Medieval Europe prized its choir singers, and society knew of only one way to give grown men the voices of angels.
They chopped their pre-pubescent balls off, plain and simple. We’ll wait for the penny to drop, because nothing else would if this were still allowed today.
Far from a symbolic vow of chastity, this was just intended to cut off the testosterone. Boys (most under the age of twelve and usually from poorer families hoping to benefit financially from the popularity of castrati in the 1500s) retained their high-pitched voices this way, and it also kept a castrati’s bones malleable enough as they grew into adulthood to accommodate their giant, powerful lungs.
On the bright side, they didn’t have to worry about fathering children if things got carried away. (Source: Gizmodo)
What’s worse than being operated on by primitive surgeons on a boat, in the middle of the ocean and without taking anesthesia? Very few things, as it happens. However, we’re guessing that being the child who assisted the operating surgeon probably wasn’t a cakewalk, either.
Most loblolly boys spent their time serving food to the sick, but they also had to restrain patients during surgery, get rid of limbs after amputation, empty toilets, and clean used medical instruments.