Andrew Chugg's sixth online video: The Death of Hephaistion - Click here to watch now >
Andrew Chugg's fifth online video: The Life of Hephaistion - Click here to watch now >

Andrew Chugg's fourth online video: Barsine -
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Andrew Chugg's third Alexander's Lovers video: Thalestris Amazon Queen - Click here to watch now >
Andrew Chugg's second Alexander's Lovers video: Bagoas - Click here to watch now >
Andrew Chugg's first Alexander's Lovers video: Alexander & Roxane - Click here to watch now >
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Fiona wrote about Alexander’s Lovers on the Pothos Forum ( on 1st February 2008

“I don't want to sound too effusive, but IMHO this is a wonderful book, and well worth the money. I would have paid twice the price just for the chapter on Hephaistion alone. There's a really great summary of Alexander's career, then a chapter on his personality, followed by separate chapters on Hephaistion, Barsine, Bagoas, Thalestris, Roxane, and Stateira and Parysatis.

It's closely argued from the ancient sources, many of which are quoted in full, and it's great to have all the relevant passages concerning each person all together in one place. It sheds light on these characters and brings each one alive. It's beautifully written, in a scholarly but accessible way, with lovely prose, wit, and human insight.

The illustrations are only black and white, but there are a lot of them, and they're not the ones you see in every book about Alexander, but many are original sketches, or reproductions of less famous works of art. I would wholeheartedly recommend it, especially to anyone who is interested in what we can learn about the characters in the story of Alexander.”

From Athenas Owl of Pothos Forum

I just got your book yesterday, Alexander's Lovers. Wanted to compliment you highly on it. I read the whole thing in one sitting and will reread it again later today. I realise that I have to get your other book now as well.

Fantastic writing, engaging but not dumbed down, well footnoted. And you are quite an artist. Aside form the actual subjects, you do a very nice job when you discuss the historicity of scholarship itself. I look forward to future books from you.

Oxbow Books News, Issue 69, Autumn 2006

“A fascinating read for anyone with an interest in Alexander.”

5 star reviews of Alexander’s Lovers from

Amazing book! I recommend it!, August 16, 2007

By Theseus "Theseus" (midwest USA) - See all my reviews

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 intriguing 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.

An excellent book, June 16, 2006


rjones2818 "Rex A. Jones" (Somewhere in Indiana, United States) - See all my reviews

This book 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 Hephaistion in a book, so it's worth the money strictly for his section.

All-in-all, an excellent addition to any Alexander collection.

Couldn't have been better, June 12, 2007


K. Gilligan "avid reader" (Haddon Heights, NJ)

Here's a little about the contents:

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 exist. 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. I agree with the other reviewer - this is perhaps the most written about Hephaistion anywhere.

Alexander and Hephaistion. Oops, and yes, Alexander and the others., July 8, 2007


Gianluca Bortini (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews

…This book may sound a bit out of context 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, including what (or what not) did water Philip the Second's mouth (Alexander's father)…

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… 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!!!!

Reviews from the comments on the announcement “Just Published: Alexander’s Lovers” (19/5/2006) on the Megalexandros site of the LiveJournal at

Wonderful book!
2006-06-17 09:40 pm UTC (link)

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.



2006-06-18 04:12 am UTC (link)

I too love the book! I have read the book once and the chapter on Hephaistion twice. Everything you write about Hephaistion rings true and is such a welcome change from how many historians (primarily men) characterize him (which I believe reveals their own biases). I also started to think that if Alexander did regard him as a "fully-empowered Prince Consort", and that too for a long while, it's quite natural that many of his other friends would have been madly jealous and hated Hephaistion. Perhaps in a way it was Alexander's immense devotion to him that also spelled doom for the way his achievements were "suppressed" to some extent later by people writing about those times. I am curious: in your personal opinion, were Alexander and Hephaistion exactly the same age, or could Hephaistion be younger? I ask because after reading the section on his likenesses, it struck me that all of them show a man with a relatively young face, younger than some of Alexander's statutes show him to be.

I love the chapter on Barsine and Herakles! It provides ample evidence for Herakles being Alexander's son and should put to rest theories that Herakles was an "imposter". Poor boy, not only did he have a tragic life, but in modern times has been thought to not even exist!

And lastly, the Bagoas chapter is great. This is how I envisioned Bagoas and it was lovely to find that I wasn't totally off. I confess I didn't care for "The Persian Boy" and found that Bagoas to be unbearable. Thanks for a much more realistic portrait of Bagoas as an important Courtier and not some lowly slave boy.


[info]Mr. A. G. Batt "AndyGB" (UK)
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have addition to the Alexander canon, 5 Jan 2010

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 Renault’s biography `The Nature of Alexander’, has the ruler’s personality been so expertly revealed; although in this book Chugg avoids some of the more romantic elements of Renault’s 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 author’s 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. Tarn expunges any suggestion of homosexuality from his biography, whilst others have failed to view his homosexual relationships with a knowledge of the sexual mores of his own time. It is perhaps easier now than ever to make a correct assessment of Alexander’s love life, as prejudice against homosexuality has lessened and authors cling less to a Christian moral viewpoint when writing about people’s sex lives; there is not the necessity to swing the emphasis one way or the other any longer. It’s too simplistic to view his sexuality in terms of gay or straight as those sorts of boundaries just didn’t exist in ancient Greece. That said, without doubt the single most important person in Alexander’s life was Hephaistion his lifelong friend and lover, and there is more about their relationship in this book, than in any other on Alexander thus published - for that chapter alone this book is worth buying. I was riveted by the amount of new information gleaned from the sources. Hephaistion has often been dismissed as ineffective and even stupid - only promoted through his personal connection to Alexander; how such an opinion could have taken hold is staggering given the wealth of evidence in the sources that is very much to the contrary. Here Hephaistion’s reputation as an able general and successful campaigner is restored to say nothing of his published (albeit now lost) correspondence with Aristotle. Those familiar with Mary Renault’s novel The Persian Boy will also relish the chapter on Bagoas as the status and position he came to occupy in terms of his position at court seems to be greater than Renault realized either in her novel or biography. The chapter on Roxane is also highly interesting; aside from his mother probably the most important woman in his life, and unlike the state marriages at Susa, Roxane seems to have genuinely captivated Alexander; although given the ruthless streak that emerged after his death, he was wise to never make her his Queen! I am less sure about the chapter on Barsine, but there is nothing in the book without interest.

Just as one can learn a lot about someone from looking at who they had relationships with, much can also be gleaned from what they read; Alexander was an avid reader, and something of a `philosopher king’. After reading this book, those fascinated by Alexander’s personality will want to explore further by reading the books Alexander loved; notably of course the Iliad, but also Xenophon's Anabasis (the Persian Expedition) and Cyropaedia (The Education of Cyrus) to say nothing of the tragedies of Euripides, a writer Alexander quoted again and again. Mary Renault’s biography went some way in stressing the importance of these books often neglected by other biographers, but Chugg manages to tie them down still further to incidents in Alexander’s life and behaviour. The soliloquy in Euripides’ Alcestis that Chugg quotes in relation to Hephaistion’s funeral rites couldn’t fail to bring a tear to the eye. In such details do people come alive and the past connects to the present.

A minor criticism would be the cover artwork which I found slightly off-putting; perhaps because I do some graphic design work I am used to things looking quite stylish - this book deserves to be much better presented, as the content deserves to reach as wide an audience as possible. Highly recommended.

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