Curtius 6,5,22–3, Darius III and the eunuch Bagoas

Michael Charles, Eva Anagnostou-Laoutides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

According to Curtius, the last Achaemenid ruler Darius III reportedly had a young eunuch lover named Bagoas. Upon Darius’ death, this boy was presented to Alexander the Great by Nabarzanes, who had betrayed his master. This article argues that Curtius’ attempt to connect Bagoas with Darius was likely the product of his sources’ efforts to assimilate Alexander’s character with that of the Achaemenid ‘tyrants’ whose rule he had supplanted. If Alexander was supposed to have loved a young eunuch favourite, who allegedly manipulated the king as he fell into the habits of oriental despotism, Curtius’ Darius III therefore remains a lens through which we are meant to understand the nature of his successor, Alexander.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-183
Number of pages18
JournalRheinisches Museum für Philologie
Volume161
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Curtius
  • Darius III
  • Bagoas
  • eunuchs

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