The Borgias, the first and the original crime family, has come back into spotlight again with the new Showtime series on air this spring. It is no surprise given that they were the most notorious of all Renaissance dynasties. Not just because of corruption, murder and scandal – other dynasties were involved in those areas too – but the height in which their corruptness had reached: the papacy. No wonder Mario Puzo was highly fascinated that he spent nearly two decades towards the end of his life in writing a novel about them.
But that aside, the family was filled with interesting characters and was highly dysfunctional by modern standard: the father who was in the cloth had 12 illegitimate children and 4 whom he openly embraced while continued to collect new lovers, a brother rumored to have killed his own brother, and a sister who might have been in a relationship with her own kin.
The juicy bits of those stories might actually had come from their many enemies who concocted or exaggerated their already stained image to the extreme. The Borgias definitely did not do much to put us in doubt either, and the rumors was circulated for centuries after their death. Given that Cardinal della Rovere, their greatest nemesis, became Pope after their ruling, it would be pretty obvious why we know them for their atrocity and iniquity than anything else.