sep 182014

Alexander VI, pave fra 1492 til 1503, er ofte regnet som en av de alle mest umoralske paver, med mange barn etc … , men nå har jeg nettopp hørt en (lyd)bok som viser at disse anklagene rett og slett er falske: The Borgias: The Hidden History, By G. J. Meyer, Random House, 2013

……… Again and again, Meyer contends that there’s an equally simple counter-explanation:

This aspect of the puzzle would disappear if Alexander could be shown to have been utterly cynical, without belief in the creed he professed and therefore exempt from any sense of sinfulness. He is often, even usually, depicted in exactly that way, but such an interpretation of his character is unquestionably false. He was a believer and a devout one, displaying particular devotion to the Virgin Mary and unqualified so far as we know in his acceptance of the teachings of the Church he led. It is at least possible that, while believing in damnation (he would be a remarkable fifteenth century European if he did not), he was not “dark with fear and gloom” for the simple reason that he was hopeful of escaping it and saw reason to be so.

And if so, then why all the dark tales in the first place? Again, there’s a disarmingly simple explanation:

These stories appeared when they did in part because there was a voracious one-man market for them: Alexander’s successor Julius II, Giuliano della Rovere, who had been blocked by the Borgias from winning the papal throne first in 1492 and again in September 1503 and who had spent most of the intervening years in seethingly bitter exile.

In Meyer’s version of events – which is entirely, magisterially convincing – the animus of Pope Julius was sufficient to keep the Borgia name under a cloud long enough for the Protestant Reformation to hit full swing and need for its own reasons exemplars of Catholic wickedness and duplicity …..

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