The Tudor Society

Who was Cesare Borgia?

800px-cesare_borgia_duke_of_valentinoisI had the pleasure of sharing a table with Samantha Morris, author of Cesare Borgia in a Nutshell at the Evening with the Authors event in London recently and her enthusiasm for the Borgia family is infectious. I know they're not Tudor, but they're fascinating and are another family that is surrounded by myth and controversy, and that has larger than life characters.

Thank you to Samantha for joining us today with this short biography of Cesare in celebration of the recent release of her book.

Born at some point between 1475 and 1476, Cesare Borgia was the son of Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia and Vanozza Cattanei. It was only after Rodrigo's ascension to the Papacy that Cesare and his siblings were formally recognised as his children. Cesare was brought up in the church, eventually becoming a Cardinal – a career that he did not want. He believed he was meant to be a soldier, and that he was meant to follow the career that had been laid out for his brother Juan.

After Juan was brutally murdered in 1497, Cesare left the College of Cardinals and became a soldier just as he had always wished. Proven to be an incredibly adept commander on the field of battle, Cesare went on to take the Romagna – even going so far as to imprison the infamous Tigress of Forli, Caterina Sforza. His success on the battlefield ended up earning him the respect of the Florentine diarist and politician Niccolo Machiavelli, who used Cesare as his inspiration for The Prince – a guidebook of how the best rulers were tyrannical in their nature.

Cesare married Charlotte D'Albret in 1499 in the Queen’s closet at Blois, a masterful move on his part to gain the friendship of the French King, however when Cesare left France he never saw his wife again.

By 1504, thanks to the machinations of the new Pope Julius II, Cesare was imprisoned in Spain accused of the murder of his own brother (who was related by marriage to the Spanish royal family), yet a daring escape from La Mota in 1505 meant freedom for him. He went to his brother-in-law, King Jean of Navarre, who offered him a place at the head of his armies. Together, Cesare and Jean worked towards making the infant Charles V as the recognised ruler of Castille. But in 1507, Cesare found himself surrounded by enemies outside the small town of Viana. Navarre. He was stabbed from all sides and died of his wounds on 12th March 1507, at the age of just 31.

An astute politician, warlord and strategist Cesare Borgia has become one of the most vilified men in history – but the man behind the myth proves to be much more interesting than the rumours that still surround him.

Find out more about Samantha and why she's so fascinated by Cesare Borgia in Samantha Morris and Cesare Borgia.

Book details:

Cesare Borgia in a Nutshell outlines the life of one of history's most controversial figures from his birth through to his murder in 1507 at the age of just 31. This book aims to expose the truth behind the age-old rumours of this ancient family and to shed light onto a fascinating period of history.

Samantha Morris studied archaeology at the University of Winchester where her interest in the history of the Italian Renaissance began. Her interest in the Borgia family has grown and she is always looking for new information on the subject.

Paperback: 88 pages
Publisher: MadeGlobal Publishing; 1 edition (11 Oct. 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 8494593757
ISBN-13: 978-8494593758
ASIN (Kindle): B01MA1MQWW

Go to to view the book on your country's Amazon site.

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