Monday, 20 August 2012

A Borgia chronology to the end of 1493

A chronology of the Borgia family,
with emphasis on Lucrezia Borgia

From the departure of Constantine to his new capital in the fourth century . . . , the Popes for the better part of eleven hundred years were exposed to the danger of violence at the hands of a turbulent local aristocracy, the Roman mob, or some foreign sovereign . . . Since there was no central Italian secular authority, the Pope in order to survive was forced to become a secular authority himself – a priest-King.
                Only in a primitive society has it ever proved possible for the offices of High Priest and sovereign to be successfully combined. In a highly mature world like that of Renaissance Italy, hardly an age of mysticism, nor one like ours which seeks vainly at sustaining belief, it was natural for the King to become more important than the Priest, for the politician to shoulder out the man of God.
                Since Sixtus IV at least (1471-84) problems of statecraft and administration have preoccupied the Popes. In their struggle for survival they tended to adopt the standards of the states with whom they battled; like their rivals they were unchaste, like them they advanced their own relatives, appropriated public funds for their own base uses, endeavoured to invest their courts with all the lustre of the New Learning and the new art, fought with every weapon at their command, including murder at times. Had anyone dared to suggest that their example debased Christian standards of behaviour, their surprise would probably have been hardly less than that of the Prime Minister of a modern democratic state, were he accused of dragging democracy into disrepute because he did not invariably go about his business by bus and tram.
                This application of princely secular standards to what we consider as the misdeeds of the Renaissance Popes does not condone them; it merely explains why they excited so little genuine indignation in the Italians of their time. Those who ranted most bitterly against the Borgia turn out on examination to have been adversaries in the same game, who had been worsted by the superior play of these Spanish immigrants. Machiavelli sums up the attitude of the average cool and sensible man of the day, when in “The Prince” he says of Alexander VI, “of all the Pontiffs who have ever been, he showed how much a Pope can prevail who has the money and the forces”   (SHS 212-14).

As a result of the famous donation of Pepin given to the popes in the eighth century, the Pope was, moreover, not only the spiritual leader of all Christendom, but the temporal head of the papal states. His dominion over that disorderly hodgepodge of semi-independent cities and provinces stretching across central Italy from Rome to Ancona brought him an annual income of 100 000 florins. It also made him one of the five most important princes on the Italian peninsula (RE 8).
Use of brackets:
·       Ordinary round brackets (. . .): Used for indicating main sources – the initials of authors and page numbers.
·       Square brackets [. . .]: Used for indicating parenthetical material or additional information inserted from another source (the main source is indicated between round brackets at the end of a paragraph). For example: “Juan Cherubín [Cherubino Juan] de Centelles [or Querubi de Centelles, son of the Count of Oliva; SB 24], a young nobleman from Valencia, becomes engaged to Lucrezia, who is not yet 11 (CF 150).” The main quote is from CF, with the SB quote as a parenthetical insertion. Note that the reference to the name “Cherubino Juan” has not been included.
·       Braces {. . .}: Used for indicating other sources that reflect essentially the same information as in the preceding paragraph, or in which more information can be found.

No effort has been made to integrate information from the various sources, which may contradict one another. It is to be expected that a text such as this will contain some errors.

Petrarch accepts an invitation to live at the court of Ferrara (RE 145)
27 Mar
Pierre Roger de Beaufort, Pope Gregory XI, dies. He returned to Rome in January 1377 to re-establish the Apostolic See after the exile in Avignon. The Italians want a Roman Pope to succeed him. The “radical reformer” Francesco Tebaldeschi, Urban VI, becomes Pope in April (CF 29-31).
26 Jul
All cardinals have left Rome in reaction against the Pope, who offended in particular the “ultramontanists” (i.e. the French) (CF 32).
20 Sep
At Fondi, the Cardinals elect Robert of Geneva as Pope, Clement VII, after having declared Urban’s election null and void (on 9 Aug) (CF 32).
31 Dec
In the Castle of Canals, near Jativa, Spain, Alonso de Borja is born. His father, Domingo, is a well-bred but impecunious hidalgo; his mother, Francisca Marti, is from Valencia. At the age of 14, he is sent to study at the University of Lerida (CF 35).
13 May
After failing to dislodge Urban in Rome, Clement leaves Naples (where he has fled, seeking the help of Queen Joanna I of Naples) (CF 32).
20 Jun
·       Clement returns to Avignon, and Christendom is now saddled with two popes (CF 32-33).
·       Urban then creates a new Sacred College and excommunicates Joanna, who is later strangled. He offers the “vacant” throne of Naples to Charles III of the Dukes of Durazzo-Anjou, who fails to honour his part of the bargain in endowing the Pope’s nephews with cities, and so the Pope falls out with the Angevins (CF 33).
15 Oct
·       Urban VI dies (CF 33).
·       Both Pope and antipope have successors (Clement died in 1394), and thus begins the Great Western Schism. Northern and Central Italy, Flanders, Scandinavia, Hungary, Poland and most German states support Rome. France, the Kingdom of Naples, Scotland, Austria, Savoy, Cyprus, Castile, Navarre and Aragon support Avignon. Especially in Rome the Pontiff finds it difficult to maintain discipline, and religious authority becomes more dependent on the political arm (CF 32-33, 39).
·       Clement’s successor, Pedro de Luna, as Benedict XIII, falls foul of the French and is kept cooped up in Avignon (CF 40-41).
11 Mar
Pope Benedict escapes from Avignon to the territories of the Count of Provence. It is from Benedict that Alonso de Borja receives his first career advancement of a canon’s stall at Lerida and as vicar-general of the city (CF 41-42).
26 Jun
A council at Pisa of 14 Roman and 10 Avignese cardinals declare the current popes deposed and elect Pietro Filargis, a Greek, Archbishop of Milan, as Alexander V. There are now three popes (CF 42).

The opening of the Council of Constance, consisting of prelates and dignitaries, which is aimed at healing the schism, suppressing heresy (Hus) and promoting moral regeneration (CF 43).

The Council succeeds in getting two popes (John XXIII and Gregory XII) out of the way and annulling the third (Benedict XIII) (CF 43).

Alfonso V ascends the throne of Aragon with Alonso de Borja at his side as adviser (CF 44).
4 May
Alonso de Borja is designated to present Spain’s views at Constance, but it appears that he does not go (CF 44).
11 Nov
The Council declares Benedict XIII deposed (he is in retreat at Peniscola) and elects Oddone Colonna as Martin V (CF 44).

Alfonso V appoints Alonso de Borja, who has sound knowledge of jurisprudence, as secretary and counsellor, especially in dealings with the Holy See of Martin V. (Alfonso used Benedict, who had some popular support in Aragon, to exact concessions from Martin) (CF 45). Alonso studied jurisprudence (MB 14).
28 Sep
It is only now that Martin V reaches Rome (CF 46).
23 May
Benedict XIII dies after creating four new cardinals, three of whom elect the fourth, Gil Sanchez Munoz, as Clement VIII (CF 46).

To the ire of Alfonso V, Martin V supports the claims of Louis III of Anjou to the throne of Naples, disappointing Aragonese aspirations (CF 46). Alfonso ostentatiously supports Clement XVIII (CF 47). Alonso de Borja cautions King Alfonso against isolation and steers him in the direction of reconciliation (CF 47).
Through Alonso’s mediation, Alfonso is reconciled to Martin V, who pays the King 150 000 florins for renouncing the schism (CF 47).
14 Aug
Clement VIII divests himself, under the influence of Alonso de Borja, of the papal mantle (CF 47).
15 Aug
King Alfonso and Pope Martin bestow the bishopric of Valencia upon Alonso (CF 48).
20 Aug
Alonso is ordained a priest at Peniscola, the stronghold of his old friend and protector Alfonso V (CF 48).
21 Aug
Alonso (51) is consecrated as bishop. He has served for long in the Avignon opposition, but has striven hard to give that opposition the coup de grâce (CF 48).
1 Jan
Rodrigo de Borja is born at Jativa (CF 60).
20 Feb
Martin V dies (Wikipedia).
3 Mar
Eugenius IV is elected Pope (Wikipedia). He is openly pro-Angevist (CF 55).

Francesco de Borja is born. He is to become the Papal Treasurer under Alexander VI, as Bishop of Teano and Bishop of Cosenza. He becomes a Cardinal in 1500. He is to become tutor to the little Rodrigo, Duke of Bisceglie (son of Lucrezia), after the fall of the Borgias. He is jailed under Julius II (CF 59-60).

Alfonso II of Aragon lays claim to the kingdom of Naples. Alfonso Borja (sic), as canon of Lerida Cathedral, accompanies him to Italy as private secretary (JH 1).

Don Jofré de Borja dies and Isabel, with her children, moves to Valencia, inter alia so that Rodrigo can continue his studies (CF 61). Rodrigo is 10, and they now live with his uncle Alonso, Archbishop of Valencia, in the episcopal palace (RE 16).
Alfonso of Aragon eventually conquers Naples (opposed by René of Orléans, who is supported by the Duchy of Milan (Philip-Maria Visconti), the sea power of Genoa and Pope Eugenius IV). Alfonso comes to win the support of Milan, which fears French claims on its own territory (CF 53).
2 Jun
Alfonso of Aragon enters Naples, beginning a long era of Hispanicisation. During his 16-year rule, Alonso de Borja serves as his adviser. Angevist claims to Naples have now become an academic issue (CF 53-55).
Vanozza Catanei, later mistress of Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia and mother of Juan, Cesare and Lucrezia, is born (background provided) (CF 136). The name is derived from the title capitaneus, and the ancient form is Vanotia de Captaneis. There is a branch of the family in Ferrara (FG 7). Her father, Jacopo, is an obscure Brescian painter who came to Rome under Paul II. Rodrigo Borgia possibly met her later when visiting her father’s workshop or that of a relative – Antonio de Brescia is responsible for window and door sculptures in the Palazzo Venezia. Women of Lombardy are fairer and slimmer than those of Rome, and it is possibly from such a person that Lucrezia inherits her slim figure and fair looks. In 1483 Rodrigo Borgia refers in a document to Vanozza’s mother as Menica, widow of Jacopo (pinctor [Pinctoris/painter; SB 15]). Vanozza may have been too poor to afford a dowry (RE 20-21). Vanozza may be of Mantuan origin (SB 15).
At age 12, Rodrigo Borgia is alleged to have killed a boy of the same age (of low birth) in Valencia (CF 61-62).
14 Jun
·       Pope Eugenius, in exile in Florence, reaches an agreement with King Alfonso of Aragon and invests him with the Kingdom of Naples. A year later, the Pope confirms Alfonso’s bastard son Ferrante in the right to succession. Alfonso agrees to pay vassal’s tribute, inter alia a white horse annually (CF 56).
·       Alonso de Borja fulfils important administrative duties and supervises Ferrante’s education (CF 57).
28 Sep
Eugenius returns to Rome after an exile of more than 9 years (CF 56).
2 May
Pope Eugenius summons Alonso de Borja to Rome and makes him the Cardinal of Santi Quattro Coronati. He serves as a valuable link between Rome and Naples, but is beginning to become detached from King Alfonso (CF 57). At this point, there are 26 members of the Sacred College: 11 Italians and 15 foreigners (CF 57). Two are Spaniards: Juan de Carvajal and Juan de Torquemada (CF 58).

Rodrigo de Borja/Borgia (14) is appointed to a chapter of Valencia by papal bull of Nicholas V (CF 62). [Sic: This year should be post-1447; Pope Eugenius is on the throne at this point.]
23 Feb
Pope Eugenius IV dies (CF 58).
4 Mar
The conclave begins and Tommaso Parentucelli is eventually elected as Nicholas V, to the delight of humanists. In contrast, Alonso de Borja has the closed mind of a medieval Spaniard (CF 59).
·       Spring: Rodrigo de Borja/Borgia, son of Isabel (who married her cousin Jofré de Borja y Doms) arrives in Rome. She is the sister of Cardinal Alonso de Borja, whose other sister, Catalina, is married to Juan del Milá (CF 60).
·       Alonso’s sister Catarina is the wife of Juan Milá, Baron of Mazalanes, and she is the mother of Juan Luis. Alonso’s other sister Isabella is the wife of Jofré Lanzol, and she is the mother of Pedro Luis and Rodrigo. She also has several daughters. Of the Milá household, Don Pedro settles in Rome. Adriana Milá is his daughter (FG 2). Pedro Luis and Rodrigo, sons of Isabella Borgia and Jofré Borgia, are therefore Borgias twice over (MB 14-15).

Sometime between 1449 and 1455, Rodrigo’s brother Pedro Luis, and Pedro and Luis Juan de Milá, the sons of Catalina, are brought to Rome (CF 72).
Jubilee year, in which plague strikes Rome. The papal court flees the city and Pope Nicholas V moves from castle to castle (eventually ending up in Fabriano) (CF 63).
19 Dec
A crush between a crowd and a herd of animals kills about 200 people on the Ponte Sant’Angelo (CF 64). (See EC 81 ff for Sant’Angelo.)
End of month: The Pope returns to the Vatican (CF 64).

The Habsburg monarch Frederick III comes to Rome for his imperial coronation (incidentally, the last of coronations in a long series, a swan-song of the Middle Ages) (CF 64).
Abortive Porcari republican conspiracy in Rome (CF 66).
29 May
The Turks take Constantinople under Mohammed II (CF 66, 80), which means the end of the Byzantine Empire (AL 9).
Rodrigo Borgia leaves Rome to study canon law at the University of Bologna. The city is governed by Sante Bentivoglio, married to Ginevra Sforza, daughter of the lord of Pesaro. She will exert iron control over the city for 50 years (CF 66-67).
18 Apr
Venice negotiates a treaty with the Ottoman Empire, preventing her from supporting a crusade (CF 82).
24/25 Mar
Nicholas V dies (CF 67).
4 Apr
The conclave begins, consisting of 7 Italians, 4 Spaniards, 2 Frenchmen and 2 Greeks. The nominations of Prospero Colonna and Latino Orsini are rejected, and Bessarion’s orthodox beard costs him his nomination (CF 68).
8 Apr
Tension reaches a climax among remaining candidates. As a provisional measure, the conclave decides to elect the oldest, the 77-year-old Alonso de Borja (he looked over 80) under the name of Callixtus (Callistus/Calixtus) III (CF 69-70). He suffers from gout (MB 14).
20 Apr
During his coronation, on his way to take possession of the Lateran Palace after the service in St Peter’s, Callixtus is accosted by a crowd at the Piazza di Monte Giordano, where Jewish representatives traditionally offer the Scroll of Law to the Pope. The Pope escapes, deprived of his canopy for the procession. He is also unpopular with the humanists (CF 70-71).
10 May
Rodrigo (24) is appointed apostolic notary (CF 73). He will become a devotee of the Virgin Mary (SB 19).
14 May
Callixtus issues a bull in which he announces the programme of his reign as the expulsion of the Turks, a crusade, with 1 March 1456 as date of departure. It is a hopeless cause. The West is apathetic, but Central Europe has more reason to be concerned (CF 81-83). Callixtus III will later order a review of Joan of Arc’s trial (she was executed in 1431) (AL 9).
3 Jun
Rodrigo is assigned the deanship of the Church of Santa Maria in Jativa. Other rich benefices to family members are to follow (CF 73). A man on the rise, Rodrigo is eloquent and likeable; his brother Pedro Luis, who will become Captain-General of the Church and Prefect of Rome, is loathed by all (MB 15).
15 Jun
In the second half of June, Rodrigo returns to Bologna to complete his studies (CF 73).
19 Jun
Rodrigo arrives in Bologna and takes up residence in the Palazzo Gregoriano (CF 73).
29 Jun
Callixtus canonises the Dominican preacher Vincent Ferrer, who predicted his rise to highest office (CF 72) [Vincenzo Ferrera; MB 14]. At the beginning of his pontificate, Callixtus promotes the review of the trial of Joan of Arc, which results in her rehabilitation (CF 78).
4 Jul
Jacopo Calcaterra reports to the Duke of Milan “that between the two – His Holiness and the King [Alfonso of Aragon] – things are not so entirely well sorted and ordered as at first the whole world thought and believed”. Alfonso wants, for example, to be invested with the Ancona Marches as feudal domain (CF 96). (See CF 95 ff. for the constant struggle between them.)
8 Sep
In St Peter’s, Callixtus blesses an expedition led by Cardinal Urrea to aid the Aegean islands with a small flotilla against the Turks. However, assisted by a naval squadron of King Alfonso, the galleys attack the Genoese coast and Venetian merchantmen. The Pope is beside himself with anger (CF 87).
·       The Palazzo di Venezia is built (AL 9).
·       The nephew of Pope Callixtus, Rodrigo Borgia, becomes a cardinal (AL 9).
·       “According to one story, first appearing in a posthumous biography in 1475 and later embellished and popularized by Pierre-Simon Laplace, Callixtus III excommunicated the 1456 apparition of Halley’s Comet, believing it to be an ill omen for the Christian defenders of Belgrade, who were at that time being besieged by the armies of the Ottoman Empire. No known primary source supports the authenticity of this account. Callixtus III’s papal bull of June 29, 1456, which called for public prayer for the success of the crusade, makes no mention of the comet, and by August 6, when the Turkish siege was broken, the comet had not been visible from Europe or Turkey for several weeks” (Wikipedia, Callixtus III; 16 Jul 2010),
Pedro Luis, Rodrigo’s brother, becomes Captain-General of the Church (CF 75).
14 Mar
Sunday. The Pope orders the commandant of Sant’Angelo to hand over the castle, and the following day Pedro Luis obtains the command, putting him in control of the city (CF 75). To this position, the Pope adds the governorships of 12 strategic cities in the papal states and control of various fortresses (CF 76). Generally, the Borgias support the Colonna (CF 76). {RE 16}
Callixtus’ fleet of 16 galleys is now properly organised and ready, and departs for Naples. Here King Alfonso delays in amplifying the fleet with a promised 15 vessels. In the meantime, the Turks are advancing up the Danube into the heart of Europe (CF 88).
6 Aug
The fleet leaves harbour: still only 15 galleys augmented by 4 or 5 old ships provided by King Alfonso (CF 89). On this day, news reaches Rome of a battle at Belgrade on 14 July in which the Turks were routed (by the Hungarian Janos Hunyadi, ably assisted by the Franciscan friar John of Capistrano and Cardinal Carvajal) (CF 89-90). Callixtus later fixes 6 August as the date for the Feast of the Transfiguration (CF 93).
11 Aug
Janos Hunyadi dies of the plague (CF 92).
13 Aug
Rodrigo Borgia passes his final examinations nemine discrepante (without any reservations) and becomes a Doctor in Canon Law (CF 74).
23 Aug
Jacopo Calaterra, an envoy of Francesco Sforza, the Duke of Milan, has an interview with the Pope, who is in bed with gout. The Pope is exultant about the victory but rails against lack of support by others (King Alfonso) (CF 91). The fleet has some successes in the Aegean (CF 91-92).
±15 Sep
Callixtus informs the Senate of Bologna of his intention to make Rodrigo and Luis Juan (de Mila) cardinals. They are duly escorted by four ambassadors back to Rome (CF 74).
17 Nov
Rodrigo (25) becomes Cardinal-deacon; he is not yet a priest (he is fully ordained 12 years later) (CF 74).
Rodrigo is appointed Legate to the Ancona Marches (CF 75).
Venetian relations with the Ottomans are so cordial that the Sultan invites the Doge to his son’s wedding (CF 83).
Luis Juan da Milá, Rodrigo’s cousin, is appointed Legate to Bologna (CF 75).
Pedro Luis, Rodrigo’s brother, launches a campaign against the Orsini family, after which he is appointed Prefect of Rome (CF 76).
King Alfonso’s representative demands the archbishopric of Saragossa for his grandson (11), a bastard of Ferrante (illegitimate himself). Callixtus refuses and is threatened with a Council. Callixtus issues a sentence of excommunication against the representative (CF 99).
·       Rodrigo Borgia (26) becomes Vice-Chancellor of the Church. This position carries an annual stipend of 20 000 ducats. In collaboration with the Pope, he is responsible for the government of Christendom (CF 75).
·       As Vice-Chancellor, he occupies a house (formerly the Mint) in the Ponte quarter. He converts it into one of the showiest palaces in Rome, enclosing two courts (the original colonnades of the lower storey still exist in the Palazzo Sforza-Cesarini) (FG 3).
·       A Christian fleet wins a naval victory against the Turks off the coast of Mytilene against the Turks (CF 77, 94).
2 Sep
George Castriotis (Scanderbeg, an Albanian), the “last great paladin”, wins a great victory at Tomoriza, driving the Ottomans back from the shores of the Adriatic (CF 93).
Lucrezia d’Alagno, mistress of Alfonso V, comes to Rome to request a dispensation to marry the King, but to no avail (CF 99-100).
22 Dec
Callixtus confers on Scanderbeg the title of Captain-General of the Church in the war against the Turks (CF 93).
Rodrigo Borgia is appointed Inspector-General of all papal troops in Italy (CF 75).
·       Ferdinand (Ferrante) I becomes King of Naples. Callixtus dies in this year (AL 9).
·       A rumour has it that Callixtus wishes to use the crusade to win a crown in the East for Pedro Luis Borgia. This undermines support for the Pope from the Italian states. An illusion arises that the Turks are done for (CF 94).
·       Early in the year, the Pope confers the title of Emperor of Byzantium on Pedro Luis Borgia with a view to the reconquest of Constantinople (CF 102).
·       Gentile Virginio Orsini, on the death of his uncle Carlo, takes the reins of his prominent house, at the time an enemy to the King of Naples and an ally of the pontiff (Wikipedia, Virginio Orsini, 2 Sep 2010).
Fruitlessly, peacemakers attempt to reconcile the Pope and King Alfonso of Naples. Callixtus’ opposition to Ferrante’s right of succession is rooted in his own desire to obtain the kingdom for Pedro Luis (CF 100). The Pope pretends to achieve peace by removing Naples from the grasp of both the Aragonese and the French (CF 101).
An epidemic breaks out in Rome, but Callixtus remains in the city (CF 102).
11 Jun
Giacomo Antonio della Torre writes to Francesco Sforza that the Pope looks forward to King Alfonso’s death with “the greatest joy” (CF 100).
27 Jun
Alfonso V dies, leaving Sicily to his brother John and Naples to his illegitimate son Ferrante (27), who will rule for 36 years. (He is the one who will cage and embalm his enemies.) (CF 102).
30 Jun
·       With Alfonso’s opposition no longer a problem, Callixtus celebrates by assigning benefices and posts to relatives and followers (CF 103). At an ad hoc consistory, Rodrigo Borgia is invested with the bishopric of Valencia (which brings in between 18 000 and 20 000 ducats a year), previously held by Callixtus himself (CF 75, 104). Callixtus also informs the French cardinals De Coétivy and d’Estouteville of his intention to use the Church’s right to dispose of Naples as he saw fit (CF 104).
·       Pedro Luis Borgia is at this time raiding townships in the Papal States, and Callixtus orders him to remain ready (CF 104).
At the beginning of July, Rodrigo Borgia, having retreated to Tivoli (Tibur, as known then) to escape heat and plague, receives news that the Pope is indisposed. Initially Cardinal Rodrigo remains where he is (CF 105-106).
12 Jul
Callixtus issues a bull in which the Church lays claim to Naples (CF 104). Callixtus is livid with anger when Francesco Sforza and Cosimo de’Medici do not support his anti-Aragonese policy. Tension and fury probably make him fall ill (CF 105).
25 Jul
·       After a courier informs Cardinal Rodrigo that the Pope has been given up for dead and that Church administration has been suspended, he arrives in Rome in the evening.  He finds his palace ransacked and faces down an antagonistic mob (CF 106).
·       The Pope holds a consistory in his sick room with cardinals around his bed, discussing Ferrante and the crusade. At times he lapses into unconsciousness and Rodrigo now stays at his side (CF 106).
30 Jul
It is rumoured that the Pope is dead and the Roman mob falls on the “Catalans”. The Sacred College institutes safety measures to keep the mob at bay (CF 107).
31 Jul
The Pope creates Pedro Luis Borgia the Duke of Benevento, Count of Terracina and Marchese of Civitavecchia (the first two garrisoned by Ferrante in any event) (CF 107).
1 Aug
·       Callixtus declares his intention to create four new cardinals, including two Spaniards (CF 108).
·       In the evening, influential cardinals meet to withhold consent for the appointment of new cardinals and to demand that Pedro Luis hand over the Castel Sant’Angelo to the Sacred College (CF 108).
2 Aug
Envoys of Ferrante nail an appeal on the doors of St Peter’s:  the cardinals will have to come to terms with Ferrante, or Ferrante will turn to the mob (CF 108).
4 Aug
At this time, Pedro Luis is barricaded in Sant’Angelo with his troops. The Pope’s savings are removed from his room in a strongbox by the Sacred College, who removes 22 000 ducats willed to Pedro Luis. If Pedro hands over the Castle, he will receive his inheritance. Pedro Luis complies and the troops swear allegiance to the Sacred College. In the meantime, Spaniards are attacked all over the papal states. Under Cardinal Latino, the Orsini try to drive Pedro Luis into a corner (CF 109).
6 Aug
·       At three in the morning, Pedro Luis rides out from Sant’Angelo, flanked by his brother Cardinal Rodrigo and Cardinal Barbo, with an escort of 300 cavalry and 200 foot-soldiers (CF 109). The troops abandon Pedro Luis at the Porta San Paolo, and he gallops off to Ostia. Rodrigo and Barbo return to the Vatican (CF 110). {MB 15}
·       Callixtus III dies toward nightfall (CF 111). He is abandoned by all, but Rodrigo remains with him until the end (MB 15-16). He was the last medievally minded Pope and the last traditional crusader (consider his Spanish background) (CF 79). He is succeeded by Pius II. It will take Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia another 34 years to become Pope, from 1458 to 1492 (CF 117).
16 Aug
Under an adapted arcade of the Apostolic Palace, the conclave goes into session (CF 111). Rodrigo Borgia has allowed his palace to be sacked to satisfy the turbulent crowd. Many Borgia friends and mercenaries are killed, but he survives (MB 15).
19 Aug
Election of Pope Pius II, born Enea Silvio Piccolomini (Latin: Aeneas Sylvius) (Wikipedia, Pope Pius II, 5 April 2011). Unlike Callixtus, he is an artist, thinker and humanist. Rodrigo casts the decisive vote at the election of Piccolomini, who is therefore beholden to the Vice-Chancellor (MB 16).
3 Sep
Having reached Ostia safely and settling in Civitavecchia, Pedro Luis Borgia negotiates to hand over the fortresses under his command for cash. Before he can leave Civitavecchia, however, he is struck down by fever (CF 112).
26 Sep
Pedro Luis dies after naming Rodrigo as his heir (CF 112). {MB 15}
Pius II takes his court to Mantua for a congress to discuss measures against the Turks. Cardinal Rodrigo undertakes boat excursions and amorous adventures. It is possible that Rodrigo meets Vanozza Catanei (17), “the toast of Mantua”. Stories are related about a handsome cardinal who carries off the wife of a dim-witted husband at this time (CF 120).
A baptismal feast is held in the house of Giovanni di Bichis in Siena, lasting for a fortnight. Husbands and male relatives are excluded, and Rodrigo is suspected of conducting himself inappropriately with some ladies. Rumours reach the Pope, who is taking the waters at Petriolo (CF 120-121).
11 Jun
·       Letter of Pius II to Rodrigo, in which he reproves the Cardinal for bringing dishonour on the Church. Rodrigo is a Cardinal Deacon and Bishop of Valencia, but is not yet a priest (CF 121).
·       The Pope writes from Petriolo. In Siena, Cardinal Rodrigo and a colleague, four days previously, participated in a party with women whose husbands, fathers and kinsmen of the women were excluded: “We have heard that the dance was indulged in all wantonness; none of the allurements of love were lacking, and you conducted yourself in a wholly worldly manner” (FG 4-5; full text). {MB 16}
·       “Of this famous garden-party, the Sienese would afterwards say: if the children born a year hence came into the world dressed like their fathers, they would all be in priests’ or in Cardinals’ habits” (SHS 3). {MB 17}
·       A few days later, Pope Pius sends Cardinal Borgia a letter in which admits that he may have been too hasty in accepting everything he has been told, but begs him “to take care of his honour with greater prudence” (RE 19). {MB 17}
The Mantuan ambassador writes to the Gonzagas about the “party”, which took place at a baptism, but merely mentions that Monsignor Rohan and the Vice-Chancellor, as sponsors were allowed to join a fine party: “But no one entered save the ecclesiastics” (MB 17). The chronicler Gaspare da Verona later remarks that Cardinal Borgia draws women like “a magnet attracts steel” (MB 17).
Cardinal Rodrigo accompanies Pope Pius on his summer holiday to Corsignano (Pienza) and builds a palace for himself there (CF 118). He organises hunts in Tuscany and the Apennines, and thanks the Marchese Gonzaga for trained hawks and hounds, without which he would have “to live in idleness and without any pleasure . . . and endure the tedium of living in these rough and wild valleys” – during a period supposedly of penance (MB 17).
Louis XI becomes King of France (AL 9).
Alum, used for dyeing and tanning, is discovered at Tolfa in the papal states, which is extremely important for boosting Church income (EC 64-66).
Cardinal Rodrigo’s son Pedro Luis (Pier Luigi) is born (CF 135; 138). [But see also 1468.]
Pius II declares his intention to sail personally against the Turks. He rails eloquently against the conduct of the luxury-loving cardinals (CF 121).
Plague breaks out in Ancona (CF 122).
Pius II limits the scope of office of the Vice-Chancellor (CF 124).
18 Jun
In spite of suffering from a fever, Pope Pius II leaves Rome for Ancona in the hope of increasing the morale of the crusading army (Wikipedia, Pope Pius II, 5 Apr 2011).
10 Aug
The Pope is in Ancona to launch an expedition against the Turks (but is already in the grip of his last illness). Cardinal Rodrigo (33) himself is extremely ill with earache and pain under his right armpit (CF 122). The Mantuan envoy reports that the prognosis is not good since the Vice-Chancellor “had not slept alone” (RE 19).
14 Aug
However, the crusading army melts away at Ancona for want of transport (and fear of plague), and when at last the Venetian fleet arrives, the dying Pope can only view it from a window. He expires two days afterwards (14 August) (Wikipedia, Pope Pius II, 5 Apr 2011; CF 122).
30 Aug
Pietro Barbo, a Venetian and nephew of Eugenius IV, is elected as Paul II. He begins the series of “nepotic” popes: Alexander VI, Pius III, Julius II, and Clement VII. Cardinal Rodrigo is in the conclave with a bandage because of a suppurating ear (CF 122).
16 Sep
Coronation of Paul II, which Rodrigo, the senior Cardinal-Deacon, is unable to attend (CF 123).
Cardinal Rodrigo is restored to full exercise of the office of Vice-Chancellor (CF 124).
The plague lasts throughout winter into spring of the following year (CF 124).
19 Jan
In the night of 19/20, a thunderbolt strikes the Borgia palazzo (CF 125).
An “impoverished” Scanderbeg reaches Rome to entreat for aid against the Turks (CF 126).
Schweinheim and Pannartz leave the Benedictine abbey of Subiaco and set up printing works in Pietro de’ Massimi’s palace in Rome (CF 119).
·       Rodrigo is ordained a priest with the bishopric of Alabano, which he holds until 1476 (CF 126).
·       Rodrigo’s son Pedro Luis is born. He is to become the first Duke of Gandia (SB 15; AL 9).
·       Lorenzo de’Medici becomes lord of Florence, and Spain is united through the marriage of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon (AL 9).
·       Isabella of Castile (18), sister of the feckless Henry IV, secretly marries her cousin Ferdinand (17), son of King John II of Aragon, at Valladolid (CF 128).
·       Rodrigo’s daughter Jeronima, mother unknown, is born (CF 138). [RE 19 gives the date for Girolama as 1469.]
·       Nannina Rucellai, Lorenzo de’Medici’s sister, writes to her mother: “Whoso wants to do as they wish, should not be born a woman” (SB 17).
·       Ercole I becomes Duke of Ferrara. Paul II dies and Sixtus IV becomes Pope (AL 9).
·       Rodrigo’s daughter Isabella is born (CF 135; 138). [RE 19 gives the date for Isabella as 1467.]
·       During the pontificate of Sixtus IV, Rodrigo builds himself a palace in Rome between the Ponte Sant’Angelo and the Campo dei Fiori (now the Palazzo Sforza-Cesarini) (CF 118). It has a tower and three-storey loggiaed courtyards (SB 13). Cardinal Ascanio describes the sumptuous interior with tapestries, day and canopied beds in red satin and Alexandrine (violet blue) velvet and fine furnishings (SB 14).
26 Jul
 Paul II dies of apoplexy or sunstroke, face purple and mouth frothing, after eating melon for lunch under a scorching sky (CF 126).
25 Aug
Francesco della Rovere is crowned as Sixtus IV. He grants Rodrigo the commenda of the rich abbey of Subiaco. His favoured nephew, Giuliano, made a Cardinal, cultivates the friendship of Rodrigo (CF 126-27). Rodrigo reconstructs the stronghold above the monastery walls (so the monastery could be seen below). Cesare and Lucrezia are born here (MB 20).
23 Dec
Sixtus creates 5 Cardinal-Legates to drum up support throughout Europe for a crusade. Spain is assigned to Rodrigo as field of operations (likely at his own request) (CF 127).
About the middle of the month, Rodrigo embarks at Ostia for his mission to Spain, his first appearance on the international scene (CF 128).
Rodrigo arrives in Valencia. He stays in Spain for 15 months. He brings together Henry IV, and Ferdinand and Isabella in Segovia during a banquet (CF 129).
·       The Sistine Chapel is built (AL 9).
·       Duke Ercole d’Este of Ferrara thinks up the custom of “a little adventure”: he goes out at dusk on certain days of the year and pressurises very rich citizens into giving him cash or other gifts (CF 238).
3 Jul
Eleanor of Aragon marries Duke Ercole I of Ferrara and becomes the first Duchess of Ferrara (Wikipedia, Eleanor of Naples, Duchess of Ferrara, 18 Oct 2011).
Towards the end of the month, Rodrigo (42) returns from Spain, once again with rumours about his questionable financial and sexual morals mentioned in various diplomatic dispatches. His ship founders off Pisa, and he is robbed by a gang of marauders. An accompanying galley sinks with three bishops (CF 131).

·       Gregorovius gives this as the year of the birth of Juan Borgia, son of Cardinal Borgia and Vanozza. Venetian letters from Rome in October 1496 give his age as 22 (FG 9). Latour also gives this year as Juan’s birth year (AL 9).
·       Rodrigo marries Vanozza off to Domenico di Rignano, an elderly lawyer, and gives them a house on the Piazza Pizzo di Merlo close to his palace. In summer, Vanozza joins Rodrigo in the fortress of Subiaco (RE 21).
Jubilee year.
14 Jan
Rodrigo accompanies Giuliano della Rovere [a Ligurian and nephew of Sixtus IV] to meet King Ferrante of Naples who is making a “pilgrimage” to Rome (CF 132).
13 Sep
Or 14th. Cesare is born (CF 141). Gregorovius gives the date as April 1476 (FG 9). In a discussion with a Ferrarese ambassador in October 1501, Pope Alexander VI gives Lucrezia’s age as 22 [i.e. birth year 1479], which she will complete in April the next year, and Cesare’s as 26 [i.e. birth year 1475]. Juan must then be 2 years older than Cesare (FG 9). Erlanger gives the months of Cesare’s birth as between August and October in 1475. Cesare is not acknowledged as Rodrigo’s son until 1493 (RE 21). [See also 19 Sep 1493.]

·       Giovanni/Juan Borgia, future Duke of Gandia, is born, by which time Domenico di Rignano is dead, and Juan is recognised immediately (RE 21).
·       Cesare is born [April?], and Lucrezia will be closest to him (SB 18). This is the year of Cesare’s birth according to Latour (AL 9).

Juan (Giovanni) Borgia is born; his date of birth (in dispute) is placed not earlier than 1476 (CF 141).

Cardinal Rodrigo serves as papal legate to Naples at the coronation of Ferrante (who was granted investiture by Pius II). Relations between Naples and the Vatican are good since Pope Sixtus IV requires support in his struggle with Florence (CF 132).
·       A Bull of Sixtus grants the right to establish the Inquisition in Spain (AL 9).
·       Conspiracy of the Pazzi in Florence (AL 9).
·       Juan Borgia is born about this year (SB 19).
·       Savonarola begins to preach (AL 9).
·       Johann Burchard, papal master of ceremonies, arrives in Rome (Bur 9). He has a house on the Via del Sudario, which is a meeting place for Rome’s German colony (CF 235). (See EC 87 for a description of him. The first section of his diary is about ceremonial under Innocent VIII.)
2 Apr
Easter Sunday.
18 Apr
·       Lucrezia Borgia is born. She is taken from her mother’s house at a very early age and entrusted to the care of Adriana del Milá, who is a young Spanish cousin of Rodrigo, married to Ludovico Orsini, Lord of Bassanello. The Orsini palace is on Monte Giordano (CF 142). Adriana is likely to have been born in Rome (MB 22).
·       Lucrezia’s place of birth, Subiaco, dominated by castle and monastery, is in the heart of the Sabine mountains. The castle is the favourite residence of Cardinal Rodrigo (49), who is also Abbot of Subiaco. Her mother, Vanozza dei Catanei (38), is always described as an “honest woman” (i.e. not a courtesan) (JH 8-9). She is probably born here so that her father can maintain social discretion. Her first years are probably spent with her mother in the house on the Piazza Pizzo di Merlo and she is educated in the Dominican convent of San Sisto on the Appian Way. She spends her formative years with Adriana del Milá, first cousin of Rodrigo, in the Monte Giordano Palace of the Orsini (SB 15). {FG 9.} In San Sisto she probably develops a love for prayer, incense and sacred music. She withdraws here to the cloister in preparation for great religious feasts (MB 20).
·       Vanozza remains close to Cesare throughout his life, but is distant from Lucrezia. She has a grasping, calculating nature (SB 15).
·       Adriana was born in Rome and married an Orsini. She is 10 years younger than Cardinal Rodrigo (EC 39).
10 Aug
Mohammed II’s warriors land in Otranto, killing 12 000 of 22 000 inhabitants. He vows that his horse will eat oats from the high altar of St Peter’s (CF 95, 132).
1 Oct
Bull of Dispensation (from the need to prove legitimacy) is issued by Sixtus IV, “legitimising” Cesare (6) (illegitimate origin precludes a person from high office in the Church) (CF 141). This is to be followed later by a Bull of Legitimisation (CF 141). The Dispensation does not apply to a high office such as that of Cardinal (EC 95).
·       Vanozza is living in a house on the Piazza Pizzo de Merlo (now Sforza-Cesarini) as the wife of Giorgio di Croce, for whom Cardinal Borgia obtained, from Sixtus IV, a position as apostolic secretary. The most terrible Roman baronial family feuds in this period rage in the Ponte, Parione and Regola quarters (FG 8, 10). [See FG 11 for description of the house.] Her house is next to Cardinal Borgia’s. She bears a son, Ottaviano, to her husband (MB 19).
·       Many bankers, merchants and courtesans live in the Ponte quarter, populous because it leads to the bridge of Sant’Angelo. The Orsini do not allow old noble families to thrive here because of their palace on Monte Giordano. The Torre di Nona, a dungeon for prisoners of state, used to be their old castle (FG 11).
·       From this year until 1483, Botticelli works on his frescoes in the Sistine Chapel (AL 9).
·       Jofré (Goffredo, Giuffredo), “a lamb among the wolves”, is born (dies in 1516 at the age of 35). Or he is born early in 1482 (RE 21; SB 15). Alexander VI doubts being the father of Jofré (CF 142), but Vanozza eventually records on her tombstone that Rodrigo is the father (SB 15).
·       Mohammed II dies (CF 95).
·       Ludovico Sforza wins the struggle for supremacy in Milan and takes over the regency on behalf of his nephew, Gian Galeazzo. He will act as regent for the next 13 years until 22 October 1495, when he becomes Duke (Wikipedia, Ludovico Sforza, 19 Aug 2012).
22 Apr
Easter Sunday.
·       Leonardo da Vinci arrives in Milan (AL 9).
·       Jofré is born and his half-sister Girolama is married (AL 9).
·       Vanozza breaks with Rodrigo soon after 1481 (CF 137). Not long after Jofré’s birth, Vanozza marries Giorgio San Croce and Rodrigo terminates his relationship with her. Later, he frequently doubts whether he is Jofré’s father, which may have given rise to a break with Vanozza. Nonetheless, he continues to show an interest in her, and she asks for occasional audiences, for example after a bout of illness: “And if you will deign to grant me this [audience], I inform you that, truly Sainted Father, I believe it will free me from my illness which in truth, most Holy Father, was not slight and I also have some things to tell you which mean a great deal to me” (RE 21).
·       Pope Sixtus IV appoints Virginio Orsini general of his forces, which Virginio leads to a victory over the Neapolitan army at the Battle of Campo Morto (1482) (Wikipedia, Virginio Orsini, 2 Sep 2010).
·       In this year, Cardinal Borgia does not occupy his usual house in the Ponte quarter, perhaps because he is having it enlarged. He lives in the Parione quarter, the Palazzo del Governo Vecchio, finished by Cardinal Stefano Nardini in 1475. Nardini is present at Girolama/Jeronima’s wedding (FG 14). Rodrigo’s other daughter Elisabetta marries Pietro Matuzzi, a papal official, also in this year (SB 15).
24 Jan
Rodrigo’s daughter Jeronima is married off to a Roman nobleman, Giovanni Andrea Cesarini. She dies young (CF 138).
Cesare becomes an Apostolic Protonotary (CF 141).
7 Apr
Easter Sunday.
Cesare is made a canon of Valencia Cathedral (CF 141).
Cesare becomes Archdeacon of Jativa and Rector of Gandia (CF 141).
·       Burchard becomes master of ceremonies at the papal court (JB 9).
·       King Louis XI of France dies and is succeeded by Charles VIII (AL 9).
·       Cardinal Zeno builds the palazzo of Santa Maria in Portico near the Vatican (CF 161).
30 Mar
Easter Sunday.
Cesare becomes provost of Cartagena Cathedral (CF 141).
30 Apr
Rodrigo’s daughter Isabella is married off to a Vatican official, Pietro Giovanni Mattuzi, who is appointed Chancellor of Rome in perpetuity. She dies at the age of 80 (CF 138).
30 Aug
In France, the death of Louis XI (CF 133); he is succeeded by Charles VIII.
3 May
Rodrigo grants 50 000 ducats to his eldest son, Pedro Luis, to acquire a fief in Spain (CF 139).
5 Nov
A bull of Sixtus IV legitimises Pedro Luis, who is sent to Spain to make a (successful) career (CF 135).
·       By this time, Lucrezia is 4 years old. Rodrigo is 53.
·       Pope Sixtus IV dies and is succeeded by Innocent VIII (AL 9).
18 Apr
Easter Sunday.
12 Aug
·       Sixtus IV dies. His body lies naked and unattended for the night. There is a general uprising in Rome. Rodrigo barricades his palace and begins to tout for the papacy. He makes a mistake by turning against the Colonna, and Giuliano della Rovere opposes him (CF 133-134).
·       The uprising in the city is witnessed by the Borgia children barricaded in their home (next to the Borgia palace). In Sant’Angelo, Caterina Sforza Riario holds out against the cardinals (JH 10-11).
·       All-powerful because of pontifical benefices, Virginio Orsini takes advantage of the disorder which follows Sixtus’s death in order to exterminate the Roman house of Colonna, something he does not manage completely since the Sacred College succeeds in restoring order (Wikipedia, Virginio Orsini, 2 Sep 2010).
29 Aug
·       The conclave elects Giovanni Battista Cibo, a Genoese, as Pope Innocent VIII (CF 134). Giuliano della Rovere moves into the Vatican to steer the malleable Pope along an anti-Aragonese course. King Ferrante of Naples, incidentally, is assisted by his unscrupulous son, Alfonso, Duke of Calabria (CF 143).
·       An epigrammist alleges that Innocent has 16 children (more likely only 2) and it is therefore fitting that Rome should call him “Father”. He is the first pontiff to acknowledge his children openly. Two of his granddaughters are married in the Vatican, violating for the first time the rule of forbidding women at papal banquets (ER 4).
·       Influenced by della Rovere, Innocent VIII provokes war with Naples, which is supported by the Orsini. In turn, the Colonna set fire to the Orsini stronghold (Monte Giordano), and these horrors may have influenced the Borgia children (JH 11). (JH 12 describes Lucrezia as being much closer to Cesare than Juan.)
·       During the reign of Innocent VIII (1484–1492), the Orsini family reaches the peak of its power and holds significant influence over the Roman Curia through Virginio Orsini’s cousin, Cardinal Gianbattista Orsini of Monterotondo (Wikipedia, Virginio Orsini, 2 Sep 2010).
Cesare becomes treasurer of Cartagena Cathedral (CF 141).
Alfonso of Calabria, son of King Ferrante of Naples, is in Rome: Ferrante refuses to pay tribute to the Pope, and the Pope refuses to grant Ferrante investiture. Alfonso also demands permanent cession of some territories to Naples, which the Pope refuses. Alfonso leaves, and Naples refuses to send the ritual embassy of submission (CF 144).
14 Oct
Cardinal Ascanio Sforza, having had a dinner with other cardinals in Cardinal Rodrigo’s palace, glowingly describes the interior in a letter to his brother, Ludovico Sforza, at this stage still Regent of Milan. Ascanio himself has a palace near the Piazza Navona (CF 119).
·       In 1485 Pope Innocent clashes with King Ferrante of Naples over tribute due to Rome (RE 8).
·       Guidobaldo di Montefeltro, married to Elisabetta, becomes Duke of Urbino (AL 9).
·       “Ferdinand’s [Ferrante’s] oppressive government led in 1485 to an attempt at revolt on the part of the nobles, led by Francesca Coppola and Antonello Sanseverino of Salerno and supported by Pope Innocent VIII; the rising having been crushed, many of the nobles, notwithstanding Ferdinand’s promise of a general amnesty, were afterwards treacherously murdered at his express command” (Wikipedia, Ferrante of Aragon, 5 Apr 2011).
·       When sometime during Innocent’s reign 2 apostolic secretaries heading a group in the Curia are caught forging papal bulls and selling dispensations, a relative of one of them offers to pay the Curia 12 000 ducats in exchange for a pardon. Although the Pope often accepts money settlements for crimes, the crime is too serious to allow this and he orders that the young man be hanged. As Vice-Chancellor, Cardinal Rodrigo is supposed to have said: “God desires not the death of the sinner, but that he pay and live”. Innocent VIII also subscribes to Sixtus IV’s principle that a Pope needed only paper and ink to get a sum he wanted [by selling offices and benefices]. A scholar laments: “Our churches, priests, altars, sacred rites, our prayers, our heavens, our very God are purchasable” (RE 4-5).
3 Apr
Easter Sunday.
22 May
As an officer in the army of the Spanish King Ferdinand of Aragon, Pedro Luis Borgia is the first to break the Moorish lines at the storming of the Andalusian town of Ronda. He, as well as Giovanni and Cesare, is awarded the title of egregios with accession to ranks of the Spanish nobility (CF 139).
3 Dec
After negotiations with Cardinal Rodrigo, King Ferdinand of Aragon alienates the Duchy of Gandia, “the pearl of Valencia”, in favour of Pedro Luis with the right of hereditary transmission (CF 139). This may have been a reward for Rodrigo’s services in convincing Sixtus IV to grant a bull of dispensation in 1471 allowing Ferdinand of Aragon to marry Isabella of Castile (SB 23). The new Duke is affianced to Maria Enriquez de Luna (9), a cousin of Ferdinand of Aragon (CF 140).
Vanozza’s husband, Giorgio di Croce, dies. Up to this point, she has lived with her children in a house adjoining the Borgia palace (at the end of the present-day Corso Vittorio Emmanuelle). The home is in the busy heart of the Ponte quarter dominated by the Orsini who have a fortress in Monte Giordano (JH 10). Di Croce’s son with Vanozza, Octavian, also dies in this year. She leases several taverns and owns a vineyard and country house near S. Lucia in Selci in the Subura (FG 16-17).
6 Mar
Before this date, Ferrante’s forces have advanced to the outskirts of Rome. Giuliano della Rovere advises the Pope to angle for French support, whereas Rodrigo (spokesman for Ferdinand of Spain) advises coming to terms with Ferrante. A consistory on this day ends in a vicious shouting match between Cardinals Borgia and della Rovere (CF 144-45).
23 Mar
Giuliano della Rovere leaves for Ostia, hoping to return with Charles VIII and René II of Anjou (Duke of Lorraine) from France. He meets with emissaries of the Duke (CF 145).
26 Mar
Easter Sunday.
Juan (10) is sent to join Pedro Luis in Spain at the court of Isabella. Cesare remains behind to study canon law at Perugia and Pisa before becoming eligible for a bishopric (JH 12).
8 Jun
·       Vanozza’s marriage contract with Carlo Canale is drawn up. Her domicile is given as the Piazza de Branchis (Branca) (FG 17-18). After the death of Giorgio de Croce, her son Ottaviano also died. She then moved to Piazza Branca in the Arenula district. Canale comes from Mantua. He receives a post from Cardinal Rodrigo, who grants Vanozza a wedding gift of 1000 gold ducats. Vanozza herself is possibly of Mantuan origin (according to the Venetian chronicler Marin Sanudo [Marino Sanuto] (MB 19).
·       Cardinal Rodrigo arranges a marriage for Vanozza (44) with Carlo Canale, a Mantuan humanist and protégé of the Gonzaga. He is a friend of Poliziano. Rodrigo places his children in the care of his cousin Adriana del Milá, a widow who has married into the Orsini family and lives with her son in Monte Giordano (a palace with crenellated walls and massive towers). Under her tutelage, the young Borgias are raised in the Spanish tradition, perhaps imbuing them with the feeling of being foreign (JH 13-14). {FG 17.}
·       Adriana is the daughter of a cousin of Cardinal Rodrigo’s mother, Pedro de Milá, possibly a counsellor of King Alfonso of Aragon, but important enough to have Adriana marry an Orsini (Ludovico) who has already died when she becomes duenna of the Borgia children. She is imperious and strong-minded (RE 23).
·       Lucrezia’s religious education is entrusted to the nuns of St Sixtus, Dominican nuns. She is dressed in Spanish fashion and has Spanish maids. She is taught some Latin and Greek, poetry in Spanish and Italian, embroidery and playing the lute (JH 15). {FG 19 ff.}
·       She learns Spanish dances (RE 23). She is fond of music, and Spanish and Italian poetry. She also speaks French (SB 17).
In the absence of della Rovere, the Pope is driven to make peace, which marks “the ascendancy of Rodrigo Borgia, and a triumph for the ‘Spanish Policy’”. Ferrante is pleased that the French threat has been averted, makes agreements but blithely ignores them all (CF 145-46).
·       Innocent VIII confirms Tomas de Torquemada as Grand Inquisitor of Spain (Wikipedia, Innocent VIII, 26 Jul 2010).
25 Feb
·       On February 25, 1487, Maddalena de’Medici marries Franceschetto Cibo, son of Pope Innocent VIII (Wikipedia, Maddalena de’Medici, 31 Aug 2010). Lucrezia, in the company of Adriana del Milá and Julia Farnese, assists at the wedding festivities (JH 17).
·       “In 1487 he [Innocent VIII] married his elder son Franceschetto Cibo (d. 1519) to Maddalena de’Medici (1473-1528), by whom he had issue, the natural daughter of Lorenzo de’Medici, who in return obtained the Cardinal’s hat for his thirteen-year-old son Giovanni, later Pope Leo X” (Wikipedia, Innocent VIII, 26 Jul 2010). For the first time in history, a Pope’s son is officially brought into the public eye (CF 146; JH 17).
·       When Innocent complains about Giovanni de’Medici’s extreme youth, Lorenzo the Magnificent, usually highly critical of corruption in Rome, simply adds two years to Giovanni’s age (RE 5).
15 Apr
Easter Sunday.
·       The public marriage between Pope Innocent’s son Franceschetto and Maddalena de’Medici (daughter of Lorenzo) takes place in the Vatican (MB 9).
·       Gian Galeazzo Sforza of Milan is married to Isabella, daughter of Ferrante I of Naples (Wikipedia, 18 Oct 2010).
·       Pedro Luis dies and Juan becomes Duke of Gandia (AL 9).
·       Mob violence in Forli, when Gerolamo Riario (nephew of Sixtus IV, married to the virago Caterina Sforza) is killed (CF 133, 146). This is followed by revolt in Ancona and Faenza, Perugia, Foligno and Spello. Mathias Corvinus of Hungary, married to Ferrante’s daughter, wants to obtain control over Djem [Cem, Gem, Jem], brother of Sultan Bajazet [Bayezid] II. Djem sought asylum with the Knights [of St John] of Rhodes, was sent to France and then “purchased” by Innocent VIII. Bajazet pays the Europeans to hold his brother captive (CF 147; Wikipedia, Cem, 26 Jul 2010).
·       The Sultan pays the Pope 135 000 ducats to hold Djem for 3 years (RE 6).
·       Innocent is threatened by Ferrante from the south and Corvinus from the north (CF 146-47).
6 Apr
Easter Sunday.
On a visit to Italy, Pedro Luis Borgia dies (CF 140). His brother Juan [Giovanni] is about 12 years old (CF 141). He dies in Rodrigo’s palace in Rome and leaves his titles and Spanish estates to Juan, who will eventually marry Pedro Luis’s fiancée, Maria Enriquez, a cousin of the Spanish King. Lucrezia (8) inherits 10 000 ducats from her half-brother (SB 24).
Innocent VIII issues a brief of dispensation regarding Juan [in that he need not prove his legitimacy] (CF 141).
·       The daughter of Teodorina (Pope Innocent’s daughter), is married to Luis of Aragon in the Vatican; this is a sign of peace between the Pope and Naples (MB 9).
·       Sultan Bajazet’s brother, Djem, arrives at the papal court (AL 10).
·       The young Marchese Francesco Gonzaga of Mantua [23] is appointed as Captain-General of the Venetian armies. He holds this position for the next 9 years (JCI 45).
·       Cesare is sent to the University of Perugia where in peace and meditation he experiences a stage of religious enthusiasm, which he later contemplates fondly (CF 149).
·       Julia Farnese appears on the scene at about this time (CF 148), the 15-year-old bride-to-be of Orsino Orsini, Adriana’s one-eyed son, who moves into the Orsini palace (JH 15-16). He is nicknamed “Monoculus” and kept at the country estate of Bassanello (SB 16).
·       Cardinals visit the Orsini palace to see Lucrezia performing Valencian dances (JH 18).
·       By this year, Adriana del Milá is a widow with a son Orsino, Monoculus Orsinus (possibly a reference to a squint), according to the Vatican book of ceremonies (MB 22).
15 Feb
 “The original of the masterpiece of Leonardo da Vinci that depicts the Milanese Duchess Isabella of Aragon was produced between mid-February to late-May 1489. Isabella, who lost her mother Ippolita Maria Sforza in August 1488, displays herself in the second phase of mourning. The picture was painted in the castle of Pavia” (
13 Mar
Djem reaches Rome, where he is held in “princely captivity” (CF 147).
25 Mar
Burchard: “On Wednesday, the 25th of March, 1489, the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary; in the morning I had a long conversation with the Pontiff [Innocent VIII]. I told him it was not right to wear a white cape, but he ought properly to wear a red cape with a violet stole, not a red one, also that the cardinals should follow, and not precede His Holiness. But His Holiness said that Sixtus IV, his predecessor, used to ride at this season with a white cape, and the Lord Vice-Chancellor, listening to no argument, said the cardinals should precede. And this was done, although not fittingly” (JB Ch 4).
19 Apr
Easter Sunday.
20 May
·       Civil marriage of Julia (15) to Orsino Orsini (13), stepson of Adriana da Milá. The nuptial contract is signed in Cardinal Rodrigo’s palazzo, Sala delle Stelle [Star Chamber, EC 39]. The wedding itself takes place the next day (CF 148). (The religious marriage takes place a year later. Laura is born 3 years later (but see 22 Oct 1494) (CF 148)). [FG 31-32: The marriage contract is signed on the 20th, and the civil marriage takes place on the 21st, also in the Borgia palace. The couple may have gone to Bassanello Castle or moved into the Orsini palace on Monte Giordano.]
·       Julia Bella is actually described as fusco (“dark complected”) with a round face and black eyes. She is vivacious and is “endowed with gentleness and humanity”. The religious ceremony takes place a year later (RE 30).
·       Soon after the ceremony, Rome gossips about the Vice-Chancellor’s new mistress (CF 148).
21 May
Camillo Beneimbene, the Borgia notary, unites Orsino in wedlock with the “magnificent and unaffected girl” Julia Farnese in the presence of Cardinal G. B. Zeno, titular of Santa Maria in Portico, Cardinal Borgia and other luminaries. Her eldest brother Alessandro, a protonotary, will later become Pope Paul III through initial Borgia favours. Julia and Adriana are at one in their various services to Cardinal Borgia. Adriana promotes the Cardinal’s affair with Julia as long as Orsino is materially rewarded (MB 22-23).
27 Jun
“On Saturday, the 27th of June, 1489, the Noble Lord Nicola Orsino, Count of Pitigliano, Siena, and Nola, who was to be Captain-General of the Holy Roman Church, and to make his entry into the city with his household and intimate friends, but not with the households of the cardinals, entered the Apostolic Palace by the viridario to see our Most Holy Lord, by whom he was graciously received. Then the said count who by studying the stars had conceived the idea that he might assume the insignia of his captaincy under favourable auspices today, sought and obtained from our Most Holy Lord permission for the said insignia to be given to him” (JB Ch 4).
11 Sep
“Pope Innocent VIII, in conflict with King Ferdinand I [Ferrante] of Naples over Ferdinand’s refusal to pay feudal dues to the papacy, excommunicated and deposed Ferdinand by a bull of 11 September 1489. Innocent then offered the Kingdom of Naples to King Charles VIII of France, who had a remote claim to Naples through the Angevin line. Innocent later settled his quarrel with Ferdinand and revoked the bans before dying in 1492, but the offer remained an apple of discord in Italian politics” (Wikipedia, Italian War of 1494 to 1498, 29 Jul 2010).
·       The Belvedere (“fair view”) is built on a hillside above the Vatican by Innocent VIII (the courtyard is added much later under Julius II) (Wikipedia, Belvedere, 26 Jul 2010; AL 10).
·       At the University of Perugia, Paolo Pompili dedicates his Syllabica to young Cesare Borgia, for whom he predicts a great future because of his maturity of intellect (FG 32-33).
·       Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia secures a condotta for Orsino Orsini (14) with the Pope: command of 2 men and 300 ducats a year (RE 30-31).
11 Feb
Isabella d’Este (16) of Ferrara marries the Marchese Francesco Gonzaga of Mantua (FG 45; Wikipedia).
Beatrice d’Este of Ferrara marries Ludovico Sforza “il Moro” of Milan (FG 45). “Moro” may be (1) a baptismal name “Maurus”; (2) “mulberry”, the wisest of plants  since it puts out leaves last and bears fruit first after winter, which becomes part of colour and insignia at court; (3) “Moor”, because of skill, cunning and resourcefulness, which is also sometimes used (EC 120).
·       Only now does Ferrante begin, out of fear of France, to listen seriously to peace proposals from the Pope (CF 147).
·       A month before renewal of Orsino Orsini’s condotta, a cousin of Julia tries to replace it with a more lucrative one under Virginio Orsini. At this time, Orsino loses an eye (it is unclear how this came about) and at the age of 15 he wants to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He pesters Adriana for money for the trip, but she refuses in the hope that he will forget the “questa fantasia”. After going to Bassanello, Orsino succeeds in obtaining 300 ducats from Adriana for the trip. He makes false starts (visits to Bologna and Florence) and eventually fails to go. He is probably at Bassanello when he hears that his wife is pregnant (RE 30-31).
12 Feb
Alfonso d’Este (15) of Ferrara marries Anna Sforza, sister of Gian Galeazzo, legitimate Duke of Milan (FG 45).
26 Feb
·       Juan Cherubín [Cherubino Juan] de Centelles [or Querubi de Centelles, son of the Count of Oliva; SB 24], a young nobleman from Valencia, becomes engaged to Lucrezia, who is not yet 11 (CF 150). He is lord of the Val d’Ajora/Ayora in Valencia and was educated with Pedro Luis at the Spanish court (JH 18; RE 23). The contract is drawn up by Camillo Beneimbene in Catalan. It promises a dowry of 30 000 timbres, part in cash and part in jewellery (MB 21).
·       It is stipulated that Lucrezia should be taken to Spain (where her future husband is still resident), at Cardinal Borgia’s expense, within a year from the signing of the contract. The church ceremony has to be performed within 6 months of her arrival in Valencia (FG 34). At the same time, Cardinal Rodrigo is also considering the suit of Don Gasparo de Procida, whose credentials are more impressive (see April 1492) (RE 24).
30 Apr
·       For Lucrezia, a second engagement follows with Gasparo of Procida, son of the Count of Aversa and Almenara, who has immigrated to Italy. Later, de Centelles will accept rejection, but Procida has to be indemnified with 3000 ducats (CF 150). Procida is a grandee of Spain and connected by marriage with the Neapolitan branch of the Royal house of Aragon (JH 19) {SB 24}. Gasparo is 15 (MB 22).
·       The marriage contract is “executed by proxy with all due form”, and again Lucrezia is to be sent to Valencia at her father’s expense for the church ceremony (FG 35).
11 Apr
Easter Sunday.
16 Jun
Lucrezia’s marriage contract with de Centelles is still recognised. Thus she is betrothed to two young Spaniards at the same time. The Centelles seem to have remained on good footing with Alexander VI, for, later, one of his most trusted chamberlains is a certain Gulielmus de Centelles (FG 35).
·       Cesare (16/17), on vacation at Soriano, is appointed bishop of Pamplona in the state of Navarre by Innocent VIII. A few weeks later, Cesare transfers to the University of Pisa (decided by Cardinal Rodrigo since Lorenzo de’Medici’s second son, Cardinal Giovanni, is studying there. Here Cesare becomes “barbarically extravagant” to the point of making it difficult for Giovanni to entertain him at lunch. Cesare, surrounded by louts, also begins to cultivate his image of terribilitá (CF 149).
·       It must be remembered that although Cesare is Cardinal Rodrigo’s eldest son by Vanozza, he is nevertheless the Cardinal’s second son and therefore destined for the Church (RE 24).
·       In Pisa, Francesco Romolini is Cesare’s “most faithful comrade”. Romolini is later to conduct the persecution of Savonarola and is made a Cardinal by Alexander VI in 1503 (FG 33).
·       Cesare is 18; Juan is 16; Lucrezia is 12; Jofré is 11. Cardinal Rodrigo’s eldest son, Pedro Luis, dies in this year. Jeronima also dies, but Isabella is married to the Roman nobleman Pietro Matuzzi. Lucrezia is in the charge of Adriana Milá Orsini, and not her mother Vanozza (MB 18-19). [Note: Bellonci provides an incorrect date for Pedro Luis’s death; see 1488.]
·       Columbus discovers America; Granada falls and the Jews are expelled from Spain. Lorenzo the Magnificent dies. Pinturicchio begins the frescoes in the Borgia apartments (AL 10).
·       Fusero makes the point that the Borgias wished to create a “lay state” (“Kingdom” of Cesare) to buttress the Ecclesiastical State. Julius II wanted these territories for the Church, destroyed Cesare and thus thwarted any moves towards Italy’s unification in a strong national state (CF 9-10).
·       Vanozza first lives on Piazza Pizzo di Merlo, not far from Rodrigo’s palazzo. When he becomes Pope, she moves into a house with a garden and vineyard on the Via Santa Lucia in Selce, not far from St Peter in Vincoli (CF 137).
·       Julia’s daughter Laura is born (FG 55).
2 Jan
Granada falls.
27 Jan
Peace is concluded between King Ferrante of Naples and the Vatican. The Duke of Calabria, Ferrante’s son, will qualify for investiture, and Naples will pay the annual levy of 50 000 ducats to the Holy See (CF 147).
1 Feb
·       Night: News of Granada’s fall reaches Rome via a personal dispatch from King Ferdinand of Aragon, and Cardinal Rodrigo presents the first corrida in the city (CF 150) in the square of St Mark’s during carnival time (JH 21).
·       At Giovanni de’Medici’s degree examination, Cesare acts as arguente (accuser), which shows that Cesare has successfully completed his studies some time before (CF 149-50).
8 Feb
Anne of Brittany is anointed and crowned Queen of France at Saint-Denis (Wikipedia, Anne of Brittany, 31 Aug 2010). Although Ludovico Sforza fears a French claim to Milan (via King Charles VIII’s cousin, the Duke of Orleans, whose grandmother was Valentina Visconti), he sends an embassy to France to congratulate the King on his marriage. In a private letter, in his nephew’s name, Ludovico assures Charles of Milan’s full support if he should ever need it (JH 21).
25 Feb
Giovanni Andrea Boccaccio, the Este family’s oratore (CF 154), comments on Cesare’s legitimisation and removing the blot of being a natural son, noting ironically that he is legitimate – being “born in the house while the woman’s husband was living”, with reference probably to Domenico d’Arignano (FG 54).
23 Mar
Giovanni de’Medici arrives in Rome to receive a Cardinal’s hat (Wikipedia, Pope Leo X, 5 Apr 2011).
31 Mar
Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain issue an edict offering the Jews the choice between conversion and exile. Some groups end up in Rome (CF 150).
·       A new contract is drawn up to betroth Lucrezia to Don Gasparo de Procida and the contract with Don Cherubino is annulled (RE 24).
·       Orsino Orsini’s condotta is renewed (RE 31).
8 Apr
Spring. Lorenzo de’Medici (43) dies in his country house at Careggi. Cesare, who knew Lorenzo, writes a letter of condolence to Piero (CF 150).
22 Apr
Easter Sunday.
23 May
In Palos, an Andalusian harbour town, in the Church of San Giorgio, Columbus reads out a royal proclamation ordering the townspeople to provide him with fully equipped caravels for crossing the ocean (CF 151).
31 May
On the Feast of the Ascension, the Holy Lance arrives in Rome. Sultan Bajazet II has promised the Pope a fragment of the holy lance as a token of appreciation. Most cardinals advise the Pope to receive the dubious relic with the least amount of fanfare, but Innocent prefers to carry the relic in a crystal casket in a solemn procession from the Porta del Popolo to the Vatican. He blesses the crowds in the square below from the loggia of the portico. This is his last public act. He has been suffering from gout and urinary infections (RE 6).
Innocent VIII collapses with ill health: abdominal pain, a suppurating old scar in one of his legs and high fever (CF 151).
15 Jul
·       By mid-July it is clear that the Pope is dying (RE 6).
·       Quarrelling viciously over the Pope’s deathbed, Rodrigo wants Castel Sant’Angelo to be handed over to the cardinals while della Rovere, holding the castle, reminds the Pope that Rodrigo is a “Catalan” (CF 151). Cardinal della Rovere says that Cardinal Borgia wishes to make a renegade Neapolitan pope (referring to Cardinal Oliviero Carafa). Cardinal Borgia says, “If we weren’t in the presence of His Holiness, I would show you who is vice-chancellor.” Cardinal della Rovere replies, “I we weren’t here, I’d show you I’m not afraid of him”. They call each other marranos and white Moors (RE 7, 9). Della Rovere wins the argument as the castle remains in the hands of the Governor, who is to hand it over only to the new Pope (MB 10).
21 Jul
Antonello da Salerno informs the Marchese Gonzaga of rumours reaching the Pope about fierce rivalry between the Cardinals (MB 9-10).
26 Jul
·       On the night of 25th/26th, Innocent VIII dies (CF 151) in the arms of his son after making a public confession to all the cardinals (JH 19; MB 9). Friar Egidio of Viterbo reproaches the Pope in his history for flaunting his relatives in public, favouring in particular his children Franceschetto and Teodorina, celebrating their marriages in the Vatican and violating rules of canon law by sitting down with women at meals (MB 9).
·       Rodrigo’s chances for the papacy are not necessarily good in spite of his powerful position. The three chief candidates are Rodrigo Borgia (too Spanish), Giuliano della Rovere (too pro-French) and Ascanio Sforza (too young) (CF 152).
·       Here is a break in Burchard’s diary until December (Bur 12).
6 Aug
·       The Conclave, consisting of 23 cardinals, goes into session (CF 152). Bernardino Carvajal renders an address on the evils besetting the Church (MB 12). Ludovico Sforza instructs his brother Cardinal Ascanio to spare no expense in ensuring the election of a pro-Milanese Pope, and they support Cardinal Oliviero Carafa (a Neapolitan hostile to King Ferrante of Naples). Cardinal della Rovere, despite being supported by 200 000 ducats from King Ferrante, eventually judges his chances to be slim and decides to support the candidature of Cardinal Costa. Cardinal Borgia is a Spaniard and has no direct support from the Italian or European powers but is considered a second string by Ascanio with the advantage of being neither Neapolitan nor Milanese (RE 9; MB 10-12). [RE 9 describes the provisions prepared by Burchard. If the conclave lasts more than a week, the cardinals are restricted to bread, wine and water.]
·       The young Charles VIII, successor to a strong France united under Louis XI, wants to support a Pope who will be favourable to his claims on Naples, considered to have been usurped by the Aragonese from the House of Anjou. The French also have an eye on Milan because of Valentina Visconti’s marriage into the House of Orléans. Yet, France supports the strongest enemy of Naples: Regent Ludovico Sforza, uncle of the young Duke of Milan. Ludovico’s brother, Cardinal Ascanio, becomes the centre of the anti-Neapolitan party in Rome. In response, the King of Naples allies himself with Cardinal della Rovere and his faction (MB 10-11).
10 Aug
·       Friday morning. During the fortnight after Innocent’s death, over 200 people have been murdered in the city, apart from the usual looting and pillaging (RE 10). The third scrutiny takes place in the morning. The “guardians” outside limit the cardinals’ meals to a single course to encourage them to come to a decision (after which only bread and water will follow) (CF 152). When the crowds are again disappointed, many must have decided to go home since they did not want to wait for a possible vote toward the evening. The only light in the alleys comes from lamps in front of holy images at street corners (RE 10). During the night, Rodrigo succeeds in wearing down his opposition. Ascanio is to get the vice-chancellorship, Rodrigo’s palazzo and other benefices (CF 153). Even della Rovere accepts the legateship of Avignon from “that Spanish Jew” (JH 22). Simony is indeed an issue, but Infessura’s story of mules loaded with silver going from Rodrigo’s to Ascanio’s palace is likely to be fanciful (MB 13).
·       Cardinal Ascanio is instrumental in helping to break the deadlock after the third scrutiny, and to the majority Rodrigo Borgia seems to be the most capable member of the Sacred College, “admirably equipped for his new position” as the papal secretary Sigismondo dei Conti puts it after describing his virtues. He is possibly also seen as strong enough to counter encroachments by King Ferrante and not so closely bound to Milan as to be unable to act independently (RE 13-14). The Ferrarese ambassador remarks that Della Rovere “swiftly and with good grace” joined his enemy’s side when he saw that he could not win or get even. He is amply rewarded, inter alia with the important legation at Avignon and the fortress of Ronciglione on the road to the North, which complements the Rovere castle at Ostia (MB 12-13).
11 Aug
·       Six o’clock in the morning (see for detail RE 10). The bricks of a walled-up window are broken (MB 13).
·       The morning is stormy and overcast. From an opened window a prelate announces that Rodrigo Borgia has been elected Pope: Alexander VI (CF 153). He is to be the first Pope to establish papal power at the political level, admired by Machiavelli. Before the time, Venice, Naples, Milan and Florence used the great Roman families “to keep the Pope down” (CF 156). The Pope had to repress anarchy in the State, and cope with rivalries between France/Naples, France/Spain, as well as face the Ottoman threat (CF 157).
·       Burchard remarks on “the indecent haste with which the new Pope had donned his pontifical robes” (JH 22). “I am Pope and vicar of Christ!” he exclaims while being robed. In the evening, the city magistrates arrange a torchlight procession and bonfires are lit in the piazzas. The Estense correspondent informs Duchess Eleanora that the election was “the work of the Holy Spirit”. In other letters to Duke Ercole he will mention the payments made for the office: 150 000 ducats. Only five cardinals declined any payments or gifts (RE 11-12).
·       At about midnight a courier arrives from Rome with news to Cesare about his father’s election (EC 94).
15 Aug
·       King Ferrante of Naples sends a very friendly letter of congratulations to Pope Alexander and on this day asks Virginio Orsini to assure the Pope of his devotion “as a good and obedient son”.  Spain is apprehensive about the tension between the Pope and Naples (LP Vol 5, 393).
·       Guicciardini’s statement that Alexander’s election meets with universal dismay is false (LP Vol 5, 391). Many commentators have only high praise for Rodrigo Borgia’s accomplishments: he is considered the most capable member of the Sacred College with all the qualities required for a distinguished temporal ruler. He is intellectually gifted with a good business sense, among other things. Physically, he has remarkable presence (LP Vol 5, 386-88). On of his first acts is to give all his goods to the poor (LP Vol 5, 389). Cardinal Ascanio Sforza will also be a powerful man, having “made” Alexander pope (LP Vol 5, 392).
16 Aug
Pope Alexander assures the Ferrarese envoy that he wishes to reform the Papal Court. Changes are to be made concerning secretaries and officials connected with the press, and his children are to be kept at a distance (LP Vol 5, 397).
21 Aug
Cesare leaves Pisa and goes to Spoleto on his father’s orders (FG 39-40).
26 Aug
·       Alexander VI’s coronation takes place amid magnificent festivities. He faints in the Lateran basilica because of the heat and the crowd (CF 153-54; JH 23-25). Pietro Delfino, General of the Camaldolese Order writes: “The Pope, half dead with fatigue, lost consciousness and it was necessary to wait for a long time before he could enter the Basilica. Finally, supported by two cardinals, he advanced to the altar of the Sancta Sanctorum chapel; but barely had he seated himself upon the papal throne when he leaned his head on Cardinal Riario’s shoulder and fell into a faint; water was sprinkled on his face and a good deal was needed to bring him around” (RE 127). {LP Vol 5, 391}
·       He is crowned in St Peter’s and cardinals kiss his feet, hand and mouth. The procession to the Lateran goes past Sant’Angelo with booming canon (EC 56-59). He deliberately excludes his children from the coronation activities (EC 93); JH says [fancifully?] that Lucrezia watches from her father’s palace (JH 25).
·       The display of the bull image makes a satirist comment that Rome is celebrating the discovery of the Sacred Apis. The Pope is described as a demigod (Ferno’s full description) (FG 38-39). {RE 15}
·       Within a week, a Ferrarese ambassador writes to Duke Ercole d’Este that the Pope has promised to make many reforms, dismiss corrupt officials, and, “above all”, to keep his sons away from Rome (JH 25). {LP Vol 5, 399, discusses Lucrezia and Cesare in detail.}
·       In August, the Venetian ambassador in Milan publicly declares that Alexander has obtained the papacy through simony and “a thousand deceptions”, and that France and Spain will disobey the Pope when they come to hear of this (FG 37-38).
·       King Ferrante weeps when he informs his wife about the election of a Pope who, in his view, will prove most pernicious for Italy and all Christendom (RE 14-15). This is a statement by Guicciardini, which cannot be believed (LP Vol 5, 392-93).
31 Aug
·       At a consistory, Cesare becomes archbishop of Valencia (by implication, Primate of Spain) with 16 000 ducats in revenue. Juan Borgia (Giovanni Borgia Lanzol, already Archbishop of Monreale), a nephew of Rodrigo’s, is appointed as Cardinal. Jofré, an Apostolic Notary at 11 and destined for the priesthood, receives the diocese of Majorca (CF 154). [See EC 61-62 for an analysis of Church administration and finances.]
·       At this consistory, “rewards” to the “electors” are “dispensed” (LP Vol 5, 398, details this.) Gianandrea Boccaccio writes to the Duke of Ferrara at this time that ten papacies will not suffice to provide for the influx of the Pope’s “cousins” (family) (LP Vol 5, 397-98). Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere supports the nomination of Cardinal Juan Borgia in order to weaken Cardinal Ascanio’s position (LP Vol 5, 406).
·       For long Ferdinand of Spain withholds his sanction of Cesare’s appointment to Valencia but eventually yields (FG 39).
·       Gianandrea Boccaccio, Bishop of Modena, Duke Ercole of Ferrara’s correspondent, writes, “Our enterprising Pontiff is already showing himself in his true colours . . . He manages things so cleverly that all the Cardinals were loud in their insistence on this promotion [of the Pope’s nephew, Giovanni Borgia]”. The latter is described as highly competent (MB 13, 24).
3 Sep
·       On this day, Franceschetto Cibo enters into an agreement with the Orsini (LP Vol 5, 405).
·       Franceschetto Cibo, son of Pope Innocent, received the castles of Cerveteri and Anguillara from his father. He is married to Maddalena de’Medici and, wishing to live in Florence, decides to sell the castles and other lands near Rome to Virginio Orsini for 40 000 ducats. Maddalena’s brother Piero de’Medici arranges the sale. However, the castles are papal fiefs that cannot be sold without the Pope’s permission. Machiavelli has noticed that other Italian powers used the Orsini and Colonna (“constantly under arms before the eyes of the Pope”) to keep the papacy weak. Virginio Orsini commands between 10 000 and 20 000 vassals from his headquarters in Bracciano north of Rome. Cerveteri [50 km north-west of Rome] overlooks the Via Aurelia and Anguillara overlooks Via Cassia and Via Claudia. Food is brought to Rome via these routes from the sea, which will give Orsini a stranglehold on Rome. At the time of purchase, Virginio Orsini is chief condottiere for King Ferrante of Naples, which will give him easy access to Rome and control over the city’s food supply. Pope Alexander suspects Ferrante of providing the purchase money. The transaction takes place in the palace of Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere (RE 25-26). It is King Ferrante’s intention, out of anger with Alexander’s alliance with Cardinal Ascanio Sforza, to put a stranglehold on the Pope (SB 26).
·       Franceschetto Cibo (Cybo), son of Innocent VIII, holder of the fortresses of Cerveteri and Anguillara, strategic points between Rome and Civitavecchia, sells them to Virginio Orsini, Captain-General of the Neapolitan forces, to the anger of the Pope. Ferrante supplied 40 000 ducats for payment (JH 29).
·       “Afraid of the new Pope’s intentions to curb the power of his audacious barons, Virginio approached King Ferdinand I of Naples, who was suspicious of Alexander’s relations to King Ferdinand II of Aragon, his formal overlord. It was with Neapolitan financial help that Virginio bought the Roman castles of Cerveteri and Anguillara from Franceschetto Cybo, the son of Pope Innocent VIII. It seems that Alexander VI had already reached an agreement with Cybo over the two fortresses and their unexpected purchase by his chief vassal with Neapolitan money (40,000 ducats) was considered by the Pope as an act of treason. Nevertheless, Alexander and Ferdinand were reconciled in the summer of 1493” (Wikipedia, Virginio Orsini, 2 Sep 2010).
22 Sep
The Florentine envoy Francesco Valori has an audience with the Pope, who makes it clear that he will have to take action if the sale of Cerveteri and Anguillara is not immediately rescinded. Later he sends briefs to the powers of Europe to denounce the Orsini and ask aid for opposing them. The Sforzas consider the transaction as an understanding between Naples and Florence (Piero de’Medici’s mediation) at Milan’s expense. Cardinal Ascanio therefore urges the Pope to join Milan and Venice in a mutual protection treaty. In this way, a marriage alliance is considered the best way of sealing the pact: the Pope’s daughter, Lucrezia, should wed a member of the Sforza family. Ascanio suggests Giovanni Sforza (28), Lord of Pesaro and Count of Contignola. The Pope is in two minds: he does not approve of Ludovico Sforza’s treaty with France, but cannot ignore King Ferrante’s interference in the selling of the castles. If Ferrante should refuse to cancel the sale and decide to invade the papal states, Pope Alexander will have need of Milan’s army and Giovanni Sforza’s services as a condottiere (RE 26-27).
Rodrigo Borgia, a nephew of Alexander, succeeds Domenico Doria as captain of the Vatican palace guard. The promotions of Giovanni and Rodrigo are aimed at limiting Cardinal Ascanio’s power. Della Rovere realises this and therefore supports the promotions (MB 24-25).
5 Oct
Cesare is still in Spoleto, from where he writes to Piero de’Medici. The greatest of confidence exists between them. Later in the month, Cesare makes his appearance in the Vatican (FG 40).
6 Oct
Alexander VI issues a brief in which Juan of Gandia and his wife are permitted to obtain absolution from any confessor whatsoever (FG 53).
±15 Oct
Giovanni Sforza arrives in Rome incognito, but Ambassador Boccaccio of Ferrara’s suspicions are immediately aroused. Giovanni goes out only at night (MB 26).
31 Oct
·       The Pope invites Giovanni Sforza to Rome for an incognito visit: neither Naples nor Don Gasparo should know. Although it is customary that a suitor should not see the lady until the betrothal, it is possible that Giovanni gets a glimpse of Lucrezia. The Ferrarese ambassador notices Giovanni’s presence in Rome and assumes that he is intent on arranging a match with someone else (RE 27, 36).
·       However, Don Gasparo and his father also arrive in Rome on this day and state that they will resist any attempt at annulling the betrothal. The Mantuan envoy writes to Isabella d’Este Gonzaga that they allege to have the support of the King of Spain and that the Holy Father would not do anything without the King’s approval (RE 36). {MB 26}
·       From Pesaro via Nepi, the castle given to Cardinal Ascanio by Alexander VI, Giovanni Sforza arrives quietly in Rome. Ludovico Sforza and Ascanio have recommended him to the Pope as a husband for Lucrezia. He takes up residence in Ascanio’s palace of S. Clement in the Borgo (opposite Palazzo Giraud). In a letter to Duke Ercole, the Ferrarese ambassador [later] remarks: “He [Giovanni Sforza] will be a great man as long as the Pope rules”. The ambassador ascribes Sforza’s low profile to the fact that the Count of Procida, Lucrezia’s legally betrothed, was also in Rome (FG 41). {SB 28}
·       In her palace in Santa Maria in Portico, Lucrezia has a meeting with young Alfonso d’Este (16) of Ferrara, who is married to Anna Sforza, sister of Gian Galeazzo [Giangaleazzo, legitimate Duke of Milan]  (CF 162; JH 30; FG 45). Don Alfonso has been sent to recommend Ferrara to the Pope. He stays over in the Vatican during a visit of several weeks (FG 45).
·       In a transaction between the Pope and his old friend Cardinal Zeno, the palace of Santa Maria in Portico is leased to Lucrezia (JH 26). It is situated on the left side of the steps of St Peter’s, almost directly opposite the Palace of the Inquisition [i.e. behind Lucrezia’s palace]. Pope Alexander has the palace furnished for Lucrezia. Since he can no longer go to the palace on Monte Giordano without attracting attention, he has to look for a palace closer to the Vatican (RE 33).
·       Giovanni Andrea [Gianandrea] Boccaccio, the oratore of the Estes, writes that ten papacies would not be enough to satisfy [the rapacity of] all the Pope’s relations (CF 145). Giovanni Sforza (26) is visiting Rome incognito (JH 30). After this, he returns to Pesaro and begins to prepare for the wedding. He borrows a gold chain and other jewels from his former brother-in-law, the Marchese Gonzaga of Mantua, who is willing to retain Giovanni’s goodwill because of his new importance “as the dear son of Alexander VI”. He also sends his procurator, Niccolò da Saiano, a Ferrarese doctor at law, to Rome for drawing up the contract.  (MB 27).
5 Nov
·       The Ferrarese envoy mentions the arrival of Don Gasparo di Procida from Spain, “angrily asserting his rights”, but the envoy notes that he will have to resign himself with good grace (JH 30; FG 41-42).
8 Nov
·       Lucrezia’s marriage contract with the Count of Procida is formally dissolved, and the count undertakes not to marry within a year (FG 42). The dissolution costs the Pope 3000 ducats (RE 36). {SB 24}
·       In this period, King Ferrante of Naples is upset by Lucrezia’s connection to the Sforzas. On top of that, King Ladislaus of Hungary rejects his betrothal to Ferrante’s daughter: the Pope, too, will likely as not find in Ladislaus’s favour when deciding on the matter. Ferrante wishes to undermine Cardinal Ascanio’s influence and it is for this reason that he sends his second son, Federigo of Aragon, Prince of Altamura, to Rome (LP Vol 5, 404-405).
·       The Pope draws up a contract for postponing, not dissolving, the marriage contract with Don Gaspare d’Aversa. He is bound not to marry for a year so that he can marry Lucrezia at a “more propitious moment” (MB 26). [Bellonci has the wrong month here: she gives August 8, which is impossible.]
11 Nov
On this day, Federigo of Naples is sent to Rome under orders to profess obedience to the Pope, but also to encourage him to ally himself to Cardinal della Rovere (who will prepare a room for the prince in his own palace) (LP Vol 5, 405).
9 Nov
The Ferrarese envoy notes that the marriage of Pesaro may bring calamities: The King of Naples is angry on account of it and the Pope was informed about this two days before. Both suitors “are given fair words”, but it seems that Giovanni Sforza of Pesaro will win out because Cardinal Ascanio is looking after his interests (FG 42).
9 Dec
The Mantuan agent Fioravante Brognolo writes to the Marchese Gonzaga that Giovanni Sforza’s affairs are still undecided because of the great “following” that Procida has in Spain. The Pope is not forcing matters to a conclusion (FG 42).
21 Dec
Prince Federigo of Naples proffers obedience to the Pope (LP Vol 5, 405).
25 Dec
Prince Federigo receives a consecrated sword from the Pope (LP Vol 5, 405).

·       Maximilian I of Austria becomes the Emperor of Germany (CF 137; AL 10).
·       Pope Alexander issues his Bull of Demarcation. Cesare is appointed Cardinal of Valencia (AL 10).
·       From Milan, Isabella of Aragon, wife of Gian Galeazzo Sforza, true heir to the dukedom, writes a bitter letter to her father, Alfonso of Calabria, heir to Naples, about her poor treatment at the hands of Ludovico Il Moro who is usurping the dukedom (EC 123). Gian Galeazzo is the son of Galeazzo Maria, and he is virtually held prisoner in Pavia, even after Isabella gives birth to a son. She resents her rights being usurped by Beatrice d’Este, her cousin. This sparks off the struggle for Mediterranean hegemony between Naples and Milan. Neapolitan exiles at the French court, supporters of the House of Anjou, keep alive the claims of Angevin princes to the “Regno”, the largest and richest of the Italian states (JH 19-20). {RE 8-9}
·       It is possible that the ambitious Beatrice d’Este, wife of Ludovico Sforza of Milan, supports Cardinal Ascanio’s project of a Borgia marriage in order to counter the influence of Isabella of Aragon. Beatrice may also have urged her husband to invite the French into Italy to crush the Aragonese of Naples (MB 25).
·       Even the anti-Borgia Burchard remarks on the Pope’s “admirable way” of administering justice and granting public audiences to private individuals. Moreover, Church officials and workers do not have to wait for their pay (RE 26).
·       Procida is registered this year as being among the leading members of Juan Gandia’s Valencian household (SB 28).
·       Vanozza’s house after Rodrigo’s election is on Via Santa Lucrezia in Selce, not far from St Peter in Vincoli [REF?].
·       While Ippolito d’Este (16) is still in Hungary, he is created Cardinal by Pope Alexander (SB 137-38).
·       Giuliano della Rovere, after severe clashes with Alexander VI, withdraws to his Cardinal’s seat at Ostia, where he has an assault-proof stronghold (CF 159-60) {LP Vol 5, 406}. The fortress is situated at the mouth of the Tiber from where della Rovere is in a position to stop Rome’s maritime commerce. The issue of the castles of Cerveteri and Anguillara has not been resolved yet (the original deed of sale was signed in della Rovere’s palace). He can also serve as liaison between Naples and the Pope’s enemies in the north. The Pope orders his chief condottiere to watch the gates of Rome and seems to expect an attack on his person. When he hears a cannon salute while on his way to the papal hunting lodge between Rome and Ostia, he orders the party to return to Rome without finding out the reason for the discharge (RE 37-38).
·       In this time, when Pope Alexander expects an imminent attack on Rome, he encourages a Cardinal to urge Charles VIII to begin a promised invasion. (Charles has since his coronation repeatedly made it clear that he wishes to invade Naples to assert his rights on it.) It is not that the Pope wants Charles to come, but only to scare his enemies. Charles, however, takes the Cardinal at his word. In this month, to free his hands, he signs a treaty with Ferdinand of Spain and on 21 May with Emperor Maximilian (RE 47).
3 Jan
Duke Ercole of Ferrara writes an effusive letter of thanks to the Pope for having shown such great favour to Don Alfonso d’Este during his stay in Rome. The letter reveals the Duke’s anxiousness to remain on good terms with Alexander VI. It is only 10 years since Venice and Sixtus IV have waged war on Ferrara. The Pope, as Cardinal Borgia, was godfather to Alfonso d’Este when he was baptised. Moreover, the Duke is currying favour with the Pope to win a Cardinal’s hat for his second son, Ippolito (FG 46).
10 Jan
·       Prince Federigo of Naples departs from Rome without achieving his father’s aims – no alliance and no betrothal of a Borgia with a member of the House of Aragon. Around this time, the Pope has received information about the intrigue against the states of the Church: the question of Cerveteri and Anguillara. The Pope is taken by surprise (LP Vol 5, 405).
·       In this period, Virginio Orsini, commander of the Neapolitan army, is on a good footing with Naples and Florence, and the Pope has reason to suspect his “neighbours” of enabling the most powerful Roman baron in “an important accession of strength”. The Pope hears that Orsini has already occupied Cerveteri and Anguillara, and he lodges complaints before the Cardinals in consistory, as well as against Della Rovere (who favours the acquisition, since he considers it worse if the citadels should fall into the hands of Cardinal Ascanio (LP Vol 5, 406).
19 Jan
Although supported by the Orsini, Colonna and Naples, Cardinal della Rovere feels unsafe and retreats to Ostia. Here he receives Prince Federigo on his return journey to Naples, as well as Virginio Orsini, who promises him full support (a report on this is dated 19 January). Ostia commands the mouth of the Tiber and is therefore a threat to the Pope in enemy hands. On an inspection trip to Villa Magliana, Pope Alexander turns back in fear when a welcoming cannon is fired – he assumes it to be a prearranged signal. In the meantime, the Sforzas propose an alliance with Venice, which unnerves Naples (LP Vol 5, 406-408).
2 Feb
·       Da Saiano betroths Giovanni Sforza by proxy to Lucrezia (13) and signs the marriage contract, after which Lucrezia and Adriana begin to receive visitors such as envoy Boccaccio who comes to compliment her on behalf of the Duke and Duchess of Ferrara. He also wishes to request a cardinal’s hat for Ippolito d’Este, the second son. Adriana even says that she has discussed the matter with the Pope, and, “in any case, we will make him Cardinal”. Later rumours have it that the Pope is negotiating with Spain to have Lucrezia married to the Count of Prada, but this is intended as a smokescreen for those opposing the Sforza marriage. Boccaccio informs his master that Cardinal Ascanio has told him in confidence that so as “to achieve a specific purpose and for many sensible reasons, this thing [the marriage] is being kept secret, and they have let it be believed that they intend to marry her in Spain” (MB 27).
·       Lucrezia’s marriage contract with Giovanni Sforza (46), Count of Cotignola and Lord of Pesaro, is signed. (Betrothal takes place by proxy in Rome.)  Physical consummation is to be postponed for a year; the dowry amounts to 31 000 ducats (CF 159, 161). This “formal ratification of the betrothal” is signed in the presence of the Milanese ambassador and intimate friends and servants of the Pope. On receiving the news in Pesaro, Giovanni Sforza gives a grand celebration, dancing from the castle into the streets of the city, people hand in hand, led by Monsignor Scaltes, the Pope’s plenipotentiary  (FG 42-43). The Pope also obtains a condotta for Giovanni in the papal army and a highly paid position in the Milanese army. Giovanni seems proud and harsh; he has a tendency to fall out with close associates (RE 36-37). {SB 26-27}
·       Lucrezia is living in the palazzo of Santa Maria in Portico, built ten years earlier by Cardinal Zeno, near the Vatican. Adriana del Milá and Julia Farnese are living with her (CF 161). The palace is to the left side of the steps of St Peter’s, almost opposite the Palace of the Inquisition (FG 44). Vanozza is living in the Regolo quarter, and Carlo Canale has advanced from commandant of the Torre di Nona to warden, a position of great trust (FG 44). One writer refers to “Madonna Julia” as Sposa di Cristo (“the Bride of Christ”), and Burchard calls her the Pope’s concubine. The Ferrarese envoy Giovanni Andrea (Gianandrea) Boccaccio mentions “Madonna Julia Farnese about whom so much is whispered”, and his Mantuan counterpart calls her una bella cosa a vedere (“a beautiful thing to see”) and “the Pope’s favourite”. In Germany it is rumoured that the Pope entertains Julia and “other loose women” in a cypress grove (RE 33). The Florentine lawyer Lorenzo Pucci [Julia’s brother-in-law] notes that Julia is “alive to all her opportunities” – she takes pride in using her influence with the Pope (RE 34).
·       Lucrezia receives the congratulations of various ambassadors while Adriana hears requests for favours. When the Ferrarese envoy asks her to use her influence to obtain a Cardinal’s hat for Ippolito d’Este (15), Adriana says, “We will make him a Cardinal” (RE 37).
·       About Lucrezia, Boccaccio says that she has “a smile that lit up her features in a thousand different ways. Never did [a] gentle creature seem happier to be alive”, yet he detects in her a shade of sadness and an inexplicable taste for solitude (RE 35).
·       Ascanio Sforza started the arrangements that raised Ferrante’s hackles; they strengthen the position of Ludovico il Moro who is usurping the throne of his nephew, Gian Galeazzo, who is married to Isabella of Aragon, niece of Ferrante (CF 159).
3 Feb
“The Pope being a carnal man and very loving of his flesh and blood”, Cardinal Ascanio writes to Ludovico Sforza, will establish the Pope’s love towards the Sforzas and enable them to draw him to themselves. He also notes that the Neapolitan King’s envoys have in recent days attempted to prevent the Sforza marriage by offering Ferrante’s grandson, the son of the Duke of Calabria, as husband (later Alfonso di Bisceglie) (SB 26-27).
·       The Mantuan ambassador Fioramonte Brognolo still refers to Cesare and Juan as the Pope’s nephews in a letter to Marchesa Isabella Gonzaga (SB 20).
27 Feb
The Pope and Cardinals go out to Santa Maria Maggiore, and on their return are accompanied by several squadrons of men-at-arms with long lances as if for combat (RE 38).
·       It is only now that Cesare officially makes his appearance in Rome, having been in Spoleto (CE 94). He takes up residence in the Borgo, close to Lucrezia’s palace (JH 33).
·       King Ferrante, fearing an alliance between the Sforzas and Venice, sends Abbot Rugio to Rome to settle the Cerveteri/Anguillara dispute. However, he sends other envoys to Milan and Florence first on the same mission. Initially, a Neapolitan marriage is proposed for Cesare; it is known that he is not fond of his Church role. Later, this marriage is suggested for Jofré. These projects soon fail and King Ferrante sends troops to the Abruzzi. He keeps in touch with Cardinal della Rovere (LP Vol 5, 408).
15 Mar
“Columbus headed for Spain, but another storm forced him into Lisbon. He anchored next to the King’s harbour patrol ship on 4 March 1493 in Portugal. After spending more than one week in Portugal, he set sail for Spain. He crossed the bar of Saltes and entered the harbour of Palos on 15 March 1493. Word of his finding new lands rapidly spread throughout Europe” (Wikipedia, Christopher Columbus, 1 Sep 2010). Before the end of March, the news of Columbus’s landing in Hispaniola reaches Rome (SB 30).
17 Mar
·       Giovanni Andrea Boccaccio, writing to the Duke of Ferrara, describes meeting Cesare at his house in Trastevere (rather the Borgo) and remarks on his worldly dress. “He possesses marked genius and a charming personality, bearing himself like a great prince ... [lively, merry, fond of society, very modest] he presents a much better and more distinguished appearance than his brother, the Duke of Gandia, although the latter is also highly endowed”. Cesare is “on his way to the chase dressed in a costume altogether worldly, that is silk and armed. He had only a little tonsure like a simple priest” and “the Archbishop of Valencia has never had any inclination for the priesthood” (EC 97-98; FG 47; RE 39; SB 18).
·       As the next eldest after the death of Pedro Luis, Cesare expected to inherit Pedro’s titles, but he is bypassed and he says that he feels like killing Juan “for having the dukedom of Gandia”. Juan (16) is the Pope’s “right eye” (RE 39).
19 Mar
Floramonte Brognolo, oratore of Mantua, mentions rumours that Cesare is intending to “doff his habit” (CF 160).
23 Mar
In a letter to Spain, the Vatican has to rebut scurrilous rumours about the Pope spread in Spain by Ferrante (CF 160). In a letter to King Ferdinand, he writes: “The Pope leads a life that is the abomination of all, without respect for the seat he occupies. He cares for nothing save to aggrandise his children by fair means or foul, and this is his sole desire” (CE 92).
1 Apr
“Columbus’s Letter on the First Voyage was placed into the hands of a printer by Luis de Santangel to be widely circulated throughout Spain. Columbus’s letter was printed at Barcelona as early as April 1, 1493, soon after Ferdinand and Isabella had received the news. ... Columbus had sent a letter to the Pope as soon as he arrived in Castile to prevent the Portuguese from attempting to claim the results of his voyage” (Wikipedia, Columbus’s Letter on the First Voyage, 1 Sep 2010).
4 Apr
Boccaccio writes to Duke Ercole about how “superlatively” the Pope loves his daughter [in superlativo grado; RE 27]. The ambassador suggests a wedding gift that the Duke agrees to send: a pair of large silver hand basins with accompanying vessels (FG 48).
7 Apr
Easter Sunday.
22 Apr
Marchese Gonzaga’s architect, Luca Fancelli, writes from Florence about the discovery of islands in the West. Dei Bardi and Strozzi write from Cadiz (JC1 Vol 1, 94-95).
24 Apr
Feast of St George. Lucrezia’s wedding is initially set for this day, but it is twice postponed: first to May and then until June (RE 38; MB 28).
25 Apr
·       The League of St Mark is announced in Rome: this entails an alliance against the Orsini between Milan, Venice and the Holy See, with Mantua, Ferrara and Siena as members. Ferrante has to abandon the Orsini or become embroiled in war (CF 161).
·       Milan and Venice at once send troops to aid the Pope against the Orsini. Giuliano della Rovere remains at Ostia and does not go out of the castle without a strong escort (LP Vol 5, 408).
Orsino Orsini’s condotta is renewed with the number of men under his command being increased to 25. He does not return to Monte Giordano and prefers to spend his free time at Bassanello. Julia, however, remains with Adriana and Lucrezia (RE 31-32).
5 May
Juan Borgia and Prince Djem, both in turbans and flowing Turkish robes, ride in front of the cross when the Pope visits St John Lateran basilica (RE 40). Juan plans to wear Turkish robes at Lucrezia’s wedding, and Giovanni Sforza feels obliged to keep up with him; he has to borrow a collar of pearls and rubies, and he borrows a gold one from the Marchese of Mantua, his former brother-in-law (RE 40).
4 May
“Inter caetera (‘Among other [works]’) was a papal bull issued by Pope Alexander VI on 4 May 1493, which granted to Spain  (the Crowns of Castile and Aragon) all lands to the ‘west and south’ of a pole-to-pole line 100 leagues west and south of any of the islands of the Azores  or the Cape Verde Islands” (Wikipedia).
21 May
Charles VIII signs a treaty with Emperor Maximilian (RE 47).
King Ferrante continues to stir up Cardinals to side with della Rovere and to urge them to prevent the Pope from creating new Cardinals. In this month, Ferrante informs the Cardinals that his troops will support them against the Pope if they should wish it. At the same time, he sends a letter to his envoy at the Spanish court, Antonio d’Allesandro, protesting his own innocence but accusing Pope Alexander of being the only disturber of the peace (LP Vol 5, 409).
2 Jun
About this time, Charles VIII informs Ludovico Sforza that he, Ludovico, has been selected to head the invasion of Naples (impresa di Napoli) (RE 47).
8 Jun
King Ferrante of Naples sends his ambassador in Spain a letter in which he asks for the protection of the Spanish monarchs against the Pope’s machinations. He describes the Pope’s personal conduct as loathsome (FG 52). [See 23 Mar.]
9 Jun
·       Sunday (MB 28).
·       Giovanni Sforza (26), handsome and bearded, arrives in Rome at the Porta del Popolo, where he is welcomed by Lucrezia’s brothers and other dignitaries (CF 162). Ludovico il Moro has made no financial contribution, and impoverished Pesaro has to bear all the costs of Giovanni’s retinue itself (JH 35).
·       Wedding cavalcade (account by Boccaccio): The procession goes through the Campo Fiori, over the Sant’Angelo bridge into the Borgo and stops in front of Lucrezia’s palace, where she is waiting on the loggia. She is dressed in crimson satin oversewn with pearls and rubies. With standard-bearers tossing their banners into the air, the officers of the guard swear loyalty to her with unsheathed swords (JH 36). As soon as the approach of the wedding procession is announced by trumpets, Julia and Adriana send Lucrezia out alone in the place of honour on a loggia overlooking the Piazza San Pietro. This is Lucrezia’s first public appearance (RE 40; MB 29). Giovanni Sforza reins in his horse and salutes her like a knight (bowing like a courtier), upon which Lucrezia curtsies in turn. He then continues to the Vatican to dedicate himself and his state to the service of the Pope (RE 41; MB 29).
·       As he rides by, Giovanni greets her on his way to the Vatican and Lucrezia returns the greeting (FG 49). Giovanni then continues on to the Vatican where the Pope is awaiting him with five Cardinals. Giovanni kneels and dedicates himself and his state to the Pope in a short Latin speech, to which the Pope replies affectionately. Giovanni then goes to Cardinal Aleria’s palace near the Castel Sant’Angelo to await the wedding (MB 29).
·       Giovanni Sforza writes to Ludovico that he is well satisfied with his future bride and the Pope has been in a most charming and condescending mood (JH 37).
12 Jun
·       For Lucrezia’s wedding, Pope Alexander prefers not to use the Sala dei Pontefici in which the weddings of Innocent’s granddaughters were celebrated, but rather the rooms adjoining the newly decorated but unfurnished Borgia apartments. Walls were covered with velvet hangings and tapestries. The great papal throne, used for public consistories, is placed on a platform in the Sala Reale (Great Hall). Five consistorial chairs, with shoulder pieces of crimson, blue and green velvet, are placed on either side of the throne. On a lower platform between a pair of windows, two consistorial chairs, their backs decorated with thin gold-brocade strips, are placed for the bridal couple. Coloured cushions are scattered before these seats. The Sala is reached by way of a smaller room where the vows are exchanged. In this room a throne is placed with four steps as an approach to it across the width of the room (RE 42). (See MB 30 for description of the festivities and environment.)
·       The Borgia apartments face north and today seem sombre because of overhanging cornices above the windows. Light is also impeded by present-day wings to the right and left of the courtyard. In Borgia times, however, there were no high buildings in the vicinity and no cornices. A vista of green gardens could be seen as far as Monte Mario; there was a stretch of orange orchards and pines. Light contributed to Pinturicchio’s gold and enamel work. Large windows with crossframes divided the landscape into geometric spaces. The doors were small and narrow (MB 68).
·       Astrologers have determined the date for Lucrezia’s wedding. Forty noble ladies, together with officials, senators and envoys are invited to the Pope’s palace beside St Peter’s. Lucrezia is dressed in a golden gown worth 15 000 ducats, and her train is carried by a little black girl similarly dressed. The Duke of Gandia escorts her, riding across the square, preceded by trumpeters and pages carrying garlands of flowers. Burchard is waiting to receive them at the entrance to the Vatican (JH 38-39). Juan fetches her in the morning, dressed in a gold Turkish robe. Isabella d’Este’s correspondent estimates that Juan’s robe costs three times the amount of the bride’s dress. She probably wore white satin or red velvet trimmed with fur and embroidered with gold thread. Her dress had a small train carried by a little black girl. Behind follow Julia, Adriana and 150 Roman ladies. The procession is led by Juan to the room for the ceremony, where the Pope seats himself. As the ladies pass the Pope, they neglect to genuflect, except Lucrezia and those closest to her, but the Pope greets them all, and Juan and Lucrezia step forward to kiss his foot. They are followed by the ladies in single file once again, who kiss the Pope’s foot. A few prominent ladies remain kneeling while other move back to his right. Giovanni Sforza steps forward and he and Lucrezia kneel before the Pope for the ceremony. A naked sword is held over the couple’s heads and is lowered as soon as the rings are placed on Lucrezia’s fingers: one on her left hand’s ring finger and one on the index finger. Refreshments are served in the Sala Reale after verses and a comedy. Sweetmeats are thrown to the crowds outside and according to Infessura also into the laps or bosoms of ladies present. This is an afternoon celebration and some guests are invited back for the evening wedding supper. The couple will live in Santa Maria in Portico at the Pope’s request for at least a year, and it seems that the Pope expects the marriage to be consummated before the year is over (Lucrezia is only 13) (RE 43-46). {SB 29-30}
·       Cardinal Ascanio has consulted the astrologers – to the Pope’s irritation because the time of Giovanni’s arrival is delayed. Giovanni is dressed in a long curled cloth-of-gold Turkish robe and a gold chain borrowed from the Marchese Francesco Gonzaga. Juan is also dressed in a “Turcha” gold robe with pearl-embroidered sleeves, wearing a beret with a 150 000 ducat jewel (SB 28). Cardinal Ascanio is accompanied by “his faithful Sanseverino”. Also present is Batistina d’Aragona, niece of Innocent VIII, whose train is also carried by a little black girl. She leads the ladies at the reception as “foundress of all women’s fashions in her time”. It is later remarked by a chronicler that Lucrezia “carries her body so gracefully that she hardly appears to be moving” (MB 31-32).
·       Lucrezia’s wedding is celebrated, followed by an evening banquet in the Vatican gardens (accounts by Andrea Boccaccio [Ferrara] and the “libellous” Stefano Infessura [humanist diarist in Rome]) (CF 162).  The Ferrarese ambassador relates that the presence of the French ambassador and his friendship with Milan have caused other states to boycott the wedding (MJ 97). [Boccaccio’s full account is given in FG 49 ff; also MB 31 ff.]
·       The ceremony takes place not in the private apartments but in the public halls of the Vatican to underscore the fact that it is a state occasion “intimately affecting the apostolic Church”. The great consistorial throne is set up in the Sala Reale normally used for consistories, with smaller thrones for bride and groom. Excited ladies forget to genuflect before the Pope to Burchard’s dismay. Juan played the major role, with Cesare merely “being present” among the guests [see full description] (EC 103-106). The Pope throws confetti from one of the silver goblets into the ladies’ bosoms (JH 40).
·       At the private supper party in the evening, the Pope presides with Julia Farnese next to him (JH 40). Also present are Teodorina Cibo, Lella Orsini and Adriana del Milá, Cardinal Ascanio and the Duke of Sanseverino, as well as other luminaries. The festive supper (in the pontifical hall) lasts until midnight, and then the chamberlains enter with the wedding presents. Then follow comedies, music and dancing – a “worldly” party. The Pope possibly throws confections into women’s laps (and not down their bodices), or a game is played in which confections are tossed from one guest to another during which sweets may have been dropped down some décolleté. The festivities end at dawn, after which Lucrezia goes to bed alone (MB 33-34).
·       Carlo Canale, Vanozza’s third husband, has remarked to a friend that one has to flatter Juan in order to win the Pope’s favour. Juan has also befriended Djem Sultan, “fierce and cruel”, and Juan himself is described by the Spanish chronicler Bernaldez as “a very bad man”, which is also later to become the view of Queen Isabella of Spain. The Pope has held Juan back from his debut in Spain in order to attend Lucrezia’s wedding first (EC 107-109).
·       It is actually to Marchese Francesco Gonzaga that Canale confirms that Juan is the Pope’s favourite son. Gonzaga wishes to win a Cardinal’s hat for his brother, Sigismondo. Canale was secretary to the previous Cardinal, and recommends that Juan, “the eye of His Holiness our Lord”, be presented with one of the famous Gonzaga horses (SB 20).
·       Giovanni Sforza is a captain of the militia; his salary is paid jointly by Milan and the Vatican. He stays on in Rome, but Lucrezia retires to Santa Maria in Portico (CF 162).
·       On this very day, King Ferrante of Naples offers his army to those Cardinals who refuse to sanction the appointment of Alessandro Farnese, Julia Farnese’s brother, as Cardinal (FG 53). Alessandro will become known as Il Cardinale della Gonnella – “the petticoat Cardinal” (RE 68). King Ferrante has sent no ambassadors to Rome and answers only with an official note when Giovanni Sforza informs him of the marriage. The King, has, however, asked Ferdinand the Catholic of Spain to send ambassador Diego Lopez de Haro to Rome with extensive powers and the intention to threaten the Pope, who now begins to give more consideration to the House of Aragon (MB 36).
·       The Ferrarese envoy comments on the festivities – “whether well or ill, I will leave to your Highness to determine” (LP Vol 5, 410-11).
14 Jun
Giovanni Sforza and the Duke of Gandia escort the new Spanish ambassador into Rome, giving themselves “the airs of kings” (JH 42). In spite of what Infessura alleges, Don Diego Lopez de Hare comes to make formal obeisance to the Pope and to emphasise Spain’s interest in Neapolitan affairs (RE 47).
15 Jun
In spite of being threatened by the formation of the League [of St Mark], King Ferrante of Naples writes from Capua to congratulate Giovanni Sforza on his marriage (FG 52).
19 Jun
·       The Spanish monarchs do not want French influence in Southern Italy to threaten life-lines between Sicily and Spanish ports, and therefore they view the Vatican’s alliance with Venice and Milan with suspicion (JH 43-44). King Ferdinand of Spain dislikes his cousin King Ferrante of Naples, whom he regards as illegitimate and therefore without any claim to Naples. However, he is preferable to the French and therefore, despite the treaty with France, the Spanish King decides to help Ferrante resolve his differences with the Pope before the French ambassador should arrive with demands for investiture for Charles VIII (RE 48).
·       On this day, the ambassador of the King of Spain, Diego Lopez de Haro, informs the Pope during an audience that King Ferdinand of Spain has the interests of the House of Aragon at heart. Ferrante is willing to compromise if the French threat is no longer an issue as promoted by the new alliance, yet he still threatens the frontiers of the papal state to prevent the Pope from granting investiture to the French King. The gambit fails, and Ferrante’s son Federico goes to Rome to offer a complete surrender and suggest a suitable marriage. Complete agreement is reached. Virginio Orsini will pay the Pope for fiefs; the Aragonese will pay tribute; the Pope will grant investiture; Ferrante will stop supporting dissidents at Ostia; Ferrante’s niece Sancia, natural daughter of the Duke of Calabria [Alfonso, heir to the Neapolitan throne; MB 37], will be offered as bride to Jofré Borgia, the Pope’s youngest son, who will become Prince of Squillace and Count of Cariati. De Haro is delighted and reveals a reward: the assent of the Spanish monarchs to the marriage of Juan Borgia and Maria Enriquez (CF 162-63). {RE 48; SB 30; MB 36}
·       De Haro is in Rome to tender obedience to the Pope – it is to be doubted (as Infessura states) that he attacks the Pope. According to the Spanish historian Zurita, he only tells the Pope that the Spanish King will look upon the affairs of Naples and the House of Aragon as his own, which pleases King Ferrante (LP Vol 5, 411-12).
·       At the time, the Florentine ambassador describes Jofré (12) as “truly handsome and of pleasing aspect” (MB 36). Doña Maria Enriquez is the daughter of Enrigo Enriquez, the high-treasurer of Leon, and Doña Maria de Luna, connected to the royal House of Aragon (FG 53).
End Jun
(i.e. 19th)
King Ferrante once again sends his second son Federigo to Rome to come to an agreement about Anguillara and to detach the Pope from the League [of St Mark], but he becomes threatening, too. Federigo joins the party of opposing Cardinals and della Rovere, while the King’s other son, Alfonso of Calabria, threatens the borders of the Papal States with troops. However, these actions serve only to strengthen Cardinal Ascanio’s hand, and King Ferrante is obliged to change his tactics. Federigo, negotiating with the opposition Cardinals della Rovere, Savelli and Colonna, must go to Rome to settle the Orsini dispute with the Pope, promise the payment of the investiture tribute, and conclude a Borgia family alliance before the arrival of the French ambassador, Perron de Baschi [Peron de Basche], in Rome. These aims are achieved. The Pope’s son Jofré is to marry Sancia, natural daughter of Alfonso of Calabria, and will receive the principality of Squillace and the countship of Coriata. The engagement has to be kept secret until Christmas. At this time, the Spanish ambassador proposes that Juan Borgia marry Maria, daughter of King Ferdinand’s uncle. Virginio Orsini agrees to these arrangements after much discussion. He will pay the Pope 35 000 ducats in return for the investiture of Cerveteri and Anguillara. Cardinal della Rovere must reconcile with the Pope (LP Vol 5, 412-13).
11 Jul
Charles VIII’s ambassador arrives in Lyons on his way to Italy to ask other Italian states for their cooperation and to ask Pope Alexander for his approval of Charles’s investiture as King of Naples (RE 48).
24 Jul
Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere, having read the signs of the times, is back in Rome, seated at table with the Pope and Virginio Orsini (CF 163) {LP Vol 5, 413}.
1 Aug
·       A treaty between Naples and the Vatican is signed (CF 163). The quarrel between King Ferrante and the Pope is settled through the intermediation of Spain. This surprising change is quickly confirmed by the marriage between Jofré Borgia and Sancia of Aragon (FG 54).
·       Prince Federigo of Naples sends word to his father King Ferrante that the Pope has signed the articles of agreement (LP Vol 5, 412).
2 Aug
Juan Borgia sets sail for Barcelona. Before he leaves, the Pope advises him to treat his bride well, not to go out at night, not to play dice, and not to touch his duchy’s revenue without the approval of his advisers. Before Juan’s ship reaches Civitavecchia, a second letter from the Pope advises Juan to care for his skin and hair, and to put on gloves on immediately and keep them on until he reaches Barcelona: “Salt ruins the skin and in our country people prize beautiful hands” (RE 48). The Pope instructs Juan’s treasurer Genis Fira and secretary Jaume de Pertusa that he hopes for the marquisate of Denia in Valencia and on top of that a lordship in the Kingdom of Granada for Juan: “One favour does not prevent another...” (SB 32). Giannandrea Boccaccio of Ferrara notes that a goldsmith in a shop under his house has been busy for months in setting jewels of all kinds for Juan of Gandia (MB 38-39).
2/3 Aug
With plague in Rome, Giovanni Sforza uses this as an excuse to ask the Pope for permission to return to Pesaro, leaving Lucrezia behind in Santa Maria in Portico (RE 48; MB 46).
4 Aug
·       Juan Borgia (16) leaves for Spain to marry Maria Enriquez in late August (CF 163). They are married in Barcelona in the presence of the Spanish monarchs. Juan then goes to Valencia and after that to Gandia (CF 165-66).
·       Giovanni Sforza leaves Rome for Civita Castellana because of a case of plague in his household, but there is no mention of Lucrezia joining him (SB 33).
5 Aug
·       About this time, the French ambassador, Peron de Basche, arrives, but his proposals for Charles VIII’s investiture are rejected and he returns home without having accomplished anything (CF 164) {LP Vol 5, 414}. King Ferrante is aware of this but still feels ill at ease. He instructs his ambassadors to offer gifts and to induce the Pope to send Jofré to Naples to marry Sancia. Cesare (by now already called Valentino/Valenza because of his Valencian archbishopric), later begins to negotiate directly with Charles VIII. Moreover, Bianca Maria Sforza marries Emperor Maximilian, which seems to bolster up the position of the House of Sforza (MB 43).
·       The Pope actually does not reject anything outright in talks with the French, but uses stalling tactics such as a need for examining all claims to Naples. The ambassador enquires about free passage through the Papal States, but the Pope says that this, too, will depend on the results of the investigation. Soon Charles threatens the Pope with withholding obedience to the Holy See and depriving it of French revenues and also a council to depose the Pope. Charles counts on moving his first troops by Christmas (RE 51).
6 Aug
A Bull of Acknowledgement is issued to declare Jofré as the Pope’s son by “a widowed lady” (CF 163-64).
9 Aug
French ambassador Perron de Baschi returns to France after speaking to a Pope whose language is indecisive; nothing is achieved (LP Vol 5, 414).
15 Aug
Jofré is betrothed by proxy to Sancia. Federigo, Prince of Altamura, second son of Ferrante, plays the “shy virgin” in representing Sancia to the amusement of all when the rings are exchanged – the Pope roars with laughter. Jofré leaves for Naples as the price for breaking up the League. Ferrante is behind the marriage to strengthen ties with the Pope (MB 36-37).
17 Aug
Virginio Orsini is invested with Cerveteri and Anguillara, and by the end of August it is clear that the Pope’s reconciliation with Ferrante has discredited Cardinal Ascanio and the Sforzas. Giuliano della Rovere supplants Ascanio, his enemy, and sees him evicted from his Vatican apartment. Nevertheless, the friendship between the Pope and Giuliano does not last until autumn (CF 164). Orsini is absolved from all censures (LP Vol 5, 414).
21 Aug
The Pope informs Ludovico Sforza of the new arrangement. A Milanese envoy appreciates the achievement in the Pope’s game: “Does this look like a man whose intellect is decaying? Alexander intends to enjoy his power in peace and quietude”. The envoy thinks that Cardinal Ascanio will not lose his influence, but he is wrong since Ascanio is forced to leave the Vatican (LP Vol 5, 414-15)
24 Aug
Juan arrives in Barcelona (SB 32). Late in August, Juan, as second Duke of Gandia, is married in Barcelona, where the Spanish court is in residence (CF 165). Neither the Spanish King nor the queen attends the wedding. The expected favours are not granted, which Queen Isabella regards as unseemly, whereas King Ferdinand sees Juan as useful hostage in terms of keeping the Pope in line over Naples (SB 32).
31 Aug
The Pope wishes to leave Rome for fresh air; he and his children (“nostri nepoti”) feel constricted in the Vatican (SB 33).
Jofré (11) is married by proxy to Sancia, illegitimate daughter to the heir of the throne of Naples. The Neapolitan nobleman who takes the part of the bride plays his role with “excruciating coyness” in exchanging vows – to the hilarity of all [see 15 Aug]. Alexander now tackles the problem of Naples that every Pope has to face and allies himself with the major Spanish power in Italy. It is over 50 years since the House of Aragon has thrown the Angevins out. The Neapolitans have been happy with Alfonso I, but his successor, Ferrante, is a monster. He is also a supreme politician (EC 111-13).
15 Sep
Back in Pesaro and crippled by wedding debts, Giovanni Sforza, early in September, presses the Pope for 5000 ducats as an advance on the promised 31 000-ducat dowry. On this day the Pope replies. He has discussed the matter with Cardinal Ascanio, Giovanni’s cousin, and they have decided that he should return to Rome in cooler and healthier weather towards the middle of October and consummate his marriage. He will then receive not merely 5000 ducats, but the entire dowry of 30 000. This communication proves that up to now there have been no physical relations between Lucrezia and Giovanni, who remains in Pesaro until after 10 November (RE 49; MB 46).
19 Sep
·       Two Bulls (one secret) revoke the defect of Cesare’s birth. The public one names Domenico Giannozzi of Rignano as father (Vanozza Catanei as mother). The secret one admits Alexander’s paternity “by a married lady” (CF 164). The commission that has to find on the matter is headed by Vice-Chancellor Ascanio Sforza (EC 95-96).
·       In this Bull it is also stated that Vanozza gave birth to Juan after the death of d’Arignano at the end of 1474 or beginning of 1475, which means that Cesare is the elder. It seems that Cesare was born in 1474 or 1475 and Juan in 1476. Cesare’s right of primogeniture was disturbed after Pedro Luis’s death; Cesare as second son is marked out for the Church, but now Juan as third son wins the family’s worldly advantages. Juan’s incompetence exacerbates Cesare’s jealousy. The Bulls are issued in consistory, and the Pope announces, “My Lord Cardinals, be disposed and ready: tomorrow, Friday, we wish to elect the new Cardinals.” Cardinal Carafa wants to know whether the Pope has considered the “usefulness” of the nominations with due care, and the Pope responds that the usefulness concerns him alone. He states, “I will show them who Alexander VI is, and if they [opposing Cardinals] still persevere I will annoy them by making as many new Cardinals as I can at Christmas, and even then they will not drive me from Rome” (MB 41-42).
·       A Bull of Legitimisation is issued regarding Juan (CF 141).
20 Sep
·       Friday. Against bitter opposition of Giuliano della Rovere and the anti-Borgia faction, Cesare, Ippolito d’Este and Alessandro Farnese (25) (brother of Julia Farnese) are raised to the rank of Cardinal (Cardinal-Deacon). Thirteen appointments are made in all to diminish the older Cardinals’ power (MB 41-42; CF 164). Alexander wants to raise money and to pack the Sacred College with supporters (CF 164). Furious, Giuliano della Rovere quarrels with the Pope and leaves for Ostia again (CF 164-65; LP Vol 5, 416). Ippolito d’Este is now 15 and Cesare 19 (FG 47; Wikipedia, Ippolito d’Este, 14 Sep 2010).
·       Up to this point, Farnese’s nomination has been opposed: It must be remembered that at this time, Cardinal della Rovere presides over the Sacred College (FG 53). Farnese will be known has “the petticoat Cardinal” and Julia as “Christ’s bride” (FG 54-55). Otherwise the Pope is even-handed in his nominations and only an infuriated Ferrante goes unrewarded (SB 34).
·       The Pope summoned the consistory when oppressive heat and threat of plague have made cardinals leave Rome for their country villas. Less than half the members were present, and when opposed, Alexander shouted from this throne: “You may not be in favour of our nominations, but to spite you we will create double the number, and then you will see what kind of man is a Borgia Pope” (JH 50-51).
·       The relations between the Pope and King Ferrante of Naples quickly sour again. No Neapolitan Cardinal is appointed on this day (LP Vol 5, 416).
11 Oct
Eleanora of Aragon, a daughter of the King of Naples, wife of Duke Ercole I d’Este of Ferrara, dies (FG 45).
21 Oct
Julia’s sister, Girolama, writes to her husband, the Florentine Puccio Pucci, that he will be greatly pleased by the letters he has received about what Julia has secured [from the Pope] (SB 34). [See 23 Dec.]
23 Oct
An epidemic in Rome. Cesare and Alexander go to Viterbo, a traditional papal holiday resort. They then go to Orvieto and Capodimonte, where Julia awaits the Pope in the Farnese family castle at the edge of Lago di Bolsena (CF 165). The Farnese family has invited the Pope and Cesare to a family reunion at their castle of Capodimonte, but it is not certain whether the Pope attended this (FG 55). (The castle is a tall one on a crest dominating the banks of Lake Bolsena (MB 60).)
26 Oct
The Pope leaves Rome on account of plague in the city (LP Vol 5, 418).
30 Oct
·       Alexander writes from Viterbo after receiving letters from Spain about the behaviour of Juan (17), who fails to consummate his marriage, gambles, and, with a gang, kills cats and stray dogs at night. Even Cesare (CF 165-66), also from Viterbo, writes to his brother: “However great my joy and happiness at being promoted Cardinal, and they were certainly considerable, my annoyance was greater still when I heard of the bad reports His Holiness had received of you and your behaviour. Letters . . . have informed His Holiness that you had been going round Barcelona at night, killing cats and dogs, making frequent visits to the brothel, gambling for large sums, speaking disrespectfully and imprudently to important people, showing disobedience to Don Enrich and Dona Maria [Juan’s father- and mother-in-law] and finally acting throughout in a way inconsistent with a gentleman of your position” (SB 32-33, 34). By the time Juan replies, he has settled in Gandia (CF 166). He succeeds in mollifying his wife (EC 110-11). Juan has spent 2 600 gold ducats on gambling and debauchery (MB 39). In a reply, Juan denies the rumours and tries to explain himself in “the greatest anguish he had ever suffered” and alleges only to have strolled along the promenade in Barcelona in the company of his father-in-law Don Enrico and others (MB 39-40).
·       Approximately this time, the Pope’s nuncio in Spain, Desprats, informs him of a conversation with Queen Isabella who expresses “great annoyance and displeasure” about scandal relating to Lucrezia’s wedding, and the cardinalships of Cesare and Alessandro Farnese. He advises the Pope not to pursue his children’s cause with such fervour (SB 33).
·       At the beginning of the month, Gian Lucido Cattanei [Cattaneo] reports that Giovanni Sforza is expected in Rome to do the Pope reverence and to “keep company in all respects with his wife”. He praises Lucrezia (13) as a most worthy lady and very favourable to the cause of Sigismondo Gonzaga’s cardinalate. The Marchese Gonzaga should treat Lucrezia as a sister-in-law, he recommends and pay more attention to her than he has done in the past, not only because of her position as the Pope’s daughter but also her good will towards the Marchese (SB 34).
·       By this month Julia has become the Pope’s powerful semi-official favourite and lives with Lucrezia in a recently built palace next to the Vatican. The palace has a first-floor loggia, “windows with round arches or trellis work, and suites of airy and regular rooms”. It houses Pope Alexander’s female court (MB 24; Wikipedia, Julia Farnese, 26 Jul 2010). To her own amusement, Julia is nicknamed “the Bride of Christ” by the Roman populace (CF 155). She is the kneeling woman portrayed in Raphael’s “Transfiguration” (CF 161).
·       Emperor Maximilian of Austria marries Bianca Maria Sforza (CF 168).
·       Ludovico Sforza grants the French free passage through Milanese territory (RE 51).
10 Nov
·       Giovanni Sforza sets out for Rome after this day. He returns to Pesaro after Christmas (MB 47).
·       Lucrezia’s marriage may have been consummated at about this time [see 15 September of this year] (MB 34).
15 Nov
The Pope congratulates Ludovico Sforza on the marriage of Bianca Sforza to Maximilian of Austria (LP Vol 5, 421).
23 Nov
Alexander leaves Capodimonte to go to the “red-walled” Bolsena, accompanied by 16 cardinals, and Lucrezia’s and Julia’s husbands (CF 165). (Or a triumphal entry into Orvieto, where the papal party spends two weeks in ceremonies, spectacles, parties, banquets and balls (RE 50).)
5 Dec
King Ferrante complains that relations between the Pope and France are too amicable (LP Vol 5, 420).
18 Dec
King Ferrante writes a letter of complaint to his ambassadors in Rome – it is impossible to live in peace and quiet with this Pope. Yet, he hopes to win the Pope’s friendship (LP Vol 5, 420).
19 Dec
The papal party returns to Rome (RE 50) after the plague has abated (LP Vol 5, 418).
23 Dec
Lorenzo Pucci [brother of Puccio Pucci; SB 34], related to the Farnese family by marriage, writes to his brother Giannozzo from Rome. Cardinal Alessandro Farnese invited him to go along with him from Viterbo to Rome for the Christmas festivities.  They were on horseback for part of the journey and had confidential conversations on the road. They discussed finding a suitable husband for Julia’s daughter (mentioning Astorre Manfredi of Faenza), and Pucci clearly identified Laura as the Pope’s daughter, which Cardinal Farnese did not deny (FG 55-56).
24 Dec
On Christmas Eve, Lorenzo Pucci visits the Palace (“house”) of Santa Maria in Portico to see Julia. She has just washed her hair and is sitting by the fire with Madonnas Lucrezia and Adriana. They admire the baby Laura. Julia lets her magnificent hair down to dry it. Lucrezia goes out to change from a robe into a gown of violet velvet (EC 99-100), in all likelihood irritated by the attention given to Julia (SB 35). It is clear through the conversations that Julia has great power in obtaining favours from the Pope for others, which she can accomplish “without any difficulty” (FG 56-58). Adriana mentions that it is certain that it is through Julia’s favour that he has obtained advantages for the family. Julia promises to make Puccio Pucci an ambassador; she could not do so earlier, but now can accomplish it “without any difficulty” (SB 34-35) {MB 48}. [Recipes for blonde hair: 2 pounds of alum, 6 ounces of black sulphur, 4 ounces of honey, all to be diluted to obtain a filo d’oro shade; RE 32.]
25 Dec
Giovanni Sforza spends Christmas with Lucrezia but leaves soon afterwards (RE 50; MB 47).
28 Dec
Charles VIII informs the Pope that France will continue withholding her obedience since the Pope has not yet said anything about the investiture or aid to the French army. In the meantime, King Ferrante writes to his envoy in Rome to accuse the Pope of breaking all his promises and doing nothing to stop the French. Guicciardini sees 1494 as the beginning of “those years of misfortune” (RE 51).

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