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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How Nasty Were The Borgias Really? The Borgias by G. J. Meyer

The name Borgia is practically synonymous with everything bad.  The family has been accused of several evil deeds, including murder, incest and orgies.  Lucretia is supposedly famous for all sorts of nasty wrongs.

I felt rather sorry for G. J. Meyer because he set out to restore the reputation of the Borgias in this book, and it obviously involved a hell of a lot of research and reading to find the truth.  It turns out that many of the allegations are a lot of rubbish.  Pope Alexander VI, for example, was a competent and intelligent pope who attempted to demolish the power of the Italian warlords and handle the French invaders with aplomb.  It seems that he didn't have illegitimate children either.  Lucretia was accused of incest and poison on practically no evidence whatsoever.

This book is hard to follow because of the complicated battles between the Papal States, the leading Italian families and invaders, such as the French.  However, G.J. Meyer writes in an interesting way, and includes chapters on the backgrounds of important topics.  For example, he includes a chapter about the history of Venice.  I haven't quite finished this book, but I'm enjoying learning the truth about this notorious family.

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