The Borgias: RIVALS & ALLIES

Rivals & Allies of The Borgias
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    della Rovere Always one step behind the crafty Rodrigo Borgia and an enemy of the Medici, Giulliano della Rovere has seethed ever since he lost the papal throne to Rodrigo. Professing to one day destroy the Borgias, he has wheedled his way back into the Pope's good graces, luring him into a false sense of security from his adeptness at managing the Pope's affairs.

    Orsini Believed to be the killers of Juan Borgia, Alexander VI has always mistrusted the power-hungry Orsinis, vowing to destroy them. Duke Valentino killed Paolo Orsini in Senigalia after the Orisinis were destroyed in Rome.

    Ferrante of Naples An enemy of the Borgias at the beginning of Alexander VI's reign. Alexander tried to secure his position with alliances with Ludovico Sforza while double dealing with Ferrante against his Milanese interests. Ferrante tried to warn Alexander of the calamities that would result from the French invasion but failed.

    Florence Due to the indecisiveness of the key city of Florence (a fact not helped by the fact that Florence had a change in government every two months), Pope Alexander VI and Cesare Borgia were both angered by the City of the Baptist. Machiavelli was sent to make empty promises and stall for time, while Florence wanted to stay neutral in the violent Italy.


    Medici Cesare met Giovanni de' Medici when they were both students at the University of Pisa. After studying together, Cesare formed a friendship with the rest of Lorenzo de' Medici's children. Piero de' Medici fought under Cesare during his exile.

    Sforza In 1494 the new king of Naples Alfonso, allied himself with Pope Alexander VI posing a threat to Milan. Ludovico decided to fend him off using France, then ruled by the powerful Charles VIII, as his ally. He permitted the French troops to pass through Milan so that they might attack Naples. However Charles's ambition was not satisfied with Naples,and he subsequently laid claim to Milan itself. Bitterly regretting his decision, Ludovico then entered an alliance with Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor by offering him in marriage his niece Bianca Sforza and receiving, in return, imperial investiture of the duchy and joining the league against France.

    Naples Sicily and Naples were separated in 1458 but remained as dependencies of Aragon under Ferrante. The new dynasty enhanced Naples' commerce by establishing relations with the Iberian peninsula. Naples also became a centre of the Renaissance, with artists such as Laurana, da Messina, Sannazzaro and Poliziano arriving in the city. During 1501 Naples became under direct rule from France at the time of Louis XII, as Neapolitan king Frederick was taken as a prisoner to France; this lasted only four years. Spain won Naples at the Battle of Garigliano and, as a result, Naples became under direct rule as part of the Spanish Empire throughout the entire Habsburg Spain period. The Spanish sent viceroys to Naples to directly deal with local issues: the most important of which was Pedro Álvarez de Toledo, who was responsible for considerable social, economic and urban progress in the city; he also supported the Inquisition.

    Ferdinand of Aragon, King of Spain Visiting Spain as Papal Legate in 1472, Rodrigo Borgia formed a friendship and mutually profitable alliance with Prince Ferdinand of Aragon. Rodrigo advanced Spanish interests in Rome, whilst Ferdinand favoured the Borgias in Spain, allowing Rodrigo to purchase the Duchy of Gandia, arranging a marriage for Rodrigo's son Juan with his cousin Maria Enriquez, and smoothing over the Borgias' rocky relationship with his cousins in Naples. The two shared a national heritage and similar attitudes - cunning, ruthless, pragmatic and calculating. The Venetian envoy described their negotiations as 'Catalan bargaining with Catalan' i.e. very hard bargaining.

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