In July 1500 he was wounded by four would-be assassins on the steps of St. Peter’s. This marriage was arranged by Cesare to consolidate his position in the Romagna. She was the daughter of Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, who would later become Pope Alexander VI, and one of his mistresses, Vannozza Cattanei, who was also the mother of Borgia's two older brothers, Cesare and Giovanni. Lucrezia—not her husband—was appointed governor of Spoleto in 1499; Alfonso fled Rome shortly afterwards but returned at Lucrezia's request, only to be murdered in 1500. © 2020 Biography and the Biography logo are registered trademarks of A&E Television Networks, LLC. In 1512, Borgia withdrew from public life and turned to religion. She reigned as the Governor of Spoleto, a position usually held by cardinals, in her own right. See, Durant, Will. [5] Giovanni was an illegitimate son of Costanzo I Sforza and a Sforza of the second rank. In March 1498, the Ferrarese ambassador claimed that Lucrezia had given birth, but this was denied by other sources. Seeking to strengthen his ties with Naples, the Pope in 1498 arranged a marriage between Lucrezia and the 17-year-old Alfonso, duke of Bisceglie, an illegitimate son of Alfonso II of Naples. Borgia was born on April 18, 1480, in Subiaco, near Rome. It is rumoured that Lucrezia was in possession of a hollow ring that she used frequently to poison drinks. A notorious reputation precedes her, and she is inextricably, and perhaps unfairly, linked to the crimes and debauchery of her family. Her three successive marriages into prominent families helped augment the political and territorial power of the Borgias. [20][21] On the same occasion Byron claimed to have stolen a lock of Lucrezia's hair – "the prettiest and fairest imaginable"[21] – that was also held there on display. Her education would primarily take place in the Piazza Pizzo de Merlo, a building adjacent to her father's residence. Giovanni went to stay with Lucrezia in Ferrara after Alexander's death, where he was accepted as her half-brother. [citation needed], On 26 February 1491, a matrimonial arrangement was drawn up between Lucrezia and the Lord of Val D'Ayora, in the kingdom of Valencia, Don Cherubino Joan de Centelles, which was annulled less than two months later in favour of a new contract engaging Lucrezia to Don Gaspare Aversa, count of Procida. [19], Lucrezia also had a love affair with the poet Pietro Bembo during her third marriage. Two papal bulls recognized the child as the illegitimate son first of Cesare, then of Alexander, who was probably the true father. Many of these concern allegations of incest, poisoning, and murder on her part; however, no historical basis for these rumours has ever been brought forward beyond allegations made by rival parties. Lucrezia and Alfonso had one child, Rodrigo of Aragon, who was born in 1499 and predeceased his mother in August 1512 at the age of 12. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Borgia’s father, Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, was named Pope Alexander VI in 1492, and Borgia was married a year later. Lucrezia Borgia was the daughter of future pope Alexander VI, and her three marriages into influential families helped build the political power of her own family. Updates? The murder provoked the desired rupture with Naples. The child (identified in later life as Lucrezia's half-brother) was most likely the result of a liaison between Rodrigo Borgia (Pope Alexander VI, Lucrezia's father) and an unknown mistress and was not Lucrezia's child. In 1512, Borgia withdrew from public life and turned to religion. Lucrezia's name is not mentioned in either, and rumors that she was his mother have never been proven. Alexander asked Giovanni's uncle, Cardinal Ascanio Sforza, to persuade Giovanni to agree to an annulment of the marriage. A leading figure of Italian High Renaissance classicism, Raphael is best known for his "Madonnas," including the Sistine Madonna, and for his large figure compositions in the Palace of the Vatican in Rome. He killed his mother, persecuted Christians and is said to have "fiddled while Rome burned.". "use strict";(function(){var insertion=document.getElementById("citation-access-date");var date=new Date().toLocaleDateString(undefined,{month:"long",day:"numeric",year:"numeric"});insertion.parentElement.replaceChild(document.createTextNode(date),insertion)})(); Subscribe to the Biography newsletter to receive stories about the people who shaped our world and the stories that shaped their lives. Giovanni finally signed confessions of impotence and documents of annulment before witnesses. On June 24, 1519, ten days after giving birth to a stillborn girl, Borgia died at the age of 39. [39], At least one biographer (including Maria Bellonci) claims that Lucrezia gave birth to three more children, one by Alfonso of Aragon and two by Alfonso d'Este, who did not survive infancy. One painting, Portrait of a Youth by Dosso Dossi at the National Gallery of Victoria, was identified as a portrait of Lucrezia in November 2008. A child was born, however, in the Borgia household the year before Lucrezia's marriage to Alfonso of Aragon. [3], Before long, the Borgia family no longer needed the Sforzas, and the presence of Giovanni Sforza in the papal court was superfluous.