Soon after, he went even further and made Rodrigo then vice-chancellor of the Catholic Church. Alexander himself began a longstanding formal rite of opening the Holy Doors to mark the beginning of the Jubilee year, a tradition still practiced to this day. Cesare’s planned marriage to Carlotta of Naples fell through, and Alexander VI instead saw an opportunity to ally with the newly crowned King of France, Louis XII. Following the passing of a pope or any high-ranking official, Romans followed the grand tradition of rioting and pillaging. Your suggestions can be as general or specific as you like, from “Life” to “Compact Cars and Trucks” to “A Subspecies of Capybara Called Hydrochoerus Isthmius.” We’ll get our writers on it because we want to create articles on the topics you’re interested in. List and explain these duties. During his time as a cardinal, Rodrigo took part in wild and lascivious parties. Alexander issued two papal bulls regarding the child, first claiming him as Cesare’s son, then as his own. Madame de Pompadour didn't just share King Louis XV's bed, she also shared his power. The culprit is still a mystery, though a jealous lover, Cardinal Ascanio Sforza, and Juan’s brother Cesare Borgia were all suspected. The patriarch of the long-maligned family was Pope Alexander VI, who used the power of the Vatican to further the ambitions and wealth of his own family. Pope Alexander VII, born Fabio Chigi, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 7 April 1655 to his death in 1667. Portugal claimed a previous papal decree gave the New World to Portugal. Pius II warned Rodrigo to avoid such shindigs, as they were “unseemly” for someone of his position in the Vatican. Wikimedia CommonsPortrait of Pope Callixtus III, who appointed his nephew Rodrigo Borgia to be a cardinal. Now in office, Pope Alexander VI used his influence to grow the Borgia family’s power and wealth — and his own. Rapes and acts of incest are countless…[and] great throngs of courtesans frequent St. Peter’s Palace, pimps, brothels, and whorehouses are to be found everywhere!”. After the election of his uncle Pope Callixtus III, Callixtus made Rodrigo Borgia a cardinal. Wasting no time, Pope Alexander VI sent his personal forces cardinal’s estate to collect 150,000 ducats. During this volatile time, when Italian propaganda painted anything Spanish as brutal and cruel, Rodrigo Borgia tried to build wealth and power for his Spanish family. Alinari Archives/CORBISGuilia Farnese was one of Pope Alexander VI’s famous mistresses. Please reach out to us to let us know what you’re interested in reading. By what authority did Pope Alexander VI claim the power to give Spain nearly exclusive possession of the New World? The Pope even officially reprimanded Rodrigo for his behavior. Alexander didn’t stop his nepotism at naming cardinals. Pope Alexander VI (born Rodrigo de Borja) (Valencian: Roderic Llançol i de Borja [roðeˈɾiɡ ʎanˈsɔl i ðe ˈbɔɾdʒa], Spanish: Rodrigo Lanzol y de Borja [roˈðɾiɣo lanˈθol i ðe ˈβoɾxa]; 1 January 1431 – 18 August 1503), was Pope from 11 August 1492 until his death in 1503. Furthermore, Pope Alexander VI endowed his closest allies with fiefdoms across the Papal States and often practiced simony, the sin of selling church offices. Julius II, who succeeded Alexander, famously said, “I will not live in the same rooms as the Borgias lived. But now, some historians argue that perhaps Pope Alexander VI wasn’t really as bad as his reputation suggests. In addition, the Cardinal’s brother was the Duke of Milan, and an alliance between the families would give the Borgias a grasp on power in northern Italy. In 1502, she wed Alfonso de l’Este, Duke of Ferrara, with whom she had eight children. The war pitted Charles VIII of France, who had initial Milanese aid, against the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, and an alliance of Italian powers led by Pope Alexander VI. Lucrezia’s third politically-motivated marriage turned out to be more lasting. Talk about trying to have your cake and eat it too. Alexander VI arranged a second marriage for Lucrezia after the annulment, this time with Alfonso of Aragon, the illegitimate son of the King of Naples. These decrees only stoked the flames of those who claimed Giovanni was the product of a rumored relationship between Alexander and his own daughter. At the time of the Pope's death, five Cardinals were present, along with bishops, grooms, and members of his papal curia. However, despite our best efforts, we sometimes miss the mark. He received every vote except his own. Enemies of the Borgias spread rumors that the father and daughter were engaged in an incestuous affair, but historians believe these stories were politically motivated. At the meeting, he executed his former trusted commanders. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life. Cardinal Sforza had proved his worth by playing an influential role in supporting Alexander’s election. By the end of the year, Charles VIII’s forces had reached Rome, alongside French-aligned cardinals and Alexander’s rival Giuliano della Rovere. Alexander arranged for Cesare to wed a relative of the French king, but this left Lucrezia’s husband Alfonso high and dry. But the Borgias still had dark plans in store for him. Calixtus made him a cardinal in 1456. In the long history of the corrupt and violent lineages of Europe, few families conjure up the cinematic images of power-hungry deviants like the Borgias. Born Rodrigo Borgia, Pope Alexander VI did everything from selling church offices to hiring 50 prostitutes in one night to secure his place as history's dirtiest pope. In this era, it wasn’t too scandalous for high-ranking church officials to have mistresses. Enemies of the Borgias spread rumors that the father and daughter were engaged in an incestuous affair, but historians believe these stories were politically motivated. The First Italian War, sometimes referred to as the Italian War of 1494 or Charles VIII's Italian War, was the opening phase of the Italian Wars. Among the most notorious of all papacies, Borgia’s family was the inspiration for Mario Puzo’s Godfather books. Borgia, however, courted controversy by openly acknowledging that he fathered seven children between them, and historians believe he likely had other illegitimate children whose names have been lost to history. This rumor followed him for the rest of his life. Thanks for your help! It could have been cantharidin, a powder made from blister beetles that causes chemical burns. Alessandro de’ Medici. In 1501, Pope Alexander VI finally publicly addressed the birth of Giovanni Borgia, but only in the most confusing way possible. According to an account of Pope Alexander’s consecration ceremony, the church officials had to verify that he was male. Along with the right to possess the land, the Papal Bull also indicated that Spain had specific responsibilities. The effects on his body were so gruesome that his attendants deemed the remains unfit to display publicly. Pope Alexander VI. Finally, prizes were announced for those who could perform the act most often with the courtesans, such as tunics of silk, shoes, barrets, and other things.”. Who could fail to be horrified by the…terrible, monstrous acts of lechery that are committed openly in his home, with no respect for God or man? Factinate is a fact website that is dedicated to finding and sharing fun facts about science, history, animals, films, people, and much more. By virtue of his spiritual power as head of the church, Alexander VI arbitrated the division between Spain and Portugal of the newly discovered territories in the Americas. These two women had a total of seven children with Borgia, though he likely fathered more with other women less well-known to history. But Alexander VI, always ready t… Pope Alexander’s enemies also accused him of simony, the selling of church offices, formally classed as a sin in the Catholic Church. Cesare went on the warpath and settled much of Central Italy under the power of the Borgias. The latter was born in Xàtiva (Játiva), near Valencia, but spent most of his life in Italy and tends to be known as Rodrigo Borgia the Italian version of his name. Papal master of ceremonies Johann Burchard — who left behind the only account of the pope’s sordid banquet — wrote in his diary: “After dinner the candelabra with the burning candles were taken from the tables and placed on the floor, and chestnuts were strewn around, which the naked courtesans picked up, creeping on hands and knees between the chandeliers, while the Pope, Cesare, and his sister Lucretia looked on. Three people lost their lives in the accident, and Alexander himself was injured—but this was just the beginning. 1. Pope Alexander VI was far from the only church official to indulge in relationships the church frowned upon. But precisely because the papacy could so easily be misused for familial aggrandisement and enrichment, these ecclesiastical abuses were all too familiar. He also sent nine new cardinals to replace the late official, ensuring the local cardinals would be loyal to him. exploits within the context of the Renaissance era, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis really did have a heart-to-heart as portrayed in. Divided the New World for Portugal, Spain. Historians still debate exactly what Cantarella was. The rest of Pope Alexander’s family, however, is a different question entirely. The other claimed Giovanni was Cesare’s son, and therefore Alexander’s grandchild. Pope Pius II, who succeeded Alexander VI’s uncle as pope in 1458 and maintained a good relationship with Rodrigo Borgia, warned him about his sex parties, calling them “unseemly.”. Alexander had Alfonso taken to the Vatican to recover. In 1502, tired of serving Cesare, a handful of his commanders staged a rebellion. When Pope Alexander VI finally passed on, it was in a manner befitting his legacy—under mysterious circumstances. There's something about the family structure that encourages secrets. He then marched on Naples to wrest power from his once-allies. Now that you’ve learned about the scandalous life of Pope Alexander VI, read about the mysterious death of Pope John Paul I and find out whether Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis really did have a heart-to-heart as portrayed in The Two Popes. Many of his offspring became allies in his political ambitions as they grew up. Known as the “Borgia Pope,” the papal rule of Alexander VI was tainted with criminal exploits perpetrated to benefit the Borgia family. At the conclave of Aug. 6-10/11, 1492, the cardinals elected the 61-year-old Borgia as pope, and he took the name of Alexander VI in honor of the ancient empire builder Alexander the Great. Portugal wasn’t going to take that. Want to tell us to write facts on a topic? On the night in question, they had these women disrobe and pick up chestnuts strewn on the floor. However, even that didn’t make Giovanni disappear into history quietly. Pope Innocent X … For centuries, the myth that a Pope John had secretly been a woman circulated through the Vatican, and the Church was allegedly wary such a case might happen again. The match would unify two Spanish regions, Ferdinand’s Aragon and Isabella’s Castile. In later years, this became fuel for claims that Lucrezia was dosing Borgia rivals, as her attendance of papal events gave her access to many powerful men. Then Ferdinand sought to ally with Spain, but Spain refused. This wave of anti-Spanish sentiment could have helped wild rumors about the Borgias take hold. Given the sudden turnaround in the votes in Borgia’s favor, many of Pope Alexander VI’s enemies accused him of buying the votes of other cardinals. It brought new goods and materials back to Europe leading to an increase in foods and better standards of living, rise of middle class, guild power and strengthen national economy How did Portugal solve its labor shortages? One claimed Giovanni was Pope Alexander’s own son. He had two famous mistresses, Vannozza dei Cattanei and Giulia Farnese, both of whom were married noblewomen. over to Spain, no matter where they were located. The Pope. The sale of Cardinalships was a major source of cash, so too was the sale of indulgences. Only Johann Burchard, the papal master of ceremonies, wrote about the banquet. The astrologer failed to specify how many misfortunes were about to hit him—and it was a lot. He Kept Multiple Mistresses. Eventually, the family Italianized it to Borgia, the name that would become synonymous with depravity and violence. © Copyright 2021 by Factinate.com. The Borgias were a Spanish family trying to play games of power throughout Italy, which may have been another downfall of their reputation. Thanks for your time! In 1500, he famously proclaimed the year as a Holy Year of Jubilee and organized an extravagant celebration to mark the occasion. Alexander also agreed to turn over Cem Sultan, a pretender to the Ottoman throne who was being held in Rome, as well as surrendering the city of Civitavecchia to Charles. These nepotistic appointments were a common practice in the church at the time. Lucrezia’s close relationship with her father, and her habit of standing in for him when he was unable to attend to papal affairs, gave her easy access to the food and drink of his foes. The year was 1492, and Rodrigo Borgia became Pope Alexander VI. Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis. In that same era, Pope Martin V — born Otto Colonna — secured estates for his relatives in the kingdom of Naples throughout his papacy. Giovanni refused to turn against his uncle to support the Borgias, betraying the purpose of the political marriage Alexander arranged. Yes (at least seven, possibly ten) Had a long affair with Vannozza dei Cattanei while still a priest, but before he became pope; and by her had his illegitimate children Cesare Borgia, Giovanni Borgia, Gioffre Borgia, and … After resigning as his father’s cardinal in 1498 — the only person in history to do so — Cesare Borgia participated in various military conquests across Italy. Not long after, government officials condemned and hanged Savonarola. During a meeting in June of 1500, a strong wind knocked down a chimney over the papal throne, where Alexander VI was seated at the time. During Alexander's reign, critics such as the Florentine monk Girolamo Savonarola began calling for reform and a renewed commitment to Christian values. The reign of Pope Alexander VI came to symbolize the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church. One of his primary mistresses, Vannozza dei Cattanei, allegedly had a previous relationship with another cardinal, Alexander’s rival Giulio della Rovere. From petty paybacks to insane acts of karma, these bitter people somehow found the most ingenious ways…. How Pope Alexander VI Hosted Orgies, Kept Multiple Mistresses, And Bribed His Way To The Top. In fact, he was the second of three Borgias to lead the Catholic Church. Painting of Pope Alexander VI as he presents Bishop Jacopo Pesaro to Saint Peter. By late evening, he received his last rites and died shortly thereafter. Do you question the accuracy of a fact you just read? In battle, Cesare favored devious sneak attacks and was ruthless even with his own people. After assisting in the election of Pope Paul II, the Vatican sent Rodrigo to Spain as a papal legate. He elevated at least ten relatives to the College of Cardinals. They considered several cardinals, including Rodrigo Borgia, Giuliano della Rovere (later Pope Julius II), and Ascanio Sforza. An indulgence was a written proclamation that exonerated - for a fee - the individual (or his relatives) from punishment in the after-life for sins that had been committed, or in some cases, may be committed in the future. In 1499, Cesare led the papal army and French troops in a four-year campaign to do just that. He appointed 10 of his relatives to the College of Cardinals, including his 18-year-old son Cesare and the younger brother of his mistress, Alessandro Farnese, who later became pope himself. Pope Alexander VI was in constant need of money - to support his lavish life style, to fill the coffers for his political bribes and to fund his various military campaigns. His power-play succeeded, making Rodrigo an ally to the new pope. Honestly, not that bad of a deal. After Alexander VI, there was no other non-Italian pope for 500 years. Relationships with Vanozza dei Catanei and Giulia Farnese. The late 15th-century rule of Pope Alexander VI was rife with nepotism, bribery, and scandalous sex — a legacy that’s caused him to be called the most corrupt pope in the history of the Catholic Church. In this respect, Pope Alexander played the game like his fellows, and given his reputation, he was probably past caring about formally classed sins. The Borgia Apartments remained sealed until the 19th century, three centuries after Alexander VI’s lifetime. During their lifetimes, the close relationship between Cesare and Lucrezia was scrutinized by the Borgias’ enemies who claimed they had an incestuous affair. There were even rumors that she wore a ring with a secret compartment for arsenic to slip into drinks. Birthplace: Játiva, Spain Location of death: Rome, Italy Cause of death: unspecified Remains: Buried, . Then, on the fourth vote, they unanimously elected Rodrigo Borgia. 4. Right before his Jubilee year, an astrologer predicted that misfortune would soon befall Alexander VI. Lucrezia Borgia is thought to be his mother, perhaps through her lover Perotto Calderon—but much darker rumors persisted. Ultimately, nights like these left Pope Alexander VI’s reign — which ended with his death less than two years after the banquet — mired in scandal that furthermore tarnished the already-infamous reputation of the whole Borgia family. Alfonso de Borgia (1378–1458) established the family’s influence in Italy and became Pope Calixtus III in 1455 (see Calixtus III). Girolamo Savonarola, a Dominican friar, led a religious movement in Florence during Alexander’s papacy. Alexander issued a wise decree concerning the censorship of books, and sent the first missionaries to the New World. There were two Spanish popes during the Renaissance period: Calixtus III (r. 1455–1458) and his nephew Alexander VI (r. 1492–1503). Lucrezia may have warned Giovanni of his impending doom, and Giovanni fled to Milan in disguise. Pope Alexander VI was born Rodrigo Borgia in the Spanish town of Xàtiva, near Valencia, in 1431. He was excommunicated for pissing off John VIII, but following John VIII's death he was reinstated. Once Rodrigo had risen to power in the Vatican, he started using his young daughter Lucrezia as a bargaining chip with power-hungry families wishing to align their fortunes with his. The following year, he held the most infamous party in papal history. Pope Callixtus III appointed his relatives to positions in the Church, including placing two of his nephews in the cardinalate, including 25-year-old Rodrigo Borgia. Natasha Ishak is a staff writer at All That's Interesting. Please submit feedback to contribute@factinate.com. 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