Lucrezia Borgia’s life: second half

The bell tower of the cathedral at Ferrara

Lucrezia Borgia spent the second half her life in Ferrara. After two marriages that ended in bizarre and terrible ways--as you will see if you watch the Showtime series-- her last marriage to the Duke of Ferrara, Alfonso I (or Alfonso II if you count how many husbands she had named Alfonso), was relatively tranquil. In fact, her life had a fairy tale quality. She lived in this  giant brick castle, complete with a moat and dungeons underneath. (There would not normally be ice on the … [Read more...]

The Real History of the Borgias

210px-Caterina_Sforza

An interesting exchange of comments on this website has me once again pondering the difficulties of deciding what is accurate history and what is fiction when writing about Italy five hundred years ago. I feel I should clarify one thing about my earlier posts: when I refer to "fiction" in critiquing the Showtime Borgia miniseries, I am saying that the version of history the Showtime writers chose to portray is inconsistent with any historical account I have seen.  In other words, they looked … [Read more...]

Borgias end of season episodes: almost all fiction

210px-Caterina_Sforza

The Showtime Borgia miniseries has little to do with the real history of the period these days.  It's now easier to identify the rare points of overlap with history, than to point out errors. In the last two episodes of Season 3, this much was historic fact: … [Read more...]

Fictional Murders in “The Borgias” miniseries

Arquebus from the Borgias' time

Season 3, Episode 7 of the Showtime Borgia Series is completely fictional.  Cesare Borgia did not assassinate either Benito or Ludovico Sforza: the former is fictional and the latter died in a French prison … [Read more...]

Did Lucrezia Borgia poison the king of Naples and other musings

Louis XII of France

Hooray!  The Showtime Borgia miniseries actually features some real history in third season Episode 6, giving me something to blog about! Did Lucrezia poison the king of Naples, though?  … [Read more...]