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Alexander's Lovers Paperback – 29 Apr 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Lulu.com (29 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1411699602
  • ISBN-13: 978-1411699601
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,281,430 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
At first glance anyone interested in Alexander the great might dismiss this book as just another cash in on the Alexander legend presented with An irrelevant modern bias; that would be a mistake, as this is the most impressive and informative book on Alexander I have read in a long time. After so many books in recent years, attempting to re-access his life and legacy through an anachronistically modern moral viewpoint it is a delight to come across something that not only confirmed ideas I had often held, but also contained a great deal of information that I did not know. The book is written in an accessible style and would suit the casual reader as well as a serious historian.

Although the book does come with an excellent overview of Alexander's life and `career' before devoting chapters to his lovers real and imaginary, this is perhaps not a book for the beginner, but rather for someone who has read a more standard biography (the best full length biographical overview is probably that by Robin Lane Fox) and wishes to know more. Those more interested in Alexander the man rather than the military leader would do well to read this book. Not since Mary Renaults biography `The Nature of Alexander', has the rulers personality been so expertly revealed; although in this book Chugg avoids some of the more romantic elements of Renaults biography, and grounds any conclusions or suppositions in extensive references to the ancient sources so that the reader is left free to agree or disagree with the authors findings and ideas. I found myself convinced again and again by his assertions.

Alexander's love life has been controversial ever since he was alive; with many who have written his history through the ages suppressing what they find disreputable.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The title sounds promisingly fun, and so indeed is this riveting collection of biographies of the individuals with whom Alexander the Great had love affairs. But it is much more. As an exhaustive and scholarly study of these affairs, closely argued from apparently every surviving piece of ancient evidence, it is the best sourcebook there is on not only the individuals concerned, but on what love meant to Alexander, which is to say a great deal. Even the most serious students of the great one cannot fail to find interesting new food for thought here.

I was initially sceptical encountering a book with this title, knowing how often writers have represented Alexander's love life as they personally would like it to have been, mostly divided by opposing desires either to dismiss the strong evidence of his affairs with other males or to promote him as an idol for the modern gay cause. Admirably, Chugg does nothing of the sort. Alexander was romantically typical of ancient Greeks in enjoying passionate love with both women and boys without any sense of contradiction. This seems to be incomprehensible to many modernists who cannot imagine life without a fixed sexual orientation, but not to Chugg: he rightly does not even address the misguided question of Alexander's sexual preferences, but presents him as he surely saw himself, a unique individual untrammeled by such preconceptions.

I suspect Chugg has been much more influenced by Mary Renault's writings about Alexander than might be supposed from his two brief references to her. Besides sharing Renault's (and my) extremely high estimation of Alexander, he has picked up and expanded on many of her specific interpretations.
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Format: Paperback
Yes, I got all excited reading this book, not because of some spicy details about Alexander's intimate life, but the way Chugg consulted all the available ancient bits and pieces of lost chronicles besides the more complete works of Arrian, Plutarchus, Diodorus, Curtius, etc, and he also takes the viewpoints and critics of today's writers in consideration. He is a very analytical writer as I found out reading about his search for The Lost Tomb of Alexander the Great and he really can deliver his story.

He starts off with a concise biography of Alexander the Great and concludes with a short epilogue about the fate of his family.

The essence of the book covers all the people Alexander established a personal and private relation with: Hephaistion, Bagoas, Barsine, Roxane, Stateira and Parysatis, even the Queen of Amazons and Massaga. Chugg's deductions and conclusions are his own, of course, but they shed an entirely new light on the personalities of Hephaistion and Bagoas in particular. We will never know for sure how great a man Alexander's closest friend and probable lover Hephaistion was, but I am convinced there is more unsaid than told about his personal and professional achievements. As to Bagoas, very little is known about the role eunuchs played in antiquity for the only picture we have is that of harem stories during the Ottoman Empire and even those pictures have been erroneously interpreted.

I read this book from cover to cover, and relished on Chugg's detailed and thorough research of the available sources. It is absolutely worthwhile and a must for any fan of Alexander the Great!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8d7d0be8) out of 5 stars 8 reviews
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e243810) out of 5 stars Couldn't have been better 12 Jun. 2007
By K. Gilligan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Alexander's Lovers" by Andrew Chugg is a fascinating and helpful book about Alexander the Great and his lovers. What information is included in the book?

The first 60 pages or so are about Alexander's life and accomplishments, including sections on "The Pursuit of Darius", "The Brahmins and the Mallian Arrow" and "The Mutiny at Opis". Then there is a lengthy section on Hephaistion (pgs 64-130). The wealth of information here is astounding. Many different sources are quoted and credited for their input, allowing us to see where the similarities and differences are in their information. There are also various sketches of statues and copies of paintings (black and white). Compared to Hephaistion, the other sections in the book are quite small. But considering how important he was to Alexander, this makes sense.

After Hephaistion, pages 131-143 are on Barsine. Next is the section on Bagaos the eunuch. (pgs 144-154). Many histories have left out Bagoas entirely, preferring that he not existed. However there is undeniable evidence that he did exist, and again there is a wealth of information here on him. Bagoas is followed by the section on Thalestris (Queen of the Amazons) and Cleophis (Queen of Massaga) from pages 155-163.

One of the greatest mysteries about Alexander was why he married Roxane. Many argue that she was the only woman he ever loved. Roxane's section is 164-184, followed by Stateira and Parysatis (The Persian Princesses). Pages 185-197 deal with the Persian Princesses, including their backgrounds, and their political importance. A short epilogue follows this section, and includes the fates of Alexander's relatives- including his brothers/sisters/mother/ and children.

I quite enjoyed this book. As another review stated, this is perhaps the most written about Hephaistion anywhere, and it is very helpful to finally have it all in one place instead of constantly cross referencing. As Alexander once stated, "He too is Alexander." It is sad that there isn't more information on him, considering his importance to Alexander. It even seems that his successes were downplayed, although after reading this book you will see that he was a brilliant strategist and general. In closing, Alexander the Great is an important figure in history, and true scholars will want to pick up Chugg's story.

For more on Hephaistion and Bagoas (if you are at all interested in historical fiction), I'd recommend Mary Renault's Alexander the Great trilogy- Fire from Heaven, The Persian Boy (A personal favorite!), Funeral Games.
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e24909c) out of 5 stars Alexander and Hephaistion. Opps, and yes, Alexander and the others. 8 July 2007
By Gianluca Bortini - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
King Alexander III of Macedon is the first monarch to whom both Greece and the Persian Empire (the East, Asia), for one or another reason were forced to accept as undistinguished ruler. It did not last long. Alexander the unifier, the autocrat, the warrior, the hero, the intellectual, the "philosopher king", and Alexander, the human being, the lover, the man needing affection, warmth, closeness, and fondness did not live a long existence on earth.

This book may sound a bit out of contest when considering the Great Alexander. Scholarship has struggled trying to sketch Alexander's private life, his sexual preferences, the women, and men in his life, and more. I have read with interest this book. I do read a lot about Alexander - sometimes I come to believe there is not one book about Alexander I have not bought for my personal library. I also must admit that many are just debris, a petulant repetition of what has been said - (or hypothesized) in the millennia. Initially I believed this was going to be another of those books. I am most glad to say IT WAS NOT. This book is excellent. It is a very thorough essay about what has been written in the past about Alexander's love life. It acquires consistency by elaborating a credible and thorough panorama of customs, sexual practices, socially and culturally moral beliefs beginning with Archaic Greece, the Golden age of Athens, the classic age, and sexual practices available in the kingdom of Macedonia, included what (or what not) did water Philip the Second's mouth (Alexander's father).

I will never stop emphasizing how much of Alexander's persona can best be understood through an in-depth reading of the Iliad, the myth of Achilleus and Patroklos, and the subsequent literature that has been produced by some of the most eloquent writers in the history of drama and tragedy (Aeschylus, Euripides, etc.).

This book will not give definitive answers: However, the hypotheses are consistently supported by available reliable sources. Furthermore, they are presented, and elaborated in a very intelligible and sensible fashion. It is this consistent use of sources, fragments, artworks, as well as an accurate depiction of that Era that render justice to this excellent essay.

I recommend this book to anyone, but especially to those who more or less are familiar with Alexander's age, classical works, as well as archaic and classic philosophy. I personally believe that only two people have been most important in Alexander's affective development. The first one is the sorcerer, the Great Mother, the arcane Olympia, and the second one is Hephaistion, the mythical Patroklos, the only one who did generously offer continued sincerity, fondness, and love for his lifelong friend, Alexander, and not the great king Alexander the third.

Alexander is not the gay icon many would like him to be. Alexander is the dwarfish king (he was a short man) who, with enormous sacrifices brought the Greek poleis, the whole Persian Empire, and Asia at his feet.

Alexander's lovers, sexual partners, women and men (or eunuchs, if at all), were probably just a little slice of his overall vision. He was most interested in unifying the known world and in many ways an idealized society where all spoke the same language: yes, old Greek. Alexander's partner was elevated to the prestigious role of Chiliarch, someone that was second only to Alexander. Hephaistion was the only one that a great king such as Alexander, the true Achilleus, and Heracles, the son of the Gods, could trust always and forever.

Read the Iliad: When the ghost of Patroklos appeared to Achilleus asking him for help in the underworld. Patroklos longed the moment when finally he could rest along with Achilleus in the golden urn (or vase with two handles) that had been given to Achilleus by his mother Thetis. Hephaistion died in November 324 BCE -- Alexander died in June 323 B.C.E in Babylon, probably from malaria. Alexander was a natural survivor; one who had endured all kinds of wounds, warship, and sacrifices. I am skeptical about the hypothesis that Alexander's death is ascribed to excessive use of uncut wine. The wine was probably more kind of a self-medication. It made him forget about the ever-growing emptiness in his affective and emotional life. Who knows how many times Alexander waited for Hephaistion to appear in his dreams. It was time for him to rest in the metaphorical (and mythological) urn made out of gold mentioned by Patroklos. Alexander had already accomplished so much in his short but glorious life. It was time for him to join Hephaistion, in the same fashion as Achilleus did with Patroklos. Malaria would have not killed him had he the wish to live longer. Yes, I should not forget he already had made plans to invade Arabia, the northern coast of Africa, and finally Rome. Nevertheless, without Hephaistion, things would not have been the same anymore.

I must admit that mine is only a possible hypothesis that some authors have already postulated back in time. In fact, the eloquent author of this book offers lots of reliable alternative hypotheses to which I often agree. My suggestions: Well, buy this book at your convenience, and then find yourselves time to read it. Believe me: It is worth the risk!!!!

The Iliad of Homer, Translated by Lattimore 1961
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e2492dc) out of 5 stars An excellent book 16 Jun. 2006
By rjones2818 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This books delves into the personal side of the great king and looks at those who are thought to have been linked in a romantic way with him. The best sections are on Hephaistion and Bagoas. This may be the most written on Hephaition in a book, so it's worth the money strictly for his section.

All-in-all, an excellent addition to any Alexander collection.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e249480) out of 5 stars Amazing book! I recommend it! 16 Aug. 2007
By Theseus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is so different than any other Alexander books I have read because it focuses on something other than Alexander's conquests. This gives you a look at Alexander's private life and shows how passionate he was towards those he loved. The most intriquing part for me was the chapter dedicated to Alexander's one true love and life long companion, Hephaestion. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Alexander the Great. It's a different perspective and a very well written book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e249858) out of 5 stars Original and mostly excellent 2 May 2015
By Edmund Marlowe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The title sounds promisingly fun, and so indeed is this riveting collection of biographies of the individuals with whom Alexander the Great had love affairs. But it is much more. As an exhaustive and scholarly study of these affairs, closely argued from apparently every surviving piece of ancient evidence, it is the best sourcebook there is on not only the individuals concerned, but on what love meant to Alexander, which is to say a great deal. Even the most serious students of the great one cannot fail to find interesting new food for thought here.

I was initially sceptical encountering a book with this title, knowing how often writers have represented Alexander's love life as they personally would like it to have been, mostly divided by opposing desires either to dismiss the strong evidence of his affairs with other males or to promote him as an idol for the modern gay cause. Admirably, Chugg does nothing of the sort. Alexander was romantically typical of ancient Greeks in enjoying passionate love with both women and boys without any sense of contradiction. This seems to be incomprehensible to many modernists who cannot imagine life without a fixed sexual orientation, but not to Chugg: he rightly does not even address the misguided question of Alexander's sexual preferences, but presents him as he surely saw himself, a unique individual untrammeled by such preconceptions.

I suspect Chugg has been much more influenced by Mary Renault's writings about Alexander than might be supposed from his two brief references to her. Besides sharing Renault's (and my) extremely high estimation of Alexander, he has picked up and expanded on many of her specific interpretations. One moment when Renault did disappoint me though, as a fervent admirer, was in her abrupt and ill-considered dismissal of Herakles as a genuine bastard son of Alexander by Barsine. It was so uncharacteristically unreasonable that I'm afraid I suspect her of succumbing to homosexual bias: she portrayed his marriages convincingly, but the idea that Alexander was sufficiently enthusiastic about the opposite sex to maintain a mistress as well was apparently too much for her to stomach. Not so Chugg, who shows the evidence for Herakles's paternity to be irrefutable, as well as insisting on the genuineness of Alexander's love for individuals of both sexes.

My only serious criticism is his unjustified representation of Hephaistion, whom I do not think anyone disputes was the great love of Alexander's life, as sexually intimate with him until death, rather than until manhood. There is not the slightest evidence for this and it runs counter to every expectation arising from what is known of Greek homosexual love affairs: that they were between adolescent boys and either men or other boys, and, however intense and lifelong the love they generated, the sexual component dropped away as the boy became a man. In the case of Alexander and Hephaistion , critical evidence comes from the description of Hephaistion by Justin in his Epitome of Trogus (XII 12 xi). Chugg translates this as "a favourite of Alexander's, firstly because of his good looks and boyish charms, then for his absolute devotion to the King", which he makes the basis of a claim that the adult Hephaistion looked boyish. J. S. Watson translated it very differently as "a great favourite with Alexander, at first on account of his personal qualities in youth, and afterwards from his servility," which I say is far more accurate (though still a bit off in translating "pueritia" as youth rather than boyhood). Surely Justin's point was that the nature of their love changed? Moreover, in a fine analysis of Alexander's sexual apathy towards women as a teenager, Chugg shows convincingly that the most likely cause was his sexual involvement with Hephaistion. But how by this logic can he avoid concluding from the contrary enthusiasm the adult Alexander expressed for the charms of both women and boys that he was no longer thus distracted by Hephaistion? Finally, if the two were really sexually involved until death, and as open about it as Chugg claims, one of them would have been regarded as what the Greeks termed a "kinaidos" (invert), and it would be inconceivable that none of the several ancient writers who were hostile to Alexander would have said so. This issue matters very much because it leads Chugg to conclude that Alexander's love life was "exotic" by modern standards because it encompassed women and men. It did not. It encompassed in an unusually high-minded manner women and boys, something different and far more challenging for the modern imagination.

Amongst a few minor blemishes, it may be worth mentioning that Chugg is often repetitious, and that numerous fine paintings illustrating the story are cheaply rendered as little black and white images. I expect the latter was for understandable reasons of economy, since the book is self-published. What is harder to understand is why such an interesting and scholarly contribution to our understanding could not find a trade publisher.

Edmund Marlowe, author of Alexander's Choice, a modern story of love inspired by Alexander, amazon.com/dp/1481222112
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