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Fri, May. 19th, 2006, 11:18 pm
taphoi: Just Published: Alexander's Lovers

Just to let you know that my second book, Alexander’s Lovers, has just been published and is now available from various online bookstores, including Amazon.com and Amazon UK. I opened a website for my new book at www.alexanderslovers.com yesterday. There you will find much background information, including a sample chapter and a few (of many) illustrations from my book. There is also a competition, which I hope you will find an interesting challenge. I quote the Preface and the blurb below as an introduction to the subject matter:

Alexander’s Lovers is a factual, historical account of the various persons with whom Alexander is believed to have conducted romantic relationships. It incorporates much new research and tells a more complete version of their biographies than has previously been published. The issue of Alexander’s personality has been called the hardest problem in history. This new book takes up the challenge by investigating the King’s character through the mirror of the lives of his lovers. Foremost among these relationships was that with Hephaistion, the companion of Alexander’s youth, who later rose to become his deputy. Yet also of key importance were Roxane, the King’s fabulously beautiful Afghan queen, Barsine, his Persian mistress, and Bagoas, the eunuch who entered Alexander’s service near the shores of the Caspian Sea. There were others, including Pankaste, the Thessalian courtesan, Thalestris, Queen of the Amazons, Stateira and Parysatis, the Persian princesses and Cleophis, Queen of Massaga, but these liaisons were either essentially political in nature or merely mythical. Alexander’s Lovers is aimed at the large range of Alexander enthusiasts who have been frustrated to find his rather intriguing love life relegated to little more than embarrassed footnotes in the conventional histories of his career.

Did you know that Alexander got the idea of adopting Persian dress from a book he read in his youth? Had you realised that Alexander’s pursuit of divine honours was merely an aspect of his emulation of Achilles? Would you be interested to discover that Bagoas the Eunuch undertook a diplomatic mission in Bactria or that Hephaistion’s diplomacy kept Athens from joining the Spartan rebellion of King Agis? Are you aware that Aetion’s famous painting of Alexander’s marriage depicted Hephaistion and Bagoas as well as Roxane and that it was really a depiction of the King’s various passions? Had you heard that Alexander first met his mistress Barsine when they were both children in Macedon and that she was the great-granddaughter of a Great King? Can you name the girl betrothed to Alexander’s son? Would it surprise you to learn that Alexander’s mourning and funeral arrangements for Hephaistion were conducted according to precepts dictated by Homer and Euripides? If you are intrigued by any of these questions and would like to get to know Alexander on a more personal level than is feasible from the conventional histories, then you need to read Alexander’s Lovers.

Best wishes,

Andrew Chugg

Sat, Jun. 17th, 2006 09:40 pm (UTC)
selket56: Wonderful book!

I just finished my second read through of your book and am so impressed! It's a breath of fresh air to read a scholarly work on Alexander and in particular his relationship with Hephaistion that is based on intelligent research and conclusion that doesn't seem to allow personal bias to overrun the work.

Like the work Dr. Reames has presented on Hephaistion, you present the reader with the picture of a very complex, intelligent and vastly able individual - not a "dumb brute", as some historians would suggest. After finishing your chapter on Hephaistion, one can well understand why he would be (to quote from your book) "recognized as Alexander's fully empowered Prince-consort." I also like the way you presented in a very clear-cut no nonsense matter what most likely might have been the truth of their relationship. It is a wonderous thing to see that Hephaistion's character and role in Alexander's life and court finally being taken seriously.

I also enjoyed the rest of the book, particulary the chapter on Bagaos. As you did for Hephaistion in your previous chapter, you did for Bagoas. You presented the reader with a realistic portrayal of this indiviudal, not some fictional characterization. Granted I love "The Persian Boy", but your presentation Bagoas has more a ring of truth to it.

It's so wonderful for those of us who study Alexander and his legacy to finally see some light breaking through the clouds regarding both Hephaistion and Bagoas. If anything it gives one a greater and expanded, and more realistic image of Alexander, his court and world he lived in. Thank you.

Elizabeth

Sun, Jun. 18th, 2006 12:28 am (UTC)
taphoi: Re: Wonderful book!

Many thanks, Elizabeth, for your very kind words. I very much agree with your comments. It is preposterous to characterise Hephaistion as a dumb brute, when the historical record shows he was corresponding regularly with Aristotle and Xenocrates and liaising with Demosthenes. I too enjoyed The Persian Boy. In many ways Mary Renault is to be congratulated on having instinctively recognised that Bagoas was an important figure (in the face of much scepticism from both modern historians and Roman writers). However, it is clear that she didn't really go far enough down this road, because the historical references make it quite clear that the real Bagoas was one of the most senior and influential members of Alexander's retinue as well as being his eromenos. He clearly ranked alongside the leading Macedonians and was probably a member of Alexander's official circle of Friends.

Very best wishes,

Andrew