Cesare Borgia

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Page symbolsCesare Borgia as played by Francois Arnaud
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Name: Cesare Borgia
Position: Unordained cleric, titluar bishop of Pamplona. Later Archbishop of Valencia, Cardinal, Captain-General of the Papal Army, Gonfalonier (Standard-bearer), Duke of Valentinois, Duke of Romagna
Personality type: Ruthless, cold, arrogant, serious, merciless.
Endearing traits: Very handsome, intelligent, determined
Strengths: Highly intelligent, Cesare had a brilliant military mind.
Weaknesses: Lechery, cruelty, arrogance.
Quirks: Unusually close to his little sister, Lucrezia

Want to meet the historical Cesare Borgia?
Visit Cesare Borgia's Historical Profile
for an in-depth biography
Cesare Borgia

"By night I am who I wish to be,
by day I am thus [a cleric]"

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Season One
Season Two

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Forced into the priesthood against his will by his father, Cesare is in reality violent, dashing and cavalier. He serves as his father's Consigliore and carries out the most heinous crimes to advance the family's cause. While devoted to his sister and mother, he is locked in a bitter rivalry with his brother Juan, whom he believes to be his father's favorite. *Source Showtime

The series character explores the historical Cesare's known aversion to the cloth. He becomes the first ever cardinal to resign his office. Throughout episodes 1 and 2 of the series premiere, Cesare entreats his father to release him from his vows.
By his early twenties, Cesare Borgia was considered to be a serial murderer by his enemies.

He was the model for Niccolò Machiavelli's chapter on the "Prowess of a Statesman" in his book The Prince. Cesare Borgia is Machiavelli’s primary example of a prince who has great prowess, as displayed by his efforts to secure his state quickly after he was put in power.

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Family Members

Rodrigo Borgia - Father
Lucrezia Borgia - Sister
Juan and Joffre Borgia - Brothers
Vanozza dei Cattanei - Mother



Sancia of Aragon (wife of brother Joffre)
Fiammetta de Michelis (Roman courtesan)
Possibly, Dorotea Malatesta Caracciolo
(who he was accused of abducting)
Lucrezia Borgia


Micheletto Corella, henchman and assassin
Niccolò Machiavelli, author and political philosopher


Louis XII, King of France
Various states of Italy during his father's pontificate

Eventually Cesare had no allies, and went to fight for the Kingdom of Navarre

Charlotte of Albret relative of King Louis XII of France


Implicated in the murder of brother Juan
Lucrezia's second husband Alfonso, Duke of Bisceglie was strangled by Michelotto on the orders of Cesare
Giulio Cesare Varano and his three sons
Olivertto da Fermo (condottiero under Cesare)
Vitellozzo Vitelli (condottiero under Cesare)


The Orsini, Malatesta, Sforza, Montefeltro, Bentivoglio, and Baglioni families, Spain

Rebel condottieri who plotted against him.

Personal enemies:
Giovanni Sforza, Lord of Pesaro
Alfonso, Duke of Bisceglie
Caterina Sforza, Lady of Forli

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  • "You are still Lucrezia Borgia my love, you only change your name when you married " Cesare to Lucrezia.
  • "But can our family survive this prize?" Cesare to his father in the confessional.
  • “I was born with a stain. A mark. Like the mark of Cain. But is the mark of my father, my family. The mark of Borgia. I have tried to be other than I am. And I have failed. And If I have failed you in the process, I am truly sorry.” - Cesare to Ursula.
  • “You are no longer a child, sis. I won't forgive him for that.” – Cesare to Lucrezia .
  • " It was no murder, he fought, he lost!!!!" Cesare to Ursula.
  • “And Rome is like an old *****, waiting once more for her ravishment…”
  • “The Holy Father forbids any talk of abandonment. We have all of us taken our vows, as Cardinals, to spill our blood in defense of Our Holy Mother Church.”
  • Cesare - "Micheletto, seems I am not Papal legate after all." Micheletto - "Then what are you, your Eminence?" Cesare - "Seems I am nobody, Micheletto. Either that, or a hostage."
  • “I will never meet an assassin like you. Nor you a nobody like me.” - Cesare to Micheletto
  • “Well, stay in the shadows then. Isn’t that where you are happiest?” - Cesare to Micheletto
  • "These hands have seen too much of blood and sin to join two such tender creatures." - Cesare to Lucrezia
  • "So you see, Father, the robes of a Cardinal no longer sit easy on my shoulders. A Cardinal's ring makes it harder to grip the hilt of a sword, so I beg you to release me of my vows and grant me your forgiveness." - Cesare to Rodrigo

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  • Season 2, Episode 10 - The Confession - Cesare confesses to Rodrigo that he killed Juan, and is released from his Cardinal's vows.
  • --Season 3,Episode 3 - Siblings - Cesare and Lucrezia have sex for the first time.
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How does Cesare Borgia in The Borgias compare to actual history? Compare the facts with the fiction below!
  • Helped his father win the papal election with bribery and simony
  • Was a fully-ordained priest
  • Attended his father's coronation in pomp and display befitting a prince
  • Contributed to the poisoning of Prince Djem
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  • Was studying canon law at the University of Pisa until 1492, when he came to live in Rome permanently
  • Was only a minor cleric, titular bishop
  • Did not attend the coronation, but waited to be summoned by the pope
  • Prince Djem died in the custody of Charles VIII of France and most historians agree he died of dysentery.
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