Lucrezia Borgia was the daughter of future pope Alexander VI, and her three weddings into powerful families helped construct the political power of her own family. Historians debate whether or not Borgia was an active participant in her ill-famed family’s offenses, but interest in her has inspired innumerable works of art, novels, and movies.
Lucrezia Borgia was born through the Italian Renaissance, when artists, architects, and scientists were achieving new degrees of achievement and transforming their world. While well-known figures including Leonardo da Vinci were innovating their way to history, the Borgia heritage, conversely, is among violent political corruption involving a power-hungry family who sought to command substantial areas of Italy. Lucrezia apparently talked and wrote several languages, among them Italian, French, Latin, and Greek. Lucrezia Borgia was wed for the very first time before entering her teen years.
While annulment discussions were continuing between the Borgias and the Sforzas, Lucrezia rested in a closeby convent. The Borgias had certainly consummated a connection with a few person, yet, because when annulment was formally given on December 27, 1497, Lucrezia was six months pregnant.
Reports of the Borgias’ pregnancy were initially refuted, but in March 1498 a son, Giovanni, was created in secret (he wouldn’t be publically shown until three years after). The kid’s paternity was never established, and Rome’s gossips afterwards wondered whether he was the product of incest, or whether Lucrezia was actually his mom. Two papal decrees were issued on the issue, the first saying that Giovanni was the illegitimate son of Cesare and the next saying that he was the illegitimate son of Pope Alexander. Sadly for Alfonso, by 1500, Pope Alexander and Lucrezia’s brother Cesare sought a fresh alliance with France, and Lucrezia’s marriage to Alfonso was an important challenge.
On July 15, 1500, Alfonso was stabbed several times, however he lived. On August 18, his luck ran out, when, as is usually considered, Cesare’s hired men to strangle Alfonso to departure as he lay recuperating from his preceding stab wounds. Lucrezia’s new husband was initially reluctant due to the Borgia reputation. The couple soon moved out of Rome to Ferrara, escaping the endless scheming of her dad and brother, and the pair had several kids (many of whom died young). With this particular union, Lucrezia was able to rise above the couple’s family’s standing, and she flourished in her new surroundings.
In 1503, Lucrezia’s father, Pope Alexander, perished, and with him many of Cesare’s remaining plots died as well. Lucrezia’s life became more secure, and when Alfonso’s dad died in 1505, Lucrezia and Alfonso became the reigning duke and duchess of Ferrara. During the following several years, Lucrezia acquired a reputation as a patron of the arts, and her own family presided over a well-known and thriving artistic community. In 1512, Lucrezia pulled away from public life and turned to faith. It’s supposed that her own family’s withdrawal was in response to the news that Rodrigo, her son by Alfonso of Aragon, had expired. On June 24, 1519, ten days after giving birth to a stillborn girl, Lucrezia Borgia expired in age 39.
Lucrezia Borgia has mainly been remembered as an associate of the scandalous Borgia family—the daughter of the tainted and scheming Pope Alexander VI and the sister of the wrong and most likely murderous Cesare Borgia. Gossips of incest with Cesare have pursued her through the centuries, and occasions including the arrival of her cryptic infant, the passing of her second husband in the hands of assassins, and her presence of the Banquet of Chestnuts (an orgy hosted by Cesare Borgia involving 50 hookers and innumerable members of the clergy) have just added to the persona. But history has been kinder to Lucrezia, and her own family is now increasingly viewed as more of a pawn in the evil games of her family than as an actual participant. While her own family might have taken the fruits of her family’s schemes, chances are that her dad and brother just used her to improve their particular political agendas.