The Borgias - Season 2

201. The Borgia Bull


Previously on The Borgias...
Deacon Cardinal:
Habemus papam!
You are aware, Holy Father, of the plots against you?
Oh, what would Rome be without a good plot?
I have evidence that will bring this house crashing down around your ears.
Of lechery!
All of Rome knows you're the mother to my children. The pope must be seen to be chaste. God has chosen us to sweep the Vatican clean of corruption. What Rome needs now is...
Don't you want them to hear that you have a new whore?
Whom can one trust, in this Rome of ours?
I believe trust needs to be earned, my lord.
Perhaps it has been.
The vultures are circling our family. Our Rome.
It seems Cardinal Della Rovere has fled.
Your Royal Highness.
What do you want?
I want Naples to join in alliance with me to rid the papacy...
Of the stench of Borgia.
Give me control of the papal armies and I will protect us all.
We will have one son in the cloth and one in armor.
You think it fits me, Brother?
And Lucrezia must marry! Bind our enemies to us! Make friends of them.
And if my husband proves ungallant?
I shall cut his heart out with a dinner knife.
Have you any friends you can confide in?
There is a groom. Paolo.
My lady.
Young lovers are always doomed.
I am with child. Thank God, not my husband's.
Your Royal Highness, King Charles of France. I want to restore the Universal Church. To her former dignity.
You will have your war! But it will be fought the French way.
Holy Father, we should abandon Rome.
We will not tolerate this heresy! The barbarians are approaching!
We shall outwit them.
I know little of the art of war.
Thank God someone in this family does.
You are either with us or against us.
French Soldier:
We could be said to have an understanding.
We could indeed. The crown of Naples. King Charles will not remain in Naples for long.
French General:
Plague. Did the Borgia Pope know of this?
We should thank God for all the blessings he has visited upon this, our family.

The congregation is poor but devout. We shall be honoured to celebrate the Eucharist among them. Come. The commune awaits.

Quid retribuam Domino pro omnibus quae retribuit mihi. Que Agnus Dei, et qui Tollis peccata mundi Domine, non sum dignus, ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea. Corpus Domini nostri Iesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam. Amen. Corpus Domini nostri Iesu Christi custodiat animam meam in vitam aeternam. Amen. Corpus Domini nostri esu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam. Amen. Corpus Domini nostri esu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam. Amen.
Altar Boy:
Is it the heat, Father?
No, no, no. Corpus Domini nostri esu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam. Amen. It's something I ate!

You may leave us, sisters.
Aged Nun:
But Cardinal...
There is no need for last rites but your prayers would be welcome. Hush Cardinal. I will attend you. And you sisters, let us hear your prayers. Don't worry, if you're not dead by now, you will live. Your tongue will be swollen for days. No talking, I'm afraid. All of your prayers must be silent ones. Altar boys and cantarella. Neither can be trusted. But you must know by now, Cardinal, there is no hiding place. Even here, in the depths of the Umbrian olive groves... we will find you. The French army is ensnared in Naples. The French king is ill, with the Neapolitan disease. God is in His Heaven and the pope on his seat in Rome. And my plea to you, Cardinal, is still the same. Work with us... not against us.

Altar Boy:
The cardinal will live then?
So it seems, yes.
Altar Boy:
But I did my duty, did I not? I shall still receive payment?
Of course. Go with God, sister.
To Rome now.
Our work here, Your Eminence, is finished, yes?
For the moment.

Bianca Gonzaga:
Will we meet again, Holy Father?
Bianca Gonzaga:
Am I to be your mistress then?
Alas, no. That position is taken.
Bianca Gonzaga:
Will I receive your blessing at least, for this night we spent together?
You have already received my blessing many times.
Bianca Gonzaga:
And is that bliss to be repeated?
Giulia Farnese comes back from Umbria today. She would not countenance this.
Bianca Gonzaga:
She is strict then?
Yes. And jealous.
Bianca Gonzaga:
Why? She is a woman.
And, forgive me, Holy Father— she is here.
Uh, you must leave us! Don't let her in! No, no! You have to leave us! Go!
Bianca Gonzaga:
But I was promised...
Oh, oh, oh, oooh. Um. Now please go! Make her vanish if you would be so kind?
His Holiness is—?
His Holiness bathes.
We asked for hot water! We lie in cold!
This is more to Your Holiness's liking?
Ahhh... Giulia Farnese. We have missed you.

Isn't this bliss?
A crying child?
You must avail yourself of a wet nurse, my love.
Indeed, Father. Why?
Well, you are hardly a commoner, And your figure should reflect that grace.
Aha. Because I am yet of marriageable age, am I not?
Nothing could have been further from our thoughts, Lucrezia.
This child, Holy Father, lacks a father.
Or one appropriate to your station.
And for the moment you have no need of a marital alliance. But if the need arose, you would marry me to the moon.
What? Does the sun threaten our papacy now?
No, Father. Mars is in a unique alignment with Saturn. The heavens beam down upon us. For the moment. But the day might come.
Now let me hold him, come along. Come. That's right, that's right. So. A wet nurse. We insist. Come on. That's the way.
The French ambassador awaits, Your Holiness.
Oh, God. Isn't he dead yet?
He's not even sick.
Let's go see the French Ambassador. See what he's got to say.

French Ambassador:
Your Holiness.
Up with you. There we go. Ah, fine. There we go. Ah. It's nice, isn't it? So how can we be of assistance?
French Ambassador:
The whereabouts of—
Sh, sh, sh! Pianissimo!
French Ambassador:
Alfonso of Naples is still at large. We have reason to believe that he infected his own city with the pestilence that plagues it.
Oh, how can that concern us? We would have the ambassador gently remind the king that Naples has the habit of rejecting those who would conquer it. The Moor, the Turk, the Norman. Sh, sh, sh. Why should the French be any different?
French Ambassador:
But Your Holiness invested King Charles with the—
Sh! Pianissimo! All right, darling. It's all right. We granted the King his wish. Naples. He has Naples. He regrets that fact. That is his tragedy and not ours. It's not ours, is it? And now you've woken the child. Shame on you, ambassador. Sh. It's all right. It's just the nasty ambassador. Let's go and find your mama. She'll give you something to eat and it'll be better.

So, Cardinal Della Rovere is still alive?
I would hardly call it living.
You need lessons in killing, Brother?
From you?
Enough! And King Charles of France, what of him?
He has been struck with the Neapolitan disease.
As we had hoped. So... Now is the time of reckoning for those who betrayed us.
The Vitelli, the Orsini, the Sforza.
All the great families of the Romagna and papal states. Our task is of vengeance. We believe that the cardinals will now, from henceforth, do our will. But now it is time to make sure their families feel the wind of our displeasure.
Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord.
Ah. Vengeance will be ours. We shall subdue the arrogance of those papal states, one by one by one. We will force them back into the arms of Rome. But above all, the Sforzas. Their betrayal of our papacy shall be avenged.
By who? This headless cock?
Will you stop this discord! We are family! We are one! And we will only triumph as one! For we have a second task. It is called renewal. We would restore Rome to its former glory. Under the Borgias it will shine as it did beneath the Caesars. But if we are to achieve this greatness— your birthright— it will be together. As one. As family. Now let me hear you speak that word. Give me your hand, Cesare. Family.

I have had new dueling blades designed, Brother. Thin, and as sharp as will be our vengeance.
Show me.
Hear how they sing. A blade looks incongruous in a cleric's hand.
A cleric prays. He doesn't fight.
Well this cleric does both.
Prove it.
You must attack me then, Brother. Because I would never attack you.
Our father has forbidden discord between us.
Even in jest?
In jest? Attack that which can hardly defend itself?
That's an insult, I believe. Come on, Cesare!

Can you not keep your horse still, my love?
Could you ask my horse the same?

The troops are cheering, Brother. Why?
They cheer their leader. Do I detect anger in those blows, Brother?
No anger. No envy either. I have been long steeled in all the cardinal virtues.
You must need them, wearing a clerical collar.
And I know the one sin my father would never forgive— is fratricide.
A big word, Brother.
It is a big word, Your Eminence. But pray. What does it mean, my Lord?
Something to do with killing.
Ah. Killing. We will have none of that. Not today. You are brothers, after all, are you not? Your Eminence.

You have found your prize.
Sh sh sh...
But it may have led you to a greater one. Look. Those Romans knew not monogamy.
No. Mm. That came with Our Lord Jesus Christ.
One would hope.
We must preserve these. For posterity.
Not for pleasure?
No. You alone are our pleasure.

Can I hold him?
And wake him? That would be cruelty indeed.
I must hold you then. Tell me again, my love. Who was his father?
A groom. Paolo. But I called him Narcissus, so divine was his face.
Should I envy him then?
You have read your romances, dear brother. You must know that such love is impossible.
Impossible loves. I am very much afraid they can become an addiction.
There is one your heart must find room for, Cesare. One you must love before you can love anyone.
And that one would be?

Will I live long enough to see the one who caused this pestilence punished?
The humors of this city have been rife with disease for centuries. Its pestilences come and go...
So I should not blame that inbred prince?
It is His Highness's privilege to blame whom he chooses.
And I choose to blame Prince Alfonso. You knew his father, King Ferrante?
I was his physician, Your Highness.
You have heard, then, of his torture chambers, his house of pain below us here?
I had the sad duty of working within it, Your Highness.
You were subjected to its horrors?
No, Your Highness. I had to keep alive those unfortunates who were.
And King Ferrante's supper table. You had a hand in that?
It was my duty to prepare the corpses for the taxidermist.
When they died.
When my best efforts had failed them, Your Highness.
Do not fail us, Doctor. Or that house of pain may await you.

French General:
That Borgia pope! He set a trap for us in league with Prince Alfonso. Naples, I hate it now forever. Now even the king is ill with this pestilence!

So we must have all the frescoes removed, intact. Ah, careful! We will install them in a chamber in the Vatican dedicated to...
...dedicated to history and the renewal—
Loosen these, carefully.
...the Eternal City.
Turn it over a little.

What is that?
Apis. Sacred bull of the goddess Isis. Could be the Borgia Bull. Some say that Isis is the predecessor of our own Blessed Virgin Mary.
We are all to worship Isis now?
No. But we could find a way to worship more like the ancient. With joy. I mean, instead of constant prayer. Why not thank God for Rome's deliverance from the French with celebration? For the common people?
You would give them bread and circuses again?
No, no. We would give them what is lacking in their lives. Joy.
Is His Holiness lacking something?
Does my presence no longer fill him with joy?
Oh, no, no, no. Don't say that.

Do you normally work at night?
Your Holiness!
Come here where I can see you.
I must practice my art in secret, Your Holiness. I am as yet a mere artisan. Any moment I can snatch to perfect my line, I do.
You are apprenticed?
To the master of Bramante, Your Holiness. But I am as yet the least of his pupils.
Ah. Come here. I won't bite. You're very young.
But youth fades.
Beauty doesn't. Turn your face to the light. What is that smile?
Your Holiness. Please.
You are more Eve than Adam.
Forgive me...
Why would one hide such beauty?
As an apprentice, I must be male. Or appear to be...
What is your name, fair apprentice?
The master knows me as Vittorio.
And God knows you as?
Well, Vittoria. We have to keep you a secret. We may have a commission for you.

On the 25th of June the ancient Romans celebrated the Ludii Taurii. The Games of the Bull. Now, that is also, by coincidence, the feast day of St. Bernard of Vermicelli. We propose to hold a celebration on that day for the entire populace of Rome. The church, the nobility, but above all, for the common people.
Can a pagan feast day, Holy Father, be reconciled with a Christian one?
If you knew anything of your history, Cardinal, you would know that Easter, for example, was celebrated long before our Savior's death. No, the ancients knew what we seem to have forgotten. That Rome is its people. Which is why we propose a celebration for the people of Rome. It shall include a horse race, a public feast, a masked ball on classical Roman themes. And— We have commissioned a monument, in wood, to light up the celebrations. The Borgia Bull!
And these celebrations, this Bull, Your Holiness, does anyone have any idea of the cost?
Can one put a price on joy, Cardinal Sforza?
No, Holy Father. It is priceless.
So, whatever the cost, we shall have a bargain. Let Rome be full of joy!

Thank you, Madam.
But your animal lacks physical concreteness. That creature is more cow than bull, surely.
Pardon me?
You have, how should I put it? Desexed the creature.
It is a bull, surely, Madam.
It looks like a bull, it stands like a bull. But it lacks something of the male vigor. Like you, perhaps. Your name, Maestro?
Vittorio. I am as yet no maestro.
No? Then a mistress, perhaps?
My lady.
Giulia Farnese. And you, Vittorio, have so cleverly disguised your hair. Why the deceit, fair lady?
A woman cannot be apprenticed.
I know. To any trade other than wet nurse. And you would sit on Parnassus, with your master, Bramante.
I beg you, my lady.
Yes. You may yet beg. And I am your lady. At least the pope is not tempted with the sin of sodomy.

His Holiness—
French Ambassador:
...claimed to know nothing.
Is he a fox, or a holy fool, that pope?
French Ambassador:
He is definitely no fool, my liege.
But if he thinks he's fooled me, Ambassador, he'll find he's wrong. This room was King Ferrante's joke, a parody of the last supper. Do you find it amusing?
French Ambassador:
I find it repellent, my liege.
But the Judas seat is empty. It awaits its occupant. That Judas who betrayed his own people, infected his own city. Prince Alfonso of Naples.
French General:
There has been a sighting, my liege, on the slopes of Vesuvius.
Hunt him down, wherever he is. Bring him here. Unharmed. I would see him in this chair.

Come on, higher!
All right, ready, move! No, where it is! Bring it down! To that side! Come on. Higher! Come on! Give me some more rope.
His Holiness has ordered that Rome be full of joy.
And how much does joy cost?
Two hundred and fifty thousand ducats so far.
Wrap it in muslin now! Tightly!
And counting.
Ha! Come on!
Come on, Brother!
Ya! Ya! Come on! Ya! Ya! Given up already, Cesare?
A wager, for the race tomorrow. My brother or me.
You... if he doesn't cheat.

Do you hear that roar, Brother? I think it's for me.
Who else?
You think you can beat me, Brother?
Ya! Ya!

French Captain:
Give them the scent. Take the scent! Come on!
French Captain:
Give them the scent of who was once their ruler— what was his name?
French Captain:
Prince Alfonso! Allez avec moi. Maintenant!
French Captain:
And they know him well.


French Captain:
After him!
French Captain:
Get him! Up there!
French Captain:
Coward! We'll get you!
French Captain:
Go get him!
French Captain:
Come down, you coward!
I claim the right of feudal privilege! I shall bow to no common soldier!
French Captain:
You will bow to a king then!

Let me guess, my love. An owl?
Yes, Your Holiness.
And an owl signifies?
Oh, I am the owl of Minerva.
Goddess of magic and wisdom.
Who is my dear sister tonight?
I am Echo.
I may not be Narcissus. But may I dance with Echo?
My Narcissus could not dance. He could not read nor write.
Could he make you smile?
Can you?
I can try.
Hush now.

Unhand me! Hurts! I must protest, Your Highness, at my treatment by your captors. The laws of chivalry demand I not be bound.
Even a prince cannot eat in handcuffs.
French Captain:
I, sadly, cannot partake.
His Highness feels poorly?
Yes. A strange pestilence has laid me low. Has laid the whole of Naples low indeed.
Ah. What a pity. His Highness will recover?
We have been so assured.
Oh goody! I cannot wait to show His Highness the delights of our fair city.
What remains of it.

You are Apollo, my son?
No, Father, I am Mars.
Oh. But no warfare tonight we trust.
No. Tonight is for celebrations. Who are you tonight, Father?
We are Janus. The guardian of the keys of Rome. Of the gateway to paradise.
So there's no pope here tonight?
The pope has have two faces, my son. One looks to the future and the other to the past. We are the gatekeeper to both.

Pah. People are born and people die. They breed like rabbits here, Your Highness. Naples will recover and her splendor always does.
Perhaps the Prince will give me a tour of its delights.
It would be my utmost honor, Your Royal Highness.
And perhaps he would begin with a tour of his father's dungeons.
My father's dungeons?
We have seen his banquet room, where King Ferrante liked to dine with those who displeased him. But the ingenuity of his torture chambers... for that we felt a tour was necessary.
A tour?

Well spotted, Giulia Farnese. And you are?
You may call me Minerva.
Ah. And to think. You were Venus once.
And I soon may be a vestal virgin.
You fear for the constancy of your lover's affections?
And, if I may be so bold, I would ask for your advice.
When his eye wanders? As it did from me to you?
You must hate me.
No. And if you would take my advice, don't do as I did. Rage, remonstrate. Play the wounded wife.
No? So what is the Goddess Juno's advice?
He is Janus tonight, is he not? He looks both ways. Allow him his fancy. Let him look both ways. But be sure one of those gazes falls on you.

And this ingenious construct, my Prince. Has it a name?
It is called... a Judas Cradle.
What an elegant name.

Do not let me think you have dressed as Hermaphrodite?
No, my Lady. I am Vulcan, god of molten metal, of the artisans.
Ah. A humble station. You would do well to maintain it.
And His Holiness is?
You would find out who His Holiness is? Follow me then.

And this?
It is called the Pear of Anguish.
And its use?
It can be inserted, into the mouth, or into the... rect... rect...
Aha, he means the rectum, does he not? The rear. The back passage.
French General:
I believe he does, Your Highness.

You are now Aphrodite. Lover of Hermes. Mother of Hermaphrodite.

It almost harmonizes. Sing, sing.

202. Paolo


Previously on The Borgias... Now is the time of reckoning. Our task is of vengeance.
But you must know by now, Cardinal. Work with us. Not against us.
We are family! We are one! And we will only triumph as one!
We will have none of that; you are brothers, after all.
Is His Holiness lacking something? Does my presence no longer fill him with joy?
You're very young, beautiful. You are more Eve than Adam. We propose a celebration for the entire populace of Rome. Whatever the cost. Let Rome be full of joy!
Ursula Bonadeo:
I gave my body to you. I broke my marriage vows. You bought those three weeks with murder. Admit it, Cardinal.
I will search you out. You may find a nunnery but you will never be free of me. Tell me again, my love. Who was his father?
A groom, Paolo.
Impossible loves; they can become an addiction.
You fear for the constancy of your lover's affections? Don't do as I did. Allow him his fancy. Let him look both ways. But be sure one of those gazes falls on you.

Hey, hey, hey! Good, good!
Excuse me, old man. Which way is Rome?
Can you not smell it, from here?
Does Rome smell?
It stinks. What do you want in Rome?
I have a child there.
Pity the poor child, then. Rome. Good! Hey. Get on! Go on!

We had a dream. We were a trinity upon this bed last night.
What if there was no dream? And we were three indeed.
Was it by our invitation or by yours? Our memory is...
I'm afraid it was I, Your Holiness. Shall I be whipped for my offence?
You should be bound and whipped and ravaged.

You may leave us, sisters.
Your Eminence.
Your Eminence.
Sister Martha.
Ursula Bonadeo:
You know what this is?
Ursula Bonadeo:
It is the fresco you have so graciously commissioned, Cardinal. Of the founder of our order.
St. Cecelia, the patron saint of music. But it lacks a model. Which is why I have asked for you.
Ursula Bonadeo:
I am afraid I cannot.
And I am afraid you must. I am the Abbey's benefactor, after all. St. Cecelia was renowned for her beauty.
But St. Cecilia was no nun, Your Eminence.
But if you would allow me...
Ursula Bonadeo:
You offend me, Cardinal!
Perhaps. I am sorry for it. But I would restore this hair to what it was before God snatched it from me.
Ursula Bonadeo:
Cardinal, please.
I know, I know. I blaspheme. But it's for a higher purpose. Can you restore her hair, Pinturicchio?
And can you make those lips live again?

From a throne to a Judas chair. Who could have thought it?
Certainly not Prince Alfonso.
Did you revive him often?
Seven times, through one long night.
Can you imagine pain, Doctor? Pain such as this.
I imagine it hurts. And enough of this sophistry.
Indeed. To work.

Your Eminence.
You will die, Your Eminence, if you eat nothing, drink only rainwater!
I can trust only the rain, Sister.
We cook our own food!
Who provides the grains? The meat?
Is there no persuading the Cardinal?
Perhaps a monkey...
A monkey?
A capuchin monkey.

You are looking for a lady, young handsome man?
How did you know?
I imagine everyone walking these streets is looking for a lady. What's her name? Come on now. She must have a name.
I know a few Lucrezias!
She is noble, my Lucrezia.
You saying I'm not noble?
I would not be so bold, my lady.
Your lady? Right. I am your lady. And I'll find you your Lucrezia.

Can you never rest? Where do you sleep?
Under silk covers, last night.
No, on a normal night?
On a straw bed on a studio floor.
So you know the streets of Rome? The slums, the tenements. You live among the common people?
I am one of them, Your Holiness.
Not for long, I would hazard, knowing your talents.
Does the Pope of Rome not know his flock?
You have seen the gilded cage we live within. We meet princes and potentates and prelates. But very few of the common people. We might need your assistance. Ah, Cardinal Sforza. You have come to view our... Roman treasures?
Etruscan, I would wager.
Ah, the cardinal is an expert on such matters.
The cardinal has seen Donatello's David and marvelled at the source of its eros. Now he knows.
The cardinal thinks there may be scandal perhaps?
The cardinal does not care. What the cardinal does care about are the Vatican finances.
Ah, yes. You will excuse us, young maestro.
Well, assistant now, but he—

Oy. This nice young man here is looking for a Lucrezia. Do we have any Lucrezias?
I'll be Lucrezia. For a consideration.
Her name is Magdelena. I am Lucrezia.
Oh, shut up, you trollop. We'll all be Lucrezia for you. Do we have a second name?
Lucrezia Borgia? She'd cost more than a shilling.
You do her a disservice, my lady. And I must consider this conversation to be at an end.
You mean the pope's daughter? I'd try the Vatican if I were you.

The Vatican finances—
Are like Cardinal Piccolomini's hair.
Getting thin?
Cardinal Piccolomini is bald. But he had hair once. And our beloved Vatican had finances once. But His Holiness's celebrations have reduced them to a state akin to baldness.
But you are the vice chancellor. Vatican finances are your responsibility! Do something about it! We have hardly begun our task for the renewal of Rome. The restoration of its historic monuments, our transformation of the lives and futures of its common people.
What does His Holiness know of the lives of the common people?
I would remind the Cardinal that unlike him we were born amongst them.
His Holiness's roots were in Spain, I believe. When he came here he was already a great prelate. So I would ask him again, what does he know of the lives of the common people of Rome?
Well, perhaps the cardinal would be so kind one evening as to walk us amongst them?
His Holiness must know that that is impossible- for either of us. As, I'm sorry to say, is this project of renewal.

Does the monkey have a name?
Let us call him... Julius.
Julius Caesar.

You mock me, fair lady.
If I did, forgive me... kind sir.
My name is Paolo.
Beatrice. I mistook you for a client. A girl has to work.
Must you so debase yourself?
If I do not lift my skirts, I'll starve.
Better to starve, surely.
What, like the rest of Rome? They were fed yesterday. But today they starve.
But there is such wealth in evidence here, my lady. How could anybody starve?
There is wealth, of course. But we starve. Whilst Lucrezia Borgia dines on a silver plate. With a fork. You have heard of a fork, Paolo?
No, my lady.
It is all the rage now. And I'll bet Lucrezia Borgia dines with a fork of solid gold.

Your day of celebration, Holy Father, was a great success.
The mob does need bread and circuses.
The mob?
He means the people.
I mean the mob.
But isn't the mob made up of people?
Is this a riddle, Holy Father?
Well, wouldn't you be one of them if you took away your titles, Gonfaloniere, your dukedom, your linens and your laces- and your filigree codpiece?
It was a riddle. A bad one.
Well, riddle me this. When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?
There are distinctions, Father, in the natural order of things between the peasant and the nobleman. Between the stallion and the mule.
Between us and the common people?
Of course.
But we all have an eternal soul. Tell me, if we were to go out one evening amongst the common people, which of you, our family, would guide us?
You would need protection, Father.
The Pope cannot just walk amongst that rabble like one of them.
Why not? Our Saviour did.
Yes, but he was not the pope, was he, Father? You see, it was a riddle, after all.


Be careful. How can people live like this?
Because they have no alternative.
That shoe's worth something!
Let her go!
Fancy shoe... fancy blade...
Go, go, go, go, go, go!
Who are you?
Alms, alms! For the love of God! To feed the infant!
That child is dead.
To bury the infant then! A grave costs money, even a pauper's grave!
Now, sir, sir!
The Roman emperors had their faults, Your Holiness.
As do we.
But they kept order on their streets... and they provided water for their people.
They built aqueducts, they provided sanitation.
Yes, and now people sleep in filth.
Pigeons everywhere. Where do they come from, these pigeons?
This was a bath house once, dedicated to the Goddess Sulis Minerva. Now the orphans of Rome make their bed amongst its ruins.
Among the rats and the pigeons? Go on!
Did Rome once provide for them?
The pigeons?
No, Your Holiness. The orphans.
There is an entire branch of the Curia dedicated to charitable works.
But its bounty never reaches them.
Well, we must see that it does. Come.

All right.
We will have you, Giulia Farnese, go through their curatorial accounts. And ensure that money for the poor actually reaches the poor.
Will I have your full authority?
You will. And we shall set ourselves another task. To rid this city of its infestation of pigeons.
More wine!
And then we'll see who will be the most successful.
Hmm... Is this a challenge?
A wager. Which is the greater task, poverty or pigeons?
Now we will have two solidus on number one.
And we win!

You must insist the cardinal eats.
I will, sister.
He has a terror of food, since the event. But if little Julius here deigns to eat, the cardinal will partake too...
I understand.
See him safe to the monastery in Perugia. The brothers will arrange his passage to Rome.
God be with you, Your Eminence.

Cardinal Versucci.
Julius Versucci:
Your Holiness.
Please. You have been in charge of the office of public works for how many years?
Julius Versucci:
As long as I have been cardinal, Your Holiness.
Ah. Two decades, then. After which time the orphans of Rome find themselves destitute, and the cardinal has built himself how many palaces?
Julius Versucci:
You see the irony there?
Julius Versucci:
The poor will be always with us, Your Holiness.
The poor. Like the pigeons.
Julius Versucci:
I beg your pardon? Your Holiness.
Does the cardinal believe that pigeons will be always with us?
Julius Versucci:
Is this a riddle?
We will have curatorial funds used for their declared purposes. Money destined for the poor should go to the poor! So we will have you go through- the last two decades of your accounts with one we have designated to supervise them. The Lady Giulia Farnese.
Julius Versucci:
What Your Holiness proposes is unthinkable!
What? That monies destined for the poor should go to the poor?
Julius Versucci:
That a woman should have access to curatorial accounts.
Can a woman not count? Add, subtract?
Julius Versucci:
Count her children, perhaps.
There is a new method, Cardinal, devised by the Florentine bankers. It is called double-entry book keeping. It proves a valuable tool in tracing all missing funds.
So, the cardinal shall help you in your efforts to source those missing funds while we shall attend to another matter of what is of some import.
Julius Versucci:
Your Holiness.

So, you say a falcon eats pigeon?
When he can get one, in his natural habitat.
What is his natural habitat?
The forest of Umbria, Your Holiness.
Ah. He should be in paradise here in Rome. Think he's hungry now?
Starving, Your Holiness.
Oh. Well then. Oh ho ho! Look it! You must get me a battalion of those birds.

These are dangerous roads, Sister.
I have heard so.
But you have a precious load there.
Why do you say so, sir?
To keep it so well hidden.
But then... you keep your own beauty hidden.
Forgive me, Sister. Sometimes goodness needs the help of a little badness.
Lord have mercy.

You can ply your sad trade upon the Vatican steps?
There's no better place, my love. And a cleric's skirt is easier to lift than a codpiece. I have spent many profitable hours beneath them. Paolo? Paolo!
However noisome this Roman air, the Roman populace deserves their glimpse of us. They have a thousand eyes, the mob, and those eyes will be fed, occasionally. Will you make your wish at Agatha's fountain?
Yes, Brother. I would throw a coin in the waters and say a prayer for my little Giovanni. On blessed Saint Agatha's Day.
I hate Saint Agatha's Day. Stay close to me. Go away. Let me hear your wish, Sis.
My wish is for the fountain's ears alone, Juan. Make your own. Narcissus.
My God, what effrontery! A peasant to a pope's daughter? I should colour this market with your blood!
Let him be! Let him be!
You know this commoner?
I do not.
Then I will cut out his impertinent tongue.
Do not ruin this day for me, dear brother. Let the commoner keep his tongue. He may need it in the future to explain his impertinence.
There will be more impertinence?
No, my good lord. And I beg your lady's pardon for any offence. If there is anything I can do to make good my offence...
There may be.
Then, my lady, I would hear of it.
Say a prayer by this fountain. At midnight.
And beg forgiveness of St. Agatha.
Now be gone, while you yet have a tongue to speak with.
I beg pardon, my lord!

Oh, thank you, kind father. You look happy.
I have seen heaven.
I've seen it too. From a different angle. Was your heaven worth it?
Yes. And if I understood her rightly, I'll see her again.
Lucrezia. My Heaven.
Oh, Paolo. You just made me cry.
Please don't. Unless they be tears of happiness, of course.
Just promise me... you'll be careful, huh?

You have your spies, do you not?
Who told you that?
A spy, of course. We would have our ear to the ground in Naples.
Naples is unhealthy, Father.
So we have heard. Prince Alfonso is no longer with us.
That is tragic, indeed.
He would have made a good match for your sister Lucrezia.
What's a prince without a kingdom?
It will not always be thus. King Charles cannot remain in Naples forever.
Unless he wants to die of the pestilence himself.
But if he does have plans to leave that blessed kingdom, we would be the first to know of it.

Watch over him this evening, Nurse.
May I?
Please. I have business to attend to.
Certainly, my lady.

Was that was my coin?
How would I know?
Because there was a wish attached to it. My Paolo. Is it really you?
It is nobody else, my lady.
I have missed you so.
As I have missed you.
But you know, my love, it is impossible.
Have you not yet read your romances? I know, I know. You still cannot read.
It's a bit past her bedtime, isn't it?
Oh, hush, would you.
So why did you come? To punish me with longing?
I would see my son. It was a son, was it not?
It was. A beautiful little boy.
I would see my boy before I die.
Please, Paolo, do not mention death. For you may die, if you stay in Rome.
Then I will not stay in Rome. But if there is any kindness in your Borgia blood, you would let me see you with my son before I leave.
Were you not whipped, Paolo?
My back was at your husband's mercy.
Oh, Lord.
Is that what it is like? Love?
It must be.
I'll save myself for business then.
One night. If you promise me that you will leave Rome.
Is Rome so deadly?
For innocents like you. So promise me. And meet me here again tomorrow night.
I promise.
Oh, do I hear the rattle of gold in your pocket, sir?
This coin is for the fountain.
It would find a better home here.
Those lovers, do you know them?
That's the pope's daughter, Lucrezia Borgia.
To so shame herself in public? With whom?
Are you paying, sir? Some country bumpkin. Father of her bastard child.
You would earn more of that gold coin?
Where should we go, kind sir?
Nowhere. But I would have that bumpkin followed day and night.
So I needn't lift my skirt tonight?
No. Not tonight.

Is he sleeping, Nurse?
He did miss his mother.
You have a lover, Sis?
No, Brother. But this child has a father.
A stable hand.
Who has come to Rome.
Ah. Unwise.
You disapprove?
Not yet. But I know those who would.
My father.
Your brother.
My husband whipped him. My brother would flay him.
Which is why you go out hooded.
At night. Like a phantom. Cesare, he suffered for me in absolute silence. He would have died for me. The least I can do is let him see his child.
You loved him, Sis?
I did. Perhaps I do.
Then you must see him.
You would help me?
Once. And only once. Just tell me what to do.
Find us a room. Where we can spend one night together away from prying eyes.
One night. You promise.
I promise.
Go to our mother's house, tomorrow evening. She needs to see her grandchild, does she not?
Leave the rest to me.

You afraid, boy?
I was waiting. I had hoped for someone...
One a lot prettier than I, perhaps yes?
Are you saying that I'm not pretty? I have killed for less. But not tonight. Come. You are looking for your love. Yes? Then come. What is your name, boy?
Tell me about love, Paolo. I know nothing of love.

Should I absent myself? So my presence doesn't implicate me?
In what, Mother?
A love that would displease your father.
Is there such a thing?
No. Your father is the pope of love.
But I would keep this tryst a secret, Mother.
Yes, I am aware. Affections can be lethal in this Rome of ours.
He has a right to see his son.
He does. But only once.
Come, Mother. Let us dine together. Have you dismissed the servants?
Of course.

Tell me. Love. What does it feel like?
It hurts.
Ah, like life. Yes? Like Micheletto.

My baby! Let me hold him. Does he have a name?
Giovanni. Giovanni. Say "Papa."
He's the most beautiful thing I've yet seen.
I feel sorriest for him.
This needs to be our secret, Mother.
You know how I love secrets.

Four noble women, all from the house of Castille.
So you would marry me to Spain?
Well, it would be quite a natural alliance.
And Lucrezia? Would you marry her again?
In time.
To a nobleman or a commoner?
What? A commoner? Is that wine going to your head? Look, stop drinking for a while and make a choice!

Sister slut.

Fuck off, whoever you are.
What are you, uh-you're busy tonight? Huh?
Yes. But tonight I keep my skirts on.
No pity at all. It pays better.
What does?
Spying. Makes a change from fucking.
Spying. For who? That gentleman there?
How did you know?
I read your mind.

Were you expecting visitors?
I see you've found your way home, Brother.
Like a pigeon. In your cups you have forgotten, your home is no longer here.
I would speak with my mother.
Of what?
Of a peasant from Pesaro. Who's had his way with our dear sister and made his way to Rome.
To what purpose?
If she finds that dog sniffing around our family, I would have news of it.
She is sleeping, Juan. And you are drunk. Do you really want to her to see you like this?
Tomorrow then.
Best tomorrow.
Was that an infant crying?
It was from my dovecote.
You loved those doves.
Yes. And you woke them. Shame on you.

Do you love me, Brother?
I would kill for you.
But do you love me?
As I love myself.
Which, these days, is not a lot.
You are observant.
But you love your family. And your family name. Borgia.

He must feed now. And I must leave.
I wish it were different. But, yes, you must. And by the back door, the back streets.
I would gladly die for you both.
I know. So go now, my love. I would have you live. I will write.
You know I cannot read.
Well, you must learn then.

Who walks with me? I mean you no harm, kind sir, whoever you may be.
Suicide. A sin even the pope can't forgive. Because dead men can't confess, can they?

Tell your tale to the river.

Sh, sh. Yes. Ah. Sh, sh. Yes, sh, sh. Yes.

203. The Beautiful Deception


Previously on The Borgias...
The French king had been struck with the Neapolitan disease.
As we had hoped. King Charles cannot remain in Naples forever.
The House of Borgia is doomed. The arms of the House of Sforza will remain where they belong.
We shall subdue the arrogance of the Sforzas. Force them back to the arms of Rome.
My God! A peasant to a pope's daughter?
Let him be! Let him be!
He has a terror of food, since the event. See him safe to the monastery in Perugia. The brothers will arrange his passage to Rome.
This child has a father.
A stable hand.
Who has come to Rome.
You loved him?
I still do.
You normally work at night?
I must practise my art in secret, Your Holiness.
You are more Eve than Adam. We may have a commission for you.
These celebrations. Does anyone have any idea of the cost?
Can one put a price on joy?
No, Holy Father. It is priceless.
Let Rome be full of joy!
I would gladly die for you both.
So go now, my love. I would have you live.
And Lucrezia? Would you marry her again?
In time.
I mean you no harm, kind sir, whoever you may be.
Suicide. A sin even the pope can't forgive. Dead men can't confess.

Oh, beautiful. Oh, you like that one for you? Giovanni. Cesare!
Good Morning, Sis.
Why are you here?
Let me take you back home.
I would have a look through the market.
No it's getting... hot.
What's wrong?
You can't hide things from me, Brother.
I'll take you through the square.
Cut him down!
It's a boy!
Hurry up!
Give me a hand!
I need a sharper blade.
No! No!
Lucrezia! LUCREZIA! No! Don't look.
Then pluck my eyes out. No.
You think this is spectacle?
You like to stare at tears? Go away!
It's all my fault. It's all my fault. It's all my fault.
It was a suicide.
I am still to blame. I took his love. I took his kindness. I took his child. And the pity was, he loved a Borgia.
Please. Don't. Please, my love, don't blame yourself. He left a note. It was a suicide. He left a note. "To my Lucrezia, I bid farewell."
Make way there. Step aside.
Take care of the body.

Water! I need warm water! And a physician!
Yes, Your Eminence.
I want to die.
I want to die, Brother.
Will you not talk like that, please?
I want to die.
You have a child to care for.
Now we both must die. Like Paolo.
I'll see to the baby. You try to sleep. Can't you quieten him?
The child is hungry, Your Eminence.
Well, feed him then?
He has yet only fed at his mother's breast.
You cannot disturb her. Find a way.
Your Eminence.
Get in there. Look after her.

St. Peter's pence-
Sanctissimus in Christo Pater et Dominus noster, Dominus Alexander.
St. Peter's pence, St. Peter's pence.
Divina providentia Papa Sextus, dat et concedit Christifidelibus cunctis, qui hic adsunt, Indulgentiam Plenariam in forma Ecclesiae.
St. Peter's pence.
Rogate Deum pro felici statu Sanctitatis Suae et Sanctae Matris Ecclesiae.
We grant to all who contribute to St. Peter's pence a plenary indulgence from the pain and suffering of Purgatory. Sancti Apostoli Petrus et Paulus: de quorum potestate-
Not willing to pay for eternal salvation, Brother?
Cheap at the price surely? So is talk, Brother. And dangerous too. I have even heard tell of a cardinal who has changed his robes from red to brown. From where do you come?
I was recently the guest of the good sisters of St. Agnes whose greetings I bring you- and where do we travel to is the more important question, is it not?
Important questions all. Break bread with me, Brother, and we may discuss them further.
-Patriis et filli et spiritus sancti. Amen.

Leave us.
Your Eminence.
I've had tragic news, Father.
Oh! We thought we had hoped to have banished tragedy.
It's the father of your daughter's child.
There is a father? Of course.
He has been found dead.
Where? In Pesaro?
No, here in Rome.
He dared to come to Rome?
He tried to see her, and his infant son.
And we would hope that he failed.
Of course. And he- He took his own life.
And our daughter knows of this?
Stupid boy. To come to Rome. So you are concerned about Lucrezia.
And the child.
Why the child?
She won't allow him near her.

Lucrezia. Lucrezia! You have lost someone we didn't know. Didn't know of. Had we known of his presence here in Rome, we would have sent him home. But the act of suicide puts the sinner beyond the grace of God. Beyond our pity. And beyond your affections, surely. Hmm?
Sh, sh, sh. There, there, there.
Your child is crying for you. Come on, give me your hand. Give me your hand. Give me your hand and raise yourself up. You must, you must return to your child. Come along, come. Tell us what can we do to make things right.
Ask Juan.
Sh, sh, sh. Your Holiness.
Sh, sh, sh. What's this? Is it fever?
It will follow, as night follows day.
Cesare, we must bring her to her senses.
She blames herself.
Why, pray would she do that?
For entertaining his hopes.
Well, how could she have done that?
I arranged a meeting. At my mother's house.
Are you insane?
You married her to a brute! She found solace with a stable boy. He came to Rome! He died in Rome.
Did Juan have a hand in this? I will not have this family torn apart. And I will see that child survive.

Your friend is no Dominican.
No. He is of the capuchin order.
And he always eats with you?
Since my wine was poisoned.
You're safe here.
So it seems. I would join your order.
And if we refuse you?
Why then, I shall have to join the capuchins. But their rule is not as strict. Their vows not as binding. Friar Savonarola is a Dominican, after all.
He is.
And your order shares his abhorrence of the Borgia pope.
We would restore the church, Cardinal.
Brother. Call me Brother Giuliano. Since we share the same aims.
Brother Giuliano. But do we share the same methods?
That is what I would discuss with you.

You of all people should understand, Rodrigo. The need to see one's child.
It was beyond foolish.
But you can forgive her, surely?
The question is, can she forgive herself? You met this boy?
You allowed our mother's house to play brothel for him.
I know little of brothels, Brother.
Juan... Did you meet him?
I saw her meet a peasant at the fountain of St. Agatha.
If you had a hand in his death, now is the time to confess it to us.
Then I confess.
To what?
That I didn't.
Rodrigo! Rodrigo!
You would see your daughter married again?
Then have that peasant buried in a pauper's grave, unshriven. And be thankful he didn't bring more shame on your perfect family.
Be careful, be very careful... or you might find yourself wearing peasant shoes.

No, no no. What you propose is unthinkable.
I have thought about it long and hard. Each and every cardinal is in his pay. We have unleashed a wolf upon this world, and if we do not act, he will consume us all.
And how would you achieve this end?
I have no idea. But my soul has crossed that Rubicon. If there are those within your order who would cross it with me, we can find a way.
Our brother friar, Savonarola, in Florence, prophesied the end of days. But not the murder of the Pope of Rome. Do you dare broach it with him?
If I did, and I had his approval, would I have yours?
You would have mine, and all within this priory.

You must talk to me, my love. You are the light of my life, the light of this family's life. If that light goes...
I would ask just one thing of you, Father.
Permit my Paolo a Christian burial.
He is a suicide. It is impossible.
This note was pinned to his sleeve.
Yes. A suicide-
But he could not read or write, Father! My Paolo could not even pen his own name.
So it was murder. Where is the murderer?
Too close for comfort.
I will not have this family at war with itself.
And I would have my Paolo saved from the fires of hell.
And your infant must feed.
His fever grows.
The father of Giovanni took his own life.
So it seems.
And this poor child must feed. So his father must have what suicides are forbidden. A Christian burial.
So we admit. It was no suicide.
No, Rome is a dangerous place.
Far too dangerous.
Will you perform the rite?
Lucrezia, we ask that you give this child your breast so its father may be buried with the church's blessing.
You have saved my Paolo from the fires of Hell, Father. And I love you for it. Shh, sh.

Holy Father.
Have you come to confess?
That I am sorry. And-
For what?
For my sister. And for her loss.
You will choose a bride in your ancestral homeland, Spain. You will travel there and you will become the Borgia... I always hoped you would be.

Et ne nos inducas in tentationem. Sed libera nos a malo. Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine.
Say goodbye to your father, my love. You must cry for me. For I have no more tears.
Requiescat in pace. Amen. Go ahead.

Forward! Forward!
Keep your place.

I admire your artistry.
Ars longa; vita brevis. But since King Ferrante died, I find time weighs heavily. Few have needs of my talents.
Oh, I would use them.
But as an informant, not as a taxidermist.
I need word on his troop's movements and on your king's intentions.
The king is ill.
How ill?
Too ill to remain in Naples.
Then I will bide my time and await for your word.
He has had visitors from the Romagna.
Of any renown?
Sforzas. Giovanni and Catherina.
I will visit you again.

French General:
And if the king decides to ride north, your armies would ride with his?
Yes. In return for a certain consideration.
French General:
And this consideration?
His cannon.
French General:
You would have him leave his cannon to the Sforza armies?
Not every piece. But enough to defend our castle at Forli. To replicate the great fortresses of France.
Giovanni Sforza.
And my cousin, Catherina Sforza, Your Majesty.
You have many cousins, I have been told. Are they all impotent, like you?
That is a vile Borgia slander, perpetrated by the pope himself.
Which is why you are here, of course. You would have a taste of vengeance. The Italian appetite for vengeance astounds even us, Lord Sforza.
The Italian appetite for vengeance may be boundless, Majesty, but happily for you the Spanish appetite for war is not.

What say you to Donna, to Donna Gabriella my love?
I say "yes" to Donna Gabriella!
And to La Marquesa- La Marquesa Maria.
Who is your favourite?
Maria Enrique de Luna.
Forgive me, Brother. Had I realised-
You're keeping late hours, Sis.
Not of my choosing, Brother. Perhaps you could spare a thought for your nephew trying to sleep downstairs?
Forgive me Sis. But-
Bernadetta here was helping me choose a wife. What do you think of our favourite- Maria Enrique de Luna?
She's pretty. And clearly no peasant.
She is royalty, Sis. Cousin to Queen Isabella.
So. You must marry her then.
I have your permission?
You need it?
I need your blessing. I know you have been sad of late.
You would have to have my forgiveness first.
Forgiveness for what?
For being yourself. You should get back to the task at hand, Brother, and I to my lonely bed. Good night. Sleep well.
# I took a bow and aimed it low... #
# And caught you on the chin-chin-chin... #
# My mother said, "Now go to bed. #
# I'll have to lock you in, in, in. #
Ah! Help! Help! Get her off me.
My God!
For the love of God, man, get her off me!
My lord?
Medics, NOW!
Yes, Your Eminence.

From the Judas Cradle to the Judas Chair. He did not enjoy the cradle, did he?
No, my liege. I would say he did not.
Maybe the chair will suit him better. Angle his head, if you will. So he can gaze at his Saviour.
Yes, Your Majesty.
He is about to betray him, after all. We have the sense of an ending, at least. Prepare to leave this abattoir tomorrow. We leave for Rome. See you when I come back next. Au Revoir.

You have news for me?
He has ordered the evacuation of Naples.
And the king will travel with his troops, yes?
And Sforza arms.
It will take days to gather such an army. Three at least. So I must hurry. This is for your retirement...
Thank you. Thank you.
...and for your silence.

I remember so very little of Spain, Mother.
And if we had stayed, how different things could have been.
You have regrets?
Regrets are part of life. Regret is part of Rome.
Let me serve you, Brother. You have no regrets do you, dear Juan?
No burning ones, no.
Good. Then perhaps I shall drop in on you unexpectedly... one day soon in Spain.
What is it with you children tonight?
May I make a speech, Mother?
You may.
We were outsiders when we came here. Spaniards, Catalans. And we endured the insults. The taunts of Murrano. The...
The poison?
The insidious invective of the Roman nobility. And you, dear mother, endured it most of all. But if we managed to triumph, and triumph we did, we did because of the warmth that we discovered around this table. The warmth of the Spanish sun, of our Catalan blood, that you recreated in your hearth, in your home, at this table. The huge, unstoppable beating heart of La Madre.
La Madre!
Let us drink then. To-
To family.
To family!

Godspeed, my lord.
Safe journey to you, my lord! Gonfaloniere!
Farewell, General Borgia.
May you prosper, my lord.
Gonfaloniere, farewell! God be with you! Travel well, Gonfaloniere!
Safe journey, my lord!
Our hearts go with you.
God's blessing, my lord! Farewell my lord!
A sad day to lose a brother, is it not Cesare?
Indeed. I wonder that the sun even dares to shine. Anyone who rides that hard has news.
Bad news as always, Your Eminence.

The king is on the move. With vengeance in his heart. He feels he was deceived.
So he was. A most beautiful deception.
He says he will use his cannon to reduce our walls to dust. He says he will rape Rome as Rome raped the Sabine women, that he'll strip her of her treasures to make up for his losses.
How long to move an army of that size from Naples to Rome?
A week. Ten days at most.
We must make haste then.
You have a plan?
We fight fire with fire.

You will supervise with the greatest speed and the utmost secrecy, the construction of one hundred cannon, to be mounted on the walls of this city and to be ready for deployment within the week. Every foundry in Rome will be suborned for this purpose. His Eminence will see that you are furnished with everything you may need. Good luck to you and god speed.
What of the consistory, Father? They will run again, like rats.
Ah, the consistory. I may need your help to convince them.

You tricked the French king and now he comes for our blood! Do you expect us to support you twice?
We will defend Rome this time with our life.
With your guile again? Your lies? Your weasel words?
Then tell us how, Your Holiness.
With gunpowder.
We have ordered one hundred cannon, ten times this size. We will defend this great city of ours with our lives, with our funds- and with our cannon.

Take the other end.
A month?
Per cannon, per foundry, yes. I have a first mould already made--
Every foundry in Rome- how many are there?
Twenty, maybe thirty but-
Every foundry in Rome, every smelter, furnace man working day and night- how many might we make then?
One cannon- maybe two.
My Lord, our bronze was all sold. On orders from his Holiness. To pay for the Great Festivities. Forgive me, my Lord.
Boy, check the cart out again.
How like that little cannon is our great city of Rome. A fragile illusion of substance.
Indeed my Lord, it is but plaster.
The mould is only half-full.
Why plaster?
Before we cast the mould in bronze, we make a sample in plaster.
And plaster, unlike bronze, sets fast, is plentiful-
And cheap.

Have you heard, Brother? The French are advancing from Naples. They will be here within days. They may murder the Borgia pope for you.
He tricked the king once.
And he suffered for it. He will take his revenge and spare you the blemish on your eternal soul.
If I was not now bound to poverty, I would take a wager with you. Borgia duplicity might yet undo him.
And I would bet that you would lose.

Forgive my appearance, Your Eminence. We have worked long hours without sleep and-
I only care about your work, Signor Vittorio. The fate of all of us depends on it. This is true artistry.
I'm pleased it pleases you, my lord.
And there are-
Ninety-five more like it making their way from other foundries as we speak.
Ha! Perhaps our fragile illusion will yet have substance.
It will, my Lord. Take it from one who knows!
You're a-
Yes, my Lord. Forgive me, I thought perhaps your father-
My father? What does my father-
But clearly I was mistaken.
Is nothing in this damned city what it seems? At least I know you can keep a secret.

The French envoy still awaits your word, Holy Father.
I know.
He's been waiting all night.
I know, I know! King Charles merely asks for safe passage through Rome. To rape and pillage in safety! He has reason enough to hate us.
As do Catherina and Giovanni Sforza.
A holy trinity of vengeance. Shall we have our cannon, my son?
Take the other end.
Place more men here.
More rope on the tackle!
You need to trust me, Father. For once.
Tell that envoy that Rome is more than just her walls. She is the Eternal City and she will not be raped and deflowered. Tell him Rodrigo Borgia spake these words.

French Soldier:
Whoa! I have word for the king.
French General:
You are denied entry to Rome, my liege.
Are they mad?
Your Spanish pope has more appetite for war than you imagined, Lady Catherina. So we must will ourselves to battle once more. You think the blood of the Borgia pope could cure us, Catherina Sforza?
We could bathe in it together, Majesty.

Papal Soldier:
Pull the weights!
Papal Soldier:
There is no weight, sir.
Papal Soldier:
You must be getting stronger!
Papal Soldier:
Papal Soldier:
You there!
Papal Soldier:
Pull it all the way forward.
Papal Soldier:
Bring it in!
Papal Soldier:
Papal Soldier:
It's useless.
Papal Soldier:
What's this? Look at this. Yes, We'll have no a problem beating them now, lads. We've got a fucking toy cannon.
Oh no! What happened? Is he dead?
You will pretend these cannons have weight- -that they are real. As real as this.
Papal Soldier:
Yes sir.
Back to work.
Papal Soldier:
Armature! Present pilum!
Papal Soldier:
Bring the next one up.
Will it pass?
Barely. Let's pray.

How long to batter the walls apart?
French General:
The walls are 10 foot thick, my liege. Twelve hours of fire should achieve it.
Twelve hours of cannon fire. Could I perhaps sleep through it?
French General:
If Your Highness puts wax his ears.
The fever returns?
It never leaves us, Catherina Sforza. But the smell of battle will be its own medicine.
It does quicken the blood.

And what does your son know about artillery?
I know enough.
And of combat, if it comes to it?
Again, I know enough and it will not come to that.
Can you be sure? Go with God, my son.

French Soldier:
French Soldier:
Take your positions!
French Soldier:
Men in position!
French Soldier:
All ready.
Papal Soldier:
Open the gates!
Papal Soldier:
Open the gates!
You make a manly figure on your horse, Cardinal. But the French cannon will soon break down your walls. And you will be impotent in the face of them.
My walls may yet prove stronger than you think, my lady.
French Soldier:
Passer pour le roi!
French Soldier:
The King! Make way!
French Soldier:
Move to your left!
We have Italian friends, Cardinal Borgia, but our business is all French.
And that business is?
To gain entry to the city of Rome. The easy way, or the hard. You have decorated the walls of Rome with flags and pennants. To welcome us, we presume.
Your Highness is indeed welcome. To march on past Rome.
I warn you, Cardinal, I shall raze your city! Take terrible revenge! On you, your family, and the papacy itself!
You must enter first.
My cannon will gain me entry. Twelve hours, I have been assured- to batter down those walls.
Perhaps my cannon will make their statement first.
Cannons forward!
Papal Soldier:
Papal Soldier:
Rams! Rams ready!
Papal Soldier:
More cannon balls!
Papal Soldier:
Quickly, quickly!
How did he manage to...
French General:
Our battle line is still forming, my liege.
French Soldier:
Load, load!
I must compliment Your Highness on his ingenuity. Chained cannonballs can take apart a regiment like a knife through butter. Are you not well, your Highness?
We have the Neapolitan fever.
Perhaps battle should wait then. Until his full health returns. Or perhaps he should trace his gracious path home to fair France.
French General:
Do I give the signal, my liege?
Do I look like a fool, General?
French General:
No, my liege.
We ride on past.
French General:
Retreat! Retreat! Come down and retreat!

Do you know what that sound is? It is the sound of our salvation.
Deo gratias!
The French are leaving!
It's a miracle!
God is great!
God bless you, Cardinal!
Your Holiness.
They're leaving Rome.
Oh, thank God. Thank God. My son.
We should melt down that bell, Holy Father.
Why melt it down?
To make cannon. Real cannon, this time.
Cesare, your genius worked!
So clever!

204. Stray Dogs


Previously on The Borgias...
Giovanni Sforza.
And my cousin, Catherina Sforza.
You would have a taste of vengeance.
The king is on the move. He says he will use his cannon to reduce our walls to dust.
We fight fire with fire.
You tricked the French King and now he comes for our blood! Do you expect us to support you twice?
Do you know what this is?
Ursula Bonadeo:
It is the fresco you have so graciously commissioned.
But it lacks a model. I would restore this hair to what it was before God snatched it from me.
Will we meet again, Holy Father?
Am I to be your mistress then?
No. That position is taken. We will have you go through your accounts with one we have designated to supervise them.
Julius Versucci:
That monies destined to the poor should go to the poor?
Julius Versucci:
That a woman have access to curatorial accounts.
The French are advancing from Naples. They may murder the Borgia pope for you.
We would discuss another cousin in whose hands the survival of our papacy may lie.
Your Holiness refers to the Duke of Milan.
This is true artistry.
Indeed, my lord. It is but plaster.
There are-
Ninety-five more like it- making their way from other foundries as we speak.
French General:
You are denied entry to Rome, my liege.
My cannon will gain me entry.
Perhaps my cannon will make their statement first.
I warn you! I shall take terrible revenge! On you, your family, and the papacy itself! Retreat!

The savior of Rome. So, of what exact were these cannon made?
Plaster, Your Holiness.
And an armature of wood.
Senior Vittorio had every cast maker in Rome at work, day and night.
We had not the bronze nor the time.
So, deception has a place in warfare.
As in life.
If you will excuse me, Holy Father. You come to celebrate, I hope.
The Finch came by the road from Ostia.
Their path took them by the convent of St. Cecelia.
You have bad news?
Is there any other kind, Your Eminence?

Hah! Hah! Come on!

Papal Soldier:
We need some blankets.
Papal Soldier:
-have at her.
You should spare yourself this, Your Eminence.
Why? Why should I spare myself? I should have foreseen this.
Your Eminence.
Ursula. She chose God, Micheletto. And God repaid her with mutilation.
I know little of God, Your Eminence.
God is deaf, God is blind, and pitiless. She has released my heart... of all emotions but one. Vengeance.
Vengeance is sweet.
So who did this, my friend?
The French. This flag belongs to the cavalry of Gascony. These women were sport for army scouts.
They are renowned for their savagery. Necklaces of severed ears.
Papal Soldier:
...the bodies.
We must give them a lesson, then, in outrage. You were once a stray dog, Micheletto, masterless.
I found my master in you.
There must be other stray dogs out there in Rome.
There are many. Sons of warlike families, condottieri who have long outlived their usefulness.
Search out a dozen of them whom we can school in the art of vengeance.

Holy Father.
I have heard whispers about your beautiful deception. My congratulations.
Deceit is how we must conduct ourselves, it seems.
Cardinal Sforza brings a proposition from his cousin, Ludovico of Milan. At how the French can be defeated in open field.
Forgive me for remembering, Cardinal. Is this the same Ludovico Sforza who gave the French free passage through Milan?
Ludovico Sforza has received overtures. From the doge of Venice. From Francesco, the Duke of Mantua. To form a league to expel the French from our peninsula.
But your other cousin, Catherina Sforza, rides with them.
She has the arms she needed and has retired at her castle at Forli.
And we forgive her such treachery?
Perhaps. For the moment.
Priorities can change, Cardinal Borgia.
Indeed they can.

Welcome to Rome!
Rhodente Orsini:
What is this?
I have been told by my friend Micheletto that you know each other well enough to happily hate each other.
Rhodente Orsini:
I definitely do hate you, Battista.
Battista Colonna:
You piece of piss, Orsini. As a Colonna, I despise you and your sorry dick.
But there is one you probably hate more. Who has ravaged your lands, your families' estates, your women, on their march to Naples?
Battista Colonna:
The French.
Yes, yes. The French.
Rhodente Orsini:
You think we can defeat an army?
No. No, my brother tried that and he failed. But, but we can have us some sport. We can taste revenge. We can strike them at night and move like smoke in the darkness. Huh?
Battista Colonna:
To what end, Cardinal?
On your side, booty. On ours, revenge. We will ride out, camouflaged, masked. No one will know of our existence. Any volunteers?

I have broached the matter of a league with His Holiness.
He seems receptive.
He can be tempted into battle?
He can be tempted by anything- that gets him out of those papal robes. Your Holiness, may I introduce my cousin, Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan?
Your Holiness, may I introduce Francesco Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, and his new minted bride, the lovely Duchessa Bianca.
Divine indeed. Do diplomatic affairs not bore you rigid, Duchessa?
Bianca Gonzaga:
They do, Your Holiness, but my husband's affections more than compensate.
If I may be so bold, Your Holiness, we have all of us one thing in common today.
What, suspicion? Of each other? Or is it hatred?
If the cardinal will let me finish...
Indeed. The cardinal would find how hatred turns to love.
My son!
The French have laid waste to the papal states as they march northwards. Their king intends leave a desert behind him. By the time he reaches Milan, there will be nothing left of this paradise we live in.
So why did you welcome them in?
Our proposal is that the armies of Venice, of Milan, of the Duke of Mantua will combine to rid us of this French plague.
Twenty thousand of our troops will meet them near the Apennines. We will annihilate their army and restore the reputation of Tuscan valour.
And Milanese. Not to speak of Roman.
Under whose leadership?
Under the leadership of Francesco Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua. With the blessing of His Holiness, the Pope of Rome.
His Holiness has proved his courage to the whole of Italy. And the whole of Italy will rally to his cause.
Then why not just let the French limp their way home?
One word. Honour.
The word meant something once, did it not?

He talks of honour, Father. There is nothing-
Interesting concept honour, isn't it? Like its cousin, valour.
Honour has cousins?
Oh, many cousins.
Like Cardinal Sforza?
And they've all led kings and armies to their doom.
So why we should now make common cause with Milan?
Because, when the French have left this fair paradise, the Milanese will still be with us.
This league cannot beat the French... even in their weakened state. And I doubt the French can beat this league. So if the two armies batter each other to death, as the lawyers often say, cui bono?
Who benefits?
Mm. A weakened Milan, a weakened Venice, a weakened Mantua- has to be worth a weekend in Tuscany, surely?

Battista Colonna:
Rhodente Orsini:
Where is he? He must be here somewhere.
I hear you before I see you. Yes? You line your scabbard with cotton. You want the French to hear you coming? Lose your spurs. All of you. And wear only soft leather. Understood?
Condottieri! Come. When the scouts ride ahead of the French army, we'll be waiting for them. We have the light crossbow, the Spanish garrotte, the trident, the paso doble.
Raven's beak.
With weapons like these, we can reinvent combat. Now there is talk of a pitched battle. Of something called honour. Let us show them another way.

Should His Holiness not be fitted in armour?
We fight the wars of God, not of man.
Then why travel with the league? There will be war, surely.
They would have our blessing.
You could have given it by proxy.
But the dead will have to be prayed over.
Mm. I know you, Holy Father, and know you always have many ends in view.
Perhaps. If the armies of men will annihilate each other, what will be left? The army of God.
I would beg your permission, then, in your absence, to investigate the office of public works even further.
For more irregularities?
There are so many, Holy Father, in this Vatican of yours.

Rhodente Orsini:
The army's about 30 miles south, moving slowly.
And the Gascon scouts?
Rhodente Orsini:
Only about ten miles, at the most. Checking the army's route.
They ride hard. They will be hungry. Condottieri! Let's go.
Battista Colonna:
Up, up.
The French are coming!
They're coming!
People! Make ready!
They're coming! Hurry! Get the children!

Gascon Scout:
Tuer tout le monde!
Gascon Scout:
The voile libre.
Gascon Scout:
There's nobody here!
Gascon Scout:
A wedding party.
Gascon Scout:
Without a bride.
Gascon Scout:
The party has moved on.
Gascon Scout:
No brides. No bridesmaids.
Gascon Scout:
No nuns.
Gascon Scout:
They've heard about the size of your dick, Sherat.
Gascon Scout:
Let's eat.

Gascon Scout:
Girls! Give me some more!
Gascon Scout:
Drink it!
Gascon Scout:
Et tu, mon- Allez!
Gascon Scout:
On your feet!
Battista Colonna:
French dog!
Show some restraint, gentlemen. I want these men alive. With their colours. They have a tale to tell.

These children need an orphanage.
They do indeed, but the nunneries that used to care for them are starved of funds. And the orphanage on Piazza Navona is now a cardinal's palace. Here once stood statue of the Goddess Sulis Minerva. And here flowed crystal spring water from the Alban Hills...
Statues are easily restored. Water is not.
So, I would use my wit-and yours- to outwit those who divert funds-and water- from poorhouses to palaces.
Cardinals-in the curia.
You are far too clever.
It would be fun to outwit a brace of cardinals.
More than fun. It could save lives. And there is one more brain I would engage in our cause. Your mother's.
My mother? But she-
You must admit, three minds will be better than two. And your mother and I are far beyond such enmities.

Whose idea was this?
And you concurred?
We would use your wit, Mother. And your wisdom. I find myself lacking in both.
We have plans for the Roman poor. We've already restored one bathhouse. And the Holy Father has given me full authority to-
Your lover.
And yours.
Given you full authority for what?
To comb through the curatorial accounts.
He knows a lot about combing through accounts. And if you would catch a cardinal or two, you do well to ask one who was a courtesan. However distasteful this may sound to you, my daughter, and to you, la bella Farnese, you will have to acquaint yourselves with the brothels of Rome.

You know these colours? Do you know these colours!
Gascon Scout:
They are the colours of our regiment.
Good answer. You know where this was found? It was found on the site of a massacre.
Gascon Scout:
I cannot... speak, my lord.
And these ears cannot hear. You collect them as trophies? A convent would have provided quite a harvest, would it not? St. Cecilia's. Who was there?
Gascon Scout:
I know not, my lord. There are many in our regiment. If I am to die, my lord, I would prefer to die quickly.
What? Who speaks of dying? My associate is a master! He can keep you alive for weeks! In a universe of pain. But the truth might yet set you free. The convent! Who was there? Who partook? Nothing? Show us, Micheletto. Your expertise.
Gascon Scout:
He was there!
Gascon Scout:
You lying bastard, it was your idea!
Gascon Scout:
He said there was sport to be had. In a place that had your own protection.
What? And who told him that?
Gascon Scout:
Gascon Scout:
Giovanni! The Lord Sforza!
So I must punish him then. My associate may yet prove merciful. He treasures information. Do you not Micheletto?
If it proves true, Your Eminence, yes.
The truth then- on troop movements, booty, cannon- may yet set you free.

Would you keep secrets from us?
Why do you ask?
We have heard rumours. Of skirmishes at night. Warfare.
I would call it vengeance, Father. Not warfare.
You are a cleric, not a soldier.
Then, yes. I have a secret.
The whole of Rome is whispering. Of our dark son. So let us instruct you in the art of vengeance.
Do I need lessons?
Perhaps. Vengeance should never be seen as that. It should always be unexpected. And it should rarely be public.
You learnt this from the Lord?
We know little of war, but much of vengeance. And the one salient point is this: vengeance is patient. It can wait a lifetime if necessary. Because it never dies. If you care to ride north with us, you may see what we mean.
So who will maintain the house of God in our absence? The vice chancellor, perhaps?
No, Cardinal Sforza must ride with us.
You mistrust him that much?
Our distrust of the vice chancellor is bottomless. As of the entire curia. Which is why we thought we would leave them in the safe hands of that one blessed person in whom we can utterly, utterly place our trust.

Show me your hands, Cesare. Is it true what I've heard? That they are stained with blood?
Must I confess to you?
No. But we never before had secrets between us.
Some things are better left unsaid.
So I must divine then... the dark cloud on my brother's soul.
Are you a shepherd of souls now?
And I see before me a lost sheep.
Utterly lost, my love.
Then by hook or by crook, I shall save you. You may kiss my ring. You may sit, cardinals.
May I sit too, Sister?
Indeed, Cardinal Borgia.
Forgive our haste, your Eminences but our preparations are endless. You will have heard; we have been called to the north where the dogs of war are once again barking. We must take the vice chancellor and Cardinal Borgia with us. And your prayers would be welcome. We have signed a bull, leaving our dear daughter in, so to speak, loco parentis. Are there any questions? Cardinal Versucci?
Julius Versucci:
Can a woman, Your Holiness, occupy the chair of St. Peter?
Well, plainly, one does. Pax nobiscum.
Dominus nobiscum.

He is ready to impart information, Eminence.
Gascon Scout:
Only to you.
Why me?
Gascon Scout:
Because I know what his pleasures are.
Tell me.
Gascon Scout:
The powder... for the king's cannon.
Yes. Tell me.
Gascon Scout:
Travels in the kitchen wagons disguised as barrels of food.
And without that powder, their cannon are useless.
Gascon Scout:
As am I, Your Eminence.
Release him.

Bless us, Your Holiness!
Take pity, Your Holiness!
May God protect you, Holy Father!
Safe journey!
In nomini Patris, et Filli et Spiritus Sancti.
Have you heard? He's left his daughter in the chair of St. Peter's.
We must travel to Florence then. Talk to our brother Savanarola. Surely this man cannot be allowed to live.
Blessings, Your Holiness!

We would give the consistory a lesson... in cookery. Or is that husbandry? Baking a cake. Pour the flour into a sieve. Shake, gently. The good flour emerges. The chaff remains. Am I correct, Cardinal Versucci?
Julius Versucci:
I know little of cookery, my lady.
But you eat cake, surely?
Julius Versucci:
I would hazard that the entire consistory has been known at times to indulge in its sweet tooth. To eat said cake.
Is there perhaps a metaphor here?
That the curia, its various offices, devoted to public works, acts like a sieve. The good flour emerges. And whats left? For the poor, the needy? The chaff. And what element do we lack to make this cake?

Papal Soldier:
Soldiers approaching!
Papal Soldier:
Why have we stopped?
Papal Soldier:
The King of France, Your Holiness, has requested an audience. He awaits your presence- alone- in a church nearby.

We are ill, Your Holiness. This battle may well be our last. Which is why we have requested a private audience.
Not for your confession?
My sins are many, Your Holiness. And they are all bloody ones. Perhaps even the Pope of Rome cannot forgive them.
So why have you requested our presence here?
To use your diplomatic skills to spare us this battle.
Well, perhaps if you would surrender the booty you have pillaged to our Holy Mother Church, we might do something.
With respect, Your Holiness, you have fooled me once. For a man of God, yours was a most ungodly stratagem.
So, why our presence?
If they are fool enough to join battle with me, I will destroy them, utterly. I will be pitiless. I know no other way. My cannon will annihilate their armies! The dead will be numberless! I will drag you in chains to Avignon and see you end your days in ignominy! All this before I die! Are you listening, Holy Father?
We hear you. We will convey your words to the league forces. Ah, listen. Is that the sound of rain? Can even the King of France light his cannon in the rain?
You think we don't know how to keep powder dry?
Do you think the Lord God doesn't know how to make rain?

The French have deployed their cannon here along this ridge. We, however, have the advantage of this higher ridge here. From which we shall attack.
Papal Soldier:
All right, man. Put it with the other -
The rain has stopped.
Papal Soldier:
All off the wagon!
Beg pardon, Your Holiness?
Would not rain help your cause?
Armies can fight in the rain.
But would it not hinder their cannon? Rain is not a friend to gunpowder.
We do not fear their cannon, Holy Father.
No? Perhaps you should.
The King of France requested an audience. He asks to be let free to continue his march home. But if forced to fight, he promises carnage the like of which none of us has yet seen.
We are here to spill blood, Your Holiness.
Yours? Or theirs?
I would beg the Holy Father to give these troops his blessing who may well die tomorrow. And to hear what may well be my last confession. And to retire to my castle before the battle commences, lest any harm come to his sacred person.

I have bloodied my hands in battle. I have killed; I have sent countless men to their doom. And I pray that God sees the justice of our cause and forgives me for our sins.
The Church acknowledges some wars are just. Does your conscience tell you that this is one such?
It does, Your Holiness. It will restore the valour of Italian arms. The honour of our soldiery.
Honour and valour alone cannot justify warfare.
But I would plead just cause, Your Holiness. The weight of booty they carry with them gives ample evidence of their greed and perfidy. For this reason alone, I would seek your blessing. And your forgiveness.
Do you pledge your arms to the service of God, and his vicar on earth?
I do, Your Holiness.
And do you promise to fight in His name and His name alone?
I do, Your Holiness.
And do you pledge the spoils of battle in its entirety to His Holy Mother Church? God's blessing comes with a price.
I-do, Your Holiness.
Then you have our blessing.

In nomineatris et Filli et Spiritus Sancti. Amen. In nomine Patris et Filli et Spiritus Sancti. Amen. In nomine Patris et Filli et Spiritus Sancti. Amen. In nomine Patris et Filli et Spiritus Sancti. Amen. In nomine Patris et Filli et Spiritus Sancti.

Bianca Gonzaga:
Your Holiness.
Duchessa. So, life has treated you well.
Bianca Gonzaga:
When you gave me your blessing, I had not yet et my husband.
No. And now is it we who are to be blessed with your hospitality.
Bianca Gonzaga:
So it would seem, Your Holiness. I have not yet forgotten those times.
Some memories endure then?
Bianca Gonzaga:
So it would seem.

We thank God for His blessings upon this table, and in this household. We ask Him to watch over the Lord Gonzaga, and his League, and we pray for the benediction of rain upon the field of battle tomorrow. Amen.
Bianca Gonzaga:
Is my husband's survival dependent on rain?
And on valour too. Your husband, madame, is a condottieri of the old school.
Bianca Gonzaga:
He believes warfare to be an art. Cannon a vulgarity. Let us hope it's not a tragic art.
So we pray then for a downpour to disarm their cannon.

Your Eminence.
Condottieri! Let's ride!
Battista Colonna:
Yah! Yah!

Bianca Gonzaga:
Forgive me, Holy Father. You are at prayer.
No, you cannot.
Bianca Gonzaga:
I am afraid I must.
But on... on a night such as this...
Bianca Gonzaga:
I have unfinished business with the Holy Father.
You now have a husband.
Bianca Gonzaga:
And you have a mistress.
But your husband fights tomorrow. No...
Bianca Gonzaga:
So let me pray with you. For rain.

French Soldier:
French Soldier:

What was that sound?
Bianca Gonzaga:
And after thunder comes...
Bianca Gonzaga:
The deluge.
The deluge...

Bianca Gonzaga:
Were your prayers answered?
No, no, no. Listen.
Bianca Gonzaga:
For what?
There is no sound of French cannon. Thank you, God! Thank you!

Papal Soldier:
Holy Father.
Bless you, my sons.
So many dead! So much glory. Right man. Pull it out. Ah!
These wounds, Your Holiness, are proof that valour lives still.
Ah, indeed. And honour, no doubt.
It was a battle from the pages of Ariosto.
And God answered our prayers with a voice of thunder.
There were explosions last night, Holy Father, but no thunder.
Well, I heard thunder, followed by torrential rain, which drowned their cannon.
The French munitions were destroyed. But not by thunder. By some brave Roman souls.
You mean?
I mean... I am now in the eternal debt of Rome. And I pledge all booty from this field of battle to our Holy Mother Church.

Your salts of mercury, Highness?
And the rain?
It has finally stopped, Highness. Try to rest.
Have you a potion there that would give me eternal rest? Half of my army is dead and cries out for me to join them.

So Your Holiness, as you wished it so did it come to pass.
Indeed. The question is... how exactly did it come to pass?
Your meaning, Holy Father?
Do you have anything to confess to me Cesare about this past night?
No, Holy Father. My night was as satisfactory as I'm sure was yours. I slept the sleep of the good and the just... as I hope you did, Holy Father.

205. The Choice


Previously on The Borgias...
Giovanni Sforza.
And my cousin, Catherina Sforza.
You would have a taste of vengeance.
Giovanni Sforza- he proved ungallant?
He betrayed our father, the pope.
If he misused you, he shall pay a different kind of price.
You think the blood of the Borgia pope could cure us?
We could bathe in it together, Majesty.
Catherina Sforza rides with the French.
She has the arms she needed and has retired to her castle at Forli.
And we forgive her?
Priorities can change, Cardinal Borgia.
The French have laid waste to the papal states. Our proposal is that the armies combine- to rid us of this French plague.
Rhodente Orsini:
You think we can defeat the French?
We can strike them at night. They move like smoke in the darkness.
Do you have anything to confess about this past night?
My night was as satisfactory as I'm sure was yours.
I would beg your permission to investigate the office of public works even further.
Found more irregularities?
There are so many in this Vatican of yours.
You are?
Niccolo Machiavelli. Ambassador to the House of Medici.
The Medici family are bankers to the world. To the Vatican itself.
Father Savonarola calls it usury.
This pope is a lecherous abomination! Florence, you will pay for your greed- when he drags you to perdition!
Savonarola prophesied the end of days- not the murder of the pope.
If I had his approval, would I have yours?

Libera animas omnium fidelium defunctorum de poenis inferni, et de profundo lacu. Libera eas de ore leonis...
It is ingenious, when you think of it.
St. Peter's?
The Church. Like an enormous bank machine. The faithful pay to maintain it in its magnificent splendor. This theatre of redemption. The greater the display, the more they gather from all corners of Christendom. The more they pay.
Can the College of Cardinals be made to see the light?
They each have their secrets. If we can find them.

The French munitions were destroyed by some brave Roman souls. Were you one of them?
I dress in red satin, Father, not in armour.
So you are a cardinal still, hmm? Though sometimes in disguise. Dare we say it, like us. So, now we got rid of one enemy, it's now time to deal with another.
Friar Savonarola?
Your cousin, Catherina Sforza!
Oh, so it continues.
She has retired to her castle in Forli with an abundance of French cannon.
Well, then I can defend her no longer, Your Holiness.
We would have her come to Rome and kneel at our feet and have those beauteous lips kiss the papal ring.
Let me be the messenger, Father.
You? You care so little for your hide?
I care more for my father's well-being.
Oh. So while we make the acquaintance of Florence, Cardinal Borgia will journey to Forli. And you tell that lady that if she does not obey us, we will reduce her fortress to dust and drag her in chains through the streets of Rome. The choice is hers! To Florence - and its heretic, Savonarola!

Do you know anyone in Forli?
I know everyone in Forli, Your Eminence.
I was born there.
I can't imagine you being born, Micheletto. Or dying, for that matter. But you must show us your ancestral home.

I preach against Rome, I preach against the sale of indulgences! I preach against the display and pomp of the lords of the Church! Of their gold and jewellery! And who pays, who pays for such decadence? You! The faithful. Where does your charity end up? In the Medici bank, in Florence... where it multiplies like maggots through usury. So the root of-
You should leave, Holy Father.
No, we would hear more. The friar is eloquent.
And dangerous. If we are discovered, they will tear you limb from limb.
Know your enemy, Cardinal. Know him better than your friend.
...with the sword of righteousness! Did Adam need gold coin? Did Eve need diamond and pearl? We must drive the Medici bank from Florence or burn it to the ground. Pray with me. Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus.

Fuck the bloody Pope in Rome, my bambino has come home.
Mama no.
The Pope of Rome can wipe his ass. I've got my baby back at last.
She can go on like this for hours, Your Eminence.
Eminence? Is he eminent?
In my own small world.
He is your dottore, is he not?
His dottore?
If you are my son's dottore, I must surely bring out my best wine. You have a name, dottore?
And you have read many books?
What kind of dottore are you? My son studies medicine, he has to read the books. His dottore helps him read the books.
But it takes so long, this student business.
Indeed. It takes forever. He has to learn to wield the scalpel. The knife.
To cut up the cadaver?
To find out where the spleen resides. The liver. The heart.
He is a good student?
The best. And he has but one ambition.
To look after his mama when she's old.
He told you that?
He tells me daily. When he wields the scalpel.
What does he say?
For Mama!
This one's for Mama! The next one's for Mama. It's always for Mama.
Ah, my boy. My sweet, dear blessed boy. Look at those hands, dottore. The hands of a healer, no?
A maestro.
My dottore maestro. Augustino! He's back, Augustino. Our Micheletto has returned. Augustino's getting married. You remember Violetta, from the baker's shop?
With the...
Lazy eye.
Augustino's not looking at the lazy eye.
Her hips, more like it.
Big hips, yes?
Big childbearing hips.
And on that happy note, fair lady, I must leave you.
You won't stay the night?
I have business in Forli.
Dottore business.
Yes, as have you.
Mama... We must go heal the sick... yes?
But before you leave, you come back? For your Mama's bean stew?
He would not miss it, Mama. Not for the world. So, dottore, shall we heal the sick?
You must forgive my mother her fantasies, Your Eminence.
Has she many more of them?
She believes her husband died reaping corn in a field.
Your father? And he didn't?
No, I killed him.
Was there a reason?

Are you the cleric in red?
I find the robes of your order suit me better at this pitiful juncture.
Have you taken our vows?
I can no longer serve the Pope of Rome.
Ah, yes, I heard of your plans for his deposition. Your plans failed miserably.
Indeed. I must confess to failure.
Oh, so have you come here to make a confession of your failure?
No. I am here to propose a solution to the sickness in our Holy Mother Church.
A solution?
We must remove him.
From the chair of St. Peter's?
From the chair of St. Peter's.
But you tried that already.
From the chair of St. Peter's... and from this world.
I shared a vision with you once. Of the bloated figure of the Borgia pope, lying blackened with sickness on the floor of St. Peter's. No one dared approach it. Are you saying you're the one to bring this to pass?
Only if I have your blessing, Friar. And the blessing of your order.
You have the blessing of the Lord. For he shall bring it to pass. And if my vision was a true one, you will have my blessing. And the blessing of the Lord Himself. Be the sword of the apocalypse, the sword of righteousness. Ride out like death, on a pale horse.

Your Holiness.
Signore Machiavelli.
Had we been graced with news of your arrival, we could have done justice to your presence.
We cannot always travel in public splendor. A pope must learn the problems of his subjects.
And your humble subject, Piero de Medici awaits.
Oh, good.

French cannon.
Too many of them. Would we be safer in your mother's humble abode, Micheletto?
You will always be safe, whenever I am near, Eminence. This Sforza family are not to be trusted.
Stay close and keep the horses saddled.

My son, Benito, longs for a soldier's career.
Hm. It has much to recommend it.
Benito Riario-Sforza:
You bear arms yourself, Signore Borgia?
No, my love, he wears a cardinal's skirt.
Benito Riario-Sforza:
But your dress is that of-
I am a civilian today. An ambassador.
He comes bearing a message from his father, the Pope of Rome. Have I guessed correctly, Cardinal?
You think so little of your charms?
You've come to sample them, perhaps?
While bearing a message from the Pope of Rome.
The pope does send his best regards. And would request your beauteous presence at the chair of St. Peter's.
He would sample my charms also?
Perhaps. He would feel your lips on his papal ring.
He would have me kneel to him? Bow?
The whole world must bow to the Holy Father.
Whom does your mother bow to, my son?
Benito Riario-Sforza:
You heard him, Cardinal? His mother bows to nobody.
And if nobody were to sit at her table?
She would not bow. But there are other forms of obeisance.
Benito Riario-Sforza:
Are there, Mother?
Indeed, my son. There is a form of surrender which implies no submission. It gave birth to you.
Benito Riario-Sforza:
I confess I am lost, Mother.
Indeed, you are truly a soldier made of hard wood. But the cardinal must know I only kneel when it suits me. As must the Holy Father.
If you do not come willingly, my lady-
Oh hush, Cardinal, hush. You are our guest this fine evening. I'd have no discord between us. You can relay the Holy Father's message in its fullness tomorrow.

We live in a fortress now, barricaded against a sea of zealots in the streets outside.
Their fervour for the friar's visions increases daily. They would ban all art and ornament and they have set their sights on the coin of the realm itself.
Money? Dear God.
They see gold and silver coin as part of the fallen world. They would reduce all exchange to the state of barter only possible in the garden of Eden.
And what of banking?
Did Adam need gold coin? Did Eve need a bank? Did Cain charge interest to Abel?
And what of the Church's deposits in your banks?
They would scatter them like chaff. And if they knew, Holy Father, of your personal accounts, they would burn the bank to the ground.
Well, then, perhaps we had better have our wealth brought back to Rome.
How? The friar has his spies everywhere.
Perhaps the good friar could be bought.
With money?
No, bishopric. The generalship of the Dominican order.
The Dominican order already does his bidding.
And how can you buy one who would outlaw trade itself?
You offer him something that money cannot buy. Heaven itself. Is it good? Benedictus, Benedicat per Jesum Christum Dominum Nostrum.

He has the voice of an angel.
Not a soldier, then?
No. No, never send this boy to war.

So, you've come back, Micheletto. To haunt me. Must we always meet among old bones?
You know why.
Ghosts. Only the dead should walk here.
And us. You remember.
I've tried to forget.
You should. You're to be married, are you not?
And you? Did you not forget?
I forget nothing.

My father, Galeazzo Sforza. He lost one eye in battle. His nose then occluded his vision so he sliced it off. The Sforzas of Forli never surrender.
And never kneel.
Oh, we can kneel all right. But only willingly. Giorgio will now show you to your rooms.

Indelicate, Cardinal- To invade a lady's chamber.
I was led here.
By whom?
Your manservant.
By mistake. I must have him whipped.
May I leave?
I could scream in terror. Call my soldiery.
I am still your guest here.
In my room? An intruder, surely.
So then... Scream.
Help. Is that blade truly necessary? You can stab me with it whenever you wanted.
Is that a promise?
Ah! A promise. I am a freak of nature, Cardinal. An aberration. A free woman in a man's world.
I should deal with you harshly then.
You should put me down. Ah!

Your marriage will be a lie.
Like your studies.
But I have no books. You will have a wife.
I'm a wheelwright, Micheletto. I live in Forli. I will marry in Forli, and I will die in Forli.
Then come to Rome.
I know what your life is in Rome.
My life, what is my life, Augustino?
It does not involve healing. It involves punishment.
I punish this world for not being as I want.
And you frighten me.
Huh. Then you must not come to Rome.

Those cannon were fake.
What cannon?
I was wondering how you had whipped up numberless pieces. Then I heard a rumour. There was no metal in them. Plaster, not bronze. Ah. Which is the trouble with you Borgias. Nothing is what it seems.
We are commoners, my lady.
But of a rare Spanish breed.

So, how do we entice this friar to Rome?
As you said, with the offer of a bishopric.
A bishopric may not be carrot enough. Maybe a cardinal's hat?
You would have him sit in Consistory? Bring his fire and brimstone to St. Peter's?
We would have him come to Rome. Clap him in the dungeons of the Castell St. Angelo. Charge him with heresy.
Burn him at the stake? Do you intend the same thing for my cousin, Catherina Sforza?
Dear God, is she a heretic too?
She is a woman who bears a man's arms.
We would befriend your cousin, Cardinal. We would hold her close- and dear.
As you hold myself.

Papal Soldier:
Make way there!
Papal Soldier:
Make way for His Holiness!
Papal Soldier:
Stand aside!
Papal Soldier:
Make way for His Holiness, the Pope of Rome!
Yah! Yah!
Papal Soldier:
Form up!

A cardinal's stocking, Giulia.
You are indeed observant.
And what do I spy between those mounds of sleeping flesh?
Why I believe it's-
It's a cardinal.
Another one.
Fuck off. Oh, can I help you- ladies?
We're in search of cardinals.
Well, you've come to the right place then. We should have called this place the Sistine Chapel.
But the Sistine Chapel is fragrant with incense. Its floors sparkle with cleanliness. Here, the cardinals lie in filth.
As do we, madam. And you are?
The committee for the betterment of the lives of the ladies of the Roman night.
There is such a committee?
There is now.
And you have the blessing of?
The pope of Rome.
Oh, goodness. Well, you must come and meet our madam, then. Oh Madam, there are some ladies here to see you!
La Bella. We so rarely have ladies within our walls.
Hm... The girls who work here do not qualify as ladies, then?
Good God, no. A lady has a future.
And your girls have none?
Unless they find a patron, my lady. As you yourself must know.
I was a courtesan, my dear, never a streetwalker.
My girls might walk the streets, but they ply their trade here.
In the vilest conditions.
And you would better their lot?
And yours- if you play your cards right. You have a certain clientele. Of clerics.
I am bound to discretion with regard to my clientele, my ladies.
We have a proposition for you, madam. That we pay for the refurbishment of your premises. We restore it to cleanliness, comfort, a condition of absolute health.
In return for?
Names, on occasion. Dates. The details of any cardinal who crosses the bounds of propriety.

Brother Guiliano, you bring news from Florence?
Friar Savanarola commanded us to be the sword of the apocalypse. Death himself, on his pale horse.
But how? He is surrounded at all times by a ring of steel.
There may yet be a way.

As the friar has said, the pope is surrounded by a ring of steel. But if we can penetrate that ring, discover his weakness...
What is his weakness?
Fornication. Food. Wine. And I propose we use the weapon the Borgia family uses so effortlessly. Against me, among others. Cantarella.

I'm afraid I can delay it no longer, my lady.
Delay what?
The reason for my presence here.
Oh yes. There was a reason. Something to do with Rome.
His Holiness the Pope-
What a pity.
To ruin this sweet dalliance with issues of politics.
When we were getting on so well.
Indeed. There is no cause for rancour between our families. Is there, my son?
Benito Riario-Sforza:
That would be such a pity.
A pity indeed. But proceed, Cardinal, if you must.
His Holiness dictates that if you do not come to Rome willingly- Oh.
Now you have quite put me off my duck. And I sense a threat behind those words.
Perhaps a "choice" would be the better word.
Oh dear. A choice. And I am so bad at choosing.
He would have you travel to Rome willingly or in chains.
And this duck did taste so good. Hmm... You must break fast with me tomorrow, Cardinal. I will give you my answer then. And now... let me show you to your rooms.
Tell me your answer.
You shall have it in the morning.
I think I know it already.
What do you care if I come to Rome?
The pope has made an edict-
Written on paper? Or plaster, like your cannon?
So, your answer is no?
You said I had a choice. To go willingly... or to go in chains. Who is going to chain me? You?
Someday, perhaps.
Your brother? I have heard of his bluster. Fake, again, like your cannon.
Let us dispense then with these niceties, and let me leave.
Oh, but that, Cardinal, I am not yet prepared for.
You think I appreciate this game of yours?
No. But I do. And you did admit, Cardinal... the game is mine. The bed is mine. The choice is mine. And...
...for one more night at least, you may be mine.

As a poison, cantarella is undetectable. If given a sufficient dosage, it will definitely be fatal.
But the pope has tasters for his food, his wine.
He does indeed. So one of us must seek employment as his taster. And be prepared to die for our cause. Is there one among us who is willing to die? To administer the poison? Taste the poison? Serve it to the Pope of Rome and share his fate? If one among you can find it in his heart to offer himself for this sacrifice, think carefully. Make your peace with God first. And only then come forward. I of all people know... It will be a terrible death.

Ahh! You should throw away those cardinal robes, you know.
I thought I had.
You should wear armour. This body of yours deserves nothing less. Ahh!

Micheletto. We cannot meet again.
If I were found in your arms, I'd be disembowelled and burnt.
It's a cruel world.
Too cruel.
Now, I have killed many, with an embrace such as this.
Did you love them too?
This grave- this is my father's grave and I loved him. When I held his head, thus- Now, you go and you be married. St. Paul says it is better to marry... than to burn.

You came.
When called.
Walk with me. We have a choice, it seems.

You seek one who would give his life to restore the church to its glory.
And you don't offer yourself?
This is too well known.
So... You need one without fame, without acquaintance, a neophyte within the Vatican walls.
Nobody can know of him.
Nobody knows of me.
You realize the implications of your words?
Yes. I would gladly die to rid the world of the Borgia pope.
By poison. Cantarella. It will be a grisly death.
But Heaven will await my soul. I would welcome it.

Corpus Domini Nostri Iesu Christi custodiat animam meam in vitam aeternam. Amen.

Catherina's Servant:
Your lady is-
Catherina's Servant:
Lady Sforza is awake.
My Lord Sforza.
I arrived in the early hours.
You must have. You have business with your cousin?
On matters of state, always.
So she requested your presence here?
She told me it would be appreciated.
Hmm... And can you tell me why?
You brought your father's proposal with you.
My father, the pope?
I can only think of him as your father. And the father of that... slattern I was tricked into marrying.
Be careful, Lord Sforza.
Of what?
I hold my sister's interests dear.
Hmm... I am aware of that. You humiliated me before the whole of Rome.

Corpus Domini Nostri Iesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam. Amen.

You shall have your answer, Cesare Borgia.
It is why I am still here, my lady.
My answer is simple. It is no.
Let me be clear. You refuse to come to Rome?
My cousin refuses to debase herself before that swine that wears the papal tiara.
That question was for her, my lord.
And you have her answer.
Yes and you will have mine.
Ahh! Ahh!


I promised my sister your heart- on a dinner plate!

Choir Boy:
Holy Father!

Ahh! Ahh!
I can find no heart!

Stay there! Don't move! Go! Now go! Go! Run, run, run! Ah! Ah!

Catherina's Servant:
Murder! Murder! Murder!
You! Come with me!
No... No! Guards, stop him!
Here! Oh!

Ahh... Help! Somebody, help!

Oh please God. Oh, come. Come on. Are you...
Choir Boy:
Papa, I can't...
Choir Boy:
...feel my leg.
Ohh... We'll get you some help.



Stop him!
Seal the city!
Yah! Yah!
Archers ready! Release!
Shoot them!

Choir Boy:
What... Oh, no. Oh... Oh! Ego te absolve ab omnibus censuris, a peccatis, in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus sancti. Amen.

We should ride different ways.
Wrap this in your saddlebag. I would give it to my sister.
Whose blood?
Giovanni Sforza's. Come! Yah!

There are others alive in there!
Let me, Holy Father.
So, if anybody's willing...
It is the judgment of God, Holy Father.
And God will judge your actions now! So, please, if anyone is willing...

Was it a sign from God, Cardinal?
No, Your Holiness. It was a bolt of lightning.
It signalled His displeasure. We must atone for our... sins... with fasting and prayer.
For how long?
Until He... smiles on us again.

206. Day of Ashes


Previously on The Borgias...
You were once a stray dog, Micheletto. Search out a dozen of them whom we can school in the art of vengeance.
Would you keep secrets from us? You're a cleric, not a soldier.
Who pays for such decadence? Where does your charity end up? In the Medici bank in Florence?
Your Holiness. Piero di Medici.
Their fervour for the friar's visions increases daily. And if they knew of your personal accounts, they would burn the bank to the ground.
Perhaps we had better have our wealth brought back to Rome.
We must remove him from this world.
Be the sword of the apocalypse. The sword of righteousness.
I would gladly die to rid the world of the Borgia pope.
It will be a grisly death.
Catherina Sforza, the pope would request your beauteous presence at the chair of St. Peter's.
Who is going to chain me? You?
My cousin refuses to debase herself before that swine that wears the papal tiara. Ah!
I promised my sister your heart!
Catherina's Servant:
God signalled his displeasure. We must atone - for our sins.

Dust thou art and to dust shalt thou return. Dust thou art and to dust shalt thou return. God has spoken to us, Your Eminences. We have heard His thunder. So the greatest penitence must be ours. Dust thou art and to dust shalt thou return. Bring me some water.
Your Holiness.
A new leaf? Is it possible?
A new pretence. A new theatre, that is all. Antonello, take note of the man with the water jug. He's the pope's taster.

Christ spilled his blood for us! We must spill ours for him! We must scourge our flesh, wash Florence clean with the wine of our blood! Is it good enough to kneel and say you repent? Will you carry the mark of repentance upon you? Kneel. Do you repent?
I repent.
Do you repent all your sins?
I repent all my sins.
Do you give your life to Christ?
I give my life to Christ.
Are you willing to throw off your riches, this finery, this display of pride and vanity, and give yourself truly to the Lord Jesus Christ?
I am ready.
You will dedicate yourself to the renewal of Christendom. To the destruction of the red whore of Rome! And will the Medici repent, abandon their avarice and usury? Their gold and finery? If they do not repent, we will cast them out as Jesus threw the money lenders from the temple! For they have turned a house of prayer and made it a den of thieves!

In this bottle are both Heaven and Hell. This is the marvel of the minimal dose. Too much and it will kill you. Just enough, and it will make you strong. I was poisoned with cantarella and I am now the stronger for it. Do you have faith?
I have faith.
Then drink.

To whom does the pope confess, oh Lord? Who will hear his sins, wash them clean, so that he may live again in Your favour? Ah. The great silence.
My son. When did you return?
Within the hour. Holy Father, I would have you hear my confession. I am guilty of the sin of murder. And lust. I am guilty of the sin of lust.
Violence and fornication. How often these two are united. Go on.
I killed the man who defiled my sister and insulted the name of Borgia. A knife to the heart.
As we recall, murder was not your mission!
It was a matter of honour!
And lust, you say. Was that a matter of honour too? Who or what was the object of this lust?
Catherina Sforza shared her bed with me.
Oh, of course, who else? And tell us, after you had graced her with your-presence, did she beg to be dragged to Rome in chains?
No, no.
To be-to be friends with us?
No, she did not.
But, surely, after such lavish attention, she is now our friend.
No! I fear not, Your Holiness. She-she remains an enemy.
We have both sinned, my son, but whose sin will bring the greatest doom upon us? Hmm? Ours or yours? Ego te absolvo ab omnnibus censuris et in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen. I find it hard to believe. I send you on a diplomatic mission and you start a war!
There is no war.
God struck the Basilica. He showed His anger to all. Is now the time to take a knife in hand? To have the armies of the north battering at our gates?
Well then, release me from my cardinal's robes, give me the papal army, and I will bring you Catherina Sforza in chains!
Armies do not march on air! We do not have the resources to send an army north! And now we are in need of another alliance! Perhaps you will explain so much to your dear sister? That she must now marry, in order protect us from the results of your folly?

Oh Lord, as we remember Thy 40 days in the wilderness, so we share in Thy suffering during this Lenten period. If we have sullied Thy name with luxury, then we beseech You to forgive us. And we pray for enlightenment as to why You chose to strike with fire at the heart of Your Church. Per Christum, Dominum Nostrum. Amen.
During this Lenten period, instead of taking your repast in the luxury of your palaces, you will fast here with us, in common.
Julius Versucci:
Your Holiness!
Sardines... were the traditional Lenten fare when we were young. So we shall dine on sardines.
Brother Bernardino:
Your Holiness.
Brother Bernardino:
Let me taste.
You think our enemies would poison our Lenten fare? These paltry bones?
Brother Bernardino:
It is my duty, your Holiness.
A poisoning would brighten the proceedings of an otherwise gloom-laden day, would it not? Well, Brother Bernadino, are you about to die?
Brother Bernardino:
I think not, Your Holiness.
Let us proceed.
Latin Reader:
Incipit historia Iob.

Give me your voice, give me your voice, O God let me hear you. Let me hear you speak to me. I want to feel, feel your spirit inside of me.
From our Holy Father, Christ's Vicar on Earth, the Bishop of Rome and the heir to St. Peter, a greeting and apostolic benediction to his most beloved son, Girolamo Savonarola. I am Cardinal Ascanio Sforza.
Vice chancellor.
Then you know all there is to know about corruption.
His Holiness hears you are a zealous worker in God's service, at which he rejoices, and is intrigued to hear that you proclaim your prophecies proceed directly from God. Is this so?
God speaks through me. I hear His voice. Of this there is no doubt.
As befits your vows of obedience, his Holiness would have you journey to Rome to discourse further with him on this matter.
The Good Lord's lightning not yet silenced this Borgia pope? Well, tell him my work is here, ridding Florence of its sodomites and blasphemers. And my work only will be ended when the last sodomite is burning in Hell.
Perhaps a different destiny awaits you in Rome.
In the Castel Saint Angelo?
No. In the Vatican.
Oh. As cardinal.
A seat in Consistory.
No man can put a price on salvation.

The sleep of the innocent. I promised you a heart, Sister.
Whose? Your own?
I promised you the heart of Giovanni Sforza on a dinner plate. His blood on this knife will have to suffice.
What does it say of us, Brother, that you promise me this and I would accept?
Do you accept?
I would rather have my innocence back. Be as I was before I married that vile man.
Impossible, I am afraid. For either of us.
Prime has been sung, Terce approaches, yet some have barely roused their souls. Oh, darkness into light.
Father, Giovanni is sleeping.
Ooh. You have broached the matter, my son?
What matter?
The matter of Forli. Our need for the most sacred alliance. The matter, in a word, of marriage.
Ah, I see. I am to be put back in the marketplace. Did you know this, Brother? And how secure did the last alliance you sold me into prove to be?
It is your Father's wish. We would have you married. It is as simple as that.
I will not marry. Never again. So there let it rest.
We are shocked by this ingratitude.
Even so, I will not marry.
It is a daughter's duty to marry her father's choice!
So I am to have no voice in the matter! I am to lie on my back and wait to be ravaged by a beast of your choosing!
Enough! Enough! This language does not become you. And save your thoughts. Say nothing.
I haven't uttered a word.
No, but we can hear you thinking. This will come to pass, you shall see, even if we drag you to the basilica.
Sh, sh, sh. Giovanni. Shh. Hush.
Like me, you have just declared a war.

What have you said to Lucrezia?
In the matter of what?
I have said nothing.
It was you who arranged the last unfortunate event. That was not of my choosing. You want her to marry?
It is our wish, yes.
Ah, I see, the Vatican needs to refresh its coffers.
Leave us. Perhaps she is not ready to marry.
It is not her choice- and we would have you persuade her of that.
As inconvenient as it may seem, Rodrigo, she fell in love. And every day the child reminds her of the man she loved.
Our son Cesare was sent to the north on a diplomatic mission of the utmost importance, and... he had an unfortunate accident.
No, Giovanni Sforza. He fell onto a knife that... Cesare happened to be holding.
Had I been there I would have helped push him onto the blade.
Yes but, listen to me, Vanozza, this accident has made us enemies. They are lining up against us in the north. We need an alliance. Now, the Doge of Venice is a man of great power and influence. In a matter of days his nephew comes here as a suitor to Lucrezia. And... we would have you be our ambassador in this, vet him, as it were, on our daughter's behalf.
I see.
If business is done, you may withdraw; the water grows cold. What is it?
You have a rare beauty, Vanozza. Remember when we used to bath together?
Not after the water went cold.
And have you not foresworn intimacy for Lent?
You may go.

Signore Machiavelli... Welcome to Rome.
I appreciate the informality of your welcome.
What is the news from Florence?
Ah, officially, I am here to open the shutters of the Villa Medici for my master, Piero de Medici. Stones have been thrown at his house in Florence. Large stones. He believes he will be safer here in Rome.
Not without our protection.
The Medici have made many enemies; that cannot be contested.
What of the Medici bank? Is it a sinking ship?
Oh, I am not a banker, but it may have already sunk.
You may not be a banker but you are the Medicis' ambassador; you know these things.
True, I have been privy to sensitive negotiations. Signore de Medici values my opinion- especially as he does not have one of his own- but I am really nothing more than a nuncio, a messenger boy.
And what message does the boy bring? What of the Vatican funds?
Every penny could be lost. That is the sour truth of it.
Where has the money gone?
That is the golden question. You are not alone in wanting an answer. There are funds, but the question is, where might they be?
Do you know?
I am told that what remains is on the move. Some here, some there. Though not on its way to whom it belongs.
That I do not know. Not yet. Until such time, it is as I told you: I am here to open the shutters at the Villa Medici.
Signore Machiavelli, a more specific insight into this matter would be much appreciated.

Your father claims that I have warned you of the dangers of marriage. You have incurred his extreme displeasure. I think it might make him ill.
Well, then, father and daughter will be ill together. The thought of marriage turns my stomach.
It's within his prerogative to marry you to whomever he may please.
Well, then, let him do it, and he can fish me out of the Tiber.
He's asked me to vet suitors on your behalf.
And you agreed?
More or less. Well, at least it leaves you with a choice.
Mother, the man I married was a beast. I was little more than meat to him.
And yet you took the stable boy as your lover.
Well, that was different.
And there is hope for you yet.
I do not deny that the warm touch of a lover might ease the pain.
So all is not lost.

You're back.
I dreamed.
What did you dream?
Nothing I have ever seen. It was not of this world.
Rest now.

What would be your feeling, Brother Bernadino, if this humble sardine was poisoned and you proceeded to expire?
Brother Bernardino:
One of happiness, Holiness, for I would have died in the service of our Lord and saved His vicar here on earth.
You are an inspiration to us all. God's vicar will strive to be worthy of your devotion. Now let us enjoy these fruits of the sea.

There is a new order in Florence. Savonarola wields yet more power. All bow to him, some in fear, some in reverence. He virtually controls the city.
He turned down the hat, of course.
Hmph. Scorned it.
Ah. Yet another insult to Rome. No one turns down a seat in the Cardinalate.
Piero de Medici is hated by all.
Small wonder.
Della Rovere's been seen in Florence and is said to have met with Savonarola.
Ah. We must silence this yapping dog. And Della Rovere, he should have been muzzled long ago.
Savonarola claims that he hears the voice of God and him alone. He says that visions are put into his mind by angels.
Well, that could give us cause to excommunicate him.
The very worst. We may yet have cause to burn him.

We thank you for responding to our request- especially in such numbers.
One more would have made a crowd.
We are here, but we wonder to what purpose.
Julius Versucci:
Another lesson in baking, perhaps.
We were searching for some time for a suitable location to house the poor. Now we have found it.
Julius Versucci:
All we need now are the funds.
Surely it would take an excessive sum to make this suitable for habitation.
That is not a problem. We manage the works.
The curia will provide the funds.
Julius Versucci:
What branch of the curia?
The Office of Public Works.
Julius Versucci:
The Office of Public Works has been emptied of funds by your charitable endeavours.
I believe it was emptied long before our efforts begun.
La Bella Farnese has been combing through the books of accounts. Must she now comb through your palaces? Through, dare I say it, the brothels?

Julius Versucci:
He was vice chancellor himself. He has palaces of his own. He knows how things work.
His Holiness is going through a period of sanctity, penance. It will pass.
Julius Versucci:
Combing the books already. What else might they do?
Who knows? They are women. Women are dangerous.
And how long will this newfound sanctity last?
Should be over by Easter, I should hazard.
So, what must we do?
You-restore the ruin.
Julius Versucci:
Ascani, you can't be serious-
Shut up. And pay for it.
Julius Versucci:
Pay? He's not serious.
This is unheard of.

Friar Savonarola berates us daily. He preaches heresy. That God speaks to him and him alone. He must be silenced. We charge you with this task. This will require all your patience. You will travel to Florence and you will ban him from preaching the word of God.
He will laugh in my face.
Of course. Then we will charge him with heresy.
He will laugh in your face.
Of course. Then we will excommunicate him.
He will deny your right to do so.
Of course. And then... we will burn him. Vengeance, you see, can wait. A lifetime if necessary.

Wagons carrying Medici gold are to be shipped to Castelfiorentino. There is a stronghold there.
So the Medici coffers are not entirely empty.
Not if one knows where to look.
How much gold?
Not enough for a king's ransom, but one hopes sufficient to make your detour worthwhile.
Enough to feed an army?
Armies have big bellies. Let this map be your guide; I prepared it myself. Here is the route, the day, all you need to know. Look for wagons under escort transporting alum ore. Trade in alum is on the increase. Do not be deceived by appearances. The gold is hidden on the wagons. I must go.
To open more shutters?
To let in more light. Yes.
The light you bring to us is much appreciated.
Just a beginning.

I would make a gift of gold to my father.
Does your father not have gold enough of his own?
No, this is Medici gold. My father holds no affection for the Medici. He brands them thieves and liars.
All bankers are thieves and liars, Eminence.
I would rather trust a beggar in the street. Listen. A shipment of gold hidden in alum ore is to travel from Florence to Castelfiorentino. It shall be ours. For this, we will need our friends.
If there is gold promised, they will be there.
Not only will we bring the Friar Savonarola to his unholy knees, we will also bring Medici gold to my father.
Your father knows of this?
He will know when he sees the gold.
Surely such a gift from a son deserves reward from the father, no?
I will have only one reward- and I will have it no matter what. These robes have clung to my back for far too long.
Yes, I bear witness to that, Eminence.
For the protection of Rome and the Holy Church- and the protection of my unwitting father, I will command the papal army. And you, Micheletto, you will wear armour and be my captain.
No, I was born in the shadows and I feel that is where I should remain.
First, the prize.

The Doge of Venice?
His nephew.
Oh. Is he of consequence?
His uncle, the doge, has immense wealth and is extremely fond of his nephew. At least take a look at him then I can tell your father I have done his bidding.
The Doge of Venice is a man fond of war, is he not?
They are all fond of war in the north. But I cannot speak for the nephew. Just cast an eye over him, that's all.
Where is he, this doge's nephew?
Waiting in the main hall with his retinue. Most likely dying of old age by this time.
Very well. You go and talk to him and I will watch.
This is not a game, you know.
No, but it feels like one.
Oh, and he has a dog. A gift.
A dog?
For you.
A man of immense wealth, you say, and he brings a dog?

I don't think I've ever seen a dog quite like this.
Doge of Venice's Nephew:
It's a wolfhound, my lady. It's one of the tallest breeds. A hunting dog. He's a powerful beast but he will make a loving and loyal companion.
Hmm. What do you think? Impressive, no?
The man or the dog?
What is your verdict?
No. That's no to the doge's nephew. And yes to the dog. Wait, on second thoughts, it's no to them both. Man and dog.
It was kind of you to come but I'm afraid...

I have another venture for you. First, you will escort me to Florence on Vatican business. And then there will be rewards for all of us.
Battista Colonna:
You said that the last time.
Well, this time there is gold. Medici gold. They are robbing their own bank, so we will rob them. Trust me. My name is Borgia.

Let's hope the cardinals have consciences. What more can we do?
This was left this morning, like a baby abandoned on a doorstep. A victory.
It's a start.
Let the works begin.

So... Piero de Medici, to what does Rome owe the pleasure of your forsaking of your beloved Florence?
Holiness, a torch was put to our house. We left the city in a hail of stones.
Dramatic exit indeed. You have come bearing the gold we deposited with the Medici bank? Or have those funds gone up in flames with your palaces?
Those funds are in safe hands, Holy Father.
But they are on the move, to secure locations.
We thank you for your assurance. So why exactly are you here?
I would plead for the Holy Father's protection in Rome. And for his help in the battle against the Friar Savonarola.
We have dispatched our son, Cardinal Borgia, to secure his silence.
You think he can be silenced?
If not, he will be burned. And there will be flourishing once again in your fair Florence a bank- but this time a Vatican bank.
What does the pope know of banking?
What the pope does not know, Piero de Medici will teach him.

Since Jesus died for us, since he gave his life for us- -his blood for us, his pain for us, let us kneel for him!
Girolamo Savonarola! I am Cardinal Cesare Borgia!
The bastard son of the pope!
I am the servant of our most Holy Father, Vicar of Christ, and voice of the Living God, Pope Alexander Sextus. This edict finds you guilty of disseminating pernicious doctrines to the scandal and grief of simple souls. Having incurred our Holy Father's censure, you are hereby ordered to suspend your sermons and prophecies, lest you be charged with heresy.
I thank His Holiness. And tell him I will use it... to wipe my ass!
You are standing too close to the fire, Brother Savonarola. You may get burned.
Think you I fear the flame? I have the word of God. It is the Borgias who will burn!

This time, a little more.
Heaven and Hell?
Heaven and Hell. Do you have faith?
Yes, Father.
Then drink.

Stop the sinners!
You deserve to suffer!
Move. My God. What is this?
Sodomites. The lot of them. They're to be hanged, then burned by order of Father Savonarola. Sodomites! Burn in hell! Sodomite scum!
In the name of Jesus Christ.
What, in the name of Jesus Christ?
The ring off your finger.
And you, boy, what would you have? My boot up your ass?
Sodomite! Here is one- a sodomite!
Sodomite! Sodomite!
Move! Out of the way! Move!
Battista Colonna:
Back! Move back!
You can run from God but you cannot hide! Sodomites!
Battista Colonna:
Move away! All of you!
He will get you!

You promised them booty, your Eminence.
There is booty to be found, but not in Florence. Come on! Yah! Yah!

What was that? Ah!
Battista Colonna:
Easy meat.
Too easy.
Carlo Baglione:
So, condottieri!
Carlo Baglione:
Booty at last.
Carlo Baglione:
Ah! Ugh!
Battista Colonna:
Find it!
Ah, you dog!
Battista Colonna:
My lord.
Colonna, can you make gold from alum?
Battista Colonna:
We are condottieri, not alchemists.
Aha. We shall have to pay you in gold then.

How long might this game go on?
Until we run out of princes. We've already seen five. This will be number six.
At first it was a distraction; now it's a chore.
Then marry one of them and be done with it. Have a bed chamber of your own and put a strong lock on the door.
Which one is the suitor?
The one in the blue velvet, at the front. Calvino Pallavicini from Genova.
And, behind him, in the brown and grey. Who is he?
That must be Raffaello di Genova, his brother.
Who did you say?
His name is Raffaello. He is the younger brother of Calvino. I just told you, he is not your suitor. The other one, Calvino- that is your suitor.

Savonarola remains defiant.
Oh. And you are learning patience?
With difficulty, Holy Father. I have a gift for you. Medici gold. Enough for the Forli campaign. They are dispersing the bank's funds through the whole of Italy. If we could track down the rest, we could even conquer Florence.
And you would equip an army with it.
I would batter the walls of Forli with it and drag Catherina Sforza in chains before you.
You would be a soldier?
You know that has always been my heart's desire.
But who would advise me in this Vatican? Who would guide me, protect us? Hm? We always said we must have one son in the cloth, and one in armour. Would you have us make Juan a cardinal? No. We thank you from the bottom of our heart. But you know what you ask is impossible. Your brother's coming home, a changed man, we are assured. With a party of conquistadors hardened by the New Spain. Promise us that you will welcome him- with a brotherly embrace.
You must embrace him for me, Holy Father. While I attend to the Church's business- back in Florence.
 Big A Reviews

207. The Siege at Forli


Previously on The Borgias... You will choose a bride in Spain and you will become the Borgia I always hoped you would be.
I propose we use the weapon the Borgia family uses. Canterella. Too much and it will kill you. Just enough, and it will make you strong.
Dedicate yourself to the renewal of Christendom. To the destruction of the red whore of Rome!
There is a new order in Florence. Savonarola virtually controls the city.
He must be silenced. We would have Catherina Sforza come to Rome and kneel at our feet.
The pope would request your presence at the chair of St. Peter's.
Whom does your mother bow to, my son?
Benito Riario-Sforza:
You refuse to come to Rome? She shared her bed with me.
Did she beg to be friends with us?
No, she remains an enemy. Release me from my cardinal's robes, give me the papal army, and I will bring you Catherina Sforza in chains!
I will not marry. Never again.
It is a daughter's duty to marry her father's choice!
So I am to have no voice in the matter!
Like me, you have just declared a war.
Which one is the suitor?
Calvino Pallavicini from Genova.
And, behind him, in the brown and grey. Who is he?
His brother, Raffaello.
Your brother's coming home with a party of conquistadors.
You must embrace him for me- while I attend to the Church's business- back in Florence.

The most respected Duke of Gandia, Juan Borgia!
Holy Father.
My son.
A gift.
What is that?
This, dear sister, is a gift for you like no other.
For me?
It is called a panther.
Are such beasts common in Spain?
Not anymore.
Oh! Take the baby.
Um, and who is this?
May I present Don Hernando de Caballos.
Don Hernando is a true conquistador. He has traveled to the New World where he brought the word of God to the heathen he found there. He was also at the Siege of Granada where they defeated the Moor.
Good. We had a siege in mind. Hmm.
Hernando de Caballos:
So, now to our gift. Mmm. What have we here? Turds? You travel all the way to our ancestral homeland and back again to bring us turds?
Smell them.
Why should we smell a turd?
They are called cigarros. They are an exotic creation from the New World. I will happily demonstrate at your Holiness's leisure.
Ow! It bit me! It could have eaten my hand!

Give up your vanities!
They're here! Quick!
Hide your valuables!
Get inside.
I told you! Come quickly!
Come along!
Give up your gold!
Your Eminence. Come.
Save yourselves!
Bring it out! Bring it out!
What is this, Signore Machiavelli?
God's children. Savonarola's vermin.
I feel a sudden chill.
Give up your vanities!
Hell is eternal!

So, we take a turd in our hand.
Yes, cigarro. Then what?
You put it in your mouth.
What? All of it?
No, just the end. In between the lips. Now, we take a burning taper. And so carefully, as not to cause damage to the holy person, we apply fire to the end of the cigarro. And, here for the most important part, a sensation of great pleasure.
Pleasure? I didn't know this was a leisure pursuit. We thought it was medicinal.
Please. Fire, and now suck as if drawing air through a tube... a little harder.
Ah! We are on fire!
One more time.
What is this called?
Smoking? Indeed, well, one is smoking. Thank you... Thank you.

My wife-
Maria Enriquez de Luna. A rare beauty.
I am devoted to her, body and soul. She is with my child.
Bravo! The bull has done his work. An heir. This pleases us.
It will be a boy. I can feel it - here.
You have grown into manhood, my son. As we prayed for. We feel a little, how do I say?
It will pass.
Um, no. I only drink water. The clarity of water gives clarity of mind.
Oh. A blessing. We are of a similar temperament. So-to business. Catherina Sforza.
The bitch of Forli. Is she still in this world?
In this world and threatening war. The papal army awaits your command. Lay siege to her castle, give her occasion to come to the Holy City, to bend her knee to Rome. Should she refuse then you are at liberty to seize her estates. Her land, her titles, her deeds, the castle at Forli, will be yours, a rich reward.
And if she refuses?
Then knock the bitch off her perch.
By the grace of God, Father, I am ready.

Thank you, Brother.
Heard the news from Florence, Brother?
Our blessed Brother Savanorola is making it a true city of God.
He should take care then. Borgia spies take note of his every word, Machiavelli chief among them.
Thank you.
Any hint of heresy is music to their ears.
Praise to God.
Is it heresy, then, to declare the rule of the blessed? To ban usury and sodomy?
We know all the Borgia wiles, Brother. If Savanarola claims to speak with the tongue of angels, they have the excuse they need for a public burning. He must beware. Temper his words.
The friar speaks from the heart. His power is his rhetoric. His words will never be tempered.
We need his presence here on earth, not in heaven, Brother. We already have one among us who would be a martyr.
Then we must let the friar know that we are within in sight of our goal.
Our prayer: a world without the Borgia pope.

Holy Father?
I would meet with the suitor from Genova.
Calvino Pallavicini?
I would meet with him- if just to determine the colour of his eyes. Nothing more.
Oh. Your hand?
Ah. Such elegance, yes? My thanks to my brother. Had he gifted me a viper, I would now be in my shroud.
Your brother shows sense. He has married well. We would advise you to follow the same path.
What is that in your mouth?
It's a cigarro.
Hm. Not a turd?
It smells like one.

Hm. Ah!
Not good. In fact, very bad.
Is it true that the disease can eat its way to the brain and destroy it?
It is lust that destroys the brain, not the disease. The damage has already been done before the disease takes hold. Hm... Ah. Mercury-or rather, the corrosive sublimate- is indicated. To be taken in minute portions, mind, or it will kill. Your salvation may lie in this, uh, modest instrument. Allow me to demonstrate. This is inserted into the privy member. There will be pain. Once it is in place, I push on this gizmet, here... revealing the umbrella-like apparatus that does the work. The instrument is withdrawn and thus it will scrape clear the pus and discharge upon its exit. Are you ready?
Bite on this.

Be sure, I have seen the vision of God. As I have heard the words of his angels. God has chosen us to purify his church but for these angels, life is just a moment. A breath of wind upon their cheeks. But life hereafter is an eternity! And every day you live is Judgment Day. Now which of you can tell me, what is Judgment Day? What is your name?
Angelo. You see? We have an angel amongst us. So, Angelo, tell us, what is Judgment Day?
It is when the son of man will return in his glory, the graves will open, and the living and the dead will be judged and sent to Heaven or Hell.
An eternity in Heaven or an eternity in Hell! Yes! Yes! Yes! Oh, my friends, this world is crowded with vanity. What you see in the mirror is but an illusion. Until you have cast off your fine clothes- -the jewels in your hair, your lewd pictures in your pagan books- -your wines, your courtesans, your paramours, your lust for all the things in life that you crave!
This man has been ordered not to preach and remain silent. It is the loudest silence I have ever heard.
This is in direct defiance of the papal order. But no surprise.
What is all this?
Vanities. Waiting like a witch for the fire.
...until that time, you are damned and the doors to Heaven will remain closed. Which of you would like to stand and contradict that?

Papal Soldier:
Line up! Stand in tight!
Sforza's Soldier:
Soldiers! Papal guards!
Sforza's Soldier:
To arms! To arms!
Tommaso Carracci:
Summon the Lady Sforza.
Sforza's Soldier:
Soldiers approaching!
Tommaso Carracci:
To your stations!
Papal Soldier:
Stand to! Awaiting orders!
Tommaso Carracci:
More archers to the main gate! Take your positions!
Sforza's Soldier:
Tommaso Carracci:
Quickly! Ready yourselves!
Sforza's Soldier:
Cannon forward! Forward!
Sforza's Soldier:
Seal the gates!
Papal Soldier:
Papal Soldier:
Make way!
Sforza's Soldier:
Cannons ready!
Tommaso Carracci:
Do not shoot!
Papal Soldier:
Move the line out!
Hernando de Caballos:
How many men are in the castle?
It's not known. We most likely outnumber them.
Hernando de Caballos:
We pray we outnumber them, yes? There is big danger here, my lord. Speak with this woman.
The Bitch of Forli.
Hernando de Caballos:
Bitch? Yes, speak with this bitch and speak soon. A white flag. A truce. State your terms before they turn those cannons onto us. We will keep the army back in the trees.
Hernando de Caballos:
Out of reach of the cannon. Venga!
Papal Soldier:
Make way for the horses!
Papal Soldier:
Papal Soldier:
Form up!
Papal Soldier:
Standard bearers!

Presenting the most honourable Calvino Pallavicini da Genova.
Calvino Pallavicini:
The Lady Lucrezia will be here presently. Oh. Our daughter's pet. It goes everywhere with her.
Presenting the most gracious Lucrezia Borgia.
Father. Holy Father...
We have been waiting!
The baby cried and would not stop.
Rafaello Pallavicini:
Madame, may I present my brother, Calvino Pallavicini da Genova.
Calvino Pallavicini:
Lady. I am honoured.
And I am truly honoured to meet you. Father.
Oh! Sir, forgive me, I forget. Please accept this beast as a gift. It is the only one of its kind in the land. He eats only meat.

Sforza's Soldier:
White flag!
Sforza's Soldier:
White flag!
You are Catherina Sforza.
I am Catherina Sforza.
I am Juan Borgia, Duke of Gandia, commander of the papal army. I am here to command you to proceed under our escort to the Holy City and humbly swear allegiance to our most Holy Father, Pope Alexander the Sixth.
The whore of Rome first sent one boy to do his work- a murderer- and now he sends another.
You bring a boy to protect you? Is he strong enough to hold a sword?
He is my son and he is worth more than a whole nest of Borgias. Is our business here done?
Be warned, failure to comply with this order will find you guilty of betrayal and your estate shall be confiscated.
Here. Here is my estate; here is my land. Take it if you can; my cannons will answer your call.
Benito Riario-Sforza:
Tommaso Carracci:
Grab the boy! Grab the boy!
Papal Soldier:
Benito Riario-Sforza:
Mother! No! Please! Help!
I warned you, Sforza!
Stop! Don't shoot! Don't fire!
Sforza's Soldier:
Hold your arrows!
Benito Riario-Sforza:
Help! Help!
Papal Soldier:
Shields up!
Tommaso Carracci:
Wait, my lady! It's too dangerous!
Papal Soldier:
Hold formation!
Tommaso Carracci:
Go back! My lady! Go back! Open the gates! Yah!

How many years do you have?
Benito Riario-Sforza:
How old are you?
Benito Riario-Sforza:
I am 15 years, sir.
Then you have 15 years.
Benito Riario-Sforza:
Yes, sir.
And how many years do you have left?
Benito Riario-Sforza:
I do not know.
Does your mother love you?
Benito Riario-Sforza:
I think she does, yes.
How much does your mother love you?
Benito Riario-Sforza:
That is hard to tell. How much does your mother love you? Ahh!
It is for me to ask the questions and for you to answer them.
Benito Riario-Sforza:
Yes, sir.
We are going to torture you. We could start here-yes? With a sharp knife. There'll be lots of blood. You might even die. How does that make you feel?
Benito Riario-Sforza:
There is nothing I can tell you.
Well, that is your misfortune. We are not going to torture you because we want you to tell us something; we are going to torture you so that your mother can see you suffer.

So, from here he walked to the Tiber and then stopped for a while to do a picture of the Castel Sant'Angelo. And then?
From there he walked to the ruins on Via Aurelia where he sat for several hours- drawing and painting.
What else?
He ate an apple.
And did he meet with anyone?
No one. I don't think there's anyone else, my lady.
Here... Go to the store on the Piazza de Navona and buy me some paints- artist's paints- brushes and the like. I wish to become an artist.

Papal Soldier:
Man the ramparts!
Papal Soldier:
Yes, sir!
Tommaso Carracci:
My lady, their army has gathered in the forest beyond the range of the cannon. And we cannot estimate their numbers.
We wait. You cannot march an army into Romagna and word not travel. Ludovico and his army will come, then we will spill some blood.
Tommaso Carracci:
Can we depend on Ludovico?
Ludovico is like the wind, we know this, but he is family. We made a pact. Each to help the other.
Papal Soldier:
Bring the prisoner!
Papal Soldier:
General's escort!
Papal Soldier:
What is this?
Benito Riario-Sforza:
What are they doing to my son?
Call to your mother. There. In the battlements. Call to the bitch.
Benito Riario-Sforza:
Benito Riario-Sforza:
Mother. Ahh!
Scream to her.
Benito Riario-Sforza:
I'm here.
I am here!
Benito Riario-Sforza:
I am here!
Benito Riario-Sforza:
Benito Riario-Sforza:
Borgia bastard.
Tell her you are afraid. Tell her you're afraid!
Benito Riario-Sforza:
I am afraid, Mother.
Tell her-"Help me."
Benito Riario-Sforza:
Ahh! Help! Help!
Louder! Louder!
Benito Riario-Sforza:
Tell her that we will torture you.
Benito Riario-Sforza:
They'll torture me. Please.
Men do not torture boys!
Not even ones worth a whole nest of Borgias?
Release my son!
Surrender to my forces, give up your castle, journey to Rome, bend your knee to the Holy Father, and then... then I will release your son into your loving arms! Dead.
Hernando de Caballos:
General, is this a noble act?
Hernando de Caballos:
The torture of this boy?
You surprise me. If you don't have the stomach for the spectacle, you'll find that Spain lies that way. Men, with me!
Papal Soldier:
Hold shields! Hold guard!
Benito Riario-Sforza:
Hernando de Caballos:
Stay with him.
My son... live or die... I swear these men will not make old bones.
Benito Riario-Sforza:
Mother. Mother!

Open up! Open up!
They're coming!
How can you stop them?
They're coming back. Let's go home!
To think, Florence was once a joyful city.
Open up!
There is word your brother has returned from Spain and has been ordered to bring the Sforza woman to her knees.
Hmm... Well, I wish him good fortune. She has sharp teeth.
So the papal army has laid siege to the castle at Forli.
To her castle or to her bed?
Oh there's more. Ludovico of Milan is marching on Forli to break the siege. He is on the move. The papal army will find itself under attack.
Could a messenger reach my brother in time to warn him of the attack?
That would depend on how fast the messenger chooses to ride. The threat is imminent.
Open up! Open up!
My father, the Holy Father, gave me this mission. It's plain, my duty lies here. My brother's a military man and trained in the art of warfare. I'm sure he'll find a strategy to defend his army- and himself.
Hand them over! Don't be vain, be righteous!
God's children are knocking at the door.
God will follow later.
Would you care to answer?
Give us your riches!
Open the door!
Would you?
I hear no knocking.
Don't be vain, be righteous!

What are you doing here? How do you know this place?
Rafaello Pallavicini:
Uh, a recent discovery. And you?
I come here often. To paint and to read the poets.
Rafaello Pallavicini:
Have you painted for long?
No, not long at all.
Rafaello Pallavicini:
May I see your work?
Oh. I think not.
Rafaello Pallavicini:
Who are your favourite poets?
I read them all. I love Ovid and I love Sappho. "Someone will remember us, even in another time. Even in another time." And you, are you an artist?
Rafaello Pallavicini:
No, I'm a bored nobleman from a family of considerable wealth with too much time on my hands. I paint and draw, pretend to be an artist.
Well then, I will pretend with you.
Rafaello Pallavicini:
What happened to your hand?
Oh, I was bitten. By a panther.
Rafaello Pallavicini:
Yes, I remember the beast. It dared to bite such a beautiful hand?
And thus I cannot paint today.
Rafaello Pallavicini:
Will you marry my brother?
Would he make a worthy husband?
Rafaello Pallavicini:
He is an honourable man so, yes, I think he will make a worthy husband.
For me?
Rafaello Pallavicini:
Well, he is the elder son. He has lands, a fleet of ships, power.
But that is not love, is it?
Rafaello Pallavicini:
No, that's not love.
This is the perfect place.
Rafaello Pallavicini:
For what?
A kiss.

Your gold, your silver.
Wait! Before you speak, I would have you cease marking chalk crosses on my door. You may continue.
Vanities. Your gold, your silver, your trinkets, your books. Give up your vanities!
I have no vanities. I have only my intellect, which I am reluctant to relinquish. And, as you can see, with these looks I have no vanity.
An eternity in Heaven or an eternity in Hell. What will it be?
Hell is here in this city. Heaven has, of late, been removed to another place.
Are you a sinner?
The son of man will return in his glory and he will judge both the quick and the dead. Give up your vanities or face the wrath of God.
Give 'em up. Give up your vanities! Give up your vanities!
Would you have us break your windows?
Yes, would you?
So, God is now reduced to breaking windows. Wait. One moment. Here.
Come to the square -

Tommaso Carracci:
How long can you watch your son suffer at the hands of this man?
Revenge will harden the heart.
Papal Soldier:
Open ranks!
If my son must die, then so be it.
Sforza's Soldier:
Tommaso Carracci:
My lady. There!
You think you can beat me, Sforza?
Tommaso Carracci:
One arrow and we can deprive them of their leader.
Papal Soldier:
The boy weakens, my lord.
Can you kill him? Do it.
Papal Soldier:
Formation! Formation!
Papal Soldier:
Close the gaps, quickly!
Papal Soldier:
Archers ready!
For every arrow!
Benito Riario-Sforza:
For every man you hit, I'll take one of your son's fingers. See! And then I'll hack off his head.
Papal Soldier:
Soldiers, shield! General!
Hernando de Caballos:
Form a shield wall!
Benito Riario-Sforza:
Papal Soldier:
Grab him!
Benito Riario-Sforza:
Papal Soldier:
Ropes! Tie him!
Papal Soldier:

Let me say, I think I know what's in your mind. Tell me, have you fallen in love?
How am I to know? My heart is still with Paulo. But, if I am to marry, to be sold like a sheep, as my father would have it, then I would rather have it be my choice. Shush, shush.
Just pick him up.
I've just fed him.
Why defy your father? He has great love for you. Marriage is a civilized arrangement of mutual benefit; it's not a cattle market.
But I thought that was a cattle market. You give me money, I give you a sheep. Only in this case, I am the sheep. Mother, if I am to choose, then please not Calvino Pallavicini da Genova.
Who then? Oh, let me take him. Come to me. Come to me. Ba-dup, ba-dup. There he is. It's the brother, yes?
Why not?
I knew it. Oh, Lucrezia... This is not possible. Put it out of your mind. It's the golden rule: never marry the second son. Your father will never agree.
Well, then, I will not marry.
Are you in love with him?
No... I don't know. I-I don't want to fall in love, it causes too much pain.
But you desire him.
I have that craving, yes. And why not?
Why not, indeed?

Have you given up your gold, Cardinal? Have you?
Those robes are the trappings of blasphemy!
Burn him all the same!
Sandro Botticelli. The painter.
There he is! The Medici whore!
Save us! Save our souls!
I should have brought my print of the Decameron. Boccaccio would have been amused.
He could have written a fine story about this.
The one hundred and first.
There goes the Botticelli.
Months to paint, a moment to burn.
Cardinal Cesare Borgia, my Bonfire of the Vanities! Stand too close and your mozzetta will turn to fire. And you, Signor Machiavelli, have you brought your works to burn? Be sure, we will visit your house, seek them out, and consign them to the flames!

Six times you've taken the poison and each time your resistance grows. This is the seventh.
"When the lamb opened the seventh seal there was silence in heaven."
Is that all there is? Silence?
I feel as if I go to the other side of life and then return.
Do you have visions?
Just darkness. And shadows.

We grow weary in extremis of this game.
It is no game.
No, it is no game! It is not simply a matter of you satisfying your own sweet self! Your indecision is a gift to our enemies. A folly! This could cost us our lives, our home, our all! You are marrying for all of us, Lucrezia, not just yourself. For family!
What a burden.
Did you not have hopes of capturing Alfonso d'Aragona? He's young, powerful. Surely he'd do nicely.
A message was sent to the south. His arrival was expected but never fulfilled.
What more is to be said? Sell me to the highest bidder.

Sforza's Soldier:
Lord Sforza! We approach Forli!
Sforza's Soldier:
Muffle your arms!

Papal Soldier:
At your ready.
Papal Soldier:
Here is your son! He is waiting to die!
Papal Soldier:
Archers, prepare.
For you! What is your answer?
God will be my judge... but I will never, NEVER bend my knee to the whoremaster of Rome.
Is that your answer?

Sforza's Soldier:
Load the piece quickly!

This is my answer. You can take my son, but do you see? Here! I have the means to produce TEN MORE SONS! And they will hunt you down and send you to your grave.
Enough. Get ready.
Tommaso Carracci:
Ludovico is here!
Sforza's Soldier:
Hernando de Caballos:
We are under attack!
Hunt the Borgia down.
Sforza's Soldier:
Bombard at the ready!
Sforza's Soldier:
Yes sir.
Sforza's Soldier:
Sforza's Soldier:
Sforza's Soldier:
After them!
Kill the boy!
Hernando de Caballos:
We are under attack in the forest. What are your orders?
Kill the boy! Hang him!
Hernando de Caballos:
Hernando de Caballos:
No! Yah!
Save him! Save my son! General!
Tommaso Carracci:
Sforza's Soldier:
Sforza's Soldier:
Sforza's Soldier:
Papal Soldier:
Come about!
Papal Soldier:
They're on both sides!
Sforza's Soldier:

208. Truth and Lies

Previously on The Borgias...
May I present Don Hernando de Caballos. He was at the Siege of Granada.
We had a siege in mind. Catherina Sforza, has been threatening war. Give us occasion to to bend her knee to Rome.
Grab the boy! Grab the boy! Here is your son! He is waiting to die!
I have the means to produce TEN MORE SONS!
Rafaello Pallavicini:
Madame, may I present my brother, Calvino Pallavicini da Genova.
Calvino Pallavicini:
Lady. I am honoured.
It's the brother, yes?
Why not?
Your father will never agree.
You are marrying for all of us, Lucrezia, not just yourself. For family!
Girolamo Savonarola! This edict finds you guilty of disseminating pernicious doctrines. You are hereby ordered to suspend your sermons and prophecies.
I will use it... to wipe my ass!
We have one among us who would be a martyr. Take note of the man with the water jug. He's the pope's taster.
Ludovico of Milan is marching on Forli.
Could a messenger reach my brother in time to warn him?
That would depend on how fast the messenger chooses to ride.
Hernando de Caballos:
We are under attack!
Kill the boy! Hang him!
Hernando de Caballos:

Your Holiness?
Your Holiness?
Holiness, may we intrude?
Holiness, we have received some news.
Well, it must be good news to cause such levity. Go on. Tell us.
Uh, Charles, the, uh, King of France, um...
Go on.
He is dead.
This is a cause for amusement?
No, not to me, Holiness.
Um... it appears he banged his head. While, uh, stooping through a low doorway. After playing tennis!
Being short, it is a miracle that he found a doorway low enough.
There was more steel in that heroic king's diminished frame than can be found in both your bodies. Shame on you. You shall both kneel. Say the rosary one dozen times for the repose of his eternal soul. On reflection... make that three dozen.
In Patris et Filli et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.

Faster! Careful! Faster! Stop. Stop! Help me. Help me!
Sorry, my lord.
We were attacked... from all sides. Ludovico Sforza's army came like a flood from the forest. We fought long and hard. I got hit... by an arrow... in the leg. I could not move. But we fought on, back to back. Men cried, "For God, for Alexander" as they perished. Then I fell. I lost my sensibility. And the battle faded. When I awoke, all I could hear were the cries of the dying. But I escaped in the dark.
We commend your bravery, but... what should have been a glorious victory is an ignominious defeat.
Il Moro must have had word. Of this, this is certain. Cesare was in Florence. Why did he not come to warn us of Ludovico's attack?
How could he have known?
An army was on the move! How could he not have known? Cesare was in Florence with Machiavelli. Machiavelli has spies! Machiavelli knows everything!

Hernando de Caballos:
Who is it?
Hernando de Caballos:
Tell him who you are.
Look at me, boy. Come closer, or I'll come in there and get you.
This is Catherina Sforza's son, Benito. What's he doing here?
What happened to your hand? Show me.
Hernando de Caballos:
A finger was cut off.
Who by?
Hernando de Caballos:
Do I need to tell you? Look at his arms, his neck.
Come, show me. Come. Juan did this?
Hernando de Caballos:
An order was given for him to be hanged. I saved him.
Did Juan bring him to Rome?
Hernando de Caballos:
No, no, he believes the boy to be dead. He is here for safekeeping. The cardinal gave me the key to this place.
What cardinal?
Hernando de Caballos:
Sforza. The boy, the cardinal, they are family.
The poison in this wound runs deep. He will lose an arm or hand, at least. Best I kill you now.
Hernando de Caballos:
And kill the truth? This boy saw what happened at the siege. He witnessed your brother run like a coward.
So why did you save him?
Hernando de Caballos:
It is a matter of honour. I fight the men, not the boys.

Get off! Go. Go!
My brother, the hero.
Did I say "stop"?

Your brother fought to within an inch of his life. He says that you had knowledge of the attack against him, but that you failed to send him a warning.
If you want to know the truth of what happened at Forli, you must ask those who were there.
Multitude of men died. We must atone for their deaths. But you think that there is another story?
Our Holy Father has forbidden discord between his sons. I am here to obey my father and to neither praise nor condemn my brother.
But if we had divested you of your robes, if you were at the Siege of Forli, would you have triumphed?
I would have been there to the end.
We will learn the truth of this. Ah! Now... to another matter that weighs upon our papacy. We hear that fires burn bright in Florence and the Friar Savonarola still preaches.
The people flock to him.
You gave him our apostolic letter commanding his silence?
And he wiped his ass upon it.
So... we must lay charges of heresy against him.
And he will laugh-
Laugh in our face. We know.
I do not have authority to lay the charge of heresy.
Patience. You will have it. You will return... to Florence once more and it will be as if God's vicar himself stands before him.
If it is your wish, Holy Father.
Not ours alone, Cesare. Remember, it is God's work that we do. Ah. Now, somewhere in here, it is written that we have the power to pronounce an ecclesiastical curse upon this friar. A God-given power to condemn him to Hell. A ritual.
Your Holiness?

What did he tell you?
Of whom do you speak, Brother?
Hernando de Caballos.
Ah. He told me of your bravery at Forli. How you stood side by side with your men and fought bravely on. How you upheld the name of Borgia and protected the honour of our family. What else do you think he might have told me, Brother?
And what did you tell our father?
What could I tell him? You know the truth. You were there.

Have faith, your Eminences. Only 14 days until the end of Lent.
Brother Bernardino:
Pure, Your Holiness.
We remain in the wilderness.
Latin Reader:
Super hoc expavit cor meum et emotum est de loco suo.

A living death.
Brother Sylvio:
Yet each time he returns to life with a renewed spirit. He's at one with life yet willing to go happily to his own death.
Brother Sylvio:
He is ready then. You have done your work.
Yes, but we have a hazard, Brother Sylvio.
Brother Sylvio:
What is that?
Brother Bernadino. The pope's taster.
Brother Sylvio:
Ah, yes, of course.
For as long as he remains by the pope's side, our mission is in purgatory.
Brother Sylvio:
I hear the man is a charitable soul.
There is the point. It is one thing to kill this pernicious pope, for which we have blessing, but it is quite another to kill this Brother Bernadino, a man of God, devoted to his faith.
Brother Sylvio:
We too must have faith. God will guide us.

What's your prediction?
Of your condition?
What else?
In a word, my lord, in the long term- blindness, madness, death.
That is three words.
And then there is your leg. If the contamination cannot be abated, it may have to be removed.
My leg? That is to be my destiny- a pox-ridden blind madman with one leg?
We pray not, Excellency. Relief is at hand. Here is a medicament much appreciated by our Roman ancestors, an extraction of homegrown efflorescence.
Tell me what it does.
It has long been known to relieve pain, such as that in your leg, and it also calms disturbances of the bowel.
And let us not forget my privy member.
I have often thought that a fortune might be made by its export.
What's it called?
It's commonly called opium. Uh, sometimes it is referred to as the tears of the poppy.
How very poetic.

Calvino Pallavicini, his good-for-nothing brother, and his entire retinue-
Sh! Sh!
-of aides and auxiliaries, repose at our expense, while we wait for our daughter to emerge from her chamber. We would see an end to this procrastination!
Sh! I wish I hadn't been volunteered for this. Far better to arrange a funeral. The dead don't bicker.
The Pallavicini are a family of immense power and influence. Calvino Pallavicini is a merchant of wealth, they have a vast array of ships, and, what's more, he has Spanish blood!
On the mother's side.
Well, any side will do! We would see a betrothal today!
We will do what we can.
Thank you!
Although why I am charged with this task remains a mystery.
Well, long may it remain so.

We need more hands on the top level!

We are being ridiculed, my sons. From Rome to Venice. The Friar Savonarola is howling his iniquities from Florence. Posted on every tavern wall, scrawled and scribbled, Catherina Sforza's supposed words: "Ten more sons."
I have heard these words.
A scurrilous fancy, Father.
But rumour has it that you captured her son and she stood on the battlements, raised her skirts above her head, and said, "Don't you realize, Borgia, I can have 10 more sons?"
Lies, Father.
We would know the truth.
I captured her son, laid siege to her castle, Ludovico Sforza came to her aid, and her son died in the heat of the battle.
To which you gave your all.
Why do you say that? Look! This wound is killing me! What more is there for me to give?
It's all right, sit down. Cesare.
I have no tale to tell.
The tale you do not tell is why you chose not to warn me of Ludovico Sforza's attack.
Had I known, I would have warned you.
How could you NOT have known?
I was sent by our Holy Father on a different mission.
Had you not laid siege to Catherina Sforza's bed, there would have been no bloodshed.
Ten more sons.
Quiet. Quiet. Come on. Do you know what is more poisonous than failure in war or politics? Ridicule!

Calvino Pallavicini:
Lady Lucrezia.
Calvino Pallavicini:
You see, I'm following your instructions. Only meat.
Good. I have never seen these rooms before. My father has made you comfortable?
Calvino Pallavicini:
Yes. Most generous.
And... your brother? I believe it is your brother who travels with you, yes?
Calvino Pallavicini:
Yes. Yes, he has a chamber- here. He's not here at this time.
Oh. Your Excellency, I think it is not appropriate that we are alone together without attendants. You must excuse me.
Calvino Pallavicini:
Lady. Lady Lucrezia. You are VERY beautiful.
Thank you. And you, your Excellency, you are most handsome.

Enjoy. God bless you!
Fresh fish! Fresh fish!
His Holiness is immersed himself in a theatre of penitence. He has discovered sobriety, abstinence. It's as if the Lenten fast had only just been invented. The pope's taster buys his food, chooses his fish, guts them, prepares them. You don't like the smell of fish?
No. But while the pope still has a taster, my mission remains in purgatory.
Brother Bernardino:
I want only the best for His Holiness.
God will show us the way.

Hernando de Caballos:
The boy, Benito, I leave him in your charge, for safekeeping. He must be given life.
You are an honoured guest, Don Hernando. I would have you stay.
Hernando de Caballos:
Your Eminence, I do not wish to play this game I see you all play. You Borgias. The Sforzas. Orsini. Medici. All of you, here in this beautiful land. God gives you riches, and you kill for more. I would have no part of this. I have said all I wish to say of Forli. You know the truth. And your father, he seeks truth he already knows. Hmm. I would leave now, before you find my body floating in the Tiber.

The man I am to replace, the pope's taster, what kind of man is he? Do you know him?
Brother Sylvio:
I know of him.
Is he of this order?
Brother Sylvio:
No, he's not. Why do you ask, little brother?
That I might learn how best to become the pope's taster. Is he a man of God?
Brother Sylvio:
He's known to be a charitable soul. Every day he distributes food to the poor.
So, he is a man of God, then?
Wrong question. The question is, does Brother Bernadino serve a man of God? If goodness places itself in the service of badness, does it still deserve the name? As a taster, you must know your trade.

Which would you like?
It is impossible. I cannot decide.
This is torrone with hazelnuts. And this is canditi.
I love them both.
Then which one will you eat?
I don't know.
What's your name?
Mother, what a question; what game is this?
The game is your name, Lucrezia. What is your name?
Lucrezia who?
Yes, Borgia. Do you understand? You are a Borgia. You can have both, Lucrezia Borgia.
Now I see the game. It is a game of love- and lust.
And marriage.
Which is Raffaello and which is Calvino?
It doesn't matter. That's the point of the game. Have both. Marry one and have the other. Have them one at a time or two together, it's no matter. After a while you will tire of both and take a lover. Lucrezia, look at me. Look me in the eye. Eat. And now the other.
Mm. Delicious.
There. You see. There's room for two.

Yes. Ah, here he is.
My lord.
This is Mohammed.
Mohammed? Here in the Holy City?
He can help you ease your pain. Go with him. Trust him. All will be well.
Come, my friend. Please.

Yalla. Almost there now. Come. Harrek. Salama Alaykum.
Breathe in slow-
Here you will find nothing but friends.
What is it they're smoking?
It is opium. When you cut the poppy, it cries. Come. Join your new friends. Ease your pain.

Poor, poor Benito Sforza. What is to be done with you, boy? Washed up in Rome like a stray dog. Should I kill you? Would it be a kindness to put you down?
Benito Riario-Sforza:
Because I am my mother's son?
Your mother is a whore, boy. Reason enough, I would say. My master summons you, boy. You have truths to tell. You are to come with me.
Benito Riario-Sforza:
To my death?
Remains to be seen.

Who are you?
Benito Riario-Sforza:
Holy Father, I must speak with you. I'm- I'm-
Oh! What- what have they done? Who are you?
Benito Riario-Sforza:
I am Benito Sforza, the son of Catherina Sforza, and I am here to tell you- I'm here to tell you what truly happened at the Siege of Forli.

My son! So late to bed?
I'm a sleepwalker. This wound will not let me rest.
Is it your body or your soul that needs healing? Your defeat at Forli may be atoned for.
We were betrayed, Father. Surely you must realize that? If I'd had word of the attack, Catherina Sforza would be- would be here now in irons.
And her son, Benito?
Her son? What of him? Ah! He's dead. A small consolation.
Perhaps we should suspend enmities. Regroup our forces.
Until my leg is healed.
Hm. Find someone else to lead the papal forces in your stead.
I lead your armies. I defend this papacy, I defend this family, with my heart and with my soul.
Juan, in your condition you are in no fit state to defend anything. Not even yourself.
If you were to rob my sword from me, my position, my respect, then there is a price to pay. If you take my honour, you must take my life. Mine to give, yours to take.
Juan. Juan, you must sleep.
I will sleep with the knowledge that my estate is secure.
Your estate remains in your hands. Now, come on. Go and rest.

Boy, see to the horses! I'll come back for the others.
Cardinal Borgia. His Holiness sends this boy to you and charges you to return him on your journey to Florence.
To where?
In his own words, to the one who gave him life. His mother.
What's this?
Benito Riario-Sforza:
It's from the Holy Father himself. An olive branch for my mother.
An offering.

Rafaello Pallavicini:
Lady Lucrezia.
Raffaello Pallavicini da Genova. I see you have been drawing.
Rafaello Pallavicini:
Oh, um, some sketches, from the Roman ruins on the Via Aurelia.
I know it well. Oh, I think you have dropped something.
Rafaello Pallavicini:
No, I think not.
Oh, yes, believe me, I saw you drop it. I think you had better read it without delay.

Rafaello Pallavicini:
Lucrezia. Are you saying yes to my brother?
And I am saying yes to you. I'll say yes to your brother to keep you here. Torrone morbido or canditi. Which would you have?
Rafaello Pallavicini:
I like them both.
Ah. So have both. Mm.

Fresh fish! Fresh fish!
Fish for Lent!
Brother Bernardino:
Keep up with me, boy.

They say drowning is like dreaming.
Who is to know that? Whoever came back from the dead to tell?
Just give me the word, Eminence, and it is done.
He carries an olive branch.
And this would bring peace?
I doubt it.
This boy is marked for life. He has the smell of revenge about him. Let me kill him now and that is an end to it.
You may be right, but... Ready!
I just offered to drown you in that stream. My master said no.
Benito Riario-Sforza:
They say drowning is like dreaming.
And how do you know that?
Benito Riario-Sforza:
I heard you tell your master.

Calvino Pallavicini:
Sweet Lady Lucrezia, since my arrival here in Rome I have been captivated by the Holy City whose beauty is only eclipsed by the beauty of the woman I now see before me.
Oh, so true.
Calvino Pallavicini:
As heir to my father, Agostino Pallavicini da Genova, this bark I present to you is a symbol of the exotic treasures and riches which our fleet of ships carry from around the globe to our mighty port of Genova. All that is mine, I now lay at your feet.
Calvino Pallavicini:
We share a proud Spanish heritage and I pray to the almighty God who rules us all that you will accept this offer of marriage and of a binding alliance between our families against our common foes.
I thank you. Then my answer is... Yes.
All praise. This is an historic occasion. At last. You have brought light into our lives. We thank the saints that have given you this wisdom.

You remember this moment as an act of mercy.
This dog will come back and bite.
What was it the Spaniard said? I fight men, not boys.
Open the gate! Summon Lady Sforza! Open the gate!

Brother Bernardino:
Bless you, little one.
You requested confession.
Yes. I confess I have sinned.
And what is the nature of your sin?
You must know it, Cardinal. Or at least suspect.
What could I suspect?
Murder. I created a vacancy in the papal household. I killed the one I must replace. Brother Bernadino.
My God.
One gentle push while the good brother fished the river was all that was needed. He struggled but the weight of his robes trapped him down.
God forgive us all.
Am I fulfilling my mission, Cardinal?
More than one could ever have hoped.

209. World of Wonders

Previously on The Borgias...
We were attacked from all sides.
What should have been a glorious victory is an ignominious defeat.
Cesare was in Florence. Why did he not come to warn us?
How could he have known?
How could he not have known?
My brother, the hero.
Rumour has it Catherina Sforza raised her skirts and said "I can have 10 more sons."
Do you know what is more poisonous than failure? Ridicule!
We have a hazard. Brother Bernadino.
While the pope still has a taster, my mission remains in purgatory.
God forgive us all.
We hear that fires burn in Florence and that Savonarola still preaches.
He says that visions are put into his mind by angels.
Well, that could give us cause to burn him. Calvino Pallavicini and his good-for-nothing brother repose at our expense. We would see a betrothal today!
Your brother? It is your brother who travels with you, yes?
Rafaello Pallavicini:
Lucrezia. Are you saying yes to my brother?
All praise.
This wound will not let me rest. What is it they're smoking?
It is opium. Come, ease your pain.
Perhaps we should find someone else to lead the papal forces in your stead.
I defend this papacy; I defend this family with my heart.
Juan, you are in no fit state to defend anything. Not even yourself.

Make it absolutely clear that it's not possible...
Your Holiness, an urgent matter.
Calvino Pallavicini:
Holy Father.
What is this?
Holiness -
Just one moment.
Calvino Pallavicini:
Holy Father. I cannot marry your daughter.
We are the Pope of Rome and you tell us you cannot marry our daughter? Why?
Rafaello Pallavicini:
Holy Father.
We think we know what you are about to say.
Rafaello Pallavicini:
I wish to marry your daughter.
What a revelation. And is our daughter party to this proposal?
Rafaello Pallavicini:
Yes, I hope she is, Holiness.
You hope. Would it not have been prudent to inquire before you apprehended us in this manner?
Rafaello Pallavicini:
I am an honourable man, Holiness. I humbly beg your blessing to marry your daughter Lucrezia.
We think you have lost sight of your moorings, young sir. Your brother is a man of means, a first son; he commands a vast fleet of ships trading untold wealth. You are a second son, command as far as we are aware no more than a paint brush.
Holy Father!
What is it, Cardinal?
Your taster, Brother Bernadino.
What of him?
He is dead.
How? Poisoned?
No, he drowned in the Tiber whilst fishing.
Well, how did that happen?
It was an accident.
Bodies are pulled from the Tiber every day.
God rest his soul. And damn yours! And yours! And all of you!

Thank you for your help.

Vanozza! Vanozza! Vanozza! Did you know of this?
Of what?
That our daughter, betrothed to one gives herself to the brother?
Lucrezia? It's not possible. How could she be so foolish?
With the help of those around her, perhaps? What advice did you give her?
I merely said that if she married to please you, she may yet love to please herself.
And you thought that wise?
I married one of your choosing to be free to love you.
But you were not the pope's daughter!
Rodrigo, she will love whom she chooses. She is a Borgia.
I hear the Pallavicini boys have gone.
Yes, because you would marry a pauper with a paint brush.
I would have married Calvino Pallavicini as you bid, dear father. But if I had followed my heart, I doubt I would have married either of them.
Oh, so, the future of this family is in thrall to your heart?
If it is, it needs mending. Like my heart.

Here lie the ashes of countless treasures.
Savonarola's Bonfire of the Vanities.
The fire burned for days. People added more to keep the flames alive.
The people of Florence had a good life. How can this Savonarola rob them of all this and yet still have them clinging to his every word?
If you can understand that, Your Eminence, then you will have the key to bring down the man.
Break the spell, break the man.

Holiness, your security is paramount. Therefore, until we find a suitable recruit, I have decided to take on the role of food taster myself.
Oh! Greater love hath no man. We will vet personally those who you choose. They should all be from holy orders. Pure in spirit. But now, Cardinal, your attention, please. We will hold a ritual in the basilica. Preparations should be made in the next two days. An anathema.
An excommunication.
Friar Savonarola. We have charged Cardinal Borgia to silence him, to accuse him of heresy in full view of the entire populace of Florence. Whereas here in Rome, from the throne of St. Peter's, we will condemn his soul to the fires of Hell.

These people trust their fates, their fortunes, to the power of spells. Come. Savonarola understands that what haunts a man's mind in the night is what rules him. He trades in the fear of hell.
The Witch:
Untie me! Untie me! I tell you! Please! I've done nothing!
Here is a different kind of bonfire.
The Witch:
Damn you all! God will punish you!
What is her crime?
She is a witch! People believe she has the power to cast them into Hell.
Fear of damnation and the hope for a better life in the next world. That is what Savonarola promises. He trades in miracles. Show him to be wrong, the man will burn... just like the witch.
The Witch:
Damn you!
Damn your soul!
The Witch:
God will punish you!
Burn, you witch!
The Witch:
No! God will punish you!
Heathen! Heathen!
Black-hearted vixen!
Glorify us!
Purify her!
If angels can fall from Heaven into Hell... then so can we all.
Purify your soul!
The demon waits to devour us.
Then we must go wrestle with the demon.
Burn in hell!
Protect us!
Damnation for you! Damnation!

Are fulfilled the sayings of Isaiah - "They declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not-" Jeremiah, "Thou hadst a whore's forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed." You defend yourselves to your soul's damnation!
Girolamo Savonarola, I am Cardinal Cesare Borgia and I come bearing the authority of His Holiness, Alexander the Sixth, Pope of Rome!
Here is the Pope's messenger, his bastard son! One of many, we hear, fathered across the nation.
Brother Savonarola, you stand accused of defying papal orders to cease your heretical preaching and of refusing to present yourself in Rome to bend your knee to our Holy Father.
I recognize no such power! My authority comes from a higher being than your godless pope in Rome!
Then we must put it to the test. A trial by fire. The whole of Florence can be judge and jury! I challenge you, here in this temple of God. As Christ, our Saviour, walked on water, if you can walk through fire, untouched, then I will follow you into the flames.
God will protect you, Father!
Show us, Father!
Children. God speaks to me. I am not afraid. I will... walk through the fire. And, he, he that follows me will burn.

Do you remember the old days? Do you? We were friends. We did everything together. Now look what pain you cause me. Have I betrayed you or have you betrayed me, eh? Answer me, you bastard. As usual, ah! You have nothing to say - ...but still you rule my life.

Wherefore in the name of God, the All-powerful, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and of all the saints, in virtue of the power which has been given us of binding and loosing in Heaven and on earth.

May God be my witness! We believe in you! I testify that Alexander Sextus of Rome is no pope! He is no Christian! And believes in no God! I will walk through this fire to show I speak God's truth!

We deprive the Friar, Girolamo Savonarola, himself, and all his abettors of the communions of the body and blood of our Lord. We separate him from the society of all Christians, we exclude him from the bosom of our Holy Mother, the Church in Heaven and on earth... We declare him excommunicated and anathematized, and we judge him condemned to eternal fire with Satan and his angels and all those damned, so long as he will not burst the fetters of the demon, do penance, and satisfy the Church.

Ah! Ah!

We deliver him to Satan to mortify his body, that his soul may be saved on the day of judgment.
Fiat, fiat.

He burns!
We gave everything for you!
Get him.
Give him to us!
Take him to Rome.

You will present yourself to the pope as a Franciscan. You will be asked why you would accept such a task. And what is your answer?
Because I would gladly die in the service of the Pope of Rome.
And you will mean every word you say.
I will, Father.
If hired, you will bide your time. You will choose your moment. You may have one chance and one chance only to deliver a fatal dose.
Fatal for both of us.
May God be with you.

There is something I'd like to say. It's long been my suspicion that my brother... has congress with my angelic sister. The issue of such a union would produce a demon to devour the world. And me. No one is listening. No one is listening.

What's the matter with him? Has he been drinking? Get up! Take him to our apartments. Let him sleep it off.
Father. Father...
Take your hands off me!
The friar, Savonarola, he's been disgraced. The people of Florence celebrate.
Ah! We greet this good news with caution. Has he confessed?
He will. He is being hauled to Rome as we speak.
Oh, so all is not yet won.
Father, when the rack embraces him, he will confess.
But he must be seen to be guilty, hence the need for his confession. The people must understand that no one is at liberty to impugn the office of the papacy. No one! And he must sign his confession and then...
And then we will put him to the fire.
A public spectacle. And no relics must remain.

Holiness, I have examined the applicants for the post of food taster and reduced them to three.
A trinity, good. Come observe.
Rise. A Cistercian.
We are aware. Show us your hands. You would save us from poison, but poison us with grime.
The Cistercian:
We till the soil, Holy Father.
As the apostle James.
A Dominican.
The Dominican:
Yes, Holy Father.
We are acquainted with your brethren in Florence. Show us your hands. Why do you desire to serve us?
I will gladly die to preserve the life of His Holiness, secure in the knowledge that the Lord Jesus Christ stands behind me and His light shines through me.
What is your name?
Antonello. You are a Franciscan, young martyr?
Yes, Father... Holiness.
Our confessor was a Franciscan. We are fasting. Are you prepared for a diet of sardines?
As his Holiness eats, so shall I.
Then prepare to starve in our service. Give the other two a meal. Send them on their way.

The man is a bear, Eminence. Brand him, gouge him, stretch him to the limit. Believe me, this man will not break.
He must be seen to be guilty. He must confess. Welcome to Rome. Reflect, had you forsworn your heresies, embraced Rome, the Holy Church would be embracing you now.
Lies ooze from your mouth like pus from a dead horse. All that awaited me was the Castel Sant'Angelo.
Well, it is all that awaits you now.
True confession can only be extracted by torture; is that not so?
That is so.
Torture is hard work for a soft stomach. Are you sure you're up to it?
It is not me who will be tortured. Have no doubt, you will sign your confession.
By then you will be an old man.

Lent is over. Our 40 days in the wilderness have passed. We have deemed it God's will that we continue our fast.
But Your Holiness. The bells ring. Christ the Redeemer is risen. Surely, Easter is a time for celebration.
You may eat, Cardinal Piccolomini. But the Pope of Rome will abstain. Alone, if needs be, until God smiles upon St. Peter's once more. Sardines, if you please. No, no, no wine. We just drink water.
Julius Versucci:
My preference is to eat sardines, Your Holiness.
Oh, we welcome your company, Cardinal Versucci.
The water is pure, Your Holiness.
Hm. So we shall drink water. And water alone. Benedictus, Benedicat per Christum Dominum Nostrum. Amen.

Are you an assassin?
No, I am Thisbe, come to whisper my love.
Would you have us be your Pyramus? That story ended tragically: he fell upon his sword.
No, but I would still whisper my love into your ear.
Oh. This abstinence grows tiresome. We've spent so long in the wilderness.
Why do you persist in punishing yourself when your labours bear fruit?
It is God that punishes, not we ourselves.
Yes, but God has given his blessing to your work. A bathhouse has been restored. An orphanage will bear your name. The poor of Rome have bread. Your papacy is a blessing to all. You are doing God's will. Is that not sign enough?
Yes. Maybe you're right. We've been thinking too much of ourself.
There's one other blessing you must confer.
There is?
Lucrezia's son. Your grandson, Giovanni. He needs the holy sacraments of baptism.
Giovanni, yes, of course. His welfare is our duty, both in this world and the next. We would not have that angel condemned to purgatory. Nor this angel.

Are you spying?
We are rejoicing at such a beauteous sight.
The pope rejoices once more?
We have been in the wilderness, my love. For our sins. But it would be a sin to condemn little Giovanni to that wilderness as well.
Do you mean-
We would see him baptized.
Ah. It is long past the time. Hey, sh, sh, sh.
He shall be named and blessed in the eyes of God for all to see.
It is my prayer.
And we shall have festivities worthy of such a beautiful Madonna and child.
And Cesare must be the godfather.
Yes. Sh-sh-sh-sh...

Giovanni ego te baptizo in nomine Patris, et Filii et Spiritus Sancti.

Why wait so long to bless this bastard, eh?
Bastard yourself, Juan Borgia.
Thanks to you, holy mother.
Take care not to stand too close. God knows what might rub off on you.
God knows why you're even here. My father discarded you long ago.
What happened to you, Juan? You were such a lovely child.
A drink, if you please, Little Brother.
Water, of course, Holy Father?
No, no, no, wine. We would have wine. Take care; we would not have you spill the wine. It comes from our vineyards in Spain, Valencia. Too precious to spill. Taste it; you will see.
I only know, Holy Father, that it is wine.
Drink a little more. Let's see your eyes. Ah, not a trace of red. Pour. We are done with fasting. We would celebrate the baptism of our grandson with an abundance of wine.
Ah, Lucrezia. I would toast you and our grandson Giovanni.
He is tired, Nurse. Father...
...I have a gift for you.
For me?
A dance.
Angels and Virgins.
No, flesh and blood, Brother, as you well know. Don't pretend that nothing stirs beneath that Cardinal's skirt of yours.
Tell me, is it true what people are chanting and singing, as our father said? "Ten more sons"?
Would you start another brawl with me?
And spoil the idyll of this beautiful dance? Never.
It was a foolish insult. It cost her son his life. Why do you shake your head?
Because it's not true. Her son lives.
He can't have lived. I saw him hang.
What you did not see is Don Hernando de Caballos saved him and brought him here to Rome.
So where is he now?
Back at Forli. With his mother.
So why bring him to Rome?
He had an audience. With his Holiness, the Pope.
I see your purpose here, your pathetic, fervent hope. You want to inhabit my shoes. Wear my armour. Carry my sword. But what you don't realize is that I am the prodigal son. And our father is never wrong. I am the light of his life! You must resign yourself, Cesare. For you will end your life in a clerical skirt.
Brava! Brava!
Sister... So, finally, the bastard has a name, blessed by our Holy Father, and saved from damnation.
And you, dear brother, will you be saved from damnation?
The angels smile on me.
Please don't.
One day you'll realize that everything I've done has been for your own good. If you had tried to marry that waster from Genova, the one with the paint brush... I would have taken good care of him.
For the good of the family, no doubt.
Like you took care of Paolo? A stable boy. For the good of the family.
Exactly so. Everything I do is for the family. Were it not for our father's affection of your bastard son, I'd have tossed that piglet into the Tiber at birth. That's the only baptism it deserves.
We are all bastards. You, me, our brothers. We are all bastards.
Yes... Perhaps. But we are Borgia bastards. And there, dear Sis, lies the difference. Hello, little piggy, time for a little dance, I think.
Leave my baby! Juan, leave my baby alone! No! No! No! Leave my baby alone! Sh, sh, sh.

The Pope of Rome!
Can you believe it?
Can you imagine!
Here, take my hand.

Poison. Tell me about poison.
It kills with no hope of reprieve.
I would happily kill tonight.
And break your father's heart?
Would that be the consequence?
Indeed. He loves his errant son, does he not? More than he loves his dutiful one.
Well, then, love is blind.
Blind and deaf and dumb.
No killing then.
Hearts may yet be broken. But not yours.

Ten more sons!
Ten more, ten more, ten more sons!
Forgive us, my lord.

Father, we must discuss our brother. He is hurtling towards ruin. And he will drag this whole family with him.
You loved him once. You must love him again.
Must I? Will love make him a better man?
Help him... through his dark night. Don't let envy rule your heart.
So I am my brother's keeper?
Yes. He needs you. As counsel, as support... as cardinal. He needs you.

Come on, say it again. "Ten more sons."
Ten-ten more sons!
And again!
Ten-ten more...
Say it!
You think... this is wise, my lord? Where would you put the body?
Take your hand off me or you're a dead man.
You press - You press in the wrong spot, my lord. You press here. She is dead in a moment.
You'll suffer for this.

My lord. Let me help you.

Evening, my friend. Tell me, do you have a man named Juan visiting your home this night? I would consider your answer carefully.
Yes, he is here.
Tell him his brother would speak with him. Nothing to fear.

Brother. Have you come to beg forgiveness for your insult?
I have.
You are already forgiven. Imagine that you are sitting on the edge of a vast well, your feet dangling over the edge. Moving slowly around the walls of the well, like smoke, there's a world of wonders reaching down, as far down as the eye can see. These wonders are your life. I glimpse us, Cesare, two brothers in harmony, walking together. All these visions are the work of tears.
Tears of blood.
No. Tears of the poppy. Everything is there for you to see. Birth. And, of course, your death. But the miracle is that there's no pain. I have been in pain, Cesare, for all my years. And you- you are in pain, Brother. I can feel it.
Yes. I am in pain.
You would end your pain?
Yes. And I would end yours.
Ah! My brother! What is this?
Only God forgives.
We're Borgias! We never forgive.
I stand in awe, your Eminence.
You killed your father.
Still, I stand in awe.

210. The Confession

Previously on The Borgias...
Father, we must discuss our brother. He is hurtling towards ruin. And he will drag this whole family with him.
You're pathetic. You want to inhabit my shoes. Wear my armour. Carry my sword. You will end your life in a clerical skirt.
It is a daughter's duty to marry her father's choice!
She will love whom she chooses. She is a Borgia.
I would have married as you bid. But if I had followed my heart-
So, the future of this family is in thrall to your heart?
You stand accused of defying papal orders to cease your heretical preaching.
I will walk through this fire to show I speak God's truth!
Savonarola's been disgraced. He's being hauled to Rome as we speak.
Has he confessed?
He will. When the rack embraces him, he will confess.
Present yourself as a Franciscan. Seek employment as his taster. If hired, you will bide your time. You may have one chance only to deliver a fatal dose.
One day you'll realize that everything I've done has been for your own good.
Like you took care of Paolo? A stable boy. For the good of the family.
Exactly so.
Leave my baby! Juan, leave my baby alone!
What happened to you, Juan? You were such a lovely child.
Tell me about poison. I would happily kill tonight.
And break your father's heart?
Help him through his dark night. Don't let envy rule your heart.
He loves his errant son, does he not? More than he loves his dutiful one.
No killing then.
Hearts may yet be broken.
Have you come to beg forgiveness for your insult? You're already forgiven. Ah!
We're Borgias; we never forgive.

Make your confession and all this will end. You want that, don't you? An end to all this pain? You sign this, and it's done. What do you say?
Release him. You sign here. Here! Put him back.

You were to bring me two things. A confession from the heretic and your brother. Tell us you have at least one out of the two.
Savonarola will break on the rack. His confession will come any day now.
It has been too many days already. And our second son?
I had all of Rome searched.
And? Make more effort. A man doesn't just vanish into the wind.

Everywhere you have searched before, search again.
Captain of the Guard:
Again, your Eminence?
Yes, make more effort. Find him!
You've searched his friends' palaces, brothels, gaming halls, taverns, the like?
Captain of the Guard:
Yes, Your Eminence. Many times.
Start with the mortuaries.

Stop. Who are you?
I am Prince Alfonso d'Aragona, Duke of Bisceglie and Prince of Salerno.
What are you doing here?
I am suitor to the Lady Lucrezia, daughter of his Holiness, Alexander the Sixth, Pope of Rome.
Indeed? Lucrezia Borgia? Poor boy. Come. I will take you to her. So you are suitor to the Lady Lucrezia.
I am.
A great responsibility for one so young. Take off your cloak.
If I remove my coat, what will you remove in return?
We will see. The Lady Lucrezia has a great many suitors. Some are wheat and some are chaff. And it falls to me to separate the one from the other.
I am neither wheat nor chaff. I am Alfonso d'Aragona, and I am flesh and blood.
Turn around.
If it pleases you.
It pleases me.
Now you must do the same in return.
If it pleases you.
It pleases me. So, what now? How far does your Lady Lucrezia care for this game to go on?
There is no limit. Just as one would have one's groom break in a new horse... so it is with my lady's lovers and me.

Before he ate only sardines and drank only water. So I poisoned the water and then he drank wine. I fear I will fail you.
God has chosen you for this glorious path. This pope is on the brink of a chasm. One breath- your breath- will topple him. When the moment comes, you will know. God will tell you.

I know what you are.
I have had your kind stoned to death... and their corpses dragged through the streets.
My kind?
Men who lay with men. Sodomites who corrupt young innocent boys who artists use as angels. I have cleansed Florence of her sin.
And yet here I am. Your last chance. Will you confess?
To you? To you? Never. To your master. Yes. None else.

Duke of Bisceglie and Prince of Salerno.
What are they like, Bisceglie and Salerno?
Beautiful. But for all the world I would rather be here.
You find Rome so appealing?
Not Rome. Here. When you speak of me to the Lady Lucrezia...
If... your account is favourable... can you and I...?
Never. We must never see each other again. If you are hers, you are hers alone.
So... tell her I was inept, or coarse or beyond ugly. And come with me and be mine alone.
You would turn down the pope's own daughter for me? Why?
Because I have never known a woman so lovely.
Poor boy. It's time for me to go.

Who would have thought a body could stand so much pain? They've tortured the man near to death.
The strength of a faith misguided is still a strength. He thought he could walk through fire.
I disabused him of that notion.
You have broken his hold on power. You have broken the bones of his body. All that you lack is his confession.
Exactly so. That which was said publicly must be recanted publicly. Even in death he would be poison. Rome needs this confession.
Then... give it to them.

He is pleased to see his grandfather.
We don't see enough of him. We have other things on our mind.
Juan will come home. He always does.
Hm. Well, Juan is not our only concern. There are other matters of...state and... family.
Ah. State and family must mean marriage. You have another suitor standing by.
Well, Prince Alfonso d'Aragona.
Well, I've heard of him.
He's arrived at last.
He's a child, is he not?
Well, no, he's young.
A boy of clay to mould into a man of my liking?
We would have you meet him and not dismiss him out of hand, but meet him as a dutiful daughter should.
If it is my duty, I shall meet with him.
Strictly as a duty.
Yes. Oh. Oh. Nanny, I think little Giovanni done a- you know.
Come here.
Yes, there you go. Ooh.
Holiness. May I, my lady?
I'll take him.
Oh dear.

Oh dear.
Presenting the most gracious... Lady Lucrezia Borgia.
This is Prince Alfonso d'Aragona?
Duke of Bisceglie and Prince of Salerno.
I- Well, I-
Does he just make noises?
Yes, I will marry him. He has all the sweetness of an apple on the tree. I will marry him tomorrow if you wish it.
You may kiss me. On the cheek.
What a most charming and welcome eventuation. We feel invigorated!
Your Holiness.
How refreshing that our children are still able to surprise us.
Captain of the Guard:
Eminence. We have a body, your Eminence.
What? Well, tell us.
There is a body.

Who- Who... is this?
No one, your Holiness. It's a mistake.
You've been searching the mortuaries. Did our son order this?
No, I did.
You consider him dead?
I consider the possibility.

Do you truly want to do this?
Truly, no. But we must.

How long must this continue? We both know you cannot stand much more.
I... have run dry of screams.
Then end it. Admit your heresy.
My strength fails me. My will fails me.
I saved you for this very purpose. Now you sign it, and end it.
I am weak... and... and no will...
No. No! I know you went too far!
He's alive. Just.
God speaks to me! Whatever you do to me... God is ready.
I thank God for your confession. He cannot speak of this.
You... bastard!
You will burn for your blasphemy!
No, it is you who will burn.
And with my last strength I damn this unholy pope. I shout to the world the falseness of this confession!
Hold him. I'll have your tongue. Hold him!

These poor creatures were all brought in last night?
Mortuary Attendant:
Yes, lady. The carts come in all night long.
Mortuary Attendant:
The haul from the river's in here, sir, if you'd like to see. Six or seven a night, like as not.
Take him home.

Holy Father, I bring you the signed confession of the heretic Savonarola of Florence. What happened?
He was... dragged from the Tiber. Dogs... cats... the stillborn offspring of prostitutes... and our son.
Leave us, Cardinals.
Who would do such a thing? Who would dare? Who had cause to wish him harm?
Any one of the many he harmed.
What? What do you say?
Nothing, Father.
What do you say?
You asked who would do such a thing. The answer is, many people, Father. Many people.
We don't understand. Here lies your brother, murdered in cold blood, and you speak as if... Many people. Many people, you say? Do you count yourself among their number?
Let her speak!
What would you have me say? You know what he did to me! What he took from me! You all do! And you stood by for the honour of the family. I have wished him dead a thousand times, and now you want me to mourn him? I'm sorry, Father, I cannot.
And you? He was your brother. You show no tears? Are you stone?
I wept them all out for him long ago. Over and over, I watched him fail, and I wept. You should know, you were there. And still you granted him your every favour.
Take yourselves- both- away from our sight!

Clean him up. Bring him back to life as if he were our own Lord Jesus Christ.
The Embalmer:
Yes, Eminence.
Do your work.

How could we have missed such enmity in the bosom of our family?
You saw with a father's eyes.
And you? Would you have had him dead?
No. No, he was our son.
But there were times... many times... when I wished that he had not been born.
Let him go. Arrange the funeral and say our farewells.
No. He is our son. He will not be buried. I will not let him go.
We have to bury him.
No burial. Do you hear me? No burial!

Hell is too good for you!
Burn for eternity!
Burn in Hell, you Satanic dog!
On your feet!
Burn, Friar!
Burn in Hell, you scum!
You betrayed the Church and the people!
Burn the heretic!
Let justice be done!
Now you're gonna burn!
You're a liar and a hypocrite!
Burn in Hell, Savonarola!
Enjoy the flames!
Rot in Hell!
Go to Hell!
You betrayed us Friar, now burn in Hell!
Holy Father. It is time.
Torches, forward!
Wait. We have read your confession. We know every poisonous detail of your heresy, each one of the multitude of your sins. And yet we are all sinners. Our sacred trust holds, even at this moment, this heartbeat between this world and the next. Do but repent, and your sins may be forgiven. Whatever you have done, we are disposed to grant you our absolution. Let him burn.
Hot enough for you now?

Little sister.
I would ask you something.
Then ask, and it is yours.
I would ask you to marry me.
As you wish. My word is my word. We shall run away, change our names perhaps. Live out our days in some small fishing village by the coast, where no one will ever guess who we once were.
To Alfonso.
Yes, yes, I know. You would have me marry you to him.
Do you love him?
I think he is good. I believe I can love him.
So you have a good man at last. But I cannot marry you.
I truly wish it.
These hands have seen too much of blood and sin to join two such tender creatures.
These hands bear a cardinal's ring.
Until today they have. But no longer, I think.

So... Lucrezia is to be married.
The brightest and bleakest of days.
They say you're not eating.
We fast... we abstain... we scourge our flesh... we take all mortification. And still we are punished.
This is not God's doing, Father.
Everything is God's doing! Until we find his murderer, though we scour all Italy, Juan shall not be buried.
There must be a funeral. It is arranged.
No! We will not send him to purgatory. He will have no rest until we find who did this. There can be no hiding place so deep that we will not seek them out.
There will be no need of that.
Do you know who did this?
I do.
Well, then, tell us!
You truly wish to know?
Ah... Well, we... must.
Then first I ask that you hear my confession.
Your confession?
And I further ask that you release me from my vows as cardinal, and... I ask for your forgiveness of my sins.
What sins have you committed?
I have protected the papacy against her enemies when none other would stand his ground. I have made my family strong in the face of those who would weaken it. I have brought low the heretic Savonarola and outwitted the army of the French King, and all this, Father, all this, I have done for Rome and the Church... and for you.
Tell me your sins.
It is this, and only this: that I have taken upon my head the act that none other would dare commit, though its commission benefits all. I swore a vow long ago that I would put an end to anyone who brought dishonour on our family, dishonour on Rome, dishonour on you.
Oh... oh... oh.
So you see, Father, the robes of a cardinal no longer sit easy on my shoulders. A cardinal's ring makes it harder to grip the hilt of a sword. I beg you will release me of my vows, and you will grant me your forgiveness. Father?
I release you from your vows.

I have met with the committee of ceremonies. The funeral is being arranged.
Your father won't hear of it, Cesare. He won't even consider it.
He doesn't need to consider it. There will be a Requiem Mass. The city bells will be muffled, there will be 16 black horses drawing a carriage dressed in black silk to bear the coffin. That is the funeral. But first, your betrothal.
We are cancelling the celebration. Surely it cannot go ahead?
Surely it must go ahead. It is for me to decide, and the decision was made.
Cesare, listen to me. It is not possible.
No. It must stand. Life does not hold its breath for one man's grief.
Yes, and wounds take time to heal!
Not a word more! Please! It is decided!

Requiem eternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei.

Pie Jesu Domine, dona ei requiem. Dona ei requiem sempiternam. Grant him peace.

So, tell me, Cesare, what exactly are we celebrating? Your sister's betrothal or the death of your brother?
My love for my sister outweighs my grief for my brother.
Grief? Then why do you force this false joy upon us? We are dancing on your brother's grave.
Mother. Mother. He's here.
We would speak with you.

Bring us some wine.
It is good, Holiness.
What's happened to your hands, Father?
We have buried our son. And we realize now... that we have brought this upon ourselves.
You are our own doing. What you've done is our doing also. We brought you to this. You say we granted every favour to him. But our favours fell on him so easily, of their own accord. You are too much like me. A man feels less... favour for his own image reflected.
If I cannot have your affection, can you at least grant me your forgiveness?
Father. Father! No! Father! HELP!
Holy Father!