Now, about this Bagoas guy

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gregory

Now, about this Bagoas guy

Post by gregory »

Hello, all - First off, I'm a little frightened to admit that my readings on Alexander have been confined to Plutarch and Mary Renault - Renault seems to elicit much eye-rolling from scholarly folks. She was, after all, in the business of selling novels - not writing histories.However, I have a couple of questions: Jeanne Reames-Zimmerman states, "Despite Mary Renault's romanticized, fictional portrayal of Bagoas in The Persian Boy . .(etc.)" and also "In general, the model for homoerotic attachments in antiquity was that of elder erastes (lover, pursuer, and active participant) and younger eromenos (beloved, pursued and passive participant)."Renault states in her notes for "The Persian Boy" that, "Bagoas is the only person explicitly named in the sources as Alexander's eromenos."Well, was he or wasn't he? If he is listed as "eromenos," how can he be completely disregarded?I understand that Renault's "Persian Boy" hinges on such things as her finding significance in Bagoas' presence in the chronicle after the Gedrosian march, and the anecdote of the kiss in the theatre - events for which arguments can be made for no special significance whatsoever. And I'm sure performing a "Renault-ectomy" on my brain is going to be somewhat painful - I don't find her conclusions unbelievable just because they also happen to have romantic appeal.But I would like some help in trying to determine what is true.Anyone????
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Re: Now, about this Bagoas guy

Post by susan »

Alexander's relations with Bagoas are referred to in Athenaeus :http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/pwh/athenaeus13.htmland also in Curtius, which is fairly explicit, and also hostile to Bagoas. The silence of other sources is probably more to do with Bagoas being Persian and a eunuch, than being male.
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Re: Now, about this Bagoas guy

Post by Linda »

i think what Jeanne means is that although Bagoas is identified as Alexander's lover, Alexander's relationship with him was not as deep as that with Hephaestion. I don't think we will ever know the sexual politics of those relationships. Alexander also had sexual relationships with his mistress and wife (and his second and third wives). It is easy to be seduced by the story and emotions in The Persian Boy, but Renault herself in The Nature of Alexander says that Hephaestion and Alexander were lovers until Hephaestion's death, and given Alexander's reaction to his death, that would seem to be true.I am slightly skeptical of the strict "older/younger man" model - I think it must have been more fluid than sometimes postulated - the book Courtesans and Fishcakes makes this point too, in a more scholarly way. But all relationships, hetero and homosexual, have some element of "kisser and kissed". But sexual conventions in those times were different to ours - particularly when polygamy and arranged marriages existed. Alexander may have found his soul mate in Hephaestion, the other half of his own soul described by Plato, but he evidently was extremely fond of Bagoas and had a relationship with him. Bagoas was not portrayed as a threat to Hepahestion, maybe as he was an entertainer (dancer) and not a soldier or politician. I loved the Persian Boy, and I think it is based on truth, but exaggerated for effect. No-one nowadays would try to disprove Bagoas - unless for "moral" reasons. He is mentioned by both Curtius and Arrian, as well as the link Susan mentioned.Linda
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Re: Now, about this Bagoas guy

Post by marcus »

Hi Linda,At the risk of being over-pedantic (well, it's Friday, and I've had a bad week) I don't think there's any 'proof' that Alexander had sexual relations with his third wife. He clearly did with Barsine, and with Roxane, and with Stateira (if she was, indeed, pregnant when she was killed)... but there's no mention that Parysatis was showing any evidence of that sort of intimacy...OK, I'm being silly - I think it very unlikely that he *didn't* indulge in any slap and tickle with Parysatis...All the bestMarcus
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Re: Now, about this Bagoas guy

Post by jan »

Marcus, Amazing. Which historian is it that has included any references to sexuality whether with wives or others? Are you wishful thinking?Jan
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Re: Now, about this Bagoas guy

Post by jan »

I suppose you are angry with me for not reading Zimmerman's commentary on sexuality. I just found it. Like the author of this thread, I am not as well versed in the study of Alexander as all the phD's. I appreciate all the work that so many have accomplished, and am certain that we who are novices either annoy or stimulate your interest. I am never sure which may be the case.But for those who have not yet read the article, Ms. Zimmerman makes the case about Bogoas.Sexuality of Alexander is not my chief interest in him. The excessive interest in politician's sexuality is unwarranted. It shows lack of maturity regarding the real cause for fame. That alone makes me cry when I read about the movie starring Leonardo. All we will get is purient interest.But for those of you whose libido needs stimulation, I am sure that Hollywood will prostitute Alexander for all who want that side to be known.It always struck me that a caravan of women followed Alexander whereever he went. Sometimes, I wonder just how far those women did go.
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Re: Now, about this Bagoas guy

Post by Linda »

JanWhere did you read about the caravan of women who followed Alexander around? Aren't you some kind of reincarnation of him? Maybe you will dream the answer to what kind of relations he had. Only joking. :)Marcus - I would have thought that Alexander would have had a sexual relationship with his second and third wives, to consummate the marriage. In most cultures that is the case, but I don't actually *know*. I put them in brackets because they were not as relevant as emotional attachments as the others.Linda
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Re: Now, about this Bagoas guy

Post by jan »

Hi Linda,Thanks for that. I needed a good laugh too.You know that I am wondering at how it is that I have enjoyed the satisfaction of seeing both Alexander and Hephaestion. I am very confident now after all that my image of Hephaestion is quite apt. :-) Between Manfredi and O'Brien, I was reminded of when I was teaching in Azusa, and how my words and those of others around me seem to echo in their works. That made me raise my eyebrows.I believe that I have found an aspect of my own true self in Alexander, yes. I have been studying Alexander for this purpose, to understand the mission and purpose of soul and soul's own understanding.I always said that I would not claim him unless I could see through his eyes and be in his skin.Once is enough I guess. I realize that the importance of Issus is that he was still in his Greek and Macedonian influence. A woman today who had the same kind of experience as Alexander was Grace Kelly. She left America and became very European. I suppose in her position she could have found something to commiserate with Alexander and his adoption of Persian style.Don't worry...I take Alexander lightly, but I did dream of him again today and thought uh, oh...I'm probably drowning in the past. I actually began to think we look alike in some ways. Muscles?
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Re: Now, about this Bagoas guy

Post by marcus »

Hi Linda,Of course, I am completely sure that Alexander *did* have a sexual relationship with Parysatis. I was just making a slightly flippant comment to the effect that, as Parysatis didn't become pregnant, as far as we know, there is no written testament to the fact that Alexander slept with her.All the bestMarcus
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Re: Now, about this Bagoas guy

Post by marcus »

Well, Jan, the fact that Barsine, Roxane and Stateria each became pregnant with Alexander's child gives a pretty clear indication that he had some sort of relationship with them. As Linda says in another post, consummation of a marriage was important, as it is today - and, in fact, it would have been remarked upon had he *not* had a physical relationship with any of his wives. (My comment about Parysatis was facetious, by the way.)Curtius explicitly states that Alexander had a relationship with Bagoas; and the fact that he is not mentioned in Arrian should not be used as 'proof' that it didn't happen - the general disregard for anything Curtius says that isn't reflected in Arrian is a hangover from Tarn's day.All the bestMarcus
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Re: Now, about this Bagoas guy

Post by aen »

Linda,Indeed it's possible that relations between kisser and kissed were more fluid than the rigorous models of conduct put forward conventionally. Sexual mores were doubtless as diverse then as they are now - refer to Courtesans and Fishcakes, and note the sheer variety of courtesan modes.However, our best extant source on this is Plato - see his 'Symposium'. He's emphatic on the issue of stigma being attached to either or both participants if the usual codes are flouted, abused or ignored.Bestest, Aengus.
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Re: Now, about this Bagoas guy

Post by jan »

Marcus, I am finally reading Persian Boy. But I began this message with the thought that I hope that history excludes Monica Lewinsky totally from the Clinton years. I belileve the Republicans to be short of good sense to include not only Paula Jones but Monica Lewinsky into presidential history.Utterly ridiculous!I hope to probe the problem of Bagoas after I finish reading the book. There is a line in his book that troubles me as it sounds like something I heard years ago here in Phoenix. King Darius is no Ray Forbes but he sure is quoted as sounding like him.That alone makes me sit up and take notice! What? Could it be that Mary Renault had her spies listening in on me then? It has taken me this long to find this line in one of her novels. I am really thinking about all of this as it was through Ray that I met up with George Stevens, producer of Giant. Who would have believed that I would have to come to a study of Alexander to get a refresher course into my own past.I was once told that I was under observation all the time, but this line is just one more tip of that particular iceberg. I can hardly believe it.
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Re: Now, about this Bagoas guy

Post by Linda »

hi AengusSymposium is such a subtle book - I was going to re-read it,a nd explore what you have said, but I haven't had the time. But I will.CheersLinda
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