Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. After his uncle's election as Pope he was created successively bishop, Cardinal and vice-chancellor of the church, an act of nepotism characteristic of the age. Alexander VI and his son Cesare Borgia emerged as two of the most feared and hated figures in Italy during the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, leading some to believe Pope Alexander VI's cause of death was assassination. As France and Spain were quarreling over the division of Naples and the Campagna barons were quiet, Cesare set out once more in search of conquests. Alexander VI was a pope who lived during the 15 th century, when Italy was experiencing the Renaissance. As King Ferdinand I of Naples was threatening to come to the aid of the rightful duke Gian Galeazzo, the husband of his granddaughter Isabella, Alexander VI encouraged the French king in his plan for the conquest of N… But while a crusade was talked of, the real object was central Italy, and in the autumn, Cesare, favored by France and Venice, set forth with 10,000 men to complete his interrupted enterprise. Rodrigo was a skillful politician, and it didn’t take him long to accumulate enough wealth to rig a papal election. Appointed by Calixtus to the College of Cardinals at the age of 26, he was one of many of Calixtus' relatives from Spain who were invited to take up important and lucrative posts in Rome. His death was followed by scenes of wild disorder, and Cesare, himself apparently ill or poisoned but who survived, could not attend to business, but sent Don Michelotto, his chief bravo, to sei… Alexander VI hoped that Louis XII's help would be more profitable to his house than that of Charles VIII had been and, in spite of the remonstrances of Spain and of the Sforza, he allied himself with France in January 1499 and was joined by Venice. At the time however, he was not considered as such and so the fifth true Pope Alexander took the official number VI. Suddenly the rumor spread that Cesare, the Pope's second son, was the author of the deed, and although the inquiries then ceased and no conclusive evidence has yet come to light, there is every probability that the charge was well founded. eval(ez_write_tag([[336,280],'newworldencyclopedia_org-medrectangle-4','ezslot_1',162,'0','0'])); Rodrigo Borgia studied law at Bologna. Pope Alexander VII (13 February 1599 – 22 May 1667), born Fabio Chigi, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 7 April 1655 to his death in 1667.. Alexander VI's diplomacy, however, turned the tide, and Cesare, in exchange for promising to assist the French in the south, was given a free hand in central Italy. The Pope, ever in need of money, now created twelve new cardinals, from whom he received 120,000 ducats, and fresh conquests for Cesare were considered. His one thought was family aggrandizement, and while it is unlikely that he meditated making the papacy hereditary in the house of Borgia, he certainly gave away its temporal estates to his children as though they belonged to him. Pope Alexander VI (Alejandro VI, or Alexander Sextus), born Roderic Llançol i de Borja (Castilian Spanish: Rodrigo Lanzol; 1 January 1431 – 18 August 1503) was pope (bishop of Rome) from August 11, 1492 until his death in August 18, 1503. He also promoted the evangelization of the New World. Alexander's rapidly decomposing body was shuttled around Rome before a team of workers pummeled his corpse into a too-small coffin. Credit is due under the terms of this license that can reference both the New World Encyclopedia contributors and the selfless volunteer contributors of the Wikimedia Foundation. In 1484 he expected to be elected Pope but was by-passed for Innocent VIII. During his pontificate the Church was brought to its lowest level of degradation. Despite the shadow of simony that surrounded the disposal of his benefices among the papal electors, Rodrigo emerged from a tumultuous conclave on the night of August 10–11, 1492, as Pope Alexander VI and received the acclaim of the Roman populace. Alexander VI carried on a double policy, always ready to seize opportunities to aggrandize his family. He took the name of Alexander VI in honor of the ancient emperor Alexander the Great. The Sultan's brother, a hostage, had actually been one of his court favorites. Rodrigo studied law at Bologna, and on February 22, 1456, he was created a cardinal by his uncle, now Pope Calixtus III. At the start of his papacy, Alexander instituted a number of reforms. The Pope was unable to maintain order in his own dominions; the houses of Colonna and Orsini were at open war with each other, but after much fighting they made peace on a basis of alliance against the Pope. Alexander VI spent his final years supporting Cesare’s military ambitions and the arts. Some of these related to the finances of the Church, whilst others concerned the city and people of Rome. Alexander VI. When Calixtus died in 1458 to be succeeded by Pius II Rodrigo's brother, who had even more illustrious titles including 'prefect of Rome' was literally chased out of Rome. The French army proceeded to invade Naples, and Alexander VI took the opportunity, with the help of the Orsini, to reduce the Colonna to obedience. During this time period, a life as a Catholic priest was considered to be an excellent career move for young men regardless of their personal piety. Cesare was preparing for another expedition into central Italy in July 1503, when, in the midst of all these projects and negotiations, both he and his father were taken ill with fever. On April 8th, 1455, shortly after being made a cardinal, Alfons … Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia), Pope between 1492 - 1503. Alexander VI mediated great marriages for his children. Alexander VI, original Spanish name in full Rodrigo de Borja y Doms, Italian Rodrigo Borgia, (born 1431, Játiva, near Valencia [Spain]—died August 18, 1503, Rome), corrupt, worldly, and ambitious pope (1492–1503), whose neglect of the spiritual inheritance of the church contributed to the development of the Protestant Reformation. In 1493, in the wake of Christopher Columbus’s epochal discoveries, and at the request of Ferdinand and Isabella, Alexander issued a bull granting Spain the exclusive right to explore the seas and claim all New World lands lying west of a north-south line 100 leagues (about 320 miles) west of the Cape Verde Islands. This brought the latter into conflict with Alexander VI, who determined to revenge himself by making an alliance with the King's enemies, especially the Sforza family, lords of Milan. Before his elevation to the papacy Cardinal Borgia's passion for Vannozza somewhat diminished, and she subsequently led a very retired life. Játiva, Spain, with biography. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. Cath. Alexander VI was not the only person responsible for the general unrest in Italy and the foreign invasions, but he was ever ready to profit by them. This defection forced the Pope to come to terms, and on the 31st of December Charles VIII entered Rome with his troops and the cardinals of the French faction. The title was eventually divided between Spain and Portugal along a Demarcation Line and duly granted in the Bull Inter caetera, May 4, 1493. Updates? Pope Alexander VI is often considered the most evil man ever to hold the papal office. Alexander VI – AKA Rodrigo Borja (Borgia) – was Pope from 1492 until his death in 1503. While there was never substantive proof of simony, the rumor was that Borgia by his great wealth succeeded in buying the largest number of votes, including that of Sforza, whom he bribed with four mule loads of silver. His attempt to draw Florence into an alliance failed, but in July, Louis XII of France again invaded Italy and was at once bombarded with complaints from the Borgia's enemies. He lavished vast sums on them and loaded them with every honor. Alexander VI (1431 – 1503). An account of the banquet is preserved in a Latin diary by Protonotary Apostolic and Master of Ceremonies Johann Burchard (it is titled Liber Notarum), but its accuracy is disputed. Pope Alexander VI: A Spanish-born pontiff from the powerful Borgia family, Pope Alexander VI was infamous for his libertine behaviors and nepotism. Alexander did not pause to consider the rights of the Indians who already occupied America, just as he gave no thought to the poor of the world, although Jesus (whose vicar he claimed to be) called them "blessed.". Pope Alexander VI (1 January 1431 – 18 August 1503) (Spanish: Alejandro VI, Catalan: Alexandre VI), born Roderic Llançol, later Roderic de Borja i Borja (Italian: Rodrigo Borgia) was Pope from 1492 to 1503. Alexander VI: The Second Borgia Pope . Alexander VI fathered many children by a number of mistresses, but four were legitimized: Juan, Cesare, Jofré, and Lucrezia. Slavery. In this he was opposed by Cardinal della Rovere, whose candidature for the papacy had been backed by Ferdinand II. He began his career as a vice- papal legate, and he held various diplomatic positions in the Holy See. Pope Alexander VI. Quart.Review, April, 1900.] Divided the New World for Portugal, Spain. By a Roman noblewoman, Vannozza Catanei, he had four subsequently legitimized offspring—Juan, Cesare, Jofré, and Lucrezia—whose complicated careers troubled his pontificate. Alexander VI's elevation did not at the time excite much alarm, and at first his reign was marked by a strict administration of justice and an orderly method of government in satisfactory contrast with the anarchy of the previous pontificate, as well as by great outward splendor. The connection began in 1470, and she bore him four children whom he openly acknowledged as his own: Giovanni Borgia (1498), afterwards duke of Gandia (born 1474), Cesare Borgia (born 1476), Lucrezia Borgia (born 1480), and Goffredo or Giuffre (born 1481 or 1482). Bishop of Rome: Portrait by Giovanni Battista Gaulli. He was named pope in 1492, taking the name Alexander VI. Early life. Ferdinand II appealed to Spain for help; but Spain was anxious to be on good terms with the Pope to obtain a title over the newly discovered continent of America and could not afford to quarrel with him. His reign began well. Pope Alexander VI Spanish: Alejandro VI one of the most controversial of the Renaissance popes. Alexander VI made many alliances to secure his position, but fearing himself isolated he sought help from Charles VIII of France (1483–98). Review, April, 1900.] He proclaimed the year 1500 a Holy Year of Jubilee and authorized its celebration with great pomp. Cesare, then a youth of seventeen and a student at Pisa, was made archbishop of Valencia, Giovanni received a cardinal's hat in addition to the dukedom of Gandia. He took Borja as his sur eval(ez_write_tag([[580,400],'newworldencyclopedia_org-box-4','ezslot_3',170,'0','0'])); But in spite of the splendors of the court, the condition of Rome became every day more deplorable. His main goal in life appears to have been to elevate his own family (including his children) to whom he gave away papal property as will as well as appointing them to senior posts.  Borgia was elected on August 11 1492, assuming the name of Alexander VI. Raphael, Michelangelo, and Pinturicchio all worked for him, as he and his family took great pleasure in the most exquisite works of art. Among the fiefs destined for the duke of Gandia were Cerveteri and Anguillara, lately acquired by Virginio Orsini, head of that powerful and turbulent house, with the pecuniary help of Ferdinand II of Aragon (1504 – 1516), King of Naples. Burchard recorded the events that surrounded the death of the Pope. Pope Alexander VI (1492-1503) was, it is almost universally agreed, the nadir of the papacy. The city swarmed with Spanish adventurers, assassins, prostitutes and informers; murder and robbery were committed with impunity, and the Pope himself shamelessly cast aside all show of decorum, living a purely secular and immoral life, and indulging in the chase, dancing, stage plays and indecent orgies. He is one of the most controversial figures in the history of papacy. A promise of French help at once forced the confederates to come to terms, and Cesare by an act of treachery seized the ringleaders at Senigallia, and put Oliverotto da Fermo and Vitellozzo Vitelli to death (December 31, 1502). Pope Alexander VI [also Alexander Sextus, born Roderic Llançol i de Borja] (1 January 1431 – 18 August 1503) was pope from 1492 until his death in 1503.He is one of the most controversial of the Renaissance popes, and his Italianized catalan surname Borgia became a byword for libertinism and nepotism, which are traditionally considered as characterizing his papacy. Trouble began in 1494, however, after the death of King Ferdinand I of Naples (1423–1494; ruled 1458–94). The Papal Bull "Inter Caetera," issued by Pope Alexander VI on May 4, 1493, played a central role in the Spanish conquest of the New World. Alexander’s cause of death remains a mystery. In June 1502 he seized Camerino and Urbino, the news of which capture filled the pope with childish joy. He had those he saw as enemies poisoned. [For details of the conclave see Pastor, "Hist. Cath. of the Popes", (German ed., Freiburg, 1895), III, 275-278; also Am. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). From Astro-Databank. But the rest of the clan still held out, and the papal troops sent against them under Guidobaldo, duke of Urbino and the duke of Gandia, were defeated at Soriano (January 1497). But when the French invasion became a reality he was alarmed, recognized Alphonso II as King, and concluded an alliance with him in exchange for various fiefs for his sons (July 1494). He also issued bulls that led to the Treaty of Tordesillas, theoretically dividing the New World into Spanish and Portuguese spheres. Rodrigo was born into the Spanish branch of the prominent and powerful Borgia family. Rodrigo de Borja y Doms (Italian: Rodrigo Borgia) was the Spanish-born 214th Pope who was raised to the papal chair as Pope Alexander VI. Omissions? Perhaps one of the immediate legacies of this Pope's papacy was the Protestant Reformation, instigated in 1517 by Martin Luther for whom the wealth of the church and the conduct of its leaders was immoral. The story of Alexander VI's relations with Savonarola is told in that article; it is enough to say here that the Pope's hostility was due to the friar's outspoken invectives against papal corruption and to his appeals for a General Council. At a meeting of church officials held in August 1492, the sixty-one-year-old Borgia was elected pope. On August 18, 1503 Alexander VI died at the age of 72. Of his many mistresses the one for whom his passion lasted longest was a certain Vannozza (Giovanna) dei Cattani, born in 1442, and wife of three successive husbands. No doubt Cesare, who contemplated quitting the Church, was inspired by jealousy of Gandia's influence with the Pope. Like many other prelates of the day, his morals were infamous, his two dominant passions being greed of gold and love of women, and he was devoted to the ten known children his mistresses bore him. Borgia, by a bare two-thirds majority secured by his own vote, was proclaimed Pope on the morning of 11 Aug., 1492, and took the name of Alexander VI. His other children – Girolamo, Isabella and Pier Luigi – were of uncertain parentage. Pope Alexander VII (13 February 1599 – 22 May 1667), born Fabio Chigi, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 7 April 1655 to his death in 1667. At first the papal troops were defeated and things looked black for the house of Borgia. Source(s): b: The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, 20 Feb 1456; b: Hierarchia Catholica, Volume 2, Page 83 To cite this article click here for a list of acceptable citing formats.The history of earlier contributions by wikipedians is accessible to researchers here: The history of this article since it was imported to New World Encyclopedia: Note: Some restrictions may apply to use of individual images which are separately licensed. As a patron of the arts, Alexander erected a centre for the University of Rome, restored the Castel Sant’Angelo, built the monumental mansion of the Apostolic Chancery, embellished the Vatican palaces, and persuaded Michelangelo to draw plans for the rebuilding of St. Peter’s Basilica. Borgia, by a bare two-thirds majority secured by his own vote, was proclaimed Pope on the morning of 11 Aug., 1492, and took the name of Alexander VI. He is one of the most controversial of the Renaissance popes, and his surname (Italianized as Borgia) became a byword for the debased standards of the papacy of that era. In his absence he left Lucrezia as regent, offering the astounding spectacle of a pope's natural daughter in charge of the Holy See. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com: accessed ), memorial page for Pope Alexander VI (1 Jan 1431–18 Aug 1503), Find a Grave Memorial no. Pope Alexander VI (Latin: Alexander Sextus; 1431–1503), born Rodrigo Lanzol y Borja, was an Spanish cleric of the Roman Catholic Church and the 215th Pope from 1492 to 1503. Portugal was granted similar rights of exploration east of the demarcation line. Pope from 1492 until 1503, Alexander VI is known as one of the most charismatic, but also one of the most corrupt and decadent, church leaders in history. This papal disposition, which was never subsequently recognized by any other European power, was jointly amended by Spain and Portugal in the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494. Della Rovere, feeling that Rome was a dangerous place for him, fortified himself in his bishopric of Ostia at the Tiber's mouth, while Ferdinand II allied himself with Florence, Milan, Venice, and the Pope formed a league against Naples (April 25, 1493) and prepared for war. Charles, at the instigation of a rival cardinal of the influential della Rovere family, threatened the pope with deposition and the convocation of a reform council. Gravely afflicted, Alexander announced a reform program and called for measures to restrain the luxury of the papal court, reorganize the Apostolic Chancery, and repress simony and concubinage. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Alexander-VI, The Catholic Encyclopedia - Biography of Pope Alexander VI. The local despots of Romagna were dispossessed and an administration was set up, which, if tyrannical and cruel, was at least orderly and strong, and aroused the admiration of Machiavelli. Pope Alexander VI, born Roderic Borgia (Valencian: Roderic Llançol i de Borja (Valencian pronunciation: [roðeˈɾiɡ ʎanˈsɔɫ i ðe ˈβɔɾdʒa], Spanish: Rodrigo Lanzol y de Borja [roˈðɾiɣo lanˈθol i ðe ˈβorxa]); 1 January 1431 – 18 August 1503), was Pope from 11 August 1492 until his death. Alexander VI had four children by his mistress (Vannozza dei Cattani), three sons and a daughter: Giovanni (1474), Cesare, Goffredo (or Giuffre) and Lucrezia Borgia. Alexander VI bought his way to the top of the Papacy and reigned as the most evil Pope in history. 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