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The Borgias are one of the most infamous, controversial families in European history.  From Rodrigo Borgia, the Spanish churchman who bought his way into the papacy in 1492, to his beautiful daughter Lucrezia and ruthless son Cesare, known for his cruel and violent war practices...this family's story does not disappoint.  During this seminar, you will discover all of the juicy secrets and scandals in a behind-the-scenes look at the everyday life of Pope Alexander XVI and his four children : Lucrezia, Giovanni, Gioffre, and Cesare.

Early Years as Cardinal

During the first part of the seminar, we'll take a look at Rodrigo Borgia's early years in the Catholic church, first as a young sacristan at the cathedral of his native city of Valencia, in Spain, and later as bishop.  As the years passed, Rodrigo gradually rose to higher and higher positions within the church, from deacon to vice-chancellor to cardinal-bishop and, finally, archbishop at the Holy See in Rome.  In 1492, Pope Innocent VIII passed away and Rodrigo Borgia was elected Pope, under the papal name of Alexander VI.  The beginning of a whole new era...

 

Rise to Papal Stardom

Next, we will explore Rodrigo's rise to power as Pope Alexander VI and hear all about his personal life, which became commonly known throughout Rome, and Italy, and Europe as he was thrust into the spotlight.  Hear about Vannozza Cattanei, his favourite mistress for over four decades, who fathered all four of his children and was lavishly provided for in a palace outside the Vatican City walls, and the beautiful Giulia Farnese who became his mistress after being elected pope.  Hear all about his four children, mothered by Vannozza, who were legitimized after Rodrigo's rise to the papacy and participated actively in their father's political and religious life : Lucrezia, his beautiful and tragic daughter, and her three brothers Cesare, Giovanni, and Gioffre.

 

Debauchery and Downfall

Lastly, we will take a look at the scandals in the Borgia's political and private life, some of which have become famous over the years and have been celebrated and speculated on in literature, cinema, and urban tales.  Hear about Lucrezia's many marriages  and unfortunate love life, as her father used her as a pawn in his own political intrigues.  Hear about her vicious brother Cesare, named Duke of Romagna and known as a ruthlessly violent condottiere, feared by his subjects and taken as the model prince in Machiavelli's famous literary work Il Principe  and Giovanni Borgia, the eldest sibling,  mysteriously found dead in the Tiber river in Rome, after an argument with his younger brother Cesare.  Discover the many questionable practices occurring within the walls of the papal palace, under the watchful eye of Pope Alexander VI himself : murder, poison, incest, violence... Is it fact or fiction, truth or legend?  We'll explore the popular myths from the time, as well as the novels, poems, plays and movies based on these controversial historical characters and decipher the truth behind this fascinating and intriguing family.

The Borgias : Portrait of a Papal Family

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Duration

90 minutes

Take-Aways

After this seminar, you'll know all there is to know about : the Borgias, Pope Alexander VI, Lucrezia Borgia, Rome in the 16th Century. the Papal Apartments & the Vatican City, the Italian Renaissance