Cesare Borgia was the scion of one of the most powerful families of Renaissance Europe: Rodrigo Borgia, his father, became Pope Alexander VI in 1492, and treated the papal office as a vast institution of patronage. First and foremost, it was a family business and the Pope elevated his progeny, including Cesare, the son of one of his longstanding mistresses. Cesare’s career as a Cardinal is better known on the battlefield than in the pulpit; he commanded the papal forces and expanded the Vatican’s lands through a number of bloody and, at times, duplicitous campaigns. He’s also suspected of being complicit in the murder of at least one his many siblings. But, with his father’s passing, Cesare was politically outmaneuvered and compelled to flee to Spain, where he would die in battle.
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