Monday, April 25, 2011

And You Thought Your Family Was Messed Up!

I just want to be clear: I have had it in my mind to design a Lucrezia Borgia necklace long before the Showtime series The Borgias started airing....But the TV show did give me a little push to get the necklace finished.
If you are not aware of the Borgia family, they are pretty much the 15th-16th century Lohans/Jacksons/Kardashians/messed up celebrity family of their day. It is a widely accepted theory that they were the inspiration for Machiavelli's The Prince, a doctrine describing the need of a ruler to use brute force and immoral means when necessary.

Lucrezia Borgia is the illegitimate daughter of Rodrigo Borgia (who would later become Pope Alexander VI). While her entire family had their share of scandal and rumor, Lucrezia seemed to endure the most. Here's a rundown Lucrezia
  • First off, let's get this out of the way. She most likely did not have an affair with her brother Cesare and her father, the Pope. The accusations came from her first husband, Giovanni Sforza. But he was also mad because he found out that Cesare and Rodrigo had ordered for his execution.... People can be sooo petty.
  • Speaking of Giovanni, it was Cesare and Rodrigo's fault that Lucrezia was married to him in the first place. The marriage was arranged as a political maneuver and Cesare and Rodgrigo thought that an alliance between the Borgias and the Sfozas would be beneficial. But, when the marriage proved to not be as useful as they thought, they ordered his execution and Giovanni fled. Later, he was forced to concede to a divorce under a statement that he and Lucrezia never consummated the marriage....
  • But, someone consummated something because soon after the annulment, Lucrezia was sent to convalesce at a convent where it was discovered that she was preggo. Who was the baby daddy? Well, it could have been Giovanni's. But more likely it was the product of Lucrezia and Perotto, Rodrigo/Alexander's messenger. But, she named the baby Giovanni...but then again Giovanni was a pretty common name in 15th century Italy.
  • Now, with Giovanni out of the way, Rodrigo and Cesare could arrange for an even better marriage/alliance. But, first they had to get rid of that pesky illegitimate love child. First, a Papal Bull (a proclamation, not a religious bovine) was released claiming that it was Cesare's child with an unknown mistress. Then a second, contradictory Papal Bull was released claiming that it was Rodrigo/Alexanders' child with an unknown mistress. Bottom line; they didn't want Lucrezia claiming the kid as her own...that would negate her annulment and prove that she wasn't a virgin. It would also be harder to marry her off.
  • Next Pops and Bro arranged a marriage between Lucrezia and Duke Alfonso de Aragon. Lucrezia liked this guy, but too bad for her- Cesare and Rodrigo/Alexander didn't, and they had him killed. But Lucrezia managed to have one child, whom she named Rodrigo, before Alfonso was murdered.
  • Next up, she was married to Alfonso de'Este. Cesare and Rodrigo seemed pleased with this marriage that they arranged and let the dude live. However, Lucrezia wasn't quite as pleased and took up affairs with multiple suitors including the poet Pietro Bembo. Also, during this marriage, she gave birth to the most amount of children....Hmmmmm.....
  • Lucrezia died in 1519. Her reputation suffered as the face of the Borgias' immorality, when really she seemed to be nothing more than a pawn in her father and brother's political ambitions. History would later find that during her 3rd marriage to Alfonso de'Este, she proved herself to be a capable, kind, and fair Duchess over her constituents. She just had a hard time staying faithful to her husband.
So, there's the quick history. And here's a necklace you can wear during your next The Borgias viewing party:)

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