1. An eunuch, highly trusted and favoured by Artaxerxes III. (Ochus), is said to have been by birth all Egyptian, and seems to have fully merited the character assigned him by Diodorus, of a bold, bad man (τόλμη καὶ παρανομία διαφέρων
In the successful expedition of Ochus against Egypt, B. C. 350, 1
Bagoas was associated by the king with Mentor, the Rhodian, in the command of a third part of the Greek mercenaries. (Diod. 16.47
.) Being sent to take possession of Pelusium, which had surrendered to the Theban Lacrates, he incurred the censure of Ochus by permitting his soldiers to plunder the Greek garrison of the town, in defiance of the terms of capitulation. (Diod. 16.49
In the same war, the Egyptian part of the garrison at Bubastus having made terms with Bagoas for themselves, and admitted him within the gates, the Greek garrison, privately instigated by his colleague Mentor, attacked and slaughtered his men and took him prisoner. Mentor accordingly had the credit of releasing him and receiving the submission of Bubastus; and henceforth an alliance was formed between them for their mutual interest, which was ever strictly preserved, and conduced to the power of both,-- Mentor enjoying the satrapy of the western provinces, while Bagoas directed affairs at his pleasure in the centre of the empire,--and the king was reduced to a cipher. (Diod. 16.50
The cruelties of Ochus having excited general detestation, Bagoas at length removed him by poison, B. C. 338, fearing perhaps lest the effects of the odium in which he was held might extend to himself, and certainly not from the motive absurdly assigned by Aelian, viz. the desire of avenging the insult offered by Ochus, so many years before, to the religion of Egypt. To the murder of the king he joined that of all his sons except Arses, the youngest, whom he placed upon the throne; but, seeing reason to apprehend danger from him, he put him also to death in the third year of his reign, B. C. 336.
He next conferred the crown on Codomannus (a greatgrandson of Dareius II.), who having discovered, soon after his accession, a plot of Bagoas to poison him, obliged the traitor to drink the potion himself. (Diod. 17.5
; Ael. VH 6.8
; Strab. xv. p.736
; Arr. Anab.
ii. p. 41e.; Curt. 6.3.12