40 Facts About Alexander VI


Alexander VI was ordained deacon and made a cardinal in 1456 after the election of his uncle as Pope Callixtus III, and a year later he became vice-chancellor of the Catholic Church.

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Alexander VI proceeded to serve in the Curia under the next four popes, acquiring significant influence and wealth in the process.

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Alexander VI is considered one of the most controversial of the Renaissance popes, partly because he acknowledged fathering several children by his mistresses.

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Alexander VI was named for his paternal grandfather, Rodrigo Gil de Borja y Fennolet.

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Alexander VI seemed to be the perfect cardinal to reform the Church, and the perfect cardinal for Borgia to maintain his influence.

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Alexander VI become Dean of the College of Cardinals in that year.

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When Rodrigo de Borgia was elected pope as Alexander VI following the death of Innocent VIII, his son Cesare Borgia "inherited" the post as second archbishop of Valencia.

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In contrast to the preceding pontificate, Pope Alexander VI adhered initially to strict administration of justice and orderly government.

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Della Rovere fortified himself in his bishopric of Ostia at the Tiber's mouth as Alexander VI formed a league against Naples and prepared for war.

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Alexander VI appealed to Spain for help, but Spain was eager to be on good terms with the papacy to obtain the title to the recently discovered New World.

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Alexander VI sought help from Charles VIII of France, who was allied to Ludovico "il Moro" Sforza, the de facto Duke of Milan, who needed French support to legitimise his rule.

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Alexander VI authorised him to pass through Rome, ostensibly on a crusade against the Ottoman Empire, without mentioning Naples.

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Alexander VI appealed to Ascanio Sforza and even to the Ottoman Sultan Bayazid II for help.

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Alexander VI tried to collect troops and put Rome in a state of defence, but his position was precarious.

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Alexander VI now feared that Charles might depose him for simony, and that the king would summon a council to nominate a new pope.

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Alexander VI was able to win over the bishop of Saint-Malo, who had much influence over the king, by making him a cardinal.

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Alexander VI agreed to send Cesare as legate to Naples with the French army; to deliver Cem Sultan, held as a hostage, to Charles VIII, and to give Charles Civitavecchia .

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Alexander VI now followed the general tendency of all the princes of the day to crush the great feudatories and establish a centralized despotism.

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From that time on, Alexander VI was able to build himself an effective power base in the Papal States.

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Alexander VI declared that henceforth the moral reform of the Church would be the sole object of his life.

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Alexander VI is reported to have been reduced to laughter when Savonarola's denunciations were related to him.

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Alexander VI had annulled Lucrezia's marriage to Giovanni Sforza, who had responded to the suggestion that he was impotent with the unsubstantiated counter-claim that Alexander and Cesare indulged in incestuous relations with Lucrezia, in 1497.

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Alexander VI hoped that Louis XII's help would be more profitable to his house than that of Charles VIII had been.

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Alexander VI instituted a special rite for the closing of a holy door, as well.

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Alexander VI's goods were confiscated and many other members of the clan in Rome were arrested, while Alexander's son Goffredo Borgia led an expedition into the Campagna and seized their castles.

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Alexander VI offered to help Louis XII on condition that Sicily be given to Cesare, and then offered to help Spain in exchange for Siena, Pisa and Bologna.

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Alexander VI's many mistresses, one of his favourites was Vannozza dei Cattanei, born in 1442, and wife of three successive husbands.

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Alexander VI is an ancestor of virtually all royal houses of Europe, mainly the southern and western ones, for being the ancestor of Dona Luisa de Guzman, wife of King John IV of Portugal, of the House of Braganza.

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Alexander VI kneeling in front of the Madonna, said to be a likeness of Giulia Farnese.

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Alexander VI first made a very careful confession of his sins, with a contrite heart, and was affected even to the shedding of tears, I am told; then he received in Communion the most Sacred Body and Extreme Unction was administered to him.

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Catholic apologists of Alexander VI have argued that the behaviors he receives criticism for were not atypical of the period.

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Alexander VI had sought reforms of the increasingly irresponsible Curia, putting together a group of his most pious cardinals in order to move the process along.

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Alexander VI was known for his patronage of the arts, and in his days a new architectural era was initiated in Rome with the coming of Bramante.

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Alexander VI commissioned Pinturicchio to lavishly paint a suite of rooms in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, which are today known as the Borgia Apartments.

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Alexander VI took a great interest in theatrics, and he even had the Menaechmi performed in his apartments.

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Alexander VI, whom papal rival and successor Giuliano della Rovere alleged without evidence was a marrano, demonstrated relatively benign treatment of Jews.

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Alexander VI welcomed them into Rome, declaring that they were "permitted to lead their life, free from interference from Christians, to continue in their own rites, to gain wealth, and to enjoy many other privileges".

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Alexander VI similarly allowed the immigration of Jews expelled from Portugal in 1497 and from Provence in 1498.

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Unlike Julius, Alexander VI never made war unless absolutely necessary, preferring negotiation and diplomacy.

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Alexander VI Lee argues that the crimes attributed to the Borgias were exaggerated by contemporaries because they were outsiders expanding their holdings at the expense of the Italians, that they were Spaniards when it was felt that Spain had too much control on the Italian peninsula, and that after the death of Alexander VI the family lost its influence and therefore any incentive for anyone to defend them.

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