Election of Rodrigo Borgia as Pope Alexander VI

Election of Rodrigo Borgia as Pope Alexander VI

Pope Alexander VI
Source: Wikipedia

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Rodrigo Borgia is elected Pope Alexander VI. One of the most controversial popes of the Renaissance era, the Italianized form of his surname, Borgia, will become a byword for the debased standards and debauchery of the Catholic Church during this era.

Giovanni di Lorenzo de' Medici, later elected Pope Leo X, supposedly criticizes this election by saying:

"Now we are in the power of a wolf, the most rapacious perhaps that this world has ever seen. And if we do not flee, he will inevitably devour us all."

Alexander VI's maternal uncle was Callixtus III, who quickly made Rodrigo bishop, cardinal and vice-chancellor of the church. Despite such nepotism, he served five different popes and proved to be a capable administrator.

His private life was something else, however, and he had many mistresses. Among his (at least) four children were Lucrezia Borgia and Cesare Borgia, idol of Machiavelli.

There will be some speculation that Pope Alexander VI achieved the office through simony, meaning that he paid for it. However, there appears to be no way to prove such charges.

He will begin his reign as pope normally enough, but he quickly involves himself with the nepotism which proved so helpful to him earlier in his career. Even in comparison to other Renaissance popes, his rule will be considered especially lavish and immoral.

At the same time, Pope Alexander VI will be a staunch supporter of the arts and culture. He will be the patron for Michelangelo's Pieta and has the papal apartments refurbished. It is under his auspices that the "papal line of demarcation" divides responsibility for administration of the New World between Spain and Portugal.


Rodrigo Borgia — Be Prepared

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