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Cesare Borgia: His Life and Times

de Sarah Bradford

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Accusations of treachery, rape, incest, and murder: almost five centuries have passed since Cesare Borgia's death, and his reputation still casts a sinister shadow. Yet the real man was a mesmerizing figure who inspired Machiavelli's classic The Prince. During the brief space of time when he occupied the stage, he shocked and stunned his contemporaries with his lofty ambitions and daring, becoming the most feared, hated, and envied man of his day. By 31 he was dead: his story assumes the proportions of Greek tragedy.… (més)
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The companion work to her superb “Lucrezia Borgia”, Bradford’s exploration of the life of Lucrezia’s highly controversial brother offers an insightful look into the world of late 15th century/early 16th century Rome and Europe in general. Born the illegitimate son of Rodrigo Borgia, who rose to become Pope Alexander VI, Cesare was originally intended by his father for a career in the Church. Within the confines of filial loyalty, he resisted but was made a cardinal at the age of eighteen. Several years later, when Cesare’s brother, Juan was murdered, Cesare not only became the chief suspect but he also finally acquired the life he wanted, replacing Juan in their father’s plans. Resigning his cardinalate, he went on to become a brilliant diplomat, feared war leader, one of the most envied men of his time, and quite probably the inspiration for Machievelli’s “The Prince”. His fall, when it came, was as spectacular as his rise. With the destruction of the Borgias, they have faded from history, remaining little more than caricatures attached to scandalous accusations. Bradford makes clear that the truth is very different and far more fascinating. ( )
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Accusations of treachery, rape, incest, and murder: almost five centuries have passed since Cesare Borgia's death, and his reputation still casts a sinister shadow. Yet the real man was a mesmerizing figure who inspired Machiavelli's classic The Prince. During the brief space of time when he occupied the stage, he shocked and stunned his contemporaries with his lofty ambitions and daring, becoming the most feared, hated, and envied man of his day. By 31 he was dead: his story assumes the proportions of Greek tragedy.

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