The Borgias: Power and Fortune

The Borgias: Power and Fortune

by Paul Strathern


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The glorious and infamous history of the Borgia family—a world of saints, corrupt popes, and depraved princes and poisoners—set against the golden age of the Italian Renaissance.

The Borgia family have become a byword for evil. Corruption, incest, ruthless megalomania, avarice and vicious cruelty—all have been associated with their name. And yet, paradoxically, this family lived when the Renaissance was coming into its full flowering in Italy. Examples of infamy flourished alongside some of the finest art produced in western history.

This is but one of several paradoxes associated with the Borgia family. For the family which produced corrupt popes, depraved princes and poisoners, would also produce a saint. Previously history has tended to condemn, or attempt in part to exonerate, this remarkable family. Yet in order to understand the Borgias, the Borgias must be related to their time, together with the world which enabled them to flourish. Within this context the Renaissance itself takes on a very different aspect. Was the corruption part of the creation, or vice versa? Would one have been possible without the other?

The powerful forces which first played out in the amphitheaters of ancient Greece: hubris, incest, murder, rivalries and doomed families, treacheries of political power, twists of fate—they are all here. Along with the final, tragic downfall. All these elements are played out in full in the glorious and infamous history of the Borgia family.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781643130835
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 08/06/2019
Series: Italian Histories
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 486,044
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Paul Strathern is a Somerset Maugham Award-winning novelist, and his nonfiction works include The Venetians, Death in Florence, The Medici, Mendeleyev’s Dream, and The Borgias, all available from Pegasus Books. He lives in England.

Table of Contents

Maps ix

Abbreviated Borgia Family Tree xi

Dramatis Personae xiii

Prologue: The Crowning Moment 1

1 Origins of a Dynasty 17

2 The Young Rodrigo 33

3 Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia Emerges in His True Colours 53

4 The Way to the Top 73

5 A New Pope in a New Era 89

6 'The Scourge of God' 107

7 The Best of Plans… 123

8 A Crucial Realignment 139

9 A Royal Connection 155

10 II Valentino's Campaign 177

11 Biding Time 195

12 The Second Romagna Campaign 209

13 The Borgias in excelsis 223

14 Cesare Strikes Out 241

15 Changing Fortunes 257

16 Cesare Survives 275

17 Borgia's 'Reconciliation' 289

18 Lucrezia in Ferrara 307

19 The Unforeseen 313

20 Desperate Fortune 329

Epilogue 339

Acknowledgements 342

Sources 343

Illustrations 363

Index 365

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