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'Bagoas pleads on behalf of Nabarzanes', by Master of the Jardin de vertueuse consolation and assistant (Flemish, active 3rd quarter of 15th century). (1450 - 1475)

Bagoas (Old Persian: 𐎲𐎦𐎡 Bagoi, Ancient Greek: Βαγώας Bagōas) was the name of two eunuchs in the court of the Persian Empire in the 4th century BC. Bagoas the Elder was a courtier of Darius[1] and later of Alexander the Great.[2]


Bagoas' kissEdit

According to Plutarch,[3] Bagoas won a dancing contest after the Macedonian crossing of the Gedrosian Desert. The Macedonian troops, with whom Bagoas was very popular, demanded that king Alexander should kiss Bagoas, and he did so.

Fictionalized versionsEdit

  • Bagoas is the narrator and title character of The Persian Boy, the historical novel by Mary Renault, which portrays him sympathetically. He reappears in a smaller but still significant role in the sequel Funeral Games.
  • He makes an even briefer appearance in Les Conquêtes d'Alexandre by Roger Peyrefitte. Peyrefitte, unlike Mary Renault, has Bagoas riding to battle by the side of Darius.
  • He is also a major character in Jo Graham's novel Stealing Fire, part of her Numinous World series. Graham's Bagoas is basically the same as Mary Renault's, except that he is more willing to find a new lover after the death of Alexander the Great.
  • He is played by Francisco Bosch in the Oliver Stone film Alexander (2004), which is based in part on Renault's writings.


  1. ^ . Bagoas the Younger was another eunach with whom Darius was intimate and with whom Alexander would later be intimate... "Quintus Curtius Rufus"(Book 6.5.23)
  2. ^ For when he had honoured all the friends of the king with gifts beyond their highest hopes, to Bagoas, a eunuch who had won the regard of Alexander through prostitution, he paid no honor, and on being admonished by some that Bagoas was dear to Alexander, replied that he was honouring the friends of the king, not his harlots, and that it was not the custom of the Persians to mate with males who made females of themselves by prostitution. "Quintus Curtius Rufus"(Book 10.1.25-27)
  3. ^ Alexander, 67


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