The name Borgia is synonymous with the political corruption, greed, incest and murder rife in Renaissance Italy. Rodrigo Borgia, Pope Alexander VI, the first man to have clearly bought himself the papacy, and two of his infamous illegitimate children, Cesare and Lucrezia, were the three central figures of the Borgia dynasty, seizing power, wealth, land and titles through bribery, marriage and murder. Cesare, with his political astuteness and ruthlessness, became the model for Machiavelli's "The Prince", while Lucrezia, rumoured to have been a poisoner and the lover of her father and brother, may have been as much their victim as their accomplice. Marion Johnson plots the dynasty's dramatic rise from their beginnings in Spain to their occupation of the highest position in Renaissance society, at a time when Italy was the centre of the European stage, both culturally and politically. Finally, she examines how far the myth of the Borgias is borne out by the historical facts. Behind the gaudy horrors, she concludes, lie people of great talent and achievement, possessors, even, of moderate virtues.
- Paperback | 256 pages
- 189 x 244.9 x 16.5mm | 630.5g
- 01 Apr 2002
- Penguin Books Ltd
- London, United Kingdom
- New edition
- New edition
- b&w illustrations, bibligraphy, index
Other books in this series
01 Jun 2014
Table of contents
Borgia beginnings - the road to Rome; Calixtus III - founder of the Borgia fortunes; Cardinal Rodrigo - the Borgia dynast; Pope Alexander VI; Alexander and Cesare; Cesare the prince; the Borgia eclipse and the good duchess; the Borgia legacy.
About Marion Johnson
Marian Johnson made her home in Rome in 1944 while working for the British Foreign Office and she soon discovered that the Borgia legend still flourished in the Eternal City.