Cesare I Borgia
Lilies & Lions, An Alternative History

Cesare I Il Diavolo
Portrait of Cesare
Reign 28 June 1503 – 29 May 1518
Coronation 28 June 1503
Successor Cesare II Borgia
 
Born 13 September 1480
Rome, Papal States
Died 29 May 1518 (aged 38)
Naples, Kingdom of Naples
Burial
Spouse Joanna of Naples, Princess of Sicily
Issue Cesare II
Lucrezia, Duchess of Brabant
Noble family House of Borgia
Father Pope Alexander VI
Mother Vannozza dei Cattanei
Religion Not religious[a]

Cesare Borgia (13 August 1481 – 29 May 1518) was an Italian cardinal, politician, gonfaloniere, nobleman and founder of the short-lived Italian Empire, ruling as emperor from 1503 until his death in 1518. He was the brother of Lucrezia Borgia, Queen of England and France; Giovanni Borgia, Duke of Upper Gandia; Rodrigo Borgia 'the Younger', an Aragonese admiral and duke; and Gioffre Borgia, Prince of the Po.

After initially entering the Church and becoming a cardinal soon after his father's election to the Papacy, he became the first person to resign a cardinalcy after the death of his older brother, Giovanni, in 1497. His father made him a prince in the Romagna; however, grander ambitions would rule the rest of Cesare's life.

Cesare is very well known in history for his political prowess and ability and for his part in beginning the first major pan-European war of the early modern period.

Cesare I Il Diavolo
Portrait of Cesare I depicting him during his later years.
Reign 28 June 1503 – 29 May 1518
Coronation 28 June 1503
Successor Cesare II Borgia
 
Born 13 September 1480
Rome, Papal States
Died 29 May 1518 (aged 38)
Naples, Kingdom of Naples
Burial
Spouse Joanna of Naples, Princess of Sicily
Issue Cesare II
Lucrezia, Duchess of Brabant
Noble family House of Borgia
Father Pope Alexander VI
Mother Vannozza dei Cattanei
Religion Not religious

Early life

It has been established that Cesare Borgia was born in Rome—in 1480—the illegitimate son of Cardinal Roderic Llançol i de Borja, (usually known as Rodrigo Borgia), later Pope Alexander VI, and his mistress Vannozza dei Cattanei, about whom information is sparse. The Borgia family originally came from the Kingdom of Valencia, and rose to prominence during the mid-15th century; Cesare's grand-uncle Alphonso Borgia (1378 – 1458), bishop of Valencia, was elected Pope Callixtus III in 1455. Cesare's father, Pope Alexander VI, was the first pope who openly recognized his children born out of wedlock.

Being the second son of Rodrigo Borgia, Cesare was groomed for a career in the Church. At the age of 13, he was made Bishop of Pamplona. Following school in Perugia and Pisa, Cesare studied law at the Studium Urbis (nowadays known as the Sapienza University of Rome). After his father's elevation to Pope, Cesare was made Cardinal in 1495 at the age of 15, at the time the youngest to have been appointed.

Cardinal Borgia

According to the journal of Cardinal ** Sforza, Cesare Borgia and his friend, Giovanni Farnese, were admitted to the College of Cardinals on the 3 February 1495.

Cesare first met Arthur during the young Angevin king's visit for his coronation. Almost immediately, the two became close friends.

Prince of the Romagna

Having spent most of 1496 in France in the company of his brother-through-marriage, Arthur, Cesare became increasingly disillusioned with the Catholic Church and his role as Cardinal. The death of his older brother, Giovanni, made his decision clear. On the anniversary of his appointment as cardinal, Cesare demanded his removal from the College of Cardinals to which his father was forced to agree. To maintain some amount of control, Pope Alexander VI made Cesare Prince of the Romangna (and papal gonfaloniere) soon thereafter and tasked him with subjugating the de facto independent vassals that had left during the papacy of Pius III. Finally, Cesare had the opportunity to prove his worth as both a warrior and diplomat.

By late in autumn of the year, Cesare along with Orsini had reconquered up to the borders of San Marino.

The Sieges of the North

The Ordelaffi family proved to be a stalwart obstacle in reclaiming the Romagna completely due in large part to their marriages into the Sforza family. The ever-growing interest of the Empire in northern Italian affairs did little to help the situation. Cesare remained focused on his goal of reclaiming the Romagna.

Titles, styles and arms

Titles

  • Henry, Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall and Lancaster
  • Henry V, King of England and Lord of Ireland – upon the death of his father
  • Henry V, King of England and Prince of France, Lord of Ireland – following the Treaty of Troyes making Henry heir to the French throne
  • Henry II and V, King of France and of England, Lord of Ireland – following the Treaty of Vienne and the death of Charles VII

Personal life

Marriage and issue

As agreed upon in the Treaty of Troyes, Henry married Catherine in 1420 in the city of Troyes. They had seven children together.

  1. Henry III and VI of France and of England (6 December 1421 – 1449). Married Alice of Anjou in 1435. Had issue.
  2. Edmund, 3rd Duke of Lancaster (3 March 1423 – 19 June 1448). Married. No issue.
  3. Catherine (3 March 1423 – 27 May 1489). Married Henry of Luxembourg, Holy Roman Emperor. Had issue.
  4. Marie (11 October 1425 – 2 January 1472). Married John II, Duke of Bourbon, in 1438. Had issue.
  5. Edward I and IV of France and of England (8 February 1426 – 1483). Married Isabella of Bruges in 1441. Had issue.
  6. William, Grand Master of the Order of the Dragon (1 May 1428 – 12 February 1487). Married. Had issue.
  7. Joan of Vannes (1430 – 1489). Married John VII, Duke of Brittany, in 1443. Had issue.
Cesare Borgia
Born: 13 August 1481 Died: 29 May 1518
Regnal titles
New creation Emperor of Italy
1503–1518
Succeeded by
Cesare II