Historical Who is Who
1480 - 1519
A central character in the powerful Borgia papal family. Fact and wilful misrepresentation are difficult to distinguish historically. That she was intimately present to the notoriety of the contemporary Borgia scene cannot be disputed. That she had already experienced two broken betrothals by the age of 12 and had the first of her three marriages at 13 years is well documented, as are her physical beauty and her multiple miscarriages. Her implication in the use of poison and much sexual adventuring including incest is more contentious. There is evidence in later life of her effectiveness in estate management, including swamp-draining, her endowment of education and engagement with convent life. In both the real and imaginary versions of her life, questions are raised about the relationship between the respective claims of institutional religion and ethics.