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Lucretia Borgia

Lucretia Borgia

4.2 5
by Ferdinand Gregorovius, Des Gahan (Editor)

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"Lucrezia Borgia is the most unfortunate woman in modern history. Is this because she was guilty of the most hideous crimes, or is it simply because she has been unjustly condemned by the world to bear its curse? The question has never been answered...We possess the history of Alexander VI and Cesare, but of Lucrezia Borgia we have little more than a legend, according


"Lucrezia Borgia is the most unfortunate woman in modern history. Is this because she was guilty of the most hideous crimes, or is it simply because she has been unjustly condemned by the world to bear its curse? The question has never been answered...We possess the history of Alexander VI and Cesare, but of Lucrezia Borgia we have little more than a legend, according to which she is a fury, the poison in one hand, the poignard in the other; and yet this baneful personality possessed all the charms and graces." - Ferdinand Gregorovius

History remembers Lucrezia Borgia in unflattering terms. She has been portrayed as an incestuous adulteress and a murderer, but her contemporaries thought of her in very different terms. Lucrezia was a political pawn in her father and brother's plots and a political power in her own right. She was well-educated and well-respected during her lifetime. While she was, in all certainty, a part of multiple political plots, she was also considered to be pious, thoughtful, and mannerly.

Of course, legends often overtake and overshadow reality. The world has always had a fascination with femme fatales, and few historical women have ever been portrayed as one quite like Lucrezia Borgia. Lucrezia is a baseless, immoral villain in Victor Hugo's Lucrezia Borgia, and she continues to be depicted as a schemer and manipulator on par with her famous brother and father in film and critically acclaimed television series. Indeed, it would be hard to find another woman in the historical record who is remembered in any way comparable to the legacy of Lucrezia that remains nearly 500 years after her death.

The great irony is that Lucrezia's reputation seems to be wildly at odds with the actual woman herself. Though political opponents of the Borgias successfully portrayed Lucrezia as an incestuous schemer, Lucrezia was unusually moral for a powerful woman during the Renaissance. Aside from adultery, hardly unusual in that era, Lucrezia proved to be both an efficient and benevolent ruler when her husband was away from Ferrara, and the two of them had an unusually close and loving relationship in an era where political marriages were made out of convenience, not love.

Product Details

CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.47(d)

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER V NEPOTISM G1ULIA FARNESE—LUCRETIA's BETROTHALS It is not difficult to imagine what emotions were aroused in Lucretia when she first became aware of the real condition of her family. Her mother's husband was not her father; she discovered that she and, her brothers were the children of a cardinal, and the awakening of her conscience was accompanied by a realization of circumstances which—frowned on by the Church—it was necessary to conceal from the world. She herself had always hitherto been treated as a niece of the cardinal, and she now beheld in her father one of the most prominent princes of the Church of Rome, whom she heard mentioned as a future pope. The knowledge of the great advantages to be derived from these circumstances certainly must have affected Lucretia's fancy much more actively than the conception of their immorality. The world in which she lived concerned itself but little with moral scruples, and rarely in the history of mankind has there been a time in which the theory that it is proper to obtain the greatest possible profit from existing conditions has been so generally accepted. She soon learned how common were these relations in Rome. She heard that most of the cardinals lived with their mistresses, and provided in a princely way for their children. They told her about those of Cardinal Giuliano della Ro- vere and those of Piccolomini; she saw with her own eyesthe sons and daughters of Estouteville, and heard of the baronies which their wealthy father had acquired for them in the Alban mountains. She saw the children of Pope Innocent raised to the highest honors; to her were pointed out his son Franceschetto Cibo and his illustriousspouse Maddalena Medici. She knew that the Vatican was the home of other children and grandchildren of the P...

Meet the Author

Ferdinand Gregorovius (January 19, 1821 - May 1, 1891) was a German historian who specialized in the medieval history of Rome. He is best known for Wanderjahre in Italien, his account of the walks he took through Italy in the 1850s, and the monumental Die Geschichte der Stadt Rom im Mittelalter (History of Rome in the Middle Ages), a classic for Medieval and early Renaissance history. He also wrote biographies of Pope Alexander VI and Lucrezia Borgia, as well as works on Byzantine history and medieval Athens, and translated Italian authors into German, among them Giovanni Melis. According to Jesuit Father John Hardon, S.J. Gregorovius was "a bitter enemy of the popes."

Gregorovius was born at Neidenburg (Nidzica), East Prussia, and studied theology and philosophy at the University of Königsberg. In 1838 he joined the Corps Masovia. After teaching for many years, Gregorovius took up residence in Italy in 1852, remaining in that country for over twenty years. In 1876 he was made honorary citizen of Rome, the first German to be awarded this honor. A street and a square is named after him. He eventually returned to Germany, where he died in Munich.

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Lucretia Borgia 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Americo More than 1 year ago
No one could have writteb such an engrossiing picture of the >Renaissancw Rome and of the storic personality of Lucreti Borgia but a person like Gregorovius who knew Italy better than most Italians do today. An example is his clasic Strolls through Italy 1852-1876.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the cabin of Zeus. It is always thundering inside, and there are whispy gray clouds that float across the ceiling but never rain. Towards the center of the cabin, there is large statue of Zeus. There are a few bunk beds, a dresser with six drawers, a prism, a bowl of water, and a niche in the corner if someone wanted alone time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
frostybrandon More than 1 year ago
loving this
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Borgia family was originally from Aragon, Spain and later intermarried. I am halfway through this book. I think it was oringinally published in the late 1800's. I have seen the book and author quoted and some of the quoted material I have seen in other material. Some of the stories made my hair stand on end. Cardinals and popes having sexual intercourse and illegitimate children, murdering for power, wealth and empowering their families. The author goes to great lengths to present an accurately researched book.