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 eight years later, after being defeated by the French at the battle of Novaro. And Cesare would not have used a rifle to kill them anyway, because rifles had not been invented. The earliest handheld weapon, the arquebus, was a solid metal miniature cannon that was very, very heavy and not particularly accurate. Da Vinci invented the wheelock, an early self-firing mechanism, but I have never read that he invented the rifle scope. (And he certainly didn’t invent the rifle.)
The episode is similarly misleading about Pope Alexander. He never ceded strategic control of the papacy to his son, nor was he stupid enough to go to war simplyl because he didn’t like the Sforza family. (See last week’s post, http://maryannphilip.com/lucrezia-borgia-poison-king-naples-musings/.) Neither did he give his mistress, Giulia Farnese, permission to marry, as she was already married. In real life she returned to her husband during the first French invasion (the one we saw last season) and the pope never saw her again.
And finally, Lucrezia was not involved in influencing the succession to the throne of Naples. Frederick (Federico) IV had been king since 1496 and remained in power until deposed by King Louis XII of France in 1501. Lucrezia’s husband, a bastard son of an earlier king, was not in line for the throne. She did not poison the king or scheme between two brothers warring for the crown, because the king died years later in France and his heir was his daughter Carlotta, who was supposed to marry Cesare but refused. (Again, see last week’s post, .http://maryannphilip.com/lucrezia-borgia-poison-king-naples-musings/).
Besides which, Lucrezia wasn’t in Naples. It is true that she loved this husband, however.
If you want to know what really happened, read my 99 cent e-book, A Borgia Daughter Dies, also available in paperback and getting great reviews on Amazon.
Here is the most recent review (and I swear I do not know the reviewer):
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! A REAL WORK OF HISTORICAL FICTION!!!, May 17, 2013
I wish there were a “plus” rating for Amazon! I love History – especially European and obviously church history. This book is only .99 on Kindle. It is worth the money. It is finally a work of historical fiction that doesn’t just throw in bits and pieces of History but uses that History as background (and, I apologize, but I do not mean “background” as in what they wore or how they adorned their homes). BRAVO for the author!!! If you enjoy a good story and an intriguing and accurate historical background, spend the $.99!!! I downloaded a sample due to being unsure of “historical fiction” novels. I have a degree in History and I do not enjoy quasi-historical romance novels. I downloaded it around 1:30-2:00a.m. and couldn’t put it down. I have not finished it due to it being early morning but I wanted to give the author props!!! I only happened upon it this morning while looking for something to read. Even if you are not a “history buff”, you will enjoy this. Those of us who are “historical purists” will appreciate the author’s intense research and clarification in the form of an afterward of the times when she strayed from the strict history. 10 STARS!!!