Pope Alexander VI

Pope Alexander VI

Overview
Pope Alexander VI born Roderic Llançol i Borja was Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 from 1492 until his death on 18 August 1503. He is one of the most controversial of the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 popes, and his Italianized
Italianization
Italianization or Italianisation is a term used to describe a process of cultural assimilation in which ethnically non or partially Italian people or territory become Italian. The process can be voluntary or forced...

 surname—Borgia
Borgia
The Borgias, also known as the Borjas, Borjia, were a European Papal family of Italian and Spanish origin with the name stemming from the familial fief seat of Borja belonging to their Aragonese Lords; they became prominent during the Renaissance. The Borgias were patrons of the arts, and their...

—became a byword for the debased standards of the Papacy of that era, most notoriously the Banquet of Chestnuts
Banquet of Chestnuts
The Banquet of Chestnuts, known more properly as the Ballet of Chestnuts, refers to a fête in Rome, and particularly to a supper held in the Papal Palace by Don Cesare Borgia, son of Pope Alexander VI on October 30, 1501...

 in 1501.

Rodrigo Llançol was born on 1 January 1431 in the town of Xàtiva
Xàtiva
Xàtiva is a town in eastern Spain, in the province of Valencia, on the right bank of the river Albaida and at the junction of the Valencia–Murcia and Valencia Albacete railways....

 in the Kingdom of Valencia
Kingdom of Valencia
The Kingdom of Valencia , located in the eastern shore of the Iberian Peninsula, was one of the component realms of the Crown of Aragon. When the Crown of Aragon merged by dynastic union with the Crown of Castile to form the Kingdom of Spain, the Kingdom of Valencia became a component realm of the...

—one of the component realms of the Crown of Aragon
Crown of Aragon
The Crown of Aragon Corona d'Aragón Corona d'Aragó Corona Aragonum controlling a large portion of the present-day eastern Spain and southeastern France, as well as some of the major islands and mainland possessions stretching across the Mediterranean as far as Greece...

—in present day Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

.
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Pope Alexander VI born Roderic Llançol i Borja was Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 from 1492 until his death on 18 August 1503. He is one of the most controversial of the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 popes, and his Italianized
Italianization
Italianization or Italianisation is a term used to describe a process of cultural assimilation in which ethnically non or partially Italian people or territory become Italian. The process can be voluntary or forced...

 surname—Borgia
Borgia
The Borgias, also known as the Borjas, Borjia, were a European Papal family of Italian and Spanish origin with the name stemming from the familial fief seat of Borja belonging to their Aragonese Lords; they became prominent during the Renaissance. The Borgias were patrons of the arts, and their...

—became a byword for the debased standards of the Papacy of that era, most notoriously the Banquet of Chestnuts
Banquet of Chestnuts
The Banquet of Chestnuts, known more properly as the Ballet of Chestnuts, refers to a fête in Rome, and particularly to a supper held in the Papal Palace by Don Cesare Borgia, son of Pope Alexander VI on October 30, 1501...

 in 1501.

Birth and family


Rodrigo Llançol was born on 1 January 1431 in the town of Xàtiva
Xàtiva
Xàtiva is a town in eastern Spain, in the province of Valencia, on the right bank of the river Albaida and at the junction of the Valencia–Murcia and Valencia Albacete railways....

 in the Kingdom of Valencia
Kingdom of Valencia
The Kingdom of Valencia , located in the eastern shore of the Iberian Peninsula, was one of the component realms of the Crown of Aragon. When the Crown of Aragon merged by dynastic union with the Crown of Castile to form the Kingdom of Spain, the Kingdom of Valencia became a component realm of the...

—one of the component realms of the Crown of Aragon
Crown of Aragon
The Crown of Aragon Corona d'Aragón Corona d'Aragó Corona Aragonum controlling a large portion of the present-day eastern Spain and southeastern France, as well as some of the major islands and mainland possessions stretching across the Mediterranean as far as Greece...

—in present day Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

. His parents were the Valencian Jofré Llançol i Escrivá (died bef. 24 March 1437) and his wife and relative the Aragonese Isabel de Borja (died 19 October 1468). His family name is written Llançol in Valencian and Lanzol in Spanish. Rodrigo adopted his mother's family name of Borja
Borgia
The Borgias, also known as the Borjas, Borjia, were a European Papal family of Italian and Spanish origin with the name stemming from the familial fief seat of Borja belonging to their Aragonese Lords; they became prominent during the Renaissance. The Borgias were patrons of the arts, and their...

 in 1455 following the elevation to the papacy of his maternal uncle Alonso de Borja as Calixtus III.

Education and election


Rodrigo Borgia studied law at Bologna
University of Bologna
The Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna is the oldest continually operating university in the world, the word 'universitas' being first used by this institution at its foundation. The true date of its founding is uncertain, but believed by most accounts to have been 1088...

 and, after the election of his uncle as Pope Calixtus III, was ordained deacon
Deacon
Deacon is a ministry in the Christian Church that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions...

 and created Cardinal-Deacon
Lay cardinal
In the Roman Catholic Church, a "lay cardinal" was a cardinal who had never been given major orders, i.e. who had never been ordained a deacon, priest, or bishop....

 of San Nicola in Carcere
San Nicola in Carcere
San Nicola in Carcere is a titular church in Rome near the Forum Boarium in rione Ripa. It is one of the traditional stational churches of Lent.-History:...

at the age of twenty-five in 1456, and the following year he was appointed vice-chancellor
Apostolic Chancery
The Chancery of Apostolic Briefs , is a former office of the Roman Curia, merged into the Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs by Pope Pius X on June 29, 1908 with the apostolic constitution Sapienti Consilio...

 of the Holy Roman Church, nepotistic
Nepotism
Nepotism is favoritism granted to relatives regardless of merit. The word nepotism is from the Latin word nepos, nepotis , from which modern Romanian nepot and Italian nipote, "nephew" or "grandchild" are also descended....

 appointments characteristic of the age; in 1468 he was ordained to the priesthood
Priesthood (Catholic Church)
The ministerial orders of the Catholic Church include the orders of bishops, deacons and presbyters, which in Latin is sacerdos. The ordained priesthood and common priesthood are different in function and essence....

 and in 1471 he was consecrated bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

 and appointed Cardinal-Bishop of Albano. Having served in the Roman Curia
Roman Curia
The Roman Curia is the administrative apparatus of the Holy See and the central governing body of the entire Catholic Church, together with the Pope...

 under five popes—Pius II, Paul II
Pope Paul II
Pope Paul II , born Pietro Barbo, was pope from 1464 until his death in 1471.- Early life :He was born in Venice, and was a nephew of Pope Eugene IV , through his mother. His adoption of the spiritual career, after having been trained as a merchant, was prompted by his uncle's election as pope...

, Sixtus IV and Innocent VIII—Rodrigo Borgia acquired considerable administrative experience, influence and wealth.

On the death of Pope Innocent VIII
Pope Innocent VIII
Pope Innocent VIII , born Giovanni Battista Cybo , was Pope from 1484 until his death.-Early years:Giovanni Battista Cybo was born at Genoa of Greek extraction...

 on 25 July 1492, the three likely candidates for the Papacy were cardinals Borgia, Ascanio Sforza
Ascanio Sforza
Ascanio Maria Sforza Visconti was an Italian Cardinal of the Catholic Church, generally known as a skilled diplomat who played a major role in the election of Rodrigo Borgia as Pope Alexander VI.-Early years:...

 and Giuliano della Rovere
Pope Julius II
Pope Julius II , nicknamed "The Fearsome Pope" and "The Warrior Pope" , born Giuliano della Rovere, was Pope from 1503 to 1513...

. It was rumoured but not substantiated that Borgia succeeded in buying the largest number of votes and Sforza, in particular, was bribed with four mule-loads of silver. The benefices and offices granted Sforza, moreover, would be worth considerably more than four mule-loads of silver. John Burchard
Johann Burchard
Johann Burchard, also spelled Johannes Burchart was an Alsatian-born priest and chronicler during the Italian Renaissance....

, the conclave's master of ceremonies and a leading figure of the papal household under several popes, recorded in his diary that the 1492 conclave
Papal conclave, 1492
The papal conclave of 1492 convened after the death of Pope Innocent VIII , elected unanimously on the fourth ballot Cardinal Rodrigo Borja as Pope Alexander VI...

 was a particularly expensive campaign. Della Rovere was bankrolled to the cost of 200,000 gold ducat
Ducat
The ducat is a gold coin that was used as a trade coin throughout Europe before World War I. Its weight is 3.4909 grams of .986 gold, which is 0.1107 troy ounce, actual gold weight...

s by King Charles VIII of France
Charles VIII of France
Charles VIII, called the Affable, , was King of France from 1483 to his death in 1498. Charles was a member of the House of Valois...

, with another 100,000 supplied by the Republic of Genoa
Republic of Genoa
The Most Serene Republic of Genoa |Ligurian]]: Repúbrica de Zêna) was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in Liguria on the northwestern Italian coast, as well as Corsica from 1347 to 1768, and numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean....

. Borgia was elected on 11 August 1492, assuming the name of Alexander VI (due to confusion about the status of Pope Alexander V elected by the Council of Pisa). Giovanni di Lorenzo de' Medici (later Pope Leo X
Pope Leo X
Pope Leo X , born Giovanni di Lorenzo de' Medici, was the Pope from 1513 to his death in 1521. He was the last non-priest to be elected Pope. He is known for granting indulgences for those who donated to reconstruct St. Peter's Basilica and his challenging of Martin Luther's 95 Theses...

) sharply criticized the election and issued a warning:
In contrast to the preceding pontificate, Pope Alexander VI adhered initially to strict administration of justice and orderly government. Before long, however, he began endowing his relatives at the church's and his neighbours' expense. Cesare Borgia his nephew, while a youth of seventeen and a student at Pisa
Pisa
Pisa is a city in Tuscany, Central Italy, on the right bank of the mouth of the River Arno on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa...

, was made Archbishop
Archbishop
An archbishop is a bishop of higher rank, but not of higher sacramental order above that of the three orders of deacon, priest , and bishop...

 of Valencia
Valencia (province)
Valencia or València is a province of Spain, in the central part of the Valencian Community.It is bordered by the provinces of Alicante, Albacete, Cuenca, Teruel, Castellón, and the Mediterranean Sea...

, and Giovanni Borgia inherited the Spanish Dukedom of Gandia
Gandia
Gandia is a city and municipality in the Valencian Community, Eastern Spain on the Mediterranean. Gandia is located on the Costa del Azahar, 65 km south of Valencia and 96 km north of Alicante....

, the Borgias' ancestral home in Spain. For the Duke of Gandia and for Goffredo the Pope proposed to carve fiefs out of the papal states
Papal States
The Papal State, State of the Church, or Pontifical States were among the major historical states of Italy from roughly the 6th century until the Italian peninsula was unified in 1861 by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia .The Papal States comprised territories under...

 and the Kingdom of Naples
Kingdom of Naples
The Kingdom of Naples, comprising the southern part of the Italian peninsula, was the remainder of the old Kingdom of Sicily after secession of the island of Sicily as a result of the Sicilian Vespers rebellion of 1282. Known to contemporaries as the Kingdom of Sicily, it is dubbed Kingdom of...

. Among the fiefs destined for the duke of Gandia were Cerveteri
Cerveteri
Cerveteri is a town and comune of the northern Lazio, in the province of Rome. Originally known as Caere , it is famous for a number of Etruscan necropolis that include some of the best Etruscan tombs anywhere....

 and Anguillara
Anguillara
Anguillara were a baronal family of Latium, especially powerful in Rome and in the current province of Viterbo during the Middle Ages and the early Renaissance....

, lately acquired by Virginio Orsini
Virginio Orsini
Gentile Virginio Orsini was an Italian condottiero and vassal of the papal throne and the Kingdom of Naples, mainly remembered as the powerful head of the Orsini family during its feud with Pope Alexander VI...

, head of that powerful house. This policy brought Ferdinand I, King of Naples
Ferdinand I of Naples
Ferdinand I , also called Don Ferrante, was the King of Naples from 1458 to 1494. He was the natural son of Alfonso V of Aragon by Giraldona Carlino.-Biography:...

, into conflict with Pope Alexander VI, who was also opposed by Cardinal della Rovere, whose candidature for the papacy had been backed by Ferdinand. Della Rovere fortified himself in his bishopric of Ostia
Bishop of Ostia
The Bishop of Ostia is the head of the Suburbicarian Diocese of Ostia, one of the seven suburbicarian sees of Rome. The position is now attached to the post of Dean of the College of Cardinals, as it has been since 1150, with the actual governance of the diocese entrusted to the Vicar General of...

 at the Tiber
Tiber
The Tiber is the third-longest river in Italy, rising in the Apennine Mountains in Emilia-Romagna and flowing through Umbria and Lazio to the Tyrrhenian Sea. It drains a basin estimated at...

's mouth as Pope Alexander VI formed a league against Naples (25 April 1493) and prepared for war.
Ferdinand allied himself with Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

, Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

, and Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

. He also appealed to Spain for help; but Spain was eager to be on good terms with the papacy to obtain the title to the recently discovered New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

. Pope Alexander VI, in the bull Inter Caetera
Inter caetera
Inter caetera was a papal bull issued by Pope Alexander VI on , which granted to Spain all lands to the "west and south" of a pole-to-pole line 100 leagues west and south of any of the islands of the Azores or the Cape Verde Islands.It remains unclear to the present whether the pope was issuing a...

, 4 May 1493, divided the title between Spain and Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 along a demarcation line. (This and other related bulls are known collectively as the Bulls of Donation.)

In spite of the splendors of the Pontifical court, the condition of Rome became every day more deplorable. The city swarmed with adventurers, assassins, prostitutes and informers; murder and robbery were committed with impunity, and the Pope himself cast aside all show of decorum; indulging in the chase, and arranging dancing, and stage plays. One of his close companions was Cem
Cem
Prince Cem , December 22, 1459 – February 25, 1495) was a pretender to the Ottoman throne in the 15th century. He was a son of Mehmed II the Conqueror and younger brother of Sultan Bayezid II. He was banished to Europe, first under the protection of the Knights Hospitaller of St...

, the brother of the Sultan
Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

 Bayazid II (1481–1512), detained as a hostage. The general outlook in Italy was of the gloomiest and the country was on the eve of foreign invasion.

French involvement


Pope Alexander VI made many alliances to secure his position. He sought help from Charles VIII of France
Charles VIII of France
Charles VIII, called the Affable, , was King of France from 1483 to his death in 1498. Charles was a member of the House of Valois...

 (1483–1498), who was allied to Ludovico "Il Moro" [The Moor, so called because of his swarthy complexion] Sforza, the de facto Duke of Milan who needed French support to legitimize his rule. As King Ferdinand I of Naples was threatening to come to the aid of the rightful duke Gian Galeazzo—the husband of his granddaughter Isabella—Alexander VI encouraged the French king in his plan for the conquest of Naples.

But Pope Alexander VI, always ready to seize opportunities to aggrandize his family, then adopted a double policy. Through the intervention of the Spanish ambassador he made peace with Naples in July 1493 and cemented the peace by a marriage between his son Gioffre and Doña Sancha, another granddaughter of Ferdinand I. In order to dominate the Sacred College of Cardinals
College of Cardinals
The College of Cardinals is the body of all cardinals of the Catholic Church.A function of the college is to advise the pope about church matters when he summons them to an ordinary consistory. It also convenes on the death or abdication of a pope as a papal conclave to elect a successor...

 more completely, Alexander, in a move that created much scandal, created 12 new cardinals. Among the new cardinals was his own son Cesare, then only 18 years old. Alessandro Farnese
Pope Paul III
Pope Paul III , born Alessandro Farnese, was Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from 1534 to his death in 1549. He came to the papal throne in an era following the sack of Rome in 1527 and rife with uncertainties in the Catholic Church following the Protestant Reformation...

 (later Pope Paul III)—the brother of one of the Pope's mistresses, the beautiful Giulia Farnese
Giulia Farnese
Giulia Farnese was mistress to Pope Alexander VI. She was known as Giulia la bella, meaning "Julia the beautiful", in Italian. Lorenzo Pucci described her as "most lovely to behold"...

—was also among the newly created cardinals.

On 25 January 1494 Ferdinand I died and was succeeded by his son Alfonso II
Alfonso II of Naples
Alfonso II of Naples , also called Alfonso II d'Aragon, was King of Naples from 25 January 1494 to 22 February 1495 with the title King of Naples and Jerusalem...

 (1494–1495). Charles VIII of France
Charles VIII of France
Charles VIII, called the Affable, , was King of France from 1483 to his death in 1498. Charles was a member of the House of Valois...

 now advanced formal claims on the kingdom of Naples; Pope Alexander VI authorized him to pass through Rome, ostensibly on a crusade against the Turks
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, without mentioning Naples. But when the French invasion became a reality Pope Alexander VI became alarmed, recognized Alfonso II as king of Naples, and concluded an alliance with him in exchange for various fiefs for his sons (July 1494). A military response to the French threat was set in motion: a Neapolitan army was to advance through the Romagna
Romagna
Romagna is an Italian historical region that approximately corresponds to the south-eastern portion of present-day Emilia-Romagna. Traditionally, it is limited by the Apennines to the south-west, the Adriatic to the east, and the rivers Reno and Sillaro to the north and west...

 and attack Milan, while the fleet was to seize Genoa
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

. However, both expeditions were badly conducted and failed, and on 8 September Charles VIII crossed the Alps
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

 and joined Lodovico il Moro at Milan. The papal states were in turmoil, and the powerful Colonna faction seized Ostia in the name of France. Charles VIII rapidly advanced southward, and after a short stay in Florence, set out for Rome (November 1494).

Pope Alexander VI appealed to Ascanio Sforza
Ascanio Sforza
Ascanio Maria Sforza Visconti was an Italian Cardinal of the Catholic Church, generally known as a skilled diplomat who played a major role in the election of Rodrigo Borgia as Pope Alexander VI.-Early years:...

 and even to the Turkish Sultan for help. He tried to collect troops and put Rome in a state of defence, but his position was precarious. When the Orsini offered to admit the French to their castles, Alexander had no choice but to come to terms with Charles. On 31 December Charles VIII entered Rome with his troops, the cardinals of the French faction, and Giuliano della Rovere. Pope Alexander VI now feared that Charles might depose him for simony
Simony
Simony is the act of paying for sacraments and consequently for holy offices or for positions in the hierarchy of a church, named after Simon Magus , who appears in the Acts of the Apostles 8:9-24...

, and that the king would summon a council to nominate a new pope. However, Pope Alexander VI was able to win over the bishop of Saint-Malo, who had much influence over the king, with a cardinal's hat. Pope Alexander VI agreed to send Cesare as legate to Naples with the French army, to deliver Cem to Charles VIII, and to give Charles Civitavecchia
Civitavecchia
Civitavecchia is a town and comune of the province of Rome in the central Italian region of Lazio. A sea port on the Tyrrhenian Sea, it is located 80 kilometers west-north-west of Rome, across the Mignone river. The harbor is formed by two piers and a breakwater, on which is a lighthouse...

 (16 January 1495). On 28 January Charles VIII departed for Naples with Cem and Cesare, but the latter slipped away to Spoleto
Spoleto
Spoleto is an ancient city in the Italian province of Perugia in east central Umbria on a foothill of the Apennines. It is S. of Trevi, N. of Terni, SE of Perugia; SE of Florence; and N of Rome.-History:...

. Neapolitan resistance collapsed, and Alfonso II fled and abdicated in favour of his son Ferdinand II
Ferdinand II of Naples
Ferdinand II or Ferrante II of Naples , sometimes known as Ferrandino, was King of Naples from 1495 to 1496...

. However, Ferdinand was abandoned by all and also had to escape, and the kingdom of Naples was conquered with surprising ease.

The French in retreat


A reaction against Charles VIII soon set in, for all the European powers were alarmed at his success. On 31 March 1495 a so-called Holy League was formed between the pope, the emperor, Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

, Lodovico il Moro and Ferdinand of Spain
Ferdinand II of Aragon
Ferdinand the Catholic was King of Aragon , Sicily , Naples , Valencia, Sardinia, and Navarre, Count of Barcelona, jure uxoris King of Castile and then regent of that country also from 1508 to his death, in the name of...

. The League was ostensibly formed against the Turks, but in reality it was made to expel the French from Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. Charles VIII had himself crowned King of Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

 on 12 May but a few days later began his retreat northward. He met the allies at Fornovo
Battle of Fornovo
The Battle of Fornovo took place 30 km southwest of the city of Parma on 6 July 1495. The League of Venice was able to temporarily expel the French from the Italian Peninsula. It was the first major battle of the Italian Wars.-Antecedents:...

, and after a drawn battle cut his way through them and was back in France by November. Ferdinand II was reinstated at Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

 soon afterwards, with Spanish help. The expedition, if it produced no material results, demonstrated the foolishness of the so-called 'politics of equilibrium'—the Medicean doctrine of preventing one of the Italian principates from overwhelming the rest and uniting them under its hegemony. Charles VIII's belligerence in Italy had made it transparent that the 'politics of equilibrium' did nothing but render the country unable to defend itself against a powerful invading force. Italy was shown to be very vulnerable to the predations of the powerful nation-states, France and Spain, that had forged themselves during the previous century. Alexander VI now followed the general tendency of all the princes of the day to crush the great feudatories and establish a centralized despotism. In this manner he was able to take advantage of the defeat of the French in order to break the power of the Orsini. From that time on, Alexander was able to build himself an effective power base in the papal states.

Virginio Orsini
Virginio Orsini
Gentile Virginio Orsini was an Italian condottiero and vassal of the papal throne and the Kingdom of Naples, mainly remembered as the powerful head of the Orsini family during its feud with Pope Alexander VI...

, who had been captured by the Spanish, died a prisoner at Naples, and the Pope confiscated his property. The rest of the Orsini clan still held out however, defeating the papal troops sent against them under Guidobaldo da Montefeltro
Guidobaldo da Montefeltro
thumb|240px|Portrait of Guidobaldo da Montefeltro by [[Raphael]].Guidobaldo da Montefeltro , also known as Guidobaldo I, was an Italian condottiero and the Duke of Urbino from 1482 to 1508.-Biography:...

, Duke of Urbino
Urbino
Urbino is a walled city in the Marche region of Italy, south-west of Pesaro, a World Heritage Site notable for a remarkable historical legacy of independent Renaissance culture, especially under the patronage of Federico da Montefeltro, duke of Urbino from 1444 to 1482...

 and Giovanni Borgia
Giovanni Borgia (1474)
Giovanni Borgia, 2nd duke of Gandía was the son of Pope Alexander VI and the brother of Cesare Borgia, Gioffre Borgia, and Lucrezia Borgia. Giovanni, also known as Juan or Joan, was the second of the Pope's four children by Vanozza de' Catanei...

, Duke of Gandia, at Soriano
Soriano nel Cimino
Soriano nel Cimino is a town and comune in the province of Viterbo, Lazio, central Italy.The town is overlooked by Monte Cimino, the highest peak in the Monti Cimini.-Main sights:...

 (January 1497). Peace was made through Venetian mediation, the Orsini paying 50,000 ducats in exchange for their confiscated lands; the Duke of Urbino, whom they had captured, was left by the Pope to pay his own ransom. The Orsini remained very powerful, and Pope Alexander VI could count on none but his 3,000 Spanish troops. His only success had been the capture of Ostia and the submission of the Francophile cardinals Colonna and Savelli
Savelli
thumb|300px|The Coat of Arms of the Savelli over a wall of the church of [[Santa Maria in Aracoeli]], [[Rome]].The Savelli were a rich and influential Roman aristocratic family who rose to prominence in the 13th century and became extinct in the main line with Giulio Savelli .The family, who held...

.

Then occurred the first of those ugly domestic tragedies for which the house of Borgia remains notorious. On 14 June the Duke of Gandia, lately created Duke of Benevento
Benevento
Benevento is a town and comune of Campania, Italy, capital of the province of Benevento, 50 km northeast of Naples. It is situated on a hill 130 m above sea-level at the confluence of the Calore Irpino and Sabato...

, disappeared; the next day his corpse was found in the Tiber.

Pope Alexander VI, overwhelmed with grief, shut himself up in Castel Sant'Angelo
Castel Sant'Angelo
The Mausoleum of Hadrian, usually known as the Castel Sant'Angelo, is a towering cylindrical building in Parco Adriano, Rome, Italy. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family...

. He declared that henceforth the reform of the church would be the sole object of his life—a resolution he did not keep. Every effort was made to discover the assassin, and suspicion fell on various highly placed people. When the rumour spread that Cesare, the Pope's second son, had done the deed, the inquiries ceased. No conclusive evidence was ever revealed about the murder, although Cesare remained the most widely suspected.

Confiscations and Savonarola


Violent and vengeful, Cesare now became the most powerful man in Rome, and even his father quailed before him. Because Pope Alexander VI needed funds to carry out his various schemes, he began a series of confiscations, of which one of the victims was his own secretary. The process was a simple one: any cardinal, nobleman or official who was known to be rich would be accused of some offence; imprisonment and perhaps murder followed at once, and then the confiscation of his property. The least opposition to the Borgia was punished with death.
The debased state of the curia was a major scandal. Opponents such as the powerful demagogic Florentine friar Girolamo Savonarola
Girolamo Savonarola
Girolamo Savonarola was an Italian Dominican friar, Scholastic, and an influential contributor to the politics of Florence from 1494 until his execution in 1498. He was known for his book burning, destruction of what he considered immoral art, and what he thought the Renaissance—which began in his...

 launched invectives against papal corruption and appealed for a general council to confront the papal abuses. Pope Alexander VI, unable to get the excommunicated Savonarola into his own hands, browbeat the Florentine government into condemning the reformer to death (23 May 1498). The houses of Colonna and Orsini, after much fighting between themselves, allied against the Pope, who found himself unable to maintain order in his own dominions.

In these circumstances, Pope Alexander VI, feeling more than ever that he could only rely on his own kin, turned his thoughts to further family aggrandizement. He had annulled Lucrezia's marriage to Giovanni Sforza
Giovanni Sforza
Giovanni Sforza d'Aragona was an Italian condottiero, lord of Pesaro and Gradara from 1483 until his death. He is best known as the first husband of Lucrezia Borgia...

—who had responded to the suggestion that he was impotent with the counter-claim that Pope Alexander VI and Cesare indulged in incestuous relations with Lucrezia—in 1497, and, unable to arrange a union between Cesare and the daughter of King Frederick IV of Naples
Frederick IV of Naples
Frederick IV , sometimes known as Frederick I or Federico d'Aragona, was the last King of Naples of the House of Trastámara, ruling from 1496 to 1501...

 (who had succeeded Ferdinand II the previous year), he induced Frederick by threats to agree to a marriage between the Duke of Bisceglie
Bisceglie
Bisceglie is a town and comune on the Adriatic Sea, with a population of c. 54,000, in the province of Barletta-Andria-Trani, Apulia , southern Italy....

, a natural son of Alfonso II, and Lucrezia. Cesare, after resigning his cardinalate, was sent on a mission to France at the end of the year, bearing a bull of divorce for the new French king Louis XII
Louis XII of France
Louis proved to be a popular king. At the end of his reign the crown deficit was no greater than it had been when he succeeded Charles VIII in 1498, despite several expensive military campaigns in Italy. His fiscal reforms of 1504 and 1508 tightened and improved procedures for the collection of taxes...

, in exchange for which he obtained the duchy of Valentinois (a duchy chosen because it was consistent with his already known nickname of Valentino), a promise of material assistance in his schemes to subjugate the feudal princelings of papal Romagna, and a marriage to a princess of Navarre
Navarre
Navarre , officially the Chartered Community of Navarre is an autonomous community in northern Spain, bordering the Basque Country, La Rioja, and Aragon in Spain and Aquitaine in France...

.

Pope Alexander VI hoped that Louis XII's help would be more profitable to his house than that of Charles VIII had been. In spite of the remonstrances of Spain and of the Sforza, he allied himself with France in January 1499 and was joined by Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

. By the autumn Louis XII was in Italy expelling Lodovico Sforza from Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

. With French success seemingly assured, the Pope determined to deal drastically with the Romagna
Romagna
Romagna is an Italian historical region that approximately corresponds to the south-eastern portion of present-day Emilia-Romagna. Traditionally, it is limited by the Apennines to the south-west, the Adriatic to the east, and the rivers Reno and Sillaro to the north and west...

, which although nominally under papal rule was divided into a number of practically independent lordships on which Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

, Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

, and Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 cast hungry eyes. Cesare, empowered by the support of the French, began to attack the turbulent cities one by one in his capacity as nominated gonfaloniere
Gonfalone of the Church
The Banner of the Holy Roman Church was the battle standard of the Papal States during the Renaissance and a symbol of the Roman Catholic Church...

(standard bearer) of the church. But the expulsion of the French from Milan and the return of Lodovico Sforza interrupted his conquests, and he returned to Rome early in 1500.

Slavery


While the enterprising explorers of Spain and Portugal were quick to enslave the indigenous peoples met in Africa and the New World, some popes had spoken out against this practice. In 1435 Pope Eugene IV
Pope Eugene IV
Pope Eugene IV , born Gabriele Condulmer, was pope from March 3, 1431, to his death.-Biography:He was born in Venice to a rich merchant family, a Correr on his mother's side. Condulmer entered the Order of Saint Augustine at the monastery of St. George in his native city...

 had issued an attack on slavery in his Papal bull Sicut Dudum
Sicut Dudum
Sicut Dudum is a papal bull promulgated by Pope Eugene IV in Florence on January 13, 1435, which forbade the enslavement of local natives in the Canary Islands who had converted to Christianity.- Background :...

which included the excommunication of all those who engage in the slave trade. However a form of indentured servitude was allowed, being similar to a peasant's duty to his liege lord in Europe.

In the wake of Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 landing in the New World, Pope Alexander was asked by the Spanish monarchy to confirm ownership of these found lands. The bulls issued by Pope Alexander VI : "Eximiae devotionis" (3 May 1493), "Inter Caetera
Inter caetera
Inter caetera was a papal bull issued by Pope Alexander VI on , which granted to Spain all lands to the "west and south" of a pole-to-pole line 100 leagues west and south of any of the islands of the Azores or the Cape Verde Islands.It remains unclear to the present whether the pope was issuing a...

" (4 May 1493) and "Dudum Siquidem" (23 September 1493), conferred similar rights to Spain in relation to the new found lands in the Americas as Pope Nicholas V
Pope Nicholas V
Pope Nicholas V , born Tommaso Parentucelli, was Pope from March 6, 1447 to his death in 1455.-Biography:He was born at Sarzana, Liguria, where his father was a physician...

 had previously done in the bulls Romanus Pontifex
Romanus Pontifex
Romanus Pontifex is a papal bull written January 8, 1455 by Pope Nicholas V to King Afonso V of Portugal. As a follow-up to the Dum Diversas, it confirmed to the Crown of Portugal dominion over all lands discovered or conquered during the Age of Discovery. Along with encouraging the seizure of the...

  and Dum Diversas
Dum Diversas
Dum Diversas is a papal bull issued on June 18, 1452 by Pope Nicholas V, that is credited by some with "ushering in the West African slave trade." It authorized Afonso V of Portugal to conquer Saracens and pagans and consign them to indefinite slavery...

. Morales Padron (1979) concludes that these bulls gave power to enslave the natives. Minnich (2005) asserts that this "slave trade" was permitted to facilitate conversions to Christianity. Other historians and Vatican scholars strongly disagree with these accusations and assert that Pope Alexander VI never gave his approval of slavery. Other later Popes continued to condemn slavery, such as Pope Benedict XIV in Immensa Pastorium (1741) and Pope Gregory XVI in his letter In Supremo Apostolatus (1839).

Thornberry (2002) asserts that "Inter Caetera" was applied in the "Requerimiento
Requerimiento
The Requerimiento "requirement" as in "demand") was a written declaration of sovereignty and war, read by Spanish military forces to assert their sovereignty over the Americas...

" which was read to American Indians (who couldn't understand the colonizers' language) before hostilities against them began. They were given the option to accept the authority of the Pope and Spanish crown or face being attacked and subjugated. In 1993 the Indigenous Law Institute called on Pope John Paul II to revoke Inter Caetera and to make reparation for "this unreasonable historical grief". This was followed by a similar appeal in 1994 by the Parliament of World Religions.

Cesare in the North



The year 1500 was a jubilee
Jubilee (Christian)
The concept of the Jubilee is a special year of remission of sins and universal pardon. In the Biblical Book of Leviticus, a Jubilee year is mentioned to occur every fifty years, in which slaves and prisoners would be freed, debts would be forgiven and the mercies of God would be particularly...

 year, and crowds of pilgrims flocked to the city from all parts of the world bringing money to donate as a part of the requirements to receive a certain indulgence
Indulgence
In Catholic theology, an indulgence is the full or partial remission of temporal punishment due for sins which have already been forgiven. The indulgence is granted by the Catholic Church after the sinner has confessed and received absolution...

, so that Pope Alexander VI was able to furnish Cesare with funds for his enterprise. In the north the pendulum swung back again in favour of the French, who reoccupied Milan in April, causing the downfall of the Sforza, much to Pope Alexander VI's satisfaction.

In July the Duke of Bisceglie, whose existence was no longer advantageous, was murdered on Cesare's orders and practically in the Pope's presence, leaving Lucrezia free to contract another marriage. The Pope, ever in need of money, now created twelve new cardinals, from whom he received 120,000 ducat
Ducat
The ducat is a gold coin that was used as a trade coin throughout Europe before World War I. Its weight is 3.4909 grams of .986 gold, which is 0.1107 troy ounce, actual gold weight...

s, and fresh conquests for Cesare were considered. A crusade was talked of, but the real object was central Italy; and so in the autumn, Cesare, backed by France and Venice, set forth with 10,000 men to complete his interrupted business in the Romagna.

The local despots of Romagna were duly dispossessed, and an administration was set up, which, if tyrannical and cruel, was at least orderly and strong. On his return to Rome in June 1501 Cesare was created Duke of Romagna. Louis XII, having succeeded in the north, determined to conquer southern Italy as well. He concluded a treaty with Spain for the division of the Neapolitan kingdom, which was ratified by the Pope on 25 June, Frederick being formally deposed. While the French army proceeded to invade Naples, Pope Alexander VI took the opportunity, with the help of the Orsini, to reduce the Colonna to obedience. In his absence on campaign he left Lucrezia as regent, providing the remarkable spectacle of a pope's natural daughter in charge of the Holy See. Shortly afterwards he induced Alfonso d'Este, son of the Duke of Ferrara
Ferrara
Ferrara is a city and comune in Emilia-Romagna, northern Italy, capital city of the Province of Ferrara. It is situated 50 km north-northeast of Bologna, on the Po di Volano, a branch channel of the main stream of the Po River, located 5 km north...

, to marry Lucrezia, thus establishing her as wife of the heir to one of the most important duchies in Italy (January 1502). At about this time a Borgia of doubtful parentage was born: Giovanni, described in some papal documents as Pope Alexander VI's son and in others as Cesare's.

As France and Spain were quarreling over the division of Naples and the Campagna barons were quiet, Cesare set out again in search of conquests. In June 1502 he seized Camerino
Camerino
Camerino is a small town of 7.135 inhabitants in the Marches , in the province of Macerata, Italy. It is located in the Apennines bordering Umbria, between the valleys of the rivers Potenza and Chienti, about 40 miles from Ancona....

 and Urbino, the news of whose capture delighted the Pope; but his attempt to draw Florence into an alliance failed. In July, Louis XII of France again invaded Italy and was at once bombarded with complaints from the Borgias' enemies. The Pope's diplomacy, however, turned the tide, and Cesare, in exchange for promising to assist the French in the south, was given a free hand in central Italy.

Last years


A danger now arose in the shape of a conspiracy by the deposed despots, the Orsini, and of some of Cesare's own condottieri. At first the papal troops were defeated and things looked bleak for the house of Borgia. But a promise of French help quickly forced the confederates to come to terms. Cesare, by an act of treachery, then seized the ringleaders at Senigallia
Senigallia
Senigallia is a comune and port town on Italy's Adriatic coast, 25 km by rail north of Ancona, in the Marche region, province of Ancona....

 and put Oliverotto da Fermo and Vitellozzo Vitelli
Vitellozzo Vitelli
Vitellozzo Vitelli was an Italian condottiero. He was lord of Montone, Città di Castello, Monterchi and Anghiari.-Biography:...

 to death (31 December 1502). When Alexander VI heard the news, he lured Cardinal Orsini to the Vatican and cast him into a dungeon, where he died. His goods were confiscated, his aged mother turned into the street and many other members of the clan in Rome were arrested, while Alexander's son Goffredo Borgia led an expedition into the Campagna and seized their castles. Thus the two great houses of Orsini and Colonna, who had long fought for predominance in Rome and often flouted the Pope's authority, were subjugated and the Borgias' power increased. Cesare then returned to Rome, where his father asked him to assist Goffredo in reducing the last Orsini strongholds; this for some reason he was unwilling to do, much to his father's annoyance; but he eventually marched out, captured Ceri
Ceri
Ceri is a small town in the Lazio , a frazione of the comune of Cerveteri, in the province of Rome. It occupies a fortified plateau of tuff at a short distance from the city of Cerveteri. -History:...

 and made peace with Giulio Orsini, who surrendered Bracciano
Bracciano
Bracciano is a small town in the Italian region of Lazio, 30 km northwest of Rome. The town is famous for its volcanic lake and for a particularly well-preserved medieval castle Castello Orsini-Odescalchi...

.

Three more high personages fell victim to the Borgias' greed this year: Cardinal Michiel, who was poisoned in April 1503, J. da Santa Croce, who had helped to seize Cardinal Orsini, and Troches or Troccio, Alexander's chamberlain and secretary; all these murders brought immense sums to the Pope. About Cardinal Ferrari's death, there is more doubt; he probably died of fever, but Alexander VI immediately confiscated his goods anyway. The war between France and Spain for the possession of Naples dragged on, and the Pope was forever intriguing, ready to ally himself with whichever power promised the most advantageous terms at any moment. He offered to help Louis XII on condition that Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 be given to Cesare, and then offered to help Spain in exchange for Siena
Siena
Siena is a city in Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the province of Siena.The historic centre of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the nation's most visited tourist attractions, with over 163,000 international arrivals in 2008...

, Pisa
Pisa
Pisa is a city in Tuscany, Central Italy, on the right bank of the mouth of the River Arno on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa...

 and Bologna
Bologna
Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

.

Although there is no doubt that Alexander VI liked to eliminate any cardinal and immediately confiscate his property, there is no sufficient evidence on the methods used in these murders. It has been suggested that the family used their favorite poison Cantarella
Cantarella
Cantarella was most probably a variation of arsenic used by Pope Alexander VI, Rodrigo Borgia, to poison his victims. The Borgia family were allegedly masters of the use of poison in political assassinations, leading to references to la cantarella as the "liquor of succession".Cantarella was used...

, an arsenic
Arsenic
Arsenic is a chemical element with the symbol As, atomic number 33 and relative atomic mass 74.92. Arsenic occurs in many minerals, usually in conjunction with sulfur and metals, and also as a pure elemental crystal. It was first documented by Albertus Magnus in 1250.Arsenic is a metalloid...

 variation, which was offered to their poor victim in a form of drink with an innovative nickname, the "liquor of succession." Since raw forms of arsenic then known were not immediately fatal, Alexander VI must have had a method invented for the preparation of this substance, but no confirmation of this has survived. The famous cup of Borgia, a golden cup with a hidden area storing the poison so it could be mixed with the wine, is often mentioned as the family's favorite murdering method, and it has been the base for many legendary and crime stories, including Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie
Dame Agatha Christie DBE was a British crime writer of novels, short stories, and plays. She also wrote romances under the name Mary Westmacott, but she is best remembered for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections , and her successful West End plays.According to...

's short story The Apples of Hesperides published in the 1947 collection The Labours of Hercules
The Labours of Hercules
The Labours of Hercules is a short story collection written by Agatha Christie and first published in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company in 1947 and in the UK by Collins Crime Club in September of the same year...

.

Death


Burchard recorded the events that surrounded the death of the Pope. Cesare was preparing for another expedition in August 1503 when, after he and his father had dined with Cardinal Adriano da Corneto on 6 August, they were taken ill with fever. Cesare eventually recovered, but the Pope was too old to have any chance. According to Burchard, his stomach became swollen and turned to liquid, while his face became wine-colored and his skin began to peel off. Finally his stomach and bowels bled profusely. After more than a week of intestinal bleeding and convulsive fevers, and after accepting last rites and making a confession, the despairing Alexander VI died on 18 August 1503 at the age of 72. He is believed to have uttered the last words, "I'll come, I'll come. It's normal for you to call me. But wait a bit more", before his death.

His death was followed by scenes of wild disorder, and Cesare, too ill to attend to the business himself, sent Don Michelotto, his chief bravo, to seize the Pope's treasures before the death was publicly announced. When the body was exhibited to the people the next day it was in a shocking state of decomposition. Writing in his Liber Notarum, Burchard elaborates:
"The face was very dark, the color of a dirty rag or a mulberry, and was covered all over with bruise-colored marks. The nose was swollen; the tongue had bent over in the mouth, completely double, and was pushing out the lips which were, themselves, swollen. The mouth was open and so ghastly that people who saw it said they had never seen anything like it before." It has been suggested that, having taken into account the unusual level of decomposition, Alexander VI was accidentally poisoned to death by his son, Cesare, with Cantarella
Cantarella
Cantarella was most probably a variation of arsenic used by Pope Alexander VI, Rodrigo Borgia, to poison his victims. The Borgia family were allegedly masters of the use of poison in political assassinations, leading to references to la cantarella as the "liquor of succession".Cantarella was used...

 (which was prepared to eliminate Cardinal Adriano), although some commentaries doubt these stories and attribute the Pope's death to malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

, then prevalent in Rome, or to another such pestilence. The ambassador of Ferrara wrote to Duke Ercole that it was no wonder the pope and the duke were sick because nearly everyone in Rome was ill because of bad air
Miasma theory of disease
The miasma theory held that diseases such as cholera, chlamydia or the Black Death were caused by a miasma , a noxious form of "bad air"....

 ("per la mala condictione de aere").

Burchard described how the Pope's mouth foamed like a kettle over a fire and how the body began to swell so much that it became as wide as it was long. The Venetian
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 ambassador
Ambassador
An ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat who represents a nation and is usually accredited to a foreign sovereign or government, or to an international organization....

 reported that Rodrigo Borgia's body was "the ugliest, most monstrous and horrible dead body that was ever seen, without any form or likeness of humanity." Finally the body began to release sulfur
Sulfur
Sulfur or sulphur is the chemical element with atomic number 16. In the periodic table it is represented by the symbol S. It is an abundant, multivalent non-metal. Under normal conditions, sulfur atoms form cyclic octatomic molecules with chemical formula S8. Elemental sulfur is a bright yellow...

ous gases from every orifice. Burchard records that he had to jump on the body to jam it into the undersized coffin and covered it with an old carpet, the only surviving furnishing in the room.

Such was Alexander VI's unpopularity that the priests of St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter's Basilica
The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter , officially known in Italian as ' and commonly known as Saint Peter's Basilica, is a Late Renaissance church located within the Vatican City. Saint Peter's Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world...

 refused to accept the body for burial until forced to do so by papal staff. Only four prelates attended the Requiem Mass. Alexander VI's successor on the Throne of St. Peter
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

, Francesco Todeschini-Piccolomini, who assumed the name of Pope Pius III
Pope Pius III
Pope Pius III , born Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini, was Pope from September 22 to October 18, 1503.-Career:...

 (1503), forbade the saying of a Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

 for the repose of his predecessor's soul, saying, "It is blasphemous to pray for the damned." After a short stay, the body was removed from the crypts of St. Peter's and installed in a less well-known church, the Spanish national church of Santa Maria in Monserrato degli Spagnoli
Santa Maria in Monserrato degli Spagnoli
The Spanish National Church of Santiago and Montserrat, known as Church of Holy Mary in Monserrat of the Spaniards is a Roman Catholic titulus church and National Church in Rome of Spain, dedicated to the Virgin of Montserrat. The current Cardinal Priest of the Titulus S...

.

Legacy



Alexander VI was known for his patronage of the arts, and in his days a new architectural era was initiated in Rome with the coming of Bramante
Donato Bramante
Donato Bramante was an Italian architect, who introduced the Early Renaissance style to Milan and the High Renaissance style to Rome, where his most famous design was St...

. Raphael, Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

 and Pinturicchio
Pinturicchio
Bernardino di Betto, called Pintoricchio or Pinturicchio was an Italian painter of the Renaissance. He acquired his nickname, Pintoricchio , because of his small stature, and he used it to sign some of his works....

 all worked for him. He commissioned Pinturicchio to lavishly paint a suite of rooms in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, which are today known as the Borgia Apartment
Borgia Apartment
The Borgia Apartment is a suite of rooms in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican.-History:The Borgia Apartment was adapted for personal use by Pope Alexander VI ....

.

In addition to the arts, Alexander VI also encouraged the development of education. In 1495 he issued a Papal Bull
Papal bull
A Papal bull is a particular type of letters patent or charter issued by a Pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the bulla that was appended to the end in order to authenticate it....

 at the request of William Elphinstone
William Elphinstone
William Elphinstone was a Scottish statesman, Bishop of Aberdeen and founder of the University of Aberdeen.He was born in Glasgow, and educated at the University of Glasgow, taking the degree of M.A. in 1452. After practising for a short time as a lawyer in the church courts, he was ordained a...

, Bishop of Aberdeen, and King James IV of Scotland, founding King’s College, Aberdeen. King’s College now forms an integral element of the University of Aberdeen
University of Aberdeen
The University of Aberdeen, an ancient university founded in 1495, in Aberdeen, Scotland, is a British university. It is the third oldest university in Scotland, and the fifth oldest in the United Kingdom and wider English-speaking world...

.

Alexander VI, allegedly a marrano
Marrano
Marranos were Jews living in the Iberian peninsula who converted to Christianity rather than be expelled but continued to observe rabbinic Judaism in secret...

 according to papal rival Giuliano della Rovere, distinguished himself by his relatively benign treatment of Jews. After the 1492 expulsion of Jews from Spain, some 9,000 impoverished Iberian Jews arrived at the borders of the Papal States. Alexander welcomed them into Rome, declaring that they were "permitted to lead their life, free from interference from Christians, to continue in their own rites, to gain wealth, and to enjoy many other privileges." He similarly allowed the immigration of Jews expelled from Portugal in 1497 and from Provence in 1498.

It has been noted that the crimes of Alexander VI are similar in nature to those of other Renaissance princes, with the one exception being his position in the Church. As De Maistre
Joseph de Maistre
Joseph-Marie, comte de Maistre was a French-speaking Savoyard philosopher, writer, lawyer, and diplomat. He defended hierarchical societies and a monarchical State in the period immediately following the French Revolution...

 said in his work Du Pape, "The latter are forgiven nothing, because everything is expected from them, wherefore the vices lightly passed over in a Louis XIV become most offensive and scandalous in an Alexander VI."

Bohuslav Hasištejnský z Lobkovic
Bohuslav Hasištejnský z Lobkovic
Bohuslav Hasištejnský z Lobkovic was a nobleman, writer and humanist of old Bohemian family of Lobkovic.He was born at Hasištejn Castle near Kadaň, Bohemia. He studied in Bologna and Ferrara and converted from Utraquism to Catholicism there...

, a Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

n humanist
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

 poet (1461–1510) dedicated one of his Latin poems to Alexander:

Epitaphium Alexandri Papae

Epitaph to Pope Alexander
Cui tranquilla quies odio, cui proelia cordi
et rixa et caedes seditioque fuit,
mortuus hac recubat populis gaudentibus urna
pastor Alexander, maxima Roma, tuus.
Vos, Erebi proceres, vos caeli claudite portas
atque Animam vestris hanc prohibete locis.
In Styga nam veniens pacem turbabit Averni,
committet superos, si petat astra poli.
Who sacrificed quiet to hatred, with a warrior heart,
who did not stop at quarrels, struggles and slaughters,
is lying here in the coffin for all people to rejoice,
thy supreme pontiff Alexander, oh, capital Rome.
Ye prelates of Erebus
Erebus
In Greek mythology, Erebus , also Erebos , was often conceived as a primordial deity, representing the personification of darkness; for instance, Hesiod's Theogony places him as the first five beings to come into existence from Chaos...

 and Heaven, close your doors
and prohibit the Soul from entering your sites.
He would disrupt the peace of Styx
Styx
In Greek mythology the Styx is the river that forms the boundary between the underworld and the world of the living, as well as a goddess and a nymph that represents the river.Styx may also refer to:-Popular culture:...

 and disturb Avernus
Avernus
Avernus was an ancient name for a crater near Cumae , Italy, in the Region of Campania west of Naples. It is approximately in circumference. Within the crater is Lake Avernus .-Role in ancient Roman society:...

,
and vanquish the Saints, if he enters the sphere of stars.

Mistresses and family



Of Alexander's many mistresses the one for whom his passion lasted longest was a certain Vannozza (Giovanna) dei Cattani
Vannozza dei Cattanei
Vannozza dei Cattanei was an Italian noblewoman from the House of Candia, who was one of the many mistresses of Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, future Pope Alexander VI. Among them, she was the one whose relationship with him lasted the longest...

, born in 1442, and wife of three successive husbands. The connection began in 1470, and she bore him four children whom he openly acknowledged as his own: Giovanni
Giovanni Borgia (1474)
Giovanni Borgia, 2nd duke of Gandía was the son of Pope Alexander VI and the brother of Cesare Borgia, Gioffre Borgia, and Lucrezia Borgia. Giovanni, also known as Juan or Joan, was the second of the Pope's four children by Vanozza de' Catanei...

, afterwards duke of Gandia
Gandia
Gandia is a city and municipality in the Valencian Community, Eastern Spain on the Mediterranean. Gandia is located on the Costa del Azahar, 65 km south of Valencia and 96 km north of Alicante....

 (born 1474), Cesare
Cesare Borgia
Cesare Borgia , Duke of Valentinois, was an Italian condottiero, nobleman, politician, and cardinal. He was the son of Pope Alexander VI and his long-term mistress Vannozza dei Cattanei. He was the brother of Lucrezia Borgia; Giovanni Borgia , Duke of Gandia; and Gioffre Borgia , Prince of Squillace...

 (born 1476), Lucrezia
Lucrezia Borgia
Lucrezia Borgia [luˈkrɛtsia ˈbɔrʤa] was the illegitimate daughter of Rodrigo Borgia, the powerful Renaissance Valencian who later became Pope Alexander VI, and Vannozza dei Cattanei. Her brothers included Cesare Borgia, Giovanni Borgia, and Gioffre Borgia...

 (born 1480), and Goffredo or Giuffre (born 1481 or 1482). His other children—Girolama, Isabella and Pedro-Luiz—were of uncertain parentage. Before his elevation to the papacy Cardinal Borgia's passion for Vannozza somewhat diminished, and she subsequently led a very retired life. Her place in his affections was filled by the beautiful Giulia Farnese
Giulia Farnese
Giulia Farnese was mistress to Pope Alexander VI. She was known as Giulia la bella, meaning "Julia the beautiful", in Italian. Lorenzo Pucci described her as "most lovely to behold"...

 (Giulia Bella), wife of an Orsini, but his love for his children by Vannozza remained as strong as ever and proved, indeed, the determining factor of his whole career. He lavished vast sums on them and loaded them with every honour. The atmosphere of Alexander's household is typified by the fact that his daughter Lucrezia lived with his mistress Giulia, who bore him a daughter, Laura, in 1492. He is an ancestor of virtually all Royal Houses of Europe, mainly the Southern and Western ones, for being the ancestor of Doña Luisa de Guzmán, wife of King John IV of Portugal
John IV of Portugal
|-|John IV was the King of Portugal and the Algarves from 1640 to his death. He was the grandson of Catherine, Duchess of Braganza, who had in 1580 claimed the Portuguese crown and sparked the struggle for the throne of Portugal. John was nicknamed John the Restorer...

.

Books

  • The contemporary politician, political theorist and author Niccolò Machiavelli
    Niccolò Machiavelli
    Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was an Italian historian, philosopher, humanist, and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance. He is one of the main founders of modern political science. He was a diplomat, political philosopher, playwright, and a civil servant of the Florentine Republic...

     wrote his book of power politics The Prince
    The Prince
    The Prince is a political treatise by the Italian diplomat, historian and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli. From correspondence a version appears to have been distributed in 1513, using a Latin title, De Principatibus . But the printed version was not published until 1532, five years after...

    in 1513, in which he refers to Alexander VI as a corrupt politician completely without honor. "Alexander VI did nothing but deceive men..."
  • E. R. Chamberlin's 1969 book The Bad Popes
    The Bad Popes
    The Bad Popes is a 1969 book by E. R. Chamberlin documenting the lives of eight of the most controversial popes :...

    documented the lives of eight of the most controversial popes, including Alexander.
  • Alexander is one of 6 Popes of the Renaissance
    Renaissance
    The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

     era profiled unfavorably by historian Barbara Tuchman
    Barbara Tuchman
    Barbara Wertheim Tuchman was an American historian and author. She became known for her best-selling book The Guns of August, a history of the prelude to and first month of World War I, which won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1963....

     in The March of Folly.
  • Frederick Rolfe
    Frederick Rolfe
    Frederick William Rolfe, better known as Baron Corvo, and also calling himself 'Frederick William Serafino Austin Lewis Mary Rolfe', , was an English writer, artist, photographer and eccentric...

     ("Baron Corvo") wrote Chronicles of the House of Borgia. This was a revisionist
    Historical revisionism
    In historiography, historical revisionism is the reinterpretation of orthodox views on evidence, motivations, and decision-making processes surrounding a historical event...

     account, in which he argued that the Borgia family was unjustly maligned and that the accounts of poisoning were a myth.
  • Alexander VI and his family are the subjects of Mario Puzo's
    Mario Puzo
    Mario Gianluigi Puzo was an American author and screenwriter, known for his novels about the Mafia, including The Godfather , which he later co-adapted into a film by Francis Ford Coppola...

     final novel The Family, as well as Robert Rankin's
    Robert Rankin
    Robert Fleming Rankin is a prolific British humorous novelist. Born in Parsons Green, London, he started writing in the late 1970s, and first entered the bestsellers lists with Snuff Fiction in 1999, by which time his previous eighteen books had sold around one million copies...

     humorous and fictionalized novel The Antipope
    The Antipope
    The Antipope is a comic fantasy novel by the British author Robert Rankin. It is Rankin's first novel, and the first book in the Brentford Trilogy . The book was first published in 1981 by Pan Books, and from 1991 by Corgi books, an imprint of Transworld Publishers...

    .
  • The Borgia Bride
    The Borgia Bride
    The Borgia Bride is a novel by American writer Jeanne Kalogridis, portraying life in the Borgia dynasty through the eyes of Princess Sancha of Aragon.-Plot introduction:...

    (2005) is a historic fiction by Jeanne Kalogridis
    Jeanne Kalogridis
    Jeanne Kalogridis , also known by the pseudonym J.M. Dillard is an Greek-American writer of historical and horror fiction.She was born in Florida and studied at the University of South Florida, earning first a BA in Russian and then an MA in Linguistics...

    , told from the perspective of Sancha of Aragon
    Aragon
    Aragon is a modern autonomous community in Spain, coextensive with the medieval Kingdom of Aragon. Located in northeastern Spain, the Aragonese autonomous community comprises three provinces : Huesca, Zaragoza, and Teruel. Its capital is Zaragoza...

    , married to the Pope's youngest son Gioffre Borgia
    Gioffre Borgia
    Gioffre de Candia Borgia, in Italian, or Jofré Borja in Valencian, was the youngest son of Pope Alexander VI and Vannozza dei Cattanei, sibling to Lucrezia Borgia, Cesare Borgia and Giovanni Borgia....

    .
  • In March 2005, Heavy Metal
    Heavy Metal (magazine)
    Heavy Metal is an American science fiction and fantasy comics magazine, known primarily for its blend of dark fantasy/science fiction and erotica. In the mid-1970s, while publisher Leonard Mogel was in Paris to jump-start the French edition of National Lampoon, he discovered the French...

    published the first of a three part graphic novel biography of Alexander VI entitled Borgia, written by Alexandro Jodorowsky with art by Milo Manara
    Milo Manara
    Maurilio Manara – known professionally as Milo Manara – is an Italian comic book writer and artist, best known for his erotic approach to the medium.-Career:...

    . The story focuses mostly on the sexual indiscretions and acts of violent backstabbery carried out by the corrupt papal figure. The second part was released in July 2006 and the third in July 2009.
  • Gregory Maguire
    Gregory Maguire
    Gregory Maguire is an American writer. He is the author of the novels Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, and many other novels for adults and children...

     makes strong references to Alexander VI and specifically his daughter in the 2003 novel, Mirror, Mirror
    Mirror, Mirror (novel)
    Mirror, Mirror is an American novel published in 2003. It was written by Gregory Maguire. The novel is a revisionist version of the tale of Snow White.-Plot summary:...

    .
  • Spanish author Javier Sierra
    Javier Sierra
    Javier Sierra Albert is a journalist, writer and researcher who studied journalism at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. He is editor consultant of the monthly magazine Más Allá de la Ciencia distributed in Spain and Latin America and he participates in several radio and television programs...

     writes of Pope Alexander VI in his novel, The Secret Supper.
  • French author Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo
    The Count of Monte Cristo
    The Count of Monte Cristo is an adventure novel by Alexandre Dumas. It is often considered to be, along with The Three Musketeers, Dumas's most popular work. He completed the work in 1844...

    mentions murder of Cardinal Spada by Alexander VI and his son. This is told by Abbe Faria to Edmond Dantes in the prison in relation to a treasure belonging to Cardinal Spada.
  • Italian authors Rita Monaldi
    Rita Monaldi
    Rita Monaldi is an Italian journalist and writer who, in collaboration with her husband, Francesco Sorti, wrote a series of literary-historical books called Imprimatur, Secretum and Veritas, with Atto Melani as a central character. She majored in classical philology and specialized in the history...

     and Francesco Sorti
    Francesco Sorti
    Francesco Sorti is an Italian journalist who, in collaboration with his wife Rita Monaldi, wrote a series of literary-historical books called Imprimatur, Secretum and Veritas, with Atto Melani as a central character. They both live in Vienna....

     depict a totally different image of Pope Alexander VI in The doubts of Salaì (2007). They reference sources which quote Alexander as an integral, hard working functionary in the Roman Catholic Church. His infamous reputation would be largely attributed to falsified documents and the slander of his opponents.
  • German author Friedrich Schiller
    Friedrich Schiller
    Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was a German poet, philosopher, historian, and playwright. During the last seventeen years of his life , Schiller struck up a productive, if complicated, friendship with already famous and influential Johann Wolfgang von Goethe...

     refers to Borgia in Der Verbrecher aus verlorner Ehre referring to his less than favourable reputation, 'Stünde einmal, wie für die übrigen Reiche der Natur, auch für das Menschengeschlecht ein Linnäus auf, welcher nach Trieben und Neigungen klassifizierte, wie sehr würde man erstaunen, wenn man so manchen, dessen Laster in einer engen bürgerlichen Sphäre un in der schmalen Umzäugnung der Gesetze jetzt ersticken muss, mit dem Ungeheur Borgia in einer Ordnung beisammen fände.'
  • Pope Alexander's diplomatic correspondence and intrigues with the Ottoman Turks, as well as Charles VIII
    Charles VIII of France
    Charles VIII, called the Affable, , was King of France from 1483 to his death in 1498. Charles was a member of the House of Valois...

    's invasion of Italy, are depicted in the historical novel The Sultan's Helmsman.
  • The introduction to The Bad Catholic's Guide to Good Living, by John Zmirak and Denise Matychowiak, is attributed to Pope Alexander, writing in 2005 from "The Seventh Terrace of Purgatory
    Purgatory
    Purgatory is the condition or process of purification or temporary punishment in which, it is believed, the souls of those who die in a state of grace are made ready for Heaven...

    ". In a postscript to the introduction, "Alexander" requests additional prayers for the sake of himself and several other Popes stuck in Purgatory.

Plays

  • Barnabe Barnes' 1606 play The Devil's Charter, performed at the Globe by the King's Men, dramatizes the life of Pope Alexander VI and his daughter Lucretia Borgia. In Barnes' play Alexander sells his soul to the devil in exchange for the papacy. Lucretia binds, gags, and stabs her husband onstage and later dies poisoned by her own cosmetics.
  • Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia, a play by Robert Lalonde

Film

  • Alexander is played by Lluís Homar in the 2006 Spanish film, Los Borgia.
  • A Young Roderic de Borgia during the 1458 Conclave is played by Manu Fullola in the 2006 Canadian movie "The Conclave."
  • The last of Walerian Borowczyk
    Walerian Borowczyk
    Walerian Borowczyk was a Polish film director. He directed 40 films between 1946 and 1988. His career as a film director was mainly in France.-Biography:...

    's Contes Immoraux
    Immoral Tales (film)
    Immoral Tales is a 1974 French anthology film directed by Walerian Borowczyk. The film was Borowczyk's most sexually explicit at the time. The film is split into four erotic themed stories that involve the loss of virginity, masturbation, bloodlust and incest.After the release of Immoral Tales,...

    (Immoral Tales) shows Jacopo Berenizi as Alexander VI, enjoying incest with Lucrezia and Cesare while Savonarola is arrested and burned.
  • In the series of short films Assassin's Creed: Lineage
    Assassin's Creed: Lineage
    Assassin's Creed: Lineage is a series of three short films based on the Assassin's Creed II video game. The films are made by Ubisoft and the first episode was released on October 26, 2009 on YouTube...

    , Rodrigo Borgia starts a conspiracy to destroy the Medici dynasty. In the first short film, he hires some assassins to kill the Duke of Milano, Galeazo Maria Sforza. He is played by Manuel Tadros.

Television

  • The papacy of Alexander VI was dramatized in the 1981 BBC
    BBC
    The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

     series The Borgias, starring the veteran Italian actor Adolfo Celi
    Adolfo Celi
    Adolfo Celi was an Italian film actor and director.-Life and career:Born in Messina, Sicily, Celi appeared in nearly 100 movies, specializing in international villains. His most famous role was as Emilio Largo in the 1965 James Bond movie Thunderball...

     as Pope Alexander.
  • The Canadian
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

     sketch comedy
    Sketch comedy
    A sketch comedy consists of a series of short comedy scenes or vignettes, called "sketches," commonly between one and ten minutes long. Such sketches are performed by a group of comic actors or comedians, either on stage or through an audio and/or visual medium such as broadcasting...

     History Bites
    History Bites
    History Bites was a television series on the History Television network that ran from 1998-2003. Created by Rick Green, History Bites explored what would be on television if the medium had been around for the last 5,000 years of human history. Typically, a significant historical event was chosen...

    parodied Pope Alexander VI by portraying him and his family as The Osborgias (Done as a parody of The Osbournes
    The Osbournes
    The Osbournes is an American reality television program featuring the domestic life of heavy metal singer Ozzy Osbourne and his family. The series premiered on MTV on March 5, 2002, and in its first season, was cited as the most-viewed series ever on MTV...

    ).
  • In the popular TV show, Alias
    Alias (TV series)
    Alias is an American action television series created by J. J. Abrams which was broadcast on ABC for five seasons, from September 30, 2001 to May 22, 2006...

    , the character Milo Rambaldi
    Milo Rambaldi
    Milo Giacomo Rambaldi is a fictional person from the American television series Alias. The work of Rambaldi, often centuries ahead of its time and tied to prophecy, plays a central role in the show.According to Alias creator J.J...

     was said to be Alexander VI's "chief architect."
  • French premium-pay TV Canal+
    Canal+
    Canal+ is a French premium pay television channel launched in 1984. It is 80% owned by the Canal+ Group, which in turn is owned by Vivendi SA. The channel broadcasts several kinds of programming, mostly encrypted...

    , Atlantique Productions and EOS Entertainment have started shooting a historical drama TV series on the Borgias due to broadcast in 2011. Borgia will recount the infamous family's rise to power and subsequent domination of the Vatican. John Doman
    John Doman
    John Doman is an American actor best known for playing Deputy Police Commissioner William Rawls on HBO series The Wire from 2002 to 2008 and Colonel Edward Galson on Oz in 2001....

     will star as Rodrigo Borgia.
  • Showtime presented The Borgias
    The Borgias (2011 TV series)
    The Borgias is a 2011 historical fiction television series created by Neil Jordan.The series is based on the Borgia family, an Italian dynasty of Spanish origin, and stars Jeremy Irons as Pope Alexander VI with David Oakes, François Arnaud, Holliday Grainger and Aidan Alexander as Juan, Cesare,...

    in 2011 with Jeremy Irons
    Jeremy Irons
    Jeremy John Irons is an English actor. After receiving classical training at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Irons began his acting career on stage in 1969, and has since appeared in many London theatre productions including The Winter's Tale, Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of the...

     as Pope Alexander VI.

Video games

  • In Assassin's Creed II
    Assassin's Creed II
    Assassin's Creed II is a historical third-person action-adventure video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. It is the second video game installment of the Assassin's Creed series, and is a sequel to the 2007 video...

    (2009), Rodrigo Borgia is the main antagonist of the game, secretly associated with the Knights Templar
    Knights Templar
    The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon , commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of the Temple or simply as Templars, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders...

    . His character in the game is voiced by and modeled on Canadian actor Manuel Tadros. He also appears in the accompanying short film Assassin's Creed: Lineage.
  • In Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
    Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
    Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is a historical third person, stealth action-adventure video game developed by Ubisoft for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. It was released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in November 2010, Microsoft Windows in March 2011 and Mac OS X in May 2011...

    (2010), Borgia has a smaller role than his son, Cesare, the game's main antagonist. He is killed by Cesare, who, after becoming aware of his father's plot to assassinate him, forces his own poison apple in his mouth.

See also