Bagoas in "Alexander's Lover" of Andrew Chugg

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Re: Bagoas in "Alexander's Lover" of Andrew Chugg

Post by Paralus »

agesilaos wrote:apud eos is not readily rendered into english but in french one would say 'chez eux' and in english somewhat clumsily 'amongst them' is a literal translation of the words but the sense is 'in their country/homeland'. eos is third person plural accusative, apud takes the accusative, it is not Eos - dawn and hence the East that would be Ean or somesuch (curse Greek loan words).

The sense is still clear, though it is the spadones (whom Pliny does think synonomous with Bagoai) who have ruled in their country (Persia or Babylon). etiam can mean many things but it is clearly OMG here.
Yes,that is a possibility. The word eos must be used in the sense of east - over in the east (Babylon / Persia). A friend has suggested ita vocant spadones might literally be "so-called eunuchs". In any case - and before we delve into declensions first, second and otherwise - this is the limit of my high school Latin.

Still, the translation as rendered is nonsense:

"The most famous of all, are those which, for the sake of distinction, have received the name of “royal” palms, because they were preserved solely by the kings of Persia; these 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... or... eunuchs, who also exercise royal power amongst them".

If this is the true sense - and I sincerely doubt it - then "who" are the eunuchs and "them" are the palms. Nothing in that pushed translation supports the notion of a "ruling" class of eunuch - so called "royal eunuchs".
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Re: Bagoas in "Alexander's Lover" of Andrew Chugg

Post by agesilaos »

Paralus, yes Taphoi is forcing his translation, 'quelle surprise!' but you are also wrong about 'eos' it has nothing to do with the east and means 'them' and refers back to the 'Persian Kings' not the palms. You are quite right about regnare, a quick look at Lewis and Short reveals that post-Augustus the tie with kingship and just means 'rule', otherwise Pliny could be saying that some of the Persian Kings were eunuchs! Justin makes Sardanapalus a cross-dresser but he lets him keep his 'nads.

Bowerstock's translation is fine but for the extraneous 'several'.
clarissimae omnium, quas regias appellavere ob honorem, quoniam regibus tantum persidis servarentur, babylone natae uno in horto bagou; ita vocant spadones, qui apud eos etiam regnavere.
The most distinguished of them all (palms), which are honoured with the title of 'Royal', because such great care was taken of them by the Kings of Persia, native to Babylon, solely in the Garden of Bagous; thus they call eunuchs, who, in that land have actually held sway.

Is my own stab at it. trying to stick with the text.

qui apud eos etc is a gloss (further info) on spadones, the eunuchs; it does not further define those spadones called Bagous.

The Theophrastos actually has Battou for Bagoiu and is corrected from Pliny by the editors, it seems a sound emendation since we know Bagoas the Chiliarch had a house in Babylon, the qualification palaigou - ancient might give us pause though, to a writer of the late Fourth century the mid-fourth century does not seem 'ancient'.

Amyntoros, I think you have an exagerrated idea of the number of eunuchs in the hellenistic world but not having studied this I might have underestimated the numbers, they were a novelty in Rome and Domitian banned the practice of castration, though not the sale of existing geldings (if I remember my Suetonius correctly). If anyone does invent the 'osmosis reader' I'll be fighting you at the front of the queue; it could cause problems though for all those poseurs who bought 'The Brief History of Time' or 'A la Recherche du temps Perdu', instant catatonia! Nor should you let your lack of Latin prevent you joining in the rough and tumble, it never stops Taphoi :shock: :lol: Only joking AC; we can't allow ad hominem arguments.
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Re: Bagoas in "Alexander's Lover" of Andrew Chugg

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[So, apparently, if they didn't pay for their ...... It's possible it’s the same Bagoas, but it can't be proven from the sources.]
Dear Amyntoros: thank you very much :D . I had also think that Bagoas is too young for being the trierarch Arrian mentioned , but i can not explain it myself. Your counter-argument is really strong and it help me make up mine might a lot. I hope that i had wise knowledge as your :cry: . But i pledge that two years later, when i move to an English country to study English, i will read all the book about Alexander and ancient Greek, master my knowledge about Alexander's history, and come back here to discuss with you guys (just wait for me there :twisted: ).

But now, please help me make clear one more thing. About Aetion's painting of the Marriage of Alexander and Roxane. There is hephaistion, Alexander, Roxane, some slaves, some angels and a very handsome youth in the painting. Do you know who is the handsome youth? In "Alexander's lover", Andrew said that this handsome youth is not Hymenaios, but it is Bagoas, since the painting is about Alexander's loves. He also said that :"in the context of the painting, Bagoas is being supplanted by Roxane in Alexander's affection and Hephasition leans on him to restrain him from jealous intervention and perhaps to comfort him". because as i said i do not have much knowledge about Alexander, so i can not help myself. But there one thing that i can not understand is that, when i see the painting carefully, all the human in the painting has clothes, except the handsome youth (he almost nake ). If he were Bagoas as Andrew said, so why on earth only Bagoas has to be nake in Alexander and Roxane 's wedding :shock: . Or naked in a wedding is a normal thing :?: It make sense more for me if he is the Greek god of marriage Hymenaios. And why on earth that Aetion had to pain something to make us know that Roxane is jealous with a eunuch in her wedding with Alexander and soon she will become a queen :?: .

Again, thank you very much for all your wise knowledge.

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Re: Bagoas in "Alexander's Lover" of Andrew Chugg

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110gr010 wrote:But now, please help me make clear one more thing. About Aetion's painting of the Marriage of Alexander and Roxane. There is hephaistion, Alexander, Roxane, some slaves, some angels and a very handsome youth in the painting. Do you know who is the handsome youth? In "Alexander's lover", Andrew said that this handsome youth is not Hymenaios, but it is Bagoas, since the painting is about Alexander's loves. He also said that :"in the context of the painting, Bagoas is being supplanted by Roxane in Alexander's affection and Hephasition leans on him to restrain him from jealous intervention and perhaps to comfort him". because as i said i do not have much knowledge about Alexander, so i can not help myself. But there one thing that i can not understand is that, when i see the painting carefully, all the human in the painting has clothes, except the handsome youth (he almost nake ). If he were Bagoas as Andrew said, so why on earth only Bagoas has to be nake in Alexander and Roxane 's wedding :shock: . Or naked in a wedding is a normal thing :?: It make sense more for me if he is the Greek god of marriage Hymenaios. And why on earth that Aetion had to pain something to make us know that Roxane is jealous with a eunuch in her wedding with Alexander and soon she will become a queen :?: .
You have to remember that this is Andrew's interpretation of the painting. It does not mean that Aetion did intend the "handsome youth" to represent Bagoas. However, unless Aetion had actually written who the various characters are meant to be, it is up to us to interpret it. I would say that, judging by the title of the painting, no-one would argue about the identification of Alexander, Hephaestion and Roxane. As far as the other is concerned, some might agree with Andrew, and others might disagree. One thing is for sure: we cannot say that it is Bagoas, only that it might be him.

As for him being nearly naked - that's how they painted in those days. It has no especial meaning, although it might be argued that, as the three main characters are clothed, the fact that he is nearly naked would suggest that he is Hymenaios. He would be representing that fact that Roxane and Alexander, now that they are married, are going to be sleeping together, and as such he represents the erotic side of marriage. It would be wrong to say that, as he was painted nearly naked, then he must represent Bagoas. That would not be an accurate reading of the art.

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Re: Bagoas in "Alexander's Lover" of Andrew Chugg

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agesilaos wrote: The Theophrastos actually has Battou for Bagoiu and is corrected from Pliny by the editors, it seems a sound emendation since we know Bagoas the Chiliarch had a house in Babylon, the qualification palaigou - ancient might give us pause though, to a writer of the late Fourth century the mid-fourth century does not seem 'ancient'.
According to Herodotus (III.92) the Babylonians were to send 500 eunuchs to the King each year:
From Babylon and the rest of Assyria came to Darius a thousand talents of silver and five hundred castrated boys
That seems quite a lot but, numbers aside, the supply of eunuchs from Babylon to the Persian king seems to have been regulated (at least) by the close of the sixth century. This is not to say that eunuchs were not a part of the culture - certainly they were (but I'm not about to go through the Biblical texts!) - and predated Cyrus' annexation of Babylonia. Therefore the 'institution' is likely ancient. At any rate, Theophrastus is not exactly writing history and "the ancient" may simply be a turn of phrase.
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Re: Bagoas in "Alexander's Lover" of Andrew Chugg

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Paralus wrote: According to Herodotus (III.92) the Babylonians were to send 500 eunuchs to the King each year:
From Babylon and the rest of Assyria came to Darius a thousand talents of silver and five hundred castrated boys
Then there's the 300 Corcyraean boys that Periander sent to Sardis to be castrated. They were rescued before the mutilation could happen, but the intent was there. Also the prisoners of war, bought, castrated, and sold as eunuchs by slave-traders, the Chian Panionius being one such trader. I can't recall the source offhand (nor, probably, vouch for its veracity) but I read somewhere that there were at least 3000 eunuchs serving Darius at the time of Alexander's conquest. I'm mentioning this more in answer to Agesilaos' post:
agesilaos wrote: Amyntoros, I think you have an exagerrated idea of the number of eunuchs in the hellenistic world but not having studied this I might have underestimated the numbers, they were a novelty in Rome and Domitian banned the practice of castration, though not the sale of existing geldings (if I remember my Suetonius correctly).
You may well be correct, Agesilaos, as I can't say truthfully that I've "studied" eunuchs in the hellenistic world, only that I've had a general interest since first seeing Farinelli those many years ago. As is usual with me, I wanted to find out just how much "fiction" was in the film, and ended up reading about eunuchs in general. My remark about the number of eunuchs in the Hellenistic period was based on the figure above, and, in part, on a statement from the Encyclopedia of ancient Greece By Nigel Guy Wilson (Page 280)
For when Alexander conquered the Persian empire he did not simply replace it with an extension of the Macedonian kingdom, but sought to present himself as the legitimate ruler of Persia. This entailed his adoption of the Persian royal style and its trappings, including the use of court eunuchs. In all the subsequent Hellenistic kingdoms (with the exception of Macedonia which maintained its character undiluted) eunuchs are to be found. It is well known that the decision to murder Pompey after his flight to Ptolemaic Egypt following his defeat in the civil war with Julius Caesar was primarily encouraged by the eunuch Potheinus, a key figure in the regency of Ptolemy XIII. Eunuchs figure prominently in the stories of Mithridates VI, king of Pontus ... ... <snip> ... ... With the shift of power in the Mediterranian to Rome, Greek political power took a back seat, but the Hellenistic court style, based on the Persian model, eventually triumphed at the Roman court of late antiquity: as a result of this eunuchs are a striking feature of the history of the late Roman empire.
I figured that each of the Hellenistic kingdoms, vying with each other on many levels, were unlikely to be stingy with their use of eunuchs. :) I will always bow to you on any historical reference regarding ancient Rome though. I have an "interest" I suppose, but only the religion has been an area of any real fascination on my part.

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Re: Bagoas in "Alexander's Lover" of Andrew Chugg

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110gr010 wrote:[So, apparently, if they didn't pay for their ...... It's possible it’s the same Bagoas, but it can't be proven from the sources.]
Dear Amyntoros: thank you very much :D . I had also think that Bagoas is too young for being the trierarch Arrian mentioned , but i can not explain it myself. Your counter-argument is really strong and it help me make up mine might a lot. I hope that i had wise knowledge as your :cry: . But i pledge that two years later, when i move to an English country to study English, i will read all the book about Alexander and ancient Greek, master my knowledge about Alexander's history, and come back here to discuss with you guys (just wait for me there :twisted: ).
Hello 110gr010

I never really meant to argue that Bagoas was not the trierarch mentioned - only to point out the flaws in an argument that says he must have been. I'm pleased though that you've found the contributions in this thread to be helpful. That's (hopefully) why the forum exists! :) However, please don't wait two whole years for further discussion!!! Your English is fine - much, much better than my pathetic attempts at any foreign language - and you truly don't need to be any kind of expert to discuss Alexander here.

I note that Marcus has answered your question about Aetion's painting of the Marriage of Alexander and Roxane. The only thing I can add is about the youth in the painting being naked or semi-naked. That isn't in Lucian's description at all. The painting you are referencing is by the artist Sodoma and was painted around 1517. It was Sodoma who chose to portray the youth as semi-naked. My feelings are that if - and that's a big IF - the youth was semi-naked in Aetion's original painting then that might have been a reason for Aetion believing the figure to be the god Hymenaeus, because gods were often portrayed as such. Again, if the figure was naked (or only partially clothed) I truly doubt that it would have been Bagoas. I'm not sure where the idea of eunuchs wandering around the palaces in just a loincloth came from - Hollywood perhaps - but the ancient Persians were notoriously modest and didn't even bare their arms. There are several figures on the walls of Persepolis that many academics believe to be eunuchs and they are dressed in the same long clothing as everyone else, although sometimes with a scarf covering their chin, believed to hide the lack of a beard.

Now, if the figure in Aetion's painting wasn't naked, then surely it would have been obvious if it were Bagoas, simply because of the Persian clothing? In Alexander's histories we read of him adopting some aspects of Persian clothing, but there is nothing about Persians wearing Greek clothes, unsurprisingly so. Again, as always, just my opinion. :)

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Re: Bagoas in "Alexander's Lover" of Andrew Chugg

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amyntoros wrote:There are several figures on the walls of Persepolis that many academics believe to be eunuchs and they are dressed in the same long clothing as everyone else, although sometimes with a scarf covering their chin, believed to hide the lack of a beard.
That's true and, whilst many have viewed these as eunuchs, nothing is certain about that. What is certain is that, like the Egyptians, the Persians (and that would certainly mean the King who must, of course, be the "most handsome and tallest" et al as we continually hear) wore hair pieces. As with Egypt it is a certainty that was not limited to wigs but also included the "noble" beard. The artists of the Persepolis reliefs seem quite particular in how they go about depicting the beards. Thus a beardless person need not necessarily be a eunuch.
Last edited by Paralus on Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bagoas in "Alexander's Lover" of Andrew Chugg

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Eunuchs figure prominently in the stories of Mithridates VI, king of Pontus ... ... <snip> ... ...
SNIP! Ouch! I'll have to read that article you posted, eunuchs are something I tend to associate more with the Assyrians and later with the Ottomans, in any great numbers that is, after all, my Favourite successor was betrayed by his eunuch treasurer, Philetairos who went on to found a dynasty! It is probably just a prejudice on my part but I see eunuchs as an exotic minority in the Hellenistic kingdoms with the exception of Ptolemaic Egypt where Egyptian habits had long ossified. Damn it I'll have to look into it now! Research to make the eyes water.

Agree with you and Marcus on the Sodoma, doesn't Lucian identify Hymenaios as one of the figures in Aetion's original?
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Re: Bagoas in "Alexander's Lover" of Andrew Chugg

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Here is Lucian's description
However, I need not have cited ancient rhetoricians, historians, and chroniclers like these; in quite recent times the painter Aëtion is said to have brought his picture, Nuptials of Roxana and Alexander, to exhibit at Olympia; and Proxenides, High Steward of the Games on the occasion, was so delighted with his genius that he gave him his daughter.

It must have been a very wonderful picture, I think I hear5 some one say, to make the High Steward give his daughter to a stranger. Well, I have seen it--it is now in Italy--, so I can tell you. A fair chamber, with the bridal bed in it; Roxana seated--and a great beauty she is--with downcast eyes, troubled by the presence of Alexander, who is standing. Several smiling Loves; one stands behind Roxana, pulling away the veil on her head to show her to Alexander; another obsequiously draws off her sandal, suggesting bed-time; a third has hold of Alexander's mantle, and is dragging him with all his might towards Roxana. The King is offering her a garland, and by him as supporter and groom's-man is Hephaestion, holding a lighted torch and leaning on a very lovely boy; this is Hymenaeus, I conjecture, for there are no letters to show. On the other side of the picture, more Loves playing among Alexander's armour; two are carrying his spear, as porters do a heavy beam; two more grasp the handles of the shield, tugging it along with another reclining on it, playing king, I suppose; and then another has got into the breast-plate, which lies hollow part upwards; he is in ambush, and will give the royal equipage a good fright when it comes within reach.

All this is not idle fancy, on which the painter has been6 lavishing needless pains; he is hinting that Alexander has also another love, in War; though he loves Roxana, he does not forget his armour. And, by the way, there was some extra nuptial virtue in the picture itself, outside the realm of fancy; for it did Aëtion's wooing for him. He departed with a wedding of his own as a sort of pendant to that of Alexander; his groom's-man was the King; and the price of his marriage-piece was a marriage
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Re: Bagoas in "Alexander's Lover" of Andrew Chugg

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Having had a look at the number of notices in the extant sources concerning eunuchs, post-Alexander; references are sparse, Strabo names two, Bacchides under Mithradates and Philetairos (who was allegedly accidentally castrated in a crowd; last time I go to the January sales!); Polybios names two Egyptians Aristonikos and Eulakos and Appian at least six also under Mithradates (Dionysius, Bacchus, Trypho and the three eunuchs who nursed him when he had facial pustules). Mithradates Eupator is the only ruler noticably under the thumb of a coterie of eunuchs. Josephos mentions three more in the service of Herod the Great. This may have more to do with the state off the evidence than anythingelse, afterall none of them are interested in demographics. Evidence that they were rare by Imperial Roman times may be adduced from Domitian's insistence that existing stocks are sold at a discount when he outlawed castration (Suet. Dom 7) and hence they were highly priced, the only actual price evidence I have found comes in Pliny the Elder's Natural History VII 40 where Paezos the eunuch is bought from Sejanus for 50 million sesterces! This is an atypical transaction driven by lust and no doubt fear of the vendor but what should we allow for the multiplier a hundredfold? That would still have a normal price of half a million or 5000 aurei at a time when a legionary earned 9 per year so about 556 years salary, even a millionfold is more than five years salary; high prices are indicative of demand outstripping supply, since demand for eunuchs must have been fairly restricted so supply must have been very small.

How far back that situation may be extrapolated is moot.
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Re: Bagoas in "Alexander's Lover" of Andrew Chugg

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agesilaos wrote:Having had a look at the number of notices in the extant sources concerning eunuchs, post-Alexander; references are sparse, Strabo names two, Bacchides under Mithradates and Philetairos (who was allegedly accidentally castrated in a crowd; last time I go to the January sales!); Polybios names two Egyptians Aristonikos and Eulakos and Appian at least six also under Mithradates (Dionysius, Bacchus, Trypho and the three eunuchs who nursed him when he had facial pustules). Mithradates Eupator is the only ruler noticably under the thumb of a coterie of eunuchs. Josephos mentions three more in the service of Herod the Great. This may have more to do with the state off the evidence than anythingelse, afterall none of them are interested in demographics. Evidence that they were rare by Imperial Roman times may be adduced from Domitian's insistence that existing stocks are sold at a discount when he outlawed castration (Suet. Dom 7) and hence they were highly priced, the only actual price evidence I have found comes in Pliny the Elder's Natural History VII 40 where Paezos the eunuch is bought from Sejanus for 50 million sesterces! This is an atypical transaction driven by lust and no doubt fear of the vendor but what should we allow for the multiplier a hundredfold? That would still have a normal price of half a million or 5000 aurei at a time when a legionary earned 9 per year so about 556 years salary, even a millionfold is more than five years salary; high prices are indicative of demand outstripping supply, since demand for eunuchs must have been fairly restricted so supply must have been very small.

How far back that situation may be extrapolated is moot.

Must admit I haven't (yet) found any actual references to the number of eunuchs in the Hellenistic kingdoms. Piotro O Shultz in his Eunuchs and Castrati: A Cultural History is one author who claims that"Even the Diadochi, the Macedonian generals among whom the empire of Alexander the Great was divided after his death, adopted this well-established institution." However, he continues by discussing Ptolemaic Egypt and we already know about eunuchs there. (I realized that he's the source for the "3,000 eunuchs in Persia alone" that I mentioned earlier, but again gives no ancient references for confirmation). He later quotes your Pliny the Elder reference where I see that even Pliny balks at that price! "... the price was given, by Hercules! rather to gratify the passion of the purchaser, than in commendation of the beauty of the slave." More reasonably, Schultz says that "A slave laborer in Rome in the second to first centuries B.C. cost 500 denars, whereas a castrato commanded 2000 denars, which corresponds to the figures cited by Terence in his comedy The Eunuch.

Found another Roman reference though, also in Schultz' book:
9.4 Seneca the Elder, Controversies 10.4.17

(Seneca here quotes the Augustan orator Labienus, who spoke in defense of a man who rescued infants abandoned in the woods and then hacked off their limbs so they could help his trade as a professional beggar.)

'To think that people have the idle time to worry what a miserable beggar does among beggars, while leading citizens employ their wealth against nature: they have legions of eunuchs and amputate them so they be apt for a longer passivity toward shameful acts. Because they are ashamed of being men, they bring it about that there should be as few men as possible. Nobody comes to the rescue of those delicate and pretty weaklings.'
Legions of eunuchs?! :o (Actually, I'm more shocked by the attitude towards beggars and abandoned infants than anything else, but that's way off topic.)

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Re: Bagoas in "Alexander's Lover" of Andrew Chugg

Post by agesilaos »

Sadly, just as tainted a source; rhetorical exaggeration. Pricewise 2000 denarii is 8000 sesterces, so 80 aurei so more than nine years legionary salary, a labourer is still more than two years worth (and Trajan butchered 10,000 Dacian prisoners for sport!), slave ownership was clearly for the classes above the ordinary and makes Sejanus' mark-up 6250%; where does he get 2000 den?

I have found no mention of Seleucid eunuchs and they held the areas where they were numerous before. Nor did the hellenistic monarch keep oriental harems, wherein eunuchs found most employment; plenty of polygamy but the hellenistic Queens are hardly the shy and retiring types, even in Egypt; I think the cultural differences would militate against the continuation of Asiatic practice, although certain positions remained in Egypt due to ossification and in the cases of Herod and Mithradates due to a more harem-culture. I wonder about Darius' 500 boy's per year too unless it includes an allowance for wastage on later evidence mortality rates could be as high as 90% which would only leave 50 per year drastically reducing the eunuch population.

Incidently, there is an illumination of Bagoas pleading for Nabarzenes on Wikepedia (Bagoas) external links, it shows the eunuch dressed as a female courtier complete with tall pointed hat! If conventions on 1480 persisted till 1530 Sodoma should have depicted him as a woman rather than a semi-naked divinity.
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Re: Bagoas in "Alexander's Lover" of Andrew Chugg

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amyntoros wrote:And Bagoas doesn't execute the Satrap Orxines. According to Curtius he lies and deceives, as at 10.1.28-29
Curtius 10.1.37 wrote:Non contentus supplicio insontis spado ipse morituro manum iniecit. Quem Orsines intuens: ‘Audieram,’ inquit, ‘in Asia olim regnasse feminas: hoc vero novum est regnare castratum!’
Not satisfied by the punishment of an innocent, the eunuch manhandled him as he went to his death. Staring at him, Orsines said, "I had heard that women once were rulers in Asia, but this is really something new - a eunuch exercising royal power!"
Hopefully, you can see from this how wrong you are. 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. The ancient evidence all makes Alexander's Bagoas a senior courtier and lover of the king. The mistake that you are making is to use speculation from modern writings and opinions as to Bagoas's unimportance as the basis for your stance. But it never had any basis in the actual evidence from the ancient sources in the first place, so your argument is circular: you are saying that Bagoas was unimportant because some modern opinion has considered that he was unimportant.

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Re: Bagoas in "Alexander's Lover" of Andrew Chugg

Post by Paralus »

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".
Last edited by Paralus on Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:08 am, edited 5 times in total.
Paralus
Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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