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(345 - 323 BC) Persia




Bagoas (in Old Persian Bagoi) was an eunuch in the Persian Empire in the 4th Century BC. He was reportedly the favourite male concubine of Darius III, emperor of Persia. When Darius was murdered by his generals during Alexander's invasion of Persia in 330 BC, one of the conspirators, Nabarzanes, gave Bagoas to Alexander as a gift. The historian Quintus Curtius Rufus, who wrote a biography of Alexander in the 1st or 2nd Century CE, says that it was Bagoas' pleas that saved Nabarzanes from being killed by Alexander as a regicide.

Curtius relates that Alexander took on "Bagoas, an eunuch exceptional in beauty and in the very flower of boyhood, with whom Darius was intimate and with whom Alexander would later be intimate." (VI.5.23). Bagoas is called Alexander's eromenos ("beloved", a term for a younger male lover) by Curtius - the only person so described.

Their relationship seems to have been well-known and approved among Alexander's troops, as Plutarch recounts an episode (also mentioned by Dicaearchus) during some festivities on the way back from India in which his men clamor for him to openly kiss the eunuch, who had just won a song and dance contest: "Bagoas... sat down close by him, which so pleased the Macedonians, that they made loud acclamations for him to kiss (Greek katefilesen, implying an intense passionate kiss) Bagoas, and never stopped clapping their hands and shouting till Alexander put his arms round him and kissed him."


Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The picture comes from the Oliver Stone film Alexander (2004)

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