Taphoi wrote:Curtius actually makes Orsines accuse Alexander's Bagoas of exercising royal power or ruling (if you prefer - though it is forcing the Latin verb) in dragging him to his execution using the very same verb regno, which Pliny defines as the special activity of eunuchs who bear the title/name of Bagoas.
This is petitio principii
. Pliny "defines" nothing of the sort yet the point is assumed as proved. The only support for this is a forced translation which makes little grammatical sense: "these (royal palms) used to grow nowhere but at Babylon, and there only in the garden of Bagoas, that being what they call eunuchs, who actually exercise royal authority over them"
. That passage from Pliny does not in any way"define" a "royal eunuch" any more than it "states that Bagoas was the name for a royal eunuch among the Persians"
. That, I'm afraid, belongs to the modern opinion of Andrew Chugg.
This is, at least, consistent. On another thread - from which this ultimately derives - the question was asked whether Bagoas son of Pharnouches of the Indus trierach list and the boy proffered by Nabarzanes should be different people. The response is interesting:
Taphoi wrote:No, there is no reason at all. I will assert that it is the same Bagoas that was the trierarch, because the evidence is quite overwhelming that it is so. The only contrary argument has been to claim that a eunuch cannot possibly have risen to such heights under Alexander, which is quite fatuous.
Here the a priori
construct (the two are definitely the same individual) must be accepted (the - non presented - evidence being theatrically "quite overwhelming") and, so, the "only argument" against the construct has to be "fatuous". In fact the thread indicates
that this is not the only argument (as indeed does this thread) and so the assertion is, of itself, fatuous. The defense of this construct necessitated the dismissal of the received text of Arrian's Indica
; this did not neatly fit the a priori
construct and so is therefore emended out of existence. Also adduced in support was the expressed claim that the eunuch Bagoas fought in Alexander's wars
. There is absolutely no source attestation for Alexander's "favourite" eunuch doing so yet the onus was for others to disprove it.
But back to the opening quotation of this post. We are lead to believe that Bagoas was responsible for the execution of the satrap. This is clearly related in the opening sentence ("I hope you can see how wrong you are
)" which is a direct reply to "And Bagoas doesn't execute the Satrap Orxines" and is a claim stated far more boldly elsewhere:
Taphoi wrote:There is a strong implication that Bagoas is the most influential Persian in the expedition and this is underlined a year later when he is given the task of executing the governor of Persia itself, which suggests that Alexander at least regarded him as higher in rank.
Curtius actually writes nothing of the sort. What he does write is that Bagoas, not satisfied with his victory over the satrap, "manhandled" him as he went to execution. Nothing in that statement compels us to believe that Bagoas was given the "command" of this duty.
Which brings us to the forced nature of the reading of this quote. The entire story of the undermining and "conviction" of Orsines (Orxines) is some 705 words in Yardley's translation. Here we rely on forty-four in two sentences. The reason is clear: taking those two sentences from their context facilitates the forced translation that Bagoas is "exercising royal power" as, supposedly, "defines" a so called "Royal Eunuch". Orsines, on his way to death, is not making any observation on the political status of so called "Royal Eunuchs". Very far from it in fact. What he is
doing is making plain his disgust that the Macedonian king - the "King of Asia"
- had allowed his judgement to be so suborned by a "toy boy" (one of the king's "whores, and that it was not the Persian custom to regard as men those who allowed themselves to be sexually used as women" 10.1.26). Indeed Orsines (in Curtius' story) is berating the fact that the King has been so corrupted by the eunuch that Asia now had, in effect, "a eunuch as king!" (in Yardley's far less self-serving translation). It is, in fact, the point of Curtius' morality tale.
Any proposition that requires the prior dismissal of any counter argument as "fatuous"; the routine massaging of translations into forms acceptable to the proposition; the lifting of sentences without reference to their context and the emendation of received source material can hardly be described as supported by evidence which "is quite overwhelming".