xxx, 478 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm.
Includes bibliographical references (pages -455) and index.
Prologue: One Whom All Did Fear
Part One. Alonso, From Out of Nowhere
A Most Improbable Pope
Background: The Road to Rome
Surprises, Disappointments, Hope
Background: Il Regno-The Kingdom
Pope and King, Friends No More
Background: Amazing Italy
Background: The Men in the Red Hats
The End of the Beginning
Part Two. Rodrigo, A Long Apprenticeship
Background: The Eternal City, Eternally Reborn
Pius II : Troubles Rumored and Real
Background: Il Papa
Paul II : The Poisoned Chalice
Background: The Inextinguishable Evil-Heads
Sixtus IV : Disturbing the Peace
Background: War, Italian Style
Innocent VIII : Plumbing the Depths
Part Three. Alexander, Pope At Last
The Best Man for the Job
Background: Madness and Milan
The Coming of the French
Background: The Paternity Question : An "Apology"
The French Depart
Background: Florence : An Anti-Renaissance
A Shattering Loss
Background: The Young Ones
Part Four. Cesare, Caesar or Nothing
The Landscape Changes
Background: Venice, Serene No More
Background: The Angel's Castle
"Longing for Greatness and Renown"
Background: The Newest Profession
Background: The Great Discoveries
Man of Destiny
Background: Superstitions : Another Side of the Renaissance
Examining Old Assumptions.
Sweeping aside the gossip, slander, and distortion that have shrouded the Borgias for centuries, G. J. Meyer offers an unprecedented portrait of the infamous Renaissance family and their storied milieu. They burst out of obscurity in Spain to capture the great prize of the papacy, not once but twice. Throughout a tumultuous half-century--as popes, statesmen, warriors, lovers, and breathtakingly ambitious political adventurers--they held center stage in the glorious and blood-drenched pageant known to us as the Italian Renaissance. Five centuries after their fall--a fall even more sudden than their rise to the heights of power--they remain symbols of the depths to which humanity can descend: Rodrigo, who bought the papal crown and prostituted the Roman Church; Cesare, who became the most treacherous cutthroat of a violent time; Lucrezia, as immoral as she was beautiful. But did these Borgias of legend actually exist? Grounding his narrative in exhaustive research and drawing from rarely examined key sources, Meyer brings fascinating new insight to the real people within the age-encrusted myth. Equally illuminating is the light he shines on the brilliant circles in which the Borgias moved and the thrilling era they helped to shape.--From publisher description.