Alexander VI
(1431-1503; pope, 1492—1503)
   Commonly regarded as the worst example of the corruption and worldliness of the Renaissance church, Rodrigo Borja (in Italian, Borgia) was born in Spain. He studied canon law in Italy under the patronage of his uncle Alonso, who was a cardinal. The election of Alonso as Pope Calixtus III in 1455 made Rodrigo's fortune. Despite his youth, in 1456 he received the powerful position of papal vice-chancellor and was appointed a cardinal; and he began accumulating church offices that soon made him the wealthiest of the cardinals. Despite his vow of celibacy, he fathered seven or more children (at least one of them after he became pope) by various women. His reputation for political skill, reinforced by the vast wealth which enabled him to offer huge bribes, led to his election as pope in 1492. Although several of the preceding popes had been guilty of nepotism, Alexander's use of the papacy to promote the careers of his relatives, especially his own children, surpassed any of his predecessors. Exploiting the struggle between France and Spain for control of Italy, he looked out more for the interests of his family than for the papacy as an institution, attempting to create a hereditary principality in Italy for his favorite son Cesare Borgia and using the marriages of his daughter Lucrezia to advance his political schemes. In legend (and perhaps in fact) Alexander and his children used poison to eliminate hostile cardinals. Although not so great a patron of Renaissance art and learning as his two successors, Alexander was well educated and did commission important paintings and engage in building programs, though (significantly, perhaps) several of the latter involved construction of fortifications. One of his most famous acts as pope was drawing the line of demarcation that separated Spanish from Portuguese claims in the rapidly emerging world of overseas colonization.

Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. . 2004.

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  • Alexander VI —     Pope Alexander VI     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Pope Alexander VI     Rodrigo Borgia, born at Xativa, near Valencia, in Spain, 1 January, 1431; died in Rome, 18 August, 1503. His parents were Jofre Lançol and Isabella Borja, sister of …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • ALEXANDER VI — ALEXANDER VI. a matre Borgias, ex illustri regni Valentiae stirpe, Paparum spurcissimus, cum Caesare, spurio suo, Ecclesiae gravis fuit. Quem ut eveheret, Ferdinando, Maurorum victori, Catholicl titulum concessit, atque inter eum et Lusitaniae… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Alexander VI. — Papst Alexander VI., nach einem Gemälde von Cristoforo dell Altissimo (Uffizien, Florenz) Alexander VI. (eigentlich Roderic Llançol i de Borja, italienisch Rodrigo Borgia; * 1. Januar 1431 in Xàtiva bei València; † 18. August 1503 in …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alexander VI — (Rodrigo Borgia) 1431? 1503, Italian ecclesiastic: pope 1492 1503 (father of Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia). * * * orig. Rodrigo de Borja y Doms born 1431, Játiva, Aragon died Aug. 18, 1503, Rome Pope (1492–1503). Born into the Spanish branch of the …   Universalium

  • Alexander VI — (1431–1503)    Pope.    Alexander, a nephew of Pope Callistus III, was born Rodrigo Borgia in Spain. At the age of twenty five he became a Cardinal and was appointed Chancellor of the Roman Church in 1457. His scandalous private life earned a… …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • Alexander VI — noun Pope and father of Cesare Borgia and Lucrezia Borgia (1431 1503) • Syn: ↑Pope Alexander VI, ↑Borgia, ↑Rodrigo Borgia • Instance Hypernyms: ↑pope, ↑Catholic Pope, ↑Roman Catholic Pope, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • ALEXANDER VI —    , called Borgia from his mother, a Spaniard by birth, obtained the popehood by bribery in 1492 in succession to Innocent VIII., lived a licentious life and had several children, among others the celebrated Lucretia and the infamous Cæsar… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Alexander VI, Pope — • Rodrigo Borgia, born at Xativa, near Valencia, in Spain, 1 January, 1431; died in Rome, 18 August, 1503 Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Alexander VI, Pope — (Rodrigo Borgia; r. 1492 1503).    Alexander VI received the cardinalate from his uncle, Pope Calixtus III, in 1456 and the vice chancellorship to the Holy See in the following year. He was a licentious prelate who fathered several children and… …   Dictionary of Renaissance art

  • Pope Alexander VI — Infobox pope English name=Alexander VI birth name= Roderic Llançol de Borja i Borja (in Catalan) ( it. Rodrigo Borgia) term start=August 11, 1492 term end=August 18, 1503 predecessor=Innocent VIII successor=Pius III birth date=birth… …   Wikipedia

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