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Old 01-07-2013, 09:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The Borgias

Just listened to 'In Our Time' the BBC radio culture strand, discussing the history and reputation of the Borgias and, would you believe it ...

... Infamous for their treachery and corruption, Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia) was accused of buying votes to elect him to the papacy and openly promoted his children in positions of power. His daughter, Lucrezia, is widely remembered as a ruthless poisoner; his son, Cesare, as a brutal soldier...

Many of the stories told about their depraved behaviour and evil ways emerged after their demise, the 'Black Legend' that sullied the reputation of the Borgias was largely engineered by their enemies.

And, it seems, quite likely not a word of truth in any of it.

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Old 01-08-2013, 12:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: The Borgias

Here you can listen to it again.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:19 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: The Borgias

Brilliant! I didn't know you could listen to these in the US.

I can't recommend the series enough religion, philosophy, history, science it's a real gem of a series.
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Old 01-08-2013, 04:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: The Borgias

Kinda treated like a family of Richard the Thirds. Of course the York-Plantangenet line could not be demonized because of whmo Hotspur married.
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Old 01-08-2013, 04:25 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: The Borgias

Perhaps not the same audience, but there is a tv series, The Borgias, going into into it's third season with Jeremy Irons as Rodrigo Borgia. I have only seen a few episodes and it follows the stories of him buying his way in, high quality production but a little too much drama for me.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:28 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: The Borgias

NCOT
That's not to see they were all sweetness and light ... but rather they were no better nor worse than everyone else around them ... although Lucretia does come in for some unfair vilification by history book, and Cesare, by all accounts, was not much of a soldier at all ...

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I think of you when I listen to the science progs ... I listened to one on 'heat energy' and Jeez! I though heat was just the stuff you boiled the kettle with?

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Old 01-09-2013, 11:20 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: The Borgias

I'm sure!
I also want to point out that I'm not actually 'NiceCupOfTea', we are two different people with different views. Our names are just an accident.
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Old 01-09-2013, 02:12 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: The Borgias

Argh! Mea culpa!
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Old 01-10-2013, 01:57 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: The Borgias

Brother Thomas, pray tell, why then did upon the death of Alexander VI, the next Pope, Julius II said on the day of his election: "I will not live in the same rooms as the Borgias lived. He desecrated the Holy Church as none before. He usurped the papal power by the devil's aid, and I forbid under the pain of excommunication anyone to speak or think of Borgia again. His name and memory must be forgotten. It must be crossed out of every document and memorial. His reign must be obliterated. All paintings made of the Borgias or for them must be covered over with black crepe. All the tombs of the Borgias must be opened and their bodies sent back to where they belong - to Spain." The Borgias' apartments remained sealed until the 19th Century.

There are certain facts of the Papal realm remain; i.e. of having children, wife's, prostitutes, corruption, murder, hunger for money and on and on....do you refute these as well? Seems like grad scale whitewashing RC, alternative history...IMHO...
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:48 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: The Borgias

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Brother Thomas, pray tell, why then did upon the death of Alexander VI, the next Pope, Julius II said on the day of his election: "I will not live ...
Because he was the enemy of the Borgias. Check out the brief bio of Julius II ...

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There are certain facts of the Papal realm remain;
That was the point raised by the scholars in the debate, that the facts often tell a different story.

Listen to the programme. Melvin Bragg (the host) was laughing as he was required to rethink almost everything he knew about the Borgias.

Were they angels? No, not by a long stretch. Am I whitewashing their reputations? No, that would be a Herculean task!

Good grief, the word 'nepotism' is from the Latin nepos ("nephew"), and it came about from the practice of popes and bishops who gave their nephews positions of preference in the curia to ensure power and dynastic continuance!

Pope Callixtus III (a Borgia), made two of his nephews cardinals; one of whom, Rodrigo, became Alexander VI. He then elevated Alessandro Farnese, his mistress's () brother to cardinal, later to become Pope Paul III.

Paul appointed two nephews, aged 14 and 16, cardinals!

God bless,

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Old 01-10-2013, 03:53 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: The Borgias

Julius did similar things as Pope, I know. Generally speaking, XV-XVI century Popes as agents of Jesus, did a piss-poor job and no amount of debate and intellectual talk of BBC will EVER alter that! But just because Julius was arch enemy of the "foreign" Bogias, his indignation was likely based on historical facts. I was amused that when the question of his son's murdering people arose, they said; "well, he did have his brother in law murdered, but we do not know for sure if the other guy was his victim." and the soft headed question, "do we have evidence?" Wow, who can ask and demand "evidence", not putting in perspective that that back in time there can be no evidence of anything, only smart speculation.
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Because he was the enemy of the Borgias. Check out the brief bio of Julius II ...


That was the point raised by the scholars in the debate, that the facts often tell a different story.

Listen to the programme. Melvin Bragg (the host) was laughing as he was required to rethink almost everything he knew about the Borgias.

Were they angels? No, not by a long stretch. Am I whitewashing their reputations? No, that would be a Herculean task!

Good grief, the word 'nepotism' is from the Latin nepos ("nephew"), and it came about from the practice of popes and bishops who gave their nephews positions of preference in the curia to ensure power and dynastic continuance!

Pope Callixtus III (a Borgia), made two of his nephews cardinals; one of whom, Rodrigo, became Alexander VI. He then elevated Alessandro Farnese, his mistress's () brother to cardinal, later to become Pope Paul III.

Paul appointed two nephews, aged 14 and 16, cardinals!

God bless,

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Old 01-10-2013, 07:26 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: The Borgias

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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
Julius did similar things as Pope, I know. Generally speaking, XV-XVI century Popes as agents of Jesus, did a piss-poor job and no amount of debate and intellectual talk of BBC will EVER alter that!
Oh, I don't think they're trying to alter anything, just put the record in perspective.

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... his indignation was likely based on historical facts.
That scholarship would challenge, for the very lack of facts, and the 'black legend' which was largely spurious. As one scholar pointed out, if you look at the 'evidence' everyone was trying to poison everyone, and the facts point to the fact that even Machiavelli was, for all his insights, a very poor judge of character!

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Old 01-14-2013, 01:38 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: The Borgias

That is very significant if true, because the Borgias are something I've heard about multiple times from people saying that they were 'Evil' and murderous. Its a serious smear on RC, very effective. That does not mean I'm very knowledgeable about the last 251 popes or their campaigns, but the Borgia are practically the only popes I ever hear about.
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Old 01-14-2013, 10:35 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: The Borgias

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That is very significant if true, because the Borgias are something I've heard about multiple times from people saying that they were 'Evil' and murderous...
It's basically that popular rumour is usually more readily acceptable than actual fact ... just look at all the tripe in the media today ... in time such people become associated with archetypes.

It's also worth recalling that Anglo-American history is largely 'Protestant' in that both countries are non-Catholic, so the anti-Catholic propaganda of the Reformation is assumed to be history.

'Bloody Mary' for example, the Catholic daughter of Henry VIII, gets the blame even though she was effectively the puppet of the 'politicians' of the day. She'd been raised almost under house arrest, and hadn't the least idea how or what to do when she found herself queen...

... meanwhile the politicians pulling Queen Elizabeth I's strings knew that the population was sick of burning people for heresy both sides had had a fair old go at it by now then the pope made the disastrous error of telling Catholics they should obey their (Catholic) conscience and disobey the Queen and tra-laa! Now we can burn them for treason! People were far more ready to burn someone for treason, being told the French and Spanish were poised to invade ... The bloodbath that followed made Bloody Mary look silly ...

I was taught at a Catholic secondary school that 'the dissolution of the monasteries' under Henry VIII was because the monasteries were corrupt, etc. It now turns out that the real story is the aristocracy convinced Henry to sieze monastic estates (which were considerable) to fund his wars with France. This he did, but hardly saw a penny go into the war coffers, whereas the aristos who took over the estates grew immensely rich.

I'm not saying there was no corruption, I'm sure there was, but no-one was bothered about it, really. I'm just saying that wasn't the reason, that was the reason put about by those who were hungry for money and power.

The Borgias weren't necessarily worse than anyone else, they just lost out in the PR campaign. Even if the Borgias were snow white, which I don't believe for a moment, this was not a glowing era in Church history ...

God bless,

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Old 01-14-2013, 01:13 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: The Borgias

You have it Thomas. People (especially in the western world) just have an overwhelming need to come up with an explanation. What happened to the Prices in the Tower? Evil King Richard must have done it. Who was bloody? That Catholic Witch. Who supported the evil forces of the enlightenment? Those killers the Borgias. Who had reason and opportunity to kill JFK? The mafia (who could not even get close to hitting Castro). Who can really believe a bunch of primitive S-ns could fly planes into the Twin Towers? No, the government had a secret invisible missile and satchel charges.

This kind of conspiracy thinking probably even were the foundation for some of the historical (but not mythological) problems in Tanakh.

My nephew (who was also military) and "son" (also in intel) and I used to siut down and spin these just incredible JFK and alien conspiracies (easy we lived in New Mexico). We called each other after McVeigh's absolutely brain-dread supposed thoughts (I consider them hallucinations) and decided never to indulge in that again. How I wish that the anti-Borgia intellectuals had not cooked the books.
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