Alexander VI(redirected from Borgia, Rodrigo)
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Alexander VI, pope
(secular name, Rodrigo Borgia). Born circa 1431; died Aug. 18, 1503. Roman pope from 1492.
Alexander became pope by bribing the majority of the cardinals. Attempting to create a strong state in the center of Italy (as a possession of the Borgia family), he supported the aggressive plans of his son Cesare Borgia. To secure these plans, Alexander resorted to extensive sales of church offices, collections of tithes for crusades, and confiscation of the property of many rich people. He eliminated his political enemies by poison and stabbing. In 1497 he excommunicated and then brought about the execution of Savonarola, who had demanded the deposition of the criminal and debauched pope. At the start of the Italian wars (1494–1559), Alexander alternately supported both sides, depending on the personal advantage he could reap.