Sancia of Aragon Historical Profile

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Page Symbol SANCIA OF ARAGON Historical Profile
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SANCIA OF ARAGON STATS
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Name: Sancia of Aragon
Born: 1478
Home town: Gaeta, Lazio (Central Italy north of Naples)
Died: 1505
Position: Member of the Neaopolitan Royal Family - the House of Aragon, Princess of Squillace, illegitimate daughter of King Alfonso II of Naples
House of: Aragon (of Naples)
Nickname:
Personality type: Flirtatious, lusty, arrogant, ambitious
Hobbies: Clothes, jewels, fashion
Strength(s): Independent-minded, arrogant, confident
Weakness(es): Lustful, promiscuous and adulterous
Quirks: Had the nerve to publicly argue with Pope Alexander VI himself
There are no surviving portraits of Sancia.


...naturally dark, with glancing eyes,
an aquiline nose and very made up...

- Gian Carlo Scalona, Mantuan Ambassador


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SANCIA OF ARAGON BIO
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Born 1478 at Gaeta. Natural daughter of Alfonso II of Aragon, Duke of Calabria and later King of Naples (for less than a year) by his mistress Troggia Gazzela. Alfonso II of Aragon was the eldest son ofKing Ferrante I (Ferdinand I of Naples).

Sancia (or Sancha) was the sister of Alfonso of Aragon, Duke of Bisceglie (second husband of Lucrezia Borgia).

The 1493 League between Venice, the Holy See, and Milan prompted Ferrante (and later Alfonso after Ferrante's death) to align with the pope. In order to cement this alliance and gain for his family the long-desired papal investiture (legal right to and divine approval of kingship) of the Kingdom of Naples, Ferrante promised to give his granddaughter, Sancia, and the principality of Squillace (in the duchy of Calabria) to Jofre Borgia. The result was a treaty between Naples and the Vatican. This marks the beginning of the break between the House of Sforza and the interests of Pope Alexander VI. By that time the pope had his children wedded to the most powerful houses of Italy and Spain: Juan was married to Maria Enriquez, cousin to the King of Spain, Jofre was married to Sancia, natural daughter of the next king of Naples, and Lucrezia was married (at the time) to the Lord of Pesaro, Govanni Sforza. Giovanni was a cousin of the wealthiest prince in all of Italy Ludovico Maria Sforza, the powerful de facto Duke of Milan.


Sancia married Jofré Borgia on 11 May 1494 at Naples, just days after her father's coronation as Alfonso II of Naples. Sancia probably had an affair first with Juan, Duke of Gandia, and then with Cesare Borgia. She and Lucrezia became fast friends and had much in common. Both ladies enlivened the papal court with their flirtatious antics. After the Borgias reached the height of their power, she and Jofre ceased living together. She had an affair with the condottiero Prospero Colonna and died a few years later. Jofre quietly remarried a noblewoman, Maria de Mila, by whom he had children.

Unusual for the times, Sancia openly displayed an amorous personality and freely gave vent to her warm southern passions - purportedly with the other Borgia brothers as well.
She was the consummate seductress; sensual, hot-blooded, passionate, overtly flirtatious, highly fashionable, beautiful, sultry,and exotically dark. According to Italian historian Clemente Fusero, she was "a girl two years [Jofre's] senior who had highly precocious instincts and the temperament of a wh*re" (Fusero, p. 168). He goes on to describe her when "in the previous autumn [1496] a rumour had spread that [Cesare] was having an affair with Sancia, who found him infintitely more attractive than the immature Gioffredo - though she did not, it would seem, keep her favours for him alone. She had grown up in a licentiuos court, and took her pleasure where she found it, with a hand as firm as it was capricious. Volatile, highly intelligent, an untamable wild filly, she held her own even with the Pontiff, who more than once was obliged to threaten and send her straight home to Squillace. After the Duke of Gandia's [Juan] return from the Ostia expedition, she showed signs of preferring his cheerful exuberance to the cool impenetrability of that gloomy introvert, the twenty-two year-old cardinal [Cesare]" (Fusero, p. 191).

"Sancia, an illegitimate child, was a wild, headstrong beauty, brought up in the most pagan court in Europe, and there were persistent rumours of her immorality. She was the same age as Lucrezia and though the two young women were different types - Sancia dark and fiery, Lucrezia more placid - they joined together, determined to make the Vatican a playground of fashion. Burchard, the stuffy Master of Ceremonies, thought their conduct 'a disgrace, and soon more censorious critics had worse things to say about Sancia's sexual habits." It was said, most scandalously, that the Borgia bothers, Juan and Cesare, were competing for the favors of their sister-in-law." (The Borgias by Marion Johnson, p. 119-120)

Sancia died without issue in 1505, aged 27 years.



page logo CONTEMPORARY VOICES
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From Ambassador Gian Carlo Scalona in a letter to Isabella d'Este:
"In truth she did not appear as beautiful as she had been made out to be. Indeed the lady of Pesaro [Lucrezia] surpassed her. However that may be, by her gestures and aspect the sheep will put herself easily at the disposal of the wolf. She has also some ladies of hers who are in no way inferior to their mistress, thus they say publicly it will be a fine flock...She is more than twenty-two years old, naturally dark, with glancing eyes, an aquiline nose and very made up, and will in my opinion not give lie to my predictions..."

- quoted in Lucrezia Borgia (Sarah Bradford, p. 54).



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page logo ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AND MATERIALS
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BOOKS & PUBLICATIONS WEBSITES & MEDIA
  • The Borgias (Clemente Fusero, p.168 & 191)
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