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Digital Subscriptions > History Revealed > October 2015 > In a Nutshell

In a Nutshell

In Renaissance Rome, one powerful family stood out as being steeped in sin and immorality – but were they that bad?



Who were they?

The Borgias were a powerful family in Renaissance Italy. Despite the fact that they produced two Popes, their name has become associated with all kinds of dark deeds.

How did the Borgias first come to prominence?

They were originally a noble Spanish dynasty, who switched to Italy when Alfonso di Borgia 1378-1458 was made a Cardinal in 1444. Eleven years later, he was appointed as Pope – taking the name Callixtus III – and gave a leg-up to his nephew Rodrigo Borgia. In 1492, Rodrigo kept the family tradition going and also succeeded to the papacy.As the hugely controversial Pope Alexander VI, he began to accumulate a vast amount of land and power for himself and his illegitimate children.

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The October 2015 issue of History Revealed