see my "Shifting Companions: Travel and Transculturation in Renaissance Theater" (PhD diss., Stanford University, 2000).

(41.) Quotations from The Renegado follow the edition of Vitkus.

(42.) See Peter Brown, The Body and Society: Men, Women and Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988) and Uta Ranke-Heinemann, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, trans. Peter Heinegg (New York: Doubleday, 1990). For the pertinence of Matthew 19:12 to drama, see John Astington, "Malvolio and the Eunuchs: Texts and Revels in Twelfth Night," Shakespeare Survey 46 (1994): 23-34.

(43.) See Robert Weimann, Author's Pen and Actor's Voice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 11.

(44.) Quotations follow G. A. Bredero, Moortje, ed. P. Minderaa and C. A. Zaalberg (Leiden: Marthinus Nijhoff, 1984). Translations are mine.

(45.) Commenting on Virgil's allusion to Tarquin in Aeneid 8.646, Servius relates that Tarquin enters Lucretia's chamber "cum Aethiope" and threatens her thus: "'nisi mecum concubueris, Aethiopem tecum interimo, tamquam in adulterio deprehenderim.'" See Servaniorum in Vergilii Carmina Commentariorum (Lancaster, PA: Societatis Philologicae Americanae cura et impensis, 1946), 291.

(46.) Among the finest of these is the Tarquin and Lucretia attributed to Artemesia Gentileschi, painted in the late 1640s and now hanging in the Neues Palais, Potsdam.

(47.) Terence, line 40; Bernard, 98; Bredero, line 3035.
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Title Annotation:Antony and Cleopatra
Author:Bosman, Anston
Publication:Shakespeare Studies
Article Type:Critical essay
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 1, 2006
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