Sunday, 10 February 2013

Historical Supervillainy: The Borgia

When one thinks of the Borgia, the extreme decadence and wealth of Renaissance Italy’s most infamous family springs to mind. Whether they were any more ruthless than many of their peers is a matter for debate, but suffice to say, they fulfill many of the stereotypical criteria for supervillainy. Just consider some of the traditional accounts. 

Rodrigo Borgia (AKA Pope Alexander VI) was the Blofeld of Renaissance Italy. He had a son, Cesare, with more ambition than common sense. His daughter Lucrezia was synonymous with femme fatales for centuries. He employed an advisor renowned for schemes, Machiavelli himself. He employed a mad scientist, Leonardo da Vinci. He led a major religion, the Catholic Church, and had his own elite troops, the Swiss mercenaries (the forerunners of the Swiss Guard). He had his own personal hitman, Micheletto. 

However, there is some controversy over the extent of some of the Borgia deeds. Despite this, there it still influences media today. From novels to videogames to TV series, the legacy of the Borgia lives on. Even firearms have a bit of the Borgia legacy. An amusing bit of Borgia-related trivia is that "Buffalo Bill" Cody named a Springfield rifle after Lucrezia Borgia due to its deadliness. 

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