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Lucrezia Borgia, daughter of Pope Alexander VI, married her second husband in 1498 following a rather public and humiliating divorce from her first husband, Giovanni Sforza. There had been no love lost between Lucrezia and Sforza, so when a marriage was arranged for her with the illegitimate son of King Alfonso II of Naples, it was expected to be a marriage of politics and little else.
Yet Lucrezia Borgia and Alfonso d’Aragona surprised everyone and, following their wedding in 1498, fell deeply in love with one another.
The only confirmed Lucrezia portrait painted from life (attributed to Dosso Dossi, c. 1519, National Gallery of Victoria).
The politics of marriage
Following this public divorce, in which Sforza was accused of being impotent, Alexander began looking into getting a new husband for his daughter and his eyes fell on the Kingdom of Naples, and in particular the illegitimate son of the Duke of Calabria.
Alfonso was also the brother of Sancia, Princess of Squillace who was married to the youngest Borgia son – Jofre. King Federigo of Naples was not keen on the match, having gotten what he wanted out of the Pope with Sancia’s marriage and was not exactly all that eager for a Borgia daughter-in-law.
Alexander decided to pretend that his daughter would be marrying an Orsini – Federigo capitulated. He could not have a Pope’s daughter marrying a lesser man, after all.
On 15 July 1498, Alfonso of Aragon arrived in Rome. The visit was supposed to be a secret, but everyone knew he was there. On 16 July, Cardinal Cesare Borgia invited his future brother-in-law up to his apartments and greeted him affectionately with a meeting following on 17 July between Alfonso, Pope Alexander, Cesare and Lucrezia.
Four days later, the two were married in a private ceremony and the marriage was consummated that very night, with celebrations continuing on for days afterwards. During one of the celebrations, held in the Borgia apartments, seven dancers walked in dressed as different animals and danced about the room.
One of them was Cesare, dressed as a Unicorn – the symbol of chastity. The other celebrations included dancing and bullfights.
By the time Cesare renounced his cardinal’s vows in 1498 and left to go to Spain for his own marriage, Lucrezia was pregnant. In February 1499 she miscarried and although she was pregnant again soon after she had no idea that the internal goings on in her family would stop her from living a long and happy life with the husband whom she was so in love with.
Profile portrait of Cesare Borgia in the Palazzo Venezia in Rome, c. 1500–10.
A Borgia heir
News came to Rome from France that Cesare had consummated his marriage with his wife (six times!) and was on his way back – and, he would be accompanying King Louis of France.
This was the start of a new pro-French alliance that sent those who were more of a Spanish mindset fleeing from the city of Rome. This alliance could also seriously affect the Kingdom of Naples – the French King believed, after all, that he was the rightful heir.
In a panic, Alfonso fled the city leaving Lucrezia heavily pregnant and it is said, in floods of tears. He wrote her letters from his exile, but these fell into the Pope’s hands and he forced Lucrezia to write back, demanding Alfonso’s return. He also sent spies and emissaries to try and convince the King of Naples to send his son in law back to Rome.
In September, the young couple were reunited and joined the rest of the Borgia family at Nepi, returning to Rome in the October. All of this was conducted in the background of some huge political manoeuvres in Italy, particularly King Louis of France and his taking over of Milan.
On 1 November, Lucrezia gave birth to a little boy whom she named Rodrigo. And at this point, her husband was still held in high favour by the Pope and Cesare was too busy trying to carve out a Kingdom in the Romagna to pay much attention to his brother in law. But throughout the first half of 1500, something obviously changed.
Main façade and dome of St. Peter’s Basilica seen from St. Peter’s Square. Image credit: Alvesgaspar / CC
Murder most foul
Lucrezia was leaving nothing to chance however – she made his food herself in case his food was laced with poison and allowed only the doctor sent from Naples to attend him. Just one month after the initial attack he was almost fully recovered and as he was sat up talking to his wife and sister, the doors to his rooms burst open and a group of men entered headed by the infamous Michelotto de Corella.
Lucrezia and Sancia demanded to know from Michelotto what on earth he was playing at and Michelotto responded coldly, stating that he was simply obeying the will of others and if they wanted an answer then they should go to the Pope to get a reprieve for Alfonso and the others who had been arrested.
The two of them rushed off to see Alexander who knew absolutely nothing about what they were talking about – when they returned to the apartment they found armed guards outside the doors who refused to let them in, stating that Alfonso was dead. There was no doubt who had committed the deed – Michelotto, Cesare’s finest executioner.
And there is really no doubt at all who ordered the murder… Cesare himself, determined that the Aragonese faction within the Vatican should be dealt with as they would affect his own plans and alliance with France.
Not only that but Cesare was exceptionally close to his sister (one of the reasons it is said they were involved incestuously) and never seemed to love as a woman as much as he loved her. Was it jealousy that drove him to it? Did he see how in love the couple were and want it stopped?
Cesare Borgia leaving the Vatican (1877) by Giuseppe Lorenzo Gatteri.
The excuse was given that Alfonso died because he had tried to shoot Cesare with a crossbow as the Borgia heir had been walking in the gardens, and it was the excuse used to persuade the Pope that Alfonso had to be gotten rid of.
Alexander had initially been terribly upset when Alfonso was attacked outside St. Peter’s, yet accepted this excuse when no one else in the family, or even the city did. What could be the reasoning behind this? Did Pope Alexander agree that Alfonso had outstayed his welcome, or was he beginning to become afraid of his increasingly volatile son?
Lucrezia went into deep mourning for the handsome husband whom she doted on and disbelieved her father and brother when they told her the reason for the killing of Alfonso. Her grief and upset against them irritated her father and he packed her off to the castle at Nepi.
Alfonso was buried with almost indecent haste and following the funeral (at which Lucrezia was not present), Cesare visited his sister at Nepi. Did she forgive him straight away? Whatever the case, the two still remained exceptionally close for the rest of their lives.
This time in Lucrezia’s life comes across as one of the saddest in a life full of very sad and traumatic moments. At this stage in her life she was still so very young but with this marriage to the young Alfonso, had found something that many never got in an arranged marriage at this time – love. And it was something she would never have in a marriage again.
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Alfonso came from the originally Spanish line d´Avalos, which had risen to become one of the most powerful noble families in the Kingdom of Naples and led the family name d´Avalos d´Aquino d´Aragona - extended by the names of important families of female ancestors (or his wife) .
He was a son of Inigo / Innico II. D'Avalos d'Aquino, 1st Marchese del Vasto, Conte di Monteodorisio († September 30, 1503) and his wife, Laura Sanseverino , from the house of the Pricipi di Bisignano .
Orphaned when he was young, he was brought up by his aunt, Costanza d´Avalos, Princess of Francavilla , Countess of Acerra and Governor of the island of Ischia . She was famous not only because of her cultivated court in Ischia and well-known poets as a patron, but above all because, as the woman in 1503, she had successfully defended the island of Ischia against forty French galleys for four months.
Alfonso was shaped by her and by his eldest cousin, the famous imperial general Ferdinando Francesco d'Avalos (* 1489/90, † 1525), the Marquis of Pescara, who was the governor of the Duchy of Milan and viceroy of Sicily . Alfonso inherited his title in 1525 and also succeeded him as commander of the imperial troops. He himself was entitled Principe di Francavilla (south of Pescara , in the province of Chieti ), Principe di Montesarchio (in the province of Benevento ), Marchese del Vasto (in the province of Chieti on the Adriatic Sea ), Marchese di Pescara (in the province of Pescara in the Abruzzo region ) and Conte di Monteodorisio (in the province of Chieti), was grandee of Spain and knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece .
Born at Medina del Campo, he was the son of Ferdinand of Trastámara and Eleanor of Alburquerque. Ferdinand was the brother of King Henry III of Castile, and Alfonso was betrothed to his uncle King Henry's daughter Maria in 1408. In 1412, Ferdinand was selected to succeed to the territories of the Crown of Aragon. Alfonso and Maria's marriage was celebrated in Valencia on 12 June 1415.
King Ferdinand died on 2 April 1416, and Alfonso succeeded him as king of Aragon, Valencia, and Majorca and count of Barcelona. He also claimed the island of Sardinia, though it was then in the possession of Genoa. Alfonso was also in possession of much of Corsica by the 1420s. 
Alfonso's marriage with Maria was childless. His mistress Lucrezia d'Alagno served as a de facto queen at the Neapolitan court as well as an inspiring muse. With another mistress, Giraldona Carlino, Alfonso had three children: Ferdinand (1423–1494), Maria (who married Leonello d'Este), and Eleanor (who married Mariano Marzano). 
Alfonso was the object of diplomatic contacts from the Empire of Ethiopia. In 1428, he received a letter from Yeshaq I of Ethiopia, borne by two dignitaries, which proposed an alliance against the Muslims and would be sealed by a dual marriage that would require Alfonso's brother Peter to bring a group of artisans to Ethiopia where he would marry Yeshaq's daughter.  In return, Alfonso sent a party of 13 craftsmen, all of whom perished on the way to Ethiopia.  He later sent a letter to Yeshaq's successor Zara Yaqob in 1450, in which he wrote that he would be happy to send artisans to Ethiopia if their safe arrival could be guaranteed, but it probably never reached Zara Yaqob.  
In 1421 the childless Queen Joanna II of Naples adopted and named him as heir to the Kingdom of Naples, and Alfonso went to Naples.  Here he hired the condottiero Braccio da Montone with the task of reducing the resistance of his rival claimant, Louis III of Anjou, and his forces led by Muzio Attendolo Sforza. With Pope Martin V supporting Sforza, Alfonso switched his religious allegiance to the Aragonese antipope Benedict XIII. When Sforza abandoned Louis' cause, Alfonso seemed to have all his problems solved however, his relationship with Joanna suddenly worsened, and in May 1423 he had her lover, Gianni Caracciolo, a powerful figure in the Neapolitan court, arrested. 
After an attempt to arrest the queen herself had failed, Joan called on Sforza who defeated the Aragonese militias near Castel Capuano in Naples. Alfonso fled to Castel Nuovo, but the help of a fleet of 22 galleys led by Giovanni da Cardona improved his situation.  Sforza and Joanna ransomed Caracciolo and retreated to the fortress of Aversa.  Here she repudiated her earlier adoption of Alfonso and, with the backing of Martin V, named Louis III as her heir instead. 
The duke of Milan, Filippo Maria Visconti, joined the anti-Aragonese coalition. Alfonso requested support from Braccio da Montone, who was besieging Joanna's troops in L'Aquila, but had to set sail for Spain, where a war had broken out between his brothers and the Kingdom of Castile. On his way towards Barcelona, Alfonso sacked Marseille, a possession of Louis III. 
In late 1423 the Genoese fleet of Filippo Maria Visconti moved in the southern Tyrrhenian Sea, rapidly conquering Gaeta, Procida, Castellammare and Sorrento. Naples, which was held by Alfonso's brother, Pedro de Aragon,  was besieged in 1424 by the Genoese ships and Joanna's troops, now led by Francesco Sforza, the son of Muzio Sforza (who had met his death at L'Aquila). The city fell in April 1424. Pedro, after a short resistance in Castel Nuovo, fled to Sicily in August. Joanna II and Louis III again took possession of the realm, although the true power was in the hands of Gianni Caracciolo. 
An opportunity for Alfonso to reconquer Naples occurred in 1432, when Caracciolo was killed in a conspiracy.  Alfonso tried to regain the favour of the queen, but failed, and had to wait for the death of both Louis (at Cosenza in 1434) and Joanna herself (February 1435). In her will, she bequeathed her realm to René of Anjou, Louis III's younger brother. This solution was opposed by the new pope, Eugene IV, who was the feudal overlord of the Kingdom of Naples. The Neapolitans having called in the French, Alfonso decided to intervene and, with the support of several barons of the kingdom, captured Capua and besieged the important sea fortress of Gaeta. His fleet of 25 galleys was met by the Genoese ships sent by Visconti, led by Biagio Assereto. In the battle of Ponza that ensued, Alfonso was defeated and taken prisoner. 
In Milan, Alfonso impressed his captor with his cultured demeanor and persuaded him to let him go by making it plain that it was not in Milan's interest to prevent the victory of the Aragonese party in Naples.  Helped by a Sicilian fleet, Alfonso recaptured Capua and set his base in Gaeta in February 1436. Meanwhile, papal troops had invaded the Neapolitan kingdom, but Alfonso bribed their commander, Cardinal Giovanni Vitelleschi, and their successes waned. 
In the meantime, René had managed to reach Naples on 19 May 1438. Alfonso tried to besiege the city in the following September, but failed.  His brother Pedro was killed during the battle. Castel Nuovo, where an Aragonese garrison resisted, fell to the Angevine mercenaries in August 1439. After the death of his condottiero Jacopo Caldora, however, René's fortune started to decline: Alfonso could easily capture Aversa, Salerno, Benevento, Manfredonia and Bitonto. René, whose possession included now only part of the Abruzzi and Naples, obtained 10,000 men from the pope, but the cardinal leading them signed a truce with Alfonso. Giovanni Sforza came with a reduced corps, as troops sent by Eugene IV had halted his father Francesco in the Marche. [ citation needed ]
Alfonso, provided with the most impressive artillery of the times, again besieged Naples. The siege began on 10 November 1441, ending on 2 June the following year. After the return of René to Provence, Alfonso easily reduced the remaining resistance and made his triumphal entrance in Naples on 26 February 1443, as the monarch of a pacified kingdom. 
Like many Renaissance rulers, Alfonso V was a patron of the arts. He founded the Academy of Naples under Giovanni Pontano, and for his entrance into the city in 1443 had a magnificent triumphal arch added to the main gate of Castel Nuovo.  Alfonso V supplied the theme of Renaissance sculptures over the west entrance.
Alfonso was particularly attracted to classical literature. He reportedly brought copies of the works of Livy and Julius Caesar on his campaigns the poet Antonio Beccadelli even claimed that Alfonso was cured of a disease by the reading of a few pages from Quintus Curtius Rufus' history of Alexander the Great. Although this reputed erudition attracted scholars to his court, Alfonso apparently enjoyed pitting them against each other in spectacles of bawdy Latin rhetoric. 
After his conquest of Naples in 1442, Alfonso ruled primarily through his mercenaries and political lackeys. In his Italian kingdom, he maintained the former political and administrative institutions. His holdings in Spain were governed by his brother John. 
A unified General Chancellorship for the whole Aragonese realm was set up in Naples, although the main functionaries were of Aragonese nationality. Apart from financial, administrative and artistic improvements, his other accomplishments in the Sicilian kingdom include the restoration of the aqueducts, the drainage of marshy areas, and the paving of streets. 
Alfonso was also a powerful and faithful supporter of Skanderbeg, whom he decided to take under his protection as a vassal in 1451, shortly after the latter had scored his second victory against Murad II. In addition to financial assistance, he supplied the Albanian leader with troops, military equipment, and sanctuary for himself and his family if such a need should arise. This was because in 1448, while Skanderbeg was victoriously fighting off the Turkish invasions, three military columns, commanded by Demetrio Reres along with his sons Giorgio and Basilio, had been dispatched to help Alfonso V defeat the barons of Naples who had rebelled against him. 
Alfonso, by formally submitting his reign to the Papacy, obtained the consent of Pope Eugene IV that the Kingdom of Naples would go to his illegitimate son, Ferdinand. He died in Castel dell'Ovo in 1458, while he was planning the conquest of Genoa. At the time, Alfonso was at odds with Pope Callixtus III, who died shortly afterwards. [ citation needed ] Alfonso's Iberian possessions had been ruled for him by his brother, who succeeded him as John II of Aragon.  Sicily and Sardinia were also inherited by John II.
Alfonso had been betrothed to Maria of Castile (1401–1458 sister of John II of Castile) in Valladolid in 1408 the marriage was celebrated in Valencia on 12 June 1415. They failed to produce children. Alfonso had been in love with a woman of noble family named Lucrezia d'Alagno, who served as a de facto queen at the Neapolitan court as well as an inspiring muse.
Genealogical records in the Old Occitan Chronicle of Montpellier in Le petit Thalamus de Montpellier indicate that Alphonso's relationship with his mistress, Giraldona Carlino, produced three children: 
Ferdinand of Aragon marries Isabella of Castile
Ferdinand of Aragon marries Isabella of Castile in Valladolid, thus beginning a cooperative reign that would unite all the dominions of Spain and elevate the nation to a dominant world power. Ferdinand and Isabella incorporated a number of independent Spanish dominions into their kingdom and in 1478 introduced the Spanish Inquisition, a powerful and brutal force of homogenization in Spanish society. In 1492, the reconquest of Granada from the Moors was completed, and the crown ordered all Spanish Jews to convert to Christianity or face expulsion from Spain. Four years later, Spanish Muslims were handed a similar order.
In 1492, Christopher Columbus, an Italian explorer sponsored by Isabella and Ferdinand, discovered the Americas for Europe and claimed the territory for Spain. Ferdinand and Isabella’s subsequent decision to encourage vigorous colonial activity in the Americas led to a period of great prosperity and imperial supremacy for Spain.
A search party of friends and family makes an awful discovery
The body of Alonzo Brooks was ultimately discovered in the most tragic way possible. As the U.S. Attorney's Office tells us, after Brooks had been missing for a month, his family and friends arranged their own search party. They went through the property the fateful party had been held on and moved on to search the road. They then swept the branches of the nearby Middle Creek. It took them less than an hour to find Brooks' body.
According to NBC Dateline, Brooks' father, Billy Brooks Sr., was among the first people to find the young mans' remains, stuck on a cluster of branches and brush in the creek. Naturally, this was a monumental shock. "My God, it was awful," Brooks Sr. said. "To find my boy like that. Nothing can describe that pain." According to him, the dramatic moment of discovery was further enhanced by the way the overcast, heavy skies cleared, and the day became sunny just as they found the body. "It was like my boy was telling me everything was OK now," Brooks Sr. described his memory of the situation. "At least we had found him. It wasn't how we wanted to find him, but at least we did."
Napoli in età moderna.
L’età moderna a Napoli viene identificata con la venuta di Alfonso d’Aragona che riuscì nel 1492 a strappare il regno di Napoli a Renato d’Angiò e riunire politicamente Napoli con il regno di Sicilia.
Uno dei primi interventi fu la ricostruzione di Castel Nuovo , che fu trasformato in fortezza dalla struttura possente, con torri in piperno e basamenti a scarpa, per impedirne la scalata. Il terrazzamento merlato che consente l’uso della moderna artiglieria, e l’arco di trionfo che rappresenta l entrata trionfale di Alfonso d’Aragona.
Nel 1497 ad opera dell’arcivescovo Alessandro Carafa si ha il ritorno delle reliquie di S. Gennaro , il cardinale Oliviero Carafa (fratello di Alessandro) avviò la realizzazione della cripta sotto l’altare maggiore, che risulta una delle maggiori opere architettoniche del rinascimento napoletano.
Il regno aragonese durò fino al 1503 dove in seguito alla guerra franco-spagnola Napoli divenne un viceregno spagnolo.
Viceregno che terminerà dopo 2 secoli, non per questo Napoli rallentò la crescita urbanistica, artistica e culturale, restando una grande capitale Europea.
Nei primi decenni del 1500 importante fu l’impronta di Maria Longo
Maria Longo , vedova intenzionata a dedicare la propria vita al servizio degli infermi , dopo essere stata miracolosamente curata da S. Gaetano fondò la chiesa e l’ospedale Santa Maria del Popolo degli Incurabili che divenne uno dei maggiori ospedali del mezzogiorno, oltre che una prestigiosa scuola di medicina.
Nel 1535-36 Napoli ospitò Carlo V e con il viceré don Pedro de Toledo cominciò una sorta di rinascimento napoletano, periodo di grande crescita soprattutto culturale.
Non trascurabile è la presenza culturale delle donne soprattutto Orsola Benincasa che con le sue opere caratterizzò l’età vicereale.
Orsola Benincasa ricevette la prima educazione in casa da parte del fratello che si diede da fare per dargli una conoscenza biblica e delle sacre scritture.
Quando manifestò le sue doti mistiche fu posta al centro dell’attenzione del popolo , cosa che non la distrasse dalla sua vita retta e dedita al lavoro (stesura di drappi).
Nel 1579 dato il suo vivere esemplare l’autorità ecclesiastica gli permise di allestire una cappella nella propria abitazione.
Nel 1581 con l’abate Gregorio Navarro realizzò sulla montagna di S. Martino un ritiro con accanto la chiesa dell’Immacolata Concezione, il ritiro aveva lo scopo di creare una comunità di laici che con l’aiuto di sacerdoti potessero riformare la chiesa.
Orsola espose la propria idea a Gregorio XIII che la consegnò al tribunale dell’inquisizione .
Fu estromessa dalla propria fondazione , solo in seguito vi fece ritorno con l’apertura di un educandato femminile sul colle S. Elmo, opera che riscosse molto successo tra le famiglie aristocratiche.
Prossima alla morte O. Benincasa dettò le regole per un romitorio che doveva accogliere 33 vergini in una comunità di clausura.
In seguito alla morte di Orsola ci furono diversi tentativi di costruire il romitorio , che fu ultimato solo mezzo secolo dopo , alle pendici di S. Martino
1606 risale l’inizio della costruzione della cappella di S. Gennaro , nello stesso anno Caravaggio dipinse le “sette opere di misericordia”
opera con il quale il pittore mostra la quotidianità partenopea , solo in seguito fondò la scuola pittorica dei caravaggisti ( caravaggisti degli di nota furono Artemisia Gentileschi e Annella di Massimo )
1604 fondazione di una confraternita di nobili che raccoglievano elemosina per celebrare messe per le anime del purgatorio.
Iniziativa che riscosse notevole successo da permettere la costruzione della chiesa S. Maria delle Anime del Purgatorio nota per il suo cimitero e per la cura e preghiere dei resti umani che conteneva, pratica che degenerò in superstizione che portò l’autorità ecclesiastica a chiudere diversi ossari della città tra cui il cimitero delle fontanelle.
Born at Medina del Campo, he was the son of Ferdinand I of Aragon and Eleanor of Alburquerque. He represented the old line of the counts of Barcelona through the female line, and was on his father's side descended from the House of Trastamara, the reigning House of Castile. By hereditary right he was king of Sicily and claimed the island of Sardinia for himself, though it was then in the possession of Genoa. Alfonso was also in possession of much of Corsica by the 1420s.
In 1421 the childless Queen Joan II of Naples adopted and named him as heir to the Kingdom of Naples, and Alfonso went to Naples. Here he hired the famous condottiero Braccio da Montone with the task of reducing the resistance of his rival claimant, Louis III of Anjou, and his forces led by Muzio Attendolo Sforza. Pope Martin V supporting Sforza, Alfonso switched his religious allegiance to the Aragonese antipope Benedict XIII. When Sforza abandoned Louis' cause, Alfonso seemed to have all his problems solved however, his relationship with Joan suddenly worsened, and in May 1423 he had her lover, Gianni Caracciolo, a powerful figure in the Neapolitan court, arrested.
After an attempt to arrest the queen herself had failed, Joan called on Sforza who defeated the Aragonese militias near Castel Capuano in Naples. Alfonso fled to Castel Nuovo, but the help of a fleet of 22 galleys led by Giovanni da Cardona improved his situation. Sforza and Joan ransomed Caracciolo and retreated to the fortress of Aversa. Here she repudiated her earlier adoption of Alfonso and, with the backing of Martin V, named Louis III as her heir instead.
The Duke of Milan, Filippo Maria Visconti, joined the anti-Aragonese coalition. Alfonso requested support from Braccio da Montone, who was besieging Joan's troops in L'Aquila, but had to set sail for Spain, where a war had broken out between his brothers and the Kingdom of Castile. On his way towards Barcelona, Alfonso destroyed Marseille, a possession of Louis III.
Manuscript detail of Alfonso V of Aragon.
In late 1423 the Genoese fleet of Filippo Maria Visconti moved in the southern Tyrrhenian Sea, rapidly conquering Gaeta, Procida, Castellammare and Sorrento. Naples, which was held by Alfonso's brother, Pedro de Aragon, was besieged in 1424 by the Genoese ships and Joan's troops, now led by Francesco Sforza, the son of Muzio Sforza (who had met his death at L'Aquila). The city fell in April 1424. Pedro, after a short resistance in Castel Nuovo, fled to Sicily in August. Joan II and Louis III again took possession of the realm, although the true power was in the hands of Gianni Caracciolo.
An opportunity for Alfonso to reconquer Naples occurred in 1432, when Caracciolo was killed in a conspiracy. Alfonso tried to regain the favour of the queen, but failed, and had to wait for the death of both Louis (at Cosenza in 1434) and Joan herself (February 1435). In her will, she bequeathed her realm to René of Anjou, Louis III's younger brother. This solution was opposed by the new pope, Eugene IV, who nominally was the feudal lord of the King of Naples. The Neapolitans having called in the French, Alfonso decided to intervene and, with the support of several barons of the kingdom, captured Capua and besieged the important sea fortress of Gaeta. His fleet of 25 galleys was met by the Genoese ships sent by Visconti, led by Biagio Assereto. In the battle that ensued, Alfonso was defeated and taken prisoner.
In Milan, however, he impressed his captor with his cultured demeanor and persuaded him to let him go by making it plain that it was not in Milan's interest to prevent the victory of the Aragonese party in Naples. Helped by a Sicilian fleet, Alfonso recaptured Capua and set his base in Gaeta in February 1436. Meanwhile, papal troops had invaded the Neapolitan kingdom, but Alfonso bribed their commander, Cardinal Giovanni Vitelleschi, and their successes waned.
In the meantime, René had managed to reach Naples on 19 May 1438. Alfonso tried to besiege the city in the following September, but failed. His brother Pedro was killed during the battle. Castel Nuovo, where an Aragonese garrison resisted, fell to the Angevine mercenaries in August 1439. After the death of his condottiero Jacopo Caldora, however, René's fortune started to decline: Alfonso could easily capture Aversa, Salerno, Benevento, Manfredonia and Bitonto. René, whose possession included now only part of the Abruzzi and Naples, obtained 10,000 men from the pope, but the cardinal leading them signed a truce with Alfonso. Giovanni Sforza came with a reduced corps, as troops sent by Eugene IV had halted his father Francesco in the Marche.
Alfonso, provided with the most impressive artillery of the times, again besieged Naples. The siege began on 10 November 1441, ending on 2 June the following year. After the return of René to Provence, Alfonso easily reduced the remaining resistance and made his triumphal entrance in Naples on 26 February 1443, as the monarch of a pacified kingdom. In 1446 he also conquered Sardinia.
Alfonso V's silver medal (1449), by Pisanello.
Alfonso, by formally submitting his reign to the Papacy, obtained the consent of Pope Eugene IV that the Kingdom of Naples would go to his illegitimate son Ferdinand. He died in Castel dell'Ovo in 1458, while he was planning the conquest of Genoa. At the time, Alfonso was at odds with Callixtus III, who died shortly afterwards.
His Spanish possessions were ruled for him by his brother John, later king John II of Aragon. Sicily and Sardinia were also inherited by his brother.
Alfonso was also a powerful and faithful supporter of Skanderbeg, whom he decided to take under his protection as a vassal in 1451, shortly after the latter had scored his second victory against Murad II. In addition to financial assistance, he supplied the Albanian leader with troops, military equipment, and sanctuary for himself and his family if such a need should arise. This was because in 1448, while Skanderbeg was victoriously fighting off the Turkish invasions, three military columns, commanded by Demetrio Reres along with his sons Giorgio and Basilio, had been dispatched to help Alfonso V defeat the barons of Naples who had rebelled against him.
What Led to the Murder of Alfonso D’Aragona? - History
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Myths and rumour have shrouded the Borgia family for centuries &ndash tales of incest, intrigue and murder have been told of them since they themselves walked the hallways of the Apostolic Palace. In particular, vicious rumour and slanderous tales have stuck to the names of two members of the infamous Borgia family &ndash Cesare and Lucrezia, brother and sister of history&rsquos most notorious family. But how much of it is true, and how much of it is simply rumour aimed to blacken the name of the Borgia family?
In the first ever biography solely on the Borgia siblings, Samantha Morris tells the true story of these two fascinating individuals from their early lives, through their years living amongst the halls of the Vatican in Rome until their ultimate untimely deaths. Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia begins in the bustling metropolis of Rome with the siblings ultimately being used in the dynastic plans of their father, a man who would become Pope, and takes the reader through the separate, yet fascinatingly intertwined, lives of the notorious siblings. One tale, that of Cesare, ends on the battlefield of Navarre, whilst the other ends in the ducal court of Ferrara. Both Cesare and Lucrezia led lives full of intrigue and danger, lives which would attract the worst sort of rumour begun by their enemies.
Drawing on both primary and secondary sources Morris brings the true story of the Borgia siblings, so often made out to be evil incarnate in other forms of media, to audiences both new to the history of the Italian Renaissance and old.
Throughout the book remains very highly readable and it is undoubtedly an excellent addition to the canon of works, and overall I really liked this book and would unreservedly recommend it.
Well written, well researched, a fascinating story and a great read. What more can you possibly want?The Pike and Shot Society
I've been interested in the Borgias ever since I watched the Showtime show. Yes, I know it's very inaccurate but it's so good and over the top. But this book takes a look at the actual history, combining both Cesare and Lucrezia's lives and looking at them. It's very interesting to me to see how their fortunes changed over time. It's a book that I definitely want to have on my owned shelf because it was so good and has helped me dip my toes into new historical areas.
NetGalley, Caidyn Young
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Cesare and Lucrezia are two of the most fascinating siblings in history and i loved learning more about them and their life. There's so much rumour surrounding them i liked learning a more objective and fact based account of them.NetGalley, Rachel Garner
Samantha Morris's book is filled with anecdotes and stories, and is a very readable account of the lives of these two infamous people.Books Monthly
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
This book is well researched and well written. The level of detail included is quite remarkable. After reading it I felt I’d learnt a lot about the period and Cesare in particular. The subject matter is tricky and complex but the author weaved a clear and informative tale. Excellent.NetGalley, Rebecca B
Overall I found this a very entertaining and generally convincing look at the lives and times of one of the most infamous families in European history, key figures in the renaissance and the early Italian Wars.
Read the full review hereHistory of War
If you are looking for facts, you’ll find them in Morris’s book. This author’s admiration of the Borgia family doesn’t cloud her judgment – she strips them of myths and presents a highly readable myth-buster, with exquisite and interesting details (like Cesare’s wedding night!).
Highly recommended to all history enthusiasts.
Read the full review hereGoodReads, Constant Reader
There is something about the Borgias that has always fascinated me, it is probably the scandal and intrigue mainly as I love a bit of gossip and historical gossip is some of the best and I was pleased to see that the author ackkowlegded this too!
I can easily say that the action of Lucrezia and Cesare Borgia were pretty scandalous for their time, and probably would still be viewed like that today and I found this to be a pretty addictive read, there is plenty of new material in this one, or material that I have not read or seen before so I was really hooked by this one.
I love this period of history and I normally focus on the English history in the main so it was great to be able to look further afield and pop over to Italy, I like most people have seen the TV series but I knew there was much more to them from other brief books I had read, this is the best I have read on them to date.
I liked the way that this book was laid out and it was very well written. It is quite evident that the author had done a lot of research and was clued up on the family to write book and that really comes across. It is 4 stars from me for this one, really interesting read – highly recommended!
Read the full review hereDonnas Book Blog
I have to be honest, before reading this book, I knew next to nothing about Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia. In fact I am not sure I had even heard of Cesare! The name Lucrezia Borgia was familiar to me in that I knew she was a somewhat terrible person in history from a really notorious family, but that was about the extent of my very limited knowledge.
This book is perfect for someone similar to me, with no real prior understanding of the subjects, because it tells their stories really thoroughly – there is so much detail and a whole batch of really interesting photographs – I found it really fascinating.
Even if you are more of a historian than me, this book still has value, with the author having clearly done some indepth research which she has put together to form a really comprehensive biography.
As the author herself says at the end of the epilogue – “…the real story of history’s most notorious siblings is far more interesting than any fictionalised account based on nothing but rumour.”
I agree wholeheartedly – this really is a case of the truth being stranger than fiction. You really couldn’t make this stuff up!
Rating – 5/5 – this would make a perfect gift for a history buff or even for someone with just a passing interests in the Italian Renaissance.
I was delighted to accept and learn all there was about this family, particularly, the two characters that stand out even in this colourful clan: Cesare & Lucrezia.
The book is quite a thrill to read, as the vigorous narrative takes you through the lives of this clan, starting with the first Borgia that mattered: Alonso de Borja, uncle to Rodrigo Borgia and thus great-uncle to Cesare and Lucrezia.
Read the full review hereNatalie is a History Buff
I greatly appreciated this book, as it describes exactly, against the background of the story of Lucrezia and Cesare, the Italy of the time, the various kingdoms, duchies and lordships and above all the human story of the two brothers and the Borgia family stands out, which really marked for thirty years or almost that world populated by fantastic characters that was the Italian Renaissance. For my part, investigating the history of my family, I discovered that two brothers, Pedro and Diego Ramirez, of whom I am a maternal descendant, fought first under the formidable Gonzalo de Cordoba and then under the orders of the Duke of Valentinois, Cesare Borgia, and this has brought me even closer to the story told in the beautiful book by Samantha Morris published by Pen & Sword.
Read the full Italian review hereOn The Old Barbed Wire
Samantha Morris combines a lively, engaging narrative with keen historical analysis, uncovering the facts embedded in the legends, rumours and scandals. She demonstrates a deep understanding not only of her subjects and their motivations but of the political theatre of Italy, the papacy and Europe in general at that time.
In Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia: Brother and Sister of History’s Most Vilified Family, Samantha Morris expertly separates rumour from fact to provide a balanced appraisal of these famous siblings their strengths and weakness. Using creditable sources, papal records and even family letters, she clearly establishes the facts behind the lies of the incest accusation, whilst demonstrating how such accusations came about and the various efforts to sully the name of the Borgia family.
Read the full review hereHISTORY… THE INTERESTING BITS!
This book gripped me from the first paragraph of Chapter One and, by the end of the book, I wanted to read it again. It shows an entirely new light on the fascinating, but hard, lives and loves of the Borgias and, for Lucrezia at least, I ended up feeling extremely sorry for her.
The author explains how she was used as a political pawn throughout most of her life and was not the scheming woman as normally portrayed. Lucrezia did what she had to do in order to stay alive and keep her father and brother in political power.
This book is a wonderful insight into the 16th century. It is beautifully written and keeps the reader entertained throughout.For the Love of Books
History is written by the victors, and the for Borgias this appears to be particularly so. Vilified as incestuous, corrupt and violent, a family to be feared, their name has come down through the ages as a synonym for bad behaviour. The author sets out to prove this is not the full story and she does make a good argument.
According to her research, there is virtually no evidence that Cesare and Lucrezia were lovers. They were very much a product of their age, when men were expected to be strong and actions had to be taken to keep property or land which today would be frowned upon. However, despite some cruelty, Cesare was a respected war lord, he unified his dependencies and his vassals prospered under him. He was promiscuous, and did contract syphilis, but this was rife throughout the area at this time. Lucrezia was loved by her people, she married three times and had numerous pregnancies, particularly by her third husband, although she lost nearly all the children early on or as miscarriages. She was a pious woman, a good regent and while perhaps not always a strictly faithful wife, she lived well by her standards.
They were both Spaniards living in Italy, thrust into the limelight by their father Pope Alexander, and determined to improve the standing of their family at every opportunity, regardless of cost. They both had a strong sense of family and were clearly close.
The story the author portrays is quite sad really both were buffeted by events over which they had little control. If Cesare had not ingested the poison that killed his father he would have been in a much better position to defend himself. Lucrezia had husbands found for her, she was not allowed to choose.
The author brings the story up to date, detailing how Cesare and Lucrezia have been portrayed by Hollywood and modern films as well as detailing what happened to their descendents.
Overall a detailed account of the lives of two very interesting characters.NetGalley, Sue Andrews
Summary: Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia are remembered for many dark deeds during their time but most of what we “know” is not actually based on fact. They were not the incestuous siblings or murderers of enemies with poison. Samantha Morris gives us a look into the lives of the two most famous Borgias and how they got the reputation that still follows them, 500 years later.
My Thoughts: I first learned about the Borgia family from reading The Borgia Bride by Jeanne Kalogridis. I loved the story of this notorious family. And then I fell in love with the TV show The Borgias on Starz. I knew that much of it was for TV or rumors surrounding the family but it made for good watching and intrigue.
I liked how the author started with the original rise of the family. I knew that the family was Spanish but to hear how tied to Spain they were was new to me. The politics of the time and the way the Pope had so much control is astounding. He controlled kings, armies and much of Italy. Today it seems like the Pope has very limited range and mainly sticks to religious issues. But I am not Catholic so my knowledge is very limited.
My favorite part was the time after the death of Alexander. I was not familiar with this time in their lives so I learned a lot. Cesare was a military genius. Lucrezia married multiple times and led a very religious life. I was happy to read more about them and find out how their stories ended.
FYI: I would recommend this for someone looking for the truth behind the drama.NetGalley, Ashley Pohlenz
It's a very interesting book, well researched, and you can just feel Samantha Morris' passion for the theme while reading.NetGalley, Giovana Mazzoni
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
An absorbing read, concentrating on the Borgia siblings, scions of one of the most powerful families of the Italian renaissance. You cannot visit Rome or Florence and not be aware of the influence that this notorious family had on political life. Very interesting.NetGalley, Gillian Shackleton
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
This book was most interesting. Not my usual read but I've always been interested in history and I feel that this book has educated me on the borgias.NetGalley, H L
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
A family mired in myths and rumors of incest, murder, and intrigue for centuries. A brother and sister caught in the middle, attracting the attention of gossips and historians alike. No, I am not referring to a royal family in England. In fact, this story starts in Spain with Alonso de Borja, who moved to Italy and helped create the infamous Borgia family. Caught in the middle were the son and daughter of Rodrigo Borgia, Alonso’s nephew, and his mistress Vanozza Cattanei Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia. How close were these famous siblings? What were their lives really like? In Samantha Morris’ latest biography, “Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia: Brother and Sister of History’s Vilified Family”, she dives deep into the archives to find out the truth about the legendary Borgia family.
I would like to thank Pen and Sword Books and NetGalley for sending me a copy of this book. I will be honest and say that I did not know much about this family before I started reading this book. I knew about the rumors and that they had to do with the papacy, but that was it. I was excited to learn more about them and to understand why so many people are so fascinated with the Borgia siblings.
To understand how the Borgias rose to power, Morris takes her readers on a journey through papal history and the many different councils that occurred in the 14th and 15th centuries. This was familiar to me as I took a class in college on Church History, in which we did discuss these councils, but for those who are not familiar with them, Morris takes the time to explain the significance of each event. We see how Alonso de Borja rose through the ranks to become Pope Calixtus III and how his nephew, Rodrigo Borgia, was the complete opposite of his uncle. Rodrigo, later Pope Alexander VI, was a ladies man, and his children by his mistress, Vanozza Cattanei, were all illegitimate, including Cesare and Lucrezia.
It is the lives of Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia that historians, including Morris, tend to focus on. These siblings created so many enemies that rumors were bound to be associated with them. From incest between them to murder using poison, and numerous affairs, Cesare and Lucrezia endured scandals that made the Tudors look like a normal family. Morris takes on each myth and rumor head on to explore the truth about these siblings, which is of course more complex than the fictional tales of their lives.
I found myself enthralled in the true-life tales of Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia. Like most historical tales, the truth is much more compelling than the fictitious tales. The trials, triumphs, and tribulations of the siblings are so compelling and to realize that they lived when the Renaissance in Italy and the Tudor dynasty was still new in England is remarkable.
This book made me fall in love with the Borgia family. The story of their rise to greatness and what Cesare and Lucrezia had to endure to protect their family and its name was nothing short of extraordinary. Samantha Morris’s writing style is easy to understand but you can tell how much care she took in researching these simply sensational siblings. I want to study the Borgia family even more because of this book. If you want an engrossing nonfiction book about the Borgia family, I would highly suggest you read, “Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia: Brother and Sister of History’s Most Vilified Family” by Samantha Morris. A fabulous introduction to the Borgias and their tumultuous times.NetGalley, Heidi Malagisi
I liked this! It dispelled a lot of scandalous “history” with real facts. I liked the history of the Borgia family and the various regions of Italy. The final chapter that talked about the various media depictions about the family through the years was also interesting. If this is an area of history you are interested in, or if you want to see how rumors and innuendo can continue for so many centuries, I would recommend this book!NetGalley, Jennifer Ruth
I was delighted to receive a copy of this book as I have read a few Pen and Sword published works that I have really enjoyed and found very informative.
I had first encountered the Borgia family in Sarah Dunant’s fiction novels about this family. I very much enjoyed those books, but you always question in the back of your mind just how much of these lives have been fictionalised when you read a novel based on an actual life or event. I was relieved to read in this book that the author feels that Dunant’s novels were well researched and come pretty accurate to actual events.
I really found this book very informative. I think the author gave a fair but sensitive approach to the Borgia siblings- there’s no getting away from the murder, power plotting, and sexual misdemeanours that went on around them. However, the author does a good and well backed up argument, using primary and secondary evidence, that shows a lot of the scandal and hinted incest was most likely spread by Borgia enemies who were deliberately trying to discredit them.
A really fascinating read that I think will look stunning in physical print as well. There are some wonderful pictures at the end of this digital review copy that really help to set the scene and give a possible face to some of the names. Highly recommend.
NetGalley, Amanda Lavelle
Fascinating study of Cesare and Lucrezia which effectively dispels many of the more lurid myths surrounding the famous Borgia siblings.NetGalley, John Laffan
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Whilst I was aware of the Borgia's I have never read much about them but recently I've been expanding my historical reading and interests outside of my usual scope so I was intrigued by this book from Samantha Morris who aims to dispel the rumours of incest murder and poisoning.
I will hold my hand up and admit I have watched the TV show so had a little understanding of who they were and the rumours surrounding them.
Whilst the title is self explanatory and Morris does focus on the siblings the rest of the family are by no means excluded. I was absorbed in to this book from the first page! Yes, its nonfiction but Morris' writing style makes it so easy to read.
The initial chapters focus on the background of the family, who they were and their rise to power before starting to focus on the siblings and the events that have led to them still being discussed hundreds of years later.
>From the dispelling of rumours to the true stories of their successes and failings I am now very interested in reading more about the family.
I thoroughly enjoyed how Morris explains where rumours regarding the family such as incest and poison originated from and how they have been presented in modern day media. Morris analyses media such as the TV show and explains which are most historically correct.
Cesare led a very interesting albeit short life and seems to have been very successful as a soldier although clearly made a few enemies along the way. His journey from cardinal to a Duke and captain of the papal army is extremely interesting and an area i would like to read more about.
Lucrezia, often depicted as a woman who is not averse to using poison is portrayed as a pious woman who seems to have had affairs but also faced much grief in her life but who was loved by her people and had many admirers. Whilst she clearly loved her family I read nothing that gives me the impression their relationship was anything other than a normal sibling relationship.
The book is referenced throughout providing me with more reading to now follow up with in my newly found interest of the Borgia's.
Between the TV show and reading this my opinion has changed of the family and I find myself admiring them in particular Lucrezia, whilst she may have had faults she faced a lot of heartbreak and enemies, her story is actually really sad.
As a newcomer to the Borgia's I found this book incredibly informative and interesting but I'm unsure if it would provide anything new to those who have already read or studied them. This book is clearly the result of much research and Morris obviously has a passion for the subject evident throughout which I think is part of the reason I found the book so engaging. As an introduction to the family and the siblings I can't fault this book and would highly recommend to those who would like to learn more about this intriguing family.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I've long been intrigued by the Borgias and always look forward to reading more about them
This is a well researched biography. Lots of new information to me - and I thought I knew a lot about them !
If you are interested in Renaissance history, Borgias and that period generally you will love this.
A really good read full of lots if little known details. I really felt like I knew the Borgias when I was finishedNetGalley, Shelly Myers
Well documented and objective biography. Puts a new light on the lives of the Borgia family. The author provided many new information about this highly controversial family. If you've watched the Borgias, you'll enjoy this very much.NetGalley, Donna Pingry
A fine edition to add to the many books tackling these infamous siblings = in both fact and fiction.
Morris make a poignant remark: ". now, as throughout history, people love a good gossip . ", and like us today, they ". want stories that both disgust them and draw them in . ". In their own time, Cesare and Lucrezia are the equivalent of today's Kardashians or Osbornes.
Delving into the family history from its Spanish roots, Morris provides the reader with a concise background of the family including Rodrigo's rise to the Papal throne up until the siblings draw final breath. But the focus here is on the two siblings - Cesare and Lucrezia - as opposed to a complete history of all Borgias. In this easy to read and well presented tome, all the main events are covered off - we are not bogged down in unnecessary detail so readers new to this topic will have no trouble at all keeping pace. For me, I love the Borgias, so much of this was well worn and familiar ground.
Gossip and hearsay were the weapons of the day that were used to destroy reputation - not only powerful, but also long lasting that like a series of chinese whispers, people begin to accept them as truths using that old adage "no smoke without fire" to justify such. And we are more than accustomed to history being written by the victors -as poor old Richard III can attest.
It is easy to forget that what is unseemly to our modern view was very much the norm - here, family is so important, that it is not strange at all to discover that Cesare and Lucrezia were close - afterall, it was the Borgias against the world - who else would they turn to and trust but one of their own.
Morris finishes by taking the reader through the various modern day adaptions of the Borgia story - from film and television, to game and books. Having just taken possession of yet another book on the Borgias, Morris' book will also find a home on my "Borgia" shelf in my personal library.NetGalley, Melisende d'Outremer
About Samantha Morris
Samantha Morris studied archaeology at the University of Winchester and it was there, whilst working on a dissertation about the battlefield archaeology of the English Civil War that her interest in the Italian Renaissance began. Her main area of interest is the history of the Borgia family and the papacy of Pope Alexander VI, however she also has a keen interest in the history of other Renaissance families. Samantha has previously written on the Borgia family and runs a successful blog based mainly on the history of the Italian Renaissance, but with snippets of other eras thrown in too.
If there is fraud to be uncovered here, its discovery will certainly be accidental.
When the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) decided not to renew the management contract of the Calapan Labor Services Development Cooperative (CALSEDECO), about 11,000 workers faced termination. The Cooperative handles cargo and RORO services at the Port of Calapan City.
The two congressmen from Mindoro and all the municipal leaders in the province appealed the PPA&rsquos decision, considering the injury this would cause the port workers on the island. Both provincial councils of Mindoro Oriental and Mindoro Occidental likewise appealed for the renewal of CALSEDECO&rsquos contract. The PPA was unmoved.
The two congressmen, the provincial and municipal councils and other civic leaders on the islands brought the matter up to President Rodrigo Duterte. They are still awaiting a response.
In the course of resisting the award of the port management contract to &ldquoBig Boys from Manila,&rdquo the two Mindoro congressmen looked deeper into the matter. They found out that apart from the Calapan port contract, the PPA also cancelled existing management contracts for the ports of Puerto Princesa, Ormoc, Tabaco and Legazpi.
The legislators noticed most of the new awards for management contracts in these ports went to the same &ldquoBig Boys&rdquo company. More than that, the lucky company tended to offer the lowest bid for the contracts, resulting in a loss of well over a billion in potential revenues for government.
Having reviewed the bidding documents, the two Mindoro legislators decided there was something seriously amiss in the PPA&rsquos &ldquountimely conduct&rdquo of biddings for port services in the ports mentioned above. The biddings were conducted under the new terminal leasing and management regulations issued by the PPA.
Sensing fraud in the biddings, Oriental Mindoro&rsquos 2nd district Rep. Alfonso Umali Jr. asked the House of Representatives to conduct a public hearing on these questionable biddings. He claims the bidding exercises were &ldquomarred by corruption&rdquo and were &ldquogrossly disadvantageous to government.&rdquo
As provided for by House Resolution No. 1822, the committee on good governance and the committee on transportation would jointly conduct the hearings. No date has been set for this inquiry.
Citing the case of the Calapan port contract, Rep. Umali complained that provincial port operators and their workers have been denied &ldquofair opportunity&rdquo to fully participate in the biddings conducted by the PPA. They are only barely informed of these biddings and have inferior contacts with the decision-makers at the national agency.
Furthermore, the conduct of biddings in the midst of a pandemic, where health and safety are primary concerns, seem intentionally designed to marginalize the provincial service providers and favor what the congressmen describe as the &ldquochosen few.&rdquo They note that of the eight biddings conducted by the PPA, five were won by the same apparently well-connected bidder who, incidentally, offered government very low leases for the ports.
This is not the first time provincial service providers complain big city players elbowed them out of their businesses.