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Lucrezia Borgia
Emma Lucas, "Lucrezia Borgia"
ISBN: 1612308155, ASIN: B00ON2WGE4 | 2014 | EPUB | 346 pages | 3 MB

The stories about the Lucrezia Borgia's life - ruthless manipulator, possessor of a poison ring, sexual predator - often overshadow the more nuanced and fascinating story of her life.

She was born on April 18, 1480, the illegitimate daughter of future Pope Alexander VI, then Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia and his long-time mistress Vannozza dei Cattanei. She inherited her mother's stunning looks - she was known for her slender figure, gray-blue eyes, and blonde hair.

When her father became pope, he sought to consolidate his power and arranged a marriage between fourteen-year-old Lucrezia and the first of her three husbands, twenty-eight-year-old Giovanni Sforza. Shortly after the marriage, Alexander, concluded he no longer needed an alliance with the Sforza family. He ordered Giovanni's assassination, but when the young bridegroom escaped, ended Lucrezia's marriage by ordering an annulment.

Following the lengthy annulment process - during which Lucrezia was accused of having an affair and a child with Alexander's chamberlain Pedro Calderon, whose body was later found floating in Rome's Tiber River, "where he fell against his will" - Lucrezia was married to Alfonso of Aragon in 1498. Alexander appointed a pregnant Lucrezia governor of the Umbrian town of Spoleto in 1499. Alfonso, wary of shifting political alliances, fled Rome for a brief time, but returned in 1500, where he was murdered. Alfonso left Lucrezia with a son, Rodrigo.

After Alfonso's conveniently timed murder, Alexander arranged a third marriage for Lucrezia, to Alfonso I d'Este, a powerful duke. The two had several children, and Lucrezia came into her own as a Renaissance woman, overcoming her scandalous reputation - despite several affairs - and maintaining her position and power as the Borgia family's influence and fortunes fell following Alexander's death.

Lucrezia Borgia was a woman of and ahead of her time. Here is her little-told story.

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