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April 1, 2013

    Borgia is a French-German series created by Tom Fontana. It redraws the story of the Borgia family who wants to dominate the world in the XVth century. The patriarch, Rodrigo Borgia, wants to make of his family a regnant dynasty by becoming a pope. This series is a little romanticized, however the myths are preserved.

    In order to make a success, the series takes liberties with the real chronology of the events. This technique allows to create a more fascinating intrigue with many facts and action at the same time. For instance, Rodrigo’s son, Cesare, becomes a bishop of Valencia before Rodrigo becomes a pope. But Tom Fontana has changed this order to create an intrigue, he wanted to impart the idea that Rodrigo Borgia is at the origin of his family’s power. So he chose to tell that Rodrigo named Cesare as bishop. Furthermore, the respective ages of the characters are not respected. In the series, when the action begins, in 1492, Lucrezia is 15 years old instead of 12, Jean de Medicis is 16 years old instead of 17, Cesare is 18 years old instead of 17 and Alexandre Farnese is 18 years old instead of 24. Tom Fontana chose to change the ages because it facilitates the rivalries in particular between Cesare and Alexandre Farnese and the romances especially for Lucrezia.

Tom Fontana has kept the myth because there are many about the Borgia family. The legend of the Borgias overtook the real historical elements. The series takes back the myth according to which Lucrezia would have killed Juan’s wife undeliberately and her brother himself by stabbing him. At the end of the first season, she admits her secret to her brother Cesare and they commit an incest. All these myths are just rumors about this scandalous family but Tom Fontana has given a real importance to the legend because it creates many more intrigues and it is attractive to the viewers. These legends contributed to make the Borgia family the symbols of the decline of the Church at the end of the Middle Ages.

Although some historical facts are omitted or invented and the chronology is not always respected, the work remains generally close to the historic truth. We can learn the important facts of the XVth century like the opposition between France and Rome, the status of the Pope at that time and the alliances within the Vatican. The myths are meant to arise the public’s interest so it creates some intrigues but we learn much about the Borgia family life and the causes and consequences of their decisions.


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