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The Borgias by Paul Strathern

Author:Paul Strathern

Language: eng

Format: epub

Publisher: Atlantic Books

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The Borgias by Paul Strathern

At last, Cesare had now officially taken on the title that he had so envied when it had been held by the incompetent braggart Juan Borgia, his younger brother, prior to his mysterious murder. Alexander VI may or may not at some stage have suspected Cesare of having a hand in that vicious deed, but he had long since dismissed all thought of this from his mind. No, surprisingly, Alexander VI may well have chosen to withhold this appointment from Cesare for reasons other than the nicety of the Romagna being conquered by a Borgia rather than the papal commander.

Throughout his life, Alexander VI had shown scant evidence of piety, leading more than a few to suspect that indeed he had little more than a purely ceremonial belief in the deity. On the other hand, he had always retained a deep faith in another aspect of the supernatural, which many ascribed to his Spanish origins. Alexander VI was a deeply superstitious man. He had appointed his favourite son Juan as Captain-General, only for him to be murdered. A superstitious man may not have wished to tempt fate by appointing his next favourite son to the same post. Alexander VI’s excessive joy at Cesare’s return from his campaign in the Romagna could well have been prompted by previous superstitious fears. But the ghost had now been laid to rest: Cesare had returned alive after commanding the Papal Troops – he could appoint him regardless. Any such surmise is, of course, no more than speculation, based upon mere clues. I have included them only as possible indications of Alexander VI’s character, and the Borgia ethos. Meanwhile, there is, of course, one undeniable fact. As we shall see, Cesare Borgia’s appointment to the post of Captain-General was central to Alexander VI’s future ambitions for the Borgia family. But such plans remained for the moment covert. What was plain for all to see was merely the first step. As Cesare Borgia’s biographer observes: ‘The Pope’s nomination of his son as official commander of the papal armies implied nothing less than a total Borgia takeover of the Church.’

Yet what was to become of Caterina Sforza? Upon her arrival in Rome, Alexander VI allowed her to reside in the Villa Belvedere, amidst the gardens overlooking the Vatican. Despite the comfort of her surroundings, this was unmistakably house arrest. Alexander VI wished her to sign away her rights as Countess of Forli. This was, at least in part, a formality, for her title was not recognized by the papal authorities. But Alexander VI wished for a cast-iron legal foundation to the Borgia ownership of these newly acquired territories. True to form, Caterina refused to sign any such document. For the moment she placed her hopes in her uncle Ludovico Sforza retaking Milan. And surprisingly, in February 1500, he succeeded in ousting the French from much of Milanese territory. It was probably this which encouraged Caterina to attempt a daring escape. This was organized by a Milanese friar

 

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The Borgias by Paul Strathern

Author:Paul Strathern , Date: June 27, 2019

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Author:Paul Strathern

Language: eng

Format: epub

Publisher: Atlantic Books
At last, Cesare had now officially taken on the title that he had so envied when it had been held by the incompetent braggart Juan Borgia, his younger brother, prior to his mysterious murder. Alexander VI may or may not at some stage have suspected Cesare of having a hand in that vicious deed, but he had long since dismissed all thought of this from his mind. No, surprisingly, Alexander VI may well have chosen to withhold this appointment from Cesare for reasons other than the nicety of the Romagna being conquered by a Borgia rather than the papal commander.

Throughout his life, Alexander VI had shown scant evidence of piety, leading more than a few to suspect that indeed he had little more than a purely ceremonial belief in the deity. On the other hand, he had always retained a deep faith in another aspect of the supernatural, which many ascribed to his Spanish origins. Alexander VI was a deeply superstitious man. He had appointed his favourite son Juan as Captain-General, only for him to be murdered. A superstitious man may not have wished to tempt fate by appointing his next favourite son to the same post. Alexander VI’s excessive joy at Cesare’s return from his campaign in the Romagna could well have been prompted by previous superstitious fears. But the ghost had now been laid to rest: Cesare had returned alive after commanding the Papal Troops – he could appoint him regardless. Any such surmise is, of course, no more than speculation, based upon mere clues. I have included them only as possible indications of Alexander VI’s character, and the Borgia ethos. Meanwhile, there is, of course, one undeniable fact. As we shall see, Cesare Borgia’s appointment to the post of Captain-General was central to Alexander VI’s future ambitions for the Borgia family. But such plans remained for the moment covert. What was plain for all to see was merely the first step. As Cesare Borgia’s biographer observes: ‘The Pope’s nomination of his son as official commander of the papal armies implied nothing less than a total Borgia takeover of the Church.’

Yet what was to become of Caterina Sforza? Upon her arrival in Rome, Alexander VI allowed her to reside in the Villa Belvedere, amidst the gardens overlooking the Vatican. Despite the comfort of her surroundings, this was unmistakably house arrest. Alexander VI wished her to sign away her rights as Countess of Forli. This was, at least in part, a formality, for her title was not recognized by the papal authorities. But Alexander VI wished for a cast-iron legal foundation to the Borgia ownership of these newly acquired territories. True to form, Caterina refused to sign any such document. For the moment she placed her hopes in her uncle Ludovico Sforza retaking Milan. And surprisingly, in February 1500, he succeeded in ousting the French from much of Milanese territory. It was probably this which encouraged Caterina to attempt a daring escape. This was organized by a Milanese friar

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