QUINTUS CURTIUS RUFUS
HISTORY OF ALEXANDER
BOOK I [Harvard Loeb edition, translated by J. C. Rolfe, vol. I]
[Alexander] scorned sensual pleasures to such an extent that his mother
was anxious lest he might be unable to beget offspring.
At the banquet which accompanied the wedding, Attalus, uncle of the
bride, after heavy drinking, said that the Macedonians ought to pray the
gods that from the new marriage Philip might rear a legitimate successor.
Alexander, enraged by the insult, threw his cup at Attalus's head, and
Attalus threw his cup at Alexander.
BOOK II [Harvard Loeb edition, translated by J. C. Rolfe, vol. I]
At that time, Darius was king of the Persians, raised to that eminence
shortly before the death of Philip by a eunuch named Bagoas, who after
destroying King Ochus and then his son Arses with their whole house, made
a gift of the rule which he could not claim for himself, imagining that
he would have lasting favour with one whom he had put under obligation
by so great a service.
Hephaestion crowned the tomb of Patroclus, signifying that he held the
same place in the friendship of Alexander that Patroclus did in that of
Achilles. In the course of much talk about Achilles, the king [Alexander]
said that the Greek hero seemed to be happy for two reasons: both because
in life he had a faithful friend and because in death he had a mighty herald.
Then there followed fifteen of what they called "armamaxas"; in them
were the children of the king and the females who educated them, and a
crowd of eunuchs, who are not at all contemptible to these peoples.
[Darius] learned that the use of expensive furniture and concubines and troops of eunuchs were nothing other than burdens and impediments.
And when the king saw a eunuch who had belonged to Darius heaving a
sigh, he asked the reason for his sadness. He stated that Darius used to
eat on that table, and that he could not, without tears, see his sacred
table suffering such ridicule. [Alexander had made the table into his footrest.]
And among these [gifts] was Bagoas, a eunuch exceptional in beauty and in the very flower of boyhood, with whom Darius was intimate and with whom Alexander would later be intimate...
Three hundred and sixty-five concubines, the same number that Darius had had, filled the royal palace, who were attended by crowds of eunuchs, themselves accustomed to being used like women.
[Euxenippus] was still very young and a favorite of the king because
of his youthful bloom, but although he equalled Hephaestion in the beauty
of his body, he did not match him in his charm, which was not at all virile.
BOOK X [Harvard Loeb edition, translated by J. C. Rolfe, vol. 2. My revisions of the translation in italics.]
From there they came to Parsagada; that is a Persian race, whose satrap was Orsines, prominent among all the barbarians for high birth and wealth. He traced his descent from Cyrus, formerly king of the Persians; he had wealth, both what he had inherited from his forefathers and what he himself had amassed during long possession of sovereignty. He met the king with gifts of every kind, intending to give presents not only to Alexander but to his friends as well. Troops of tamed horses followed him and chariots adorned with silver and gold, costly furniture and splendid gems, golden vases of great weight, purple vestments, and 3000 talents of coined silver. But this great generosity of the barbarian was the cause of his death. 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 the submission of his body [obsequio corporis], he paid no honour, 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 take males in marriage who had been feminized for the sake of being fucked [mares ducere qui stupro effeminarentur].
On hearing this, the eunuch exercised the power which he had gained by shame and disgrace against the life of an eminent and guiltless man. For he secretly supplied the most worthless fellows of that same nation with false accusations, warning them not to make them public until he himself should have given the word. Meanwhile, whenever no witnesses were present, he filled the credulous cars of the king with lies, concealing the reason for his anger, in order to add greater weight to his accusations. Orsines as yet was not suspected, but, nevertheless was already less esteemed; for he was secretly being incriminated without being aware of the hidden danger. And that most shameless harlot, not forgetting his deception even amid debauchery and the endurance of shame, whenever he had aroused the king's passion for himself, charged Orsines now with avarice, sometimes even with treason.
And now the calumnies were ripe for the ruin of a blameless man, and Fate was on hand, whose will is inescapable. For it chanced that Alexander ordered the tomb of Cyrus to be opened, in which his body had been laid it rest, and to which Alexander wished to pay funereal honours. He had believed it to be a storehouse filled with gold and silver - for that was common rumour among the Persians -, but except the king's mouldering shield, two Scythian bows, and a scimitar he found nothing. However, having placed a crown of gold upon the coffin in which the body lay, he covered it over with the robe which he himself was accustomed to wear, expressing surprise that a king of such renown and endowed with such power had been buried no more sumptuously than if he had been one of the common folk. The eunuch was at Alexander's side; looking significantly at him, he said: "What wonder if the tombs of kings are empty, when the houses of their satraps cannot contain the gold that they have amassed from them? For my part, I had never seen the tomb before, but I learned from Darius that 3000 talents of gold were buried with Cyrus. Hence that generosity to you, in order that what Orsines could not keep with safety, he might even curry favour by giving away."
He had already aroused the king's mind to anger, when those to whom
he had entrusted the same business arrived. On one side Bagoas, on the
other those whom he had suborned, filled the king's ears with false charges.
Before Orsines suspected that he was being accused he was delivered into
bondage. Not content with the punishment of an innocent man, the eunuch
laid his hand upon him as he was about to be executed. Orsines with a glance
at him said: "I had heard that women once reigned in Asia; this however
is something new, for a castratus [castratum] to reign!" Such was
the end of one of the noblest of the Persians, who was not only blameless
but of remarkable kindness towards the king. At the same time Phradates,
suspected of aspiring to royal power, was put to death. Alexander had begun
to be too hasty in inflicting prompt punishment, and also in believing
calumnies; so true is it that success is able to change one's nature, and
that rarely is anyone cautious enough towards his own good fortune. For
this same man shortly before had not been able to bring himself to punish
Lyncestes Alexander though he had been charged by two witnesses, had even
suffered humbler criminals to be acquitted against his desire because the
rest believed them innocent, and had restored their thrones to vanquished
enemies; but towards the end of his life he had so degenerated from his
true self, that though formerly of a mind proof against lust, at the caprice
of a catamite he gave kingdoms to some and took life from others.