The Ballet of The ChestnutsThis is a featured page

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Ballet of The Chestnuts

Pope Alexander VI hosted lavish Vatican parties, which by some accounts became increasingly more wild as time went on. They were costly, but the pope could afford the lifestyle of a Renaissance prince; as Vice Chancellor of the Roman Church he had amassed enormous wealth. One party, known to Romans as the "Ballet of the Chestnuts," was held on October 30, 1501. The indefatigable Johann Burchard describes it in his Diarium. After the banquet dishes had been cleared away, the city's fifty most beautiful courtesans danced with the guests, "first fully dressed, then naked." The dancing over, the "ballet" began, with the Pope and two of his children in the best seats.


Johann Burchard's account as recorded in his diary, At the Court of the Borgia:

"On Sunday evening, October 30th, Don Cesare Borgia gave a supper in his apartment in the apostolic palace, with fifty decent prostitutes or courtesans in attendance, who after the meal danced with the servants and others there, first fully dressed and then naked. Following the supper too, lampstands holding lighted candles were placed on the floor and chestnuts strewn about, which the prostitutes, naked on the floor and on their hands and knees, had to pick up as they crawled in and out amongst the lampstands. The pope, Don Cesare and Donna Lucrezia were all present to watch. Finally, prizes were offered--silken doublets, pairs of shoes, hats and other garments--for those men who were most successful with the prostitutes. This performance was carried out in the Sala Reale and those who attended said in fact the prizes were presented to those who won the contest."


Venus and Mars (Botticelli 1483)


At the Court of the Borgia: Being an Account of the Reign of Pope Alexander VI written by his Master of Ceremonies Johann Burchard, 1506. Folio Society, London 2002 (page 194).



The Spanish film Los Borgias (2006) includes this banquet among its scenes.



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poncianito October 30, 1501,Ballet of Chestnuts, a banquet held by Cesare Borgia 1 Oct 31 2011, 4:06 AM EDT by offwithherhead
Thread started: Oct 30 2011, 5:34 PM EDT  Watch
The banquet was given in Cesare's apartments in the Palazzo Apostolico. Fifty prostitutes or courtesans were in attendance for the entertainment of the banquet guests. After the food was eaten, lamp stands holding lighted candles were placed on the floor and chestnuts strewn about. The clothes of the courtesans were auctioned; then the prostitutes and the guests crawled naked among the lamp stands to pick up the chestnuts. Immediately following the spectacle, members of the clergy and other party guests together engaged with the prostitutes in sexual activity.According to Burchard, "prizes were offered--silken doublets, pairs of shoes, hats and other garments--for those men who were most successful with the prostitutes".According to William Manchester, "Servants kept score of each man's orgasms, for the pope greatly admired virility and measured a man's machismo by his ejaculative capacity." Manchester also refers to the use of sex toys; Burchard, however, makes no reference to this in his account of the banquet.
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Kittywake09 30 October 1501 - Ballet of the Chestnuts 16 Oct 30 2011, 4:37 AM EDT by offwithherhead
Thread started: Oct 30 2011, 2:01 AM EDT  Watch
Thanks to Andew_Dragon for the reminder On This in History thread. I really hope this is included in the show oh what a treat!!!
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Kittywake09 30 October 1501 - The infamous BALLET OF THE CHESTNUTS 16 May 3 2011, 11:44 AM EDT by Brooke9/7
Thread started: Oct 30 2010, 3:50 AM EDT  Watch
On this day the infamous Ballet of the Chestnuts took place at the Vatican.

Pope Alexander VI hosted lavish Vatican parties, which by some accounts became increasingly more wild as time went on. They were costly, but the pope could afford the lifestyle of a Renaissance prince; as Vice Chancellor of the Roman Church he had amassed enormous wealth. As guests approached the papal palace, they were excited by the spectacle of living statues: naked, gilded young men and women in erotic poses. Flags bore the Borgia arms, portrayed a red bull rampant on a field of gold. One party, known to Romans as the "Ballet of the Chestnuts," was held on October 30, 1501. Read more ............

http://theborgias.wetpaint.com/page/The+Ballet+of+The+Chestnuts
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