Alexander VI

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Alexander VI,

1431?–1503, pope (1492–1503), a Spaniard (b. Játiva) named Rodrigo de Borja or, in Italian, Rodrigo Borgia; successor of Innocent VIII. He took Borja as his surname from his mother's brother Alfonso, who was Pope Calixtus III. Rodrigo became cardinal (1456), vice chancellor of the Roman Church (1457), and dean of the sacred college (1476). Cardinal Borgia had four illegitimate children by a Roman woman, Vannozza; among them were Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia. Alexander was elected by a corrupt conclave. The foreign relations during his papacy were dominated by the increasing influence of France in Italy, which culminated in the invasion of Charles VIII in 1494. Alexander prevented Charles from taking the church property in Rome, but he turned over to the French the valuable Ottoman hostage Djem, brother of Sultan Beyazid IIBeyazid II,
1447–1513, Ottoman sultan (1481–1512), son and successor of Muhammad II to the throne of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). With the help of the corps of Janissaries he put down the revolt of his brother Jem.
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. Alexander's son, Cesare Borgia, was the principal leader in papal affairs, and papal resources were spent lavishly in building up Cesare's power. For his daughter Lucrezia, Alexander arranged suitable marriages. The favoritism shown his children and the lax moral tone of Renaissance Rome as well as the unscrupulous methods employed by Cesare and other papal officials have made Alexander's name the symbol of the worldly irreligion of Renaissance popes. Girolamo SavonarolaSavonarola, Girolamo
, 1452–98, Italian religious reformer, b. Ferrara. He joined (1475) the Dominicans. In 1481 he went to San Marco, the Dominican house at Florence, where he became popular for his eloquent sermons, in which he attacked the vice and worldliness of the
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 was an outspoken opponent and critic of Alexander. Recent studies tend to minimize the pope's immorality and stress his solid achievements as a political strategist and church administrator. It was Alexander who proclaimed the line of demarcation that awarded part of the new discoveries in the world to Spain, part to Portugal (see Tordesillas, Treaty ofTordesillas, Treaty of
, 1494, agreement signed at Tordesillas, Spain, by which Spain and Portugal divided the non-Christian world into two zones of influence. In principle the treaty followed the papal bull issued in 1493 by Pope Alexander VI, which fixed the demarcation line
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). Alexander was a munificent patron of the arts. He was succeeded by Pius III.

Alexander VI

 

(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.

Alexander VI

Borgia pope infamous for licentiousness and debauchery. [Ital. Hist.: Plumb, 219–220]

Alexander VI

original name Rodrigo Borgia. 1431--1503, pope (1492--1503): noted for his extravagance and immorality as well as for his patronage of the arts; father of Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia, with whom he is said to have committed incest