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BAGOAS:

1. General of the Persian king Artaxerxes Ochus (359-338 B.C.); is called "Bagoses" by Josephus ("Ant." xi. 7, § 1). He interfered in the Jewish party struggles, and forced an entrance into the sanctuary. 2. Eunuch of Herod the Great. He was implicated in a conspiracy against the life of Herod, instigated by four women in the royal palace and supported by the Pharisees. The Pharisees predicted that Bagoas would be king of the Jews and that he would beget children in some wonderful manner. The conspiracy was discovered by Salome; and Herod, old and near his end, finding that his fears of assassination were not without foundation, had Bagoas executed (Josephus, "Ant." xvii. 2, § 4). According to the Mishnah (Yeb. viii. 4), a person born a eunuch had the power of healing; and through this the above-mentioned story finds confirmation. As a special instance, the Mishnah mentions a certain Ben Megusat, of Jerusalem, who was, however, made a eunuch. As classical authors (Ovid, "Amores," ii. 2, 1; Pliny, "Historia Naturalis," xiii. 4) use the word "bagoas" as the equivalent of "eunuch," it may perhaps be assumed that the "Megusat" of the Mishnah is a form of the same word.

Bibliography:
  • He-Ḥaluẓ, Schorr, viii. 113, x. 7;
  • A. Geiger, in Jüd. Zeit. viii. 171;
  • Krauss, Griechische und Lateinische Lehnwörter, i. 259;
  • see also Kohut, Fl. Josephus Jüdischer Krieg, p. 572, Linz, 1901, who refers to Isa. xvi. 3;
  • Nöldeke, Persische Studien in Sitzungsberichte der Wiener Akademie, cxxvi. 28;
  • and Justi, Iranisches Namenbuch, p. 58.
G. S. Kr.
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