The Borja Family: Historiography, Legend and Literature


  • Eulàlia Duran i Grau


The Borja family from Valencia (the Italian spelling is 'Borgia') have been a constant source of fascination since the 15th century because of the unusual power they came to wield in Italy and Valencia thanks to the ecclesiastical career. They caused much ink to flow in the field of legend all over Europe - mainly in Italy but also in Germany, Great Britain, France and, of course, Valencia - and were ultimately accused of every vice. They also provided a major theme for literature and films. Partly in reaction to this they became, mainly from the last third of the 19th century onwards, a subject for serious historiographical research based on archival documents. In recent years the fifth centenary of the pontificate of Alexander VI has triggered new research. I attempt here to give an overview and to offer explanations for the interest they have aroused.