The Borgias (TV Series 2011–2013) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • In the fifteenth century, Pope Alexander VI tries to control all power in Italy with the help of his several sons, through murder, intrigue, war, and marriage alliances.

  • The rise to power, and start of a dynasty, of the Borgia family. Rodrigo Borgia ascends within the Catholic Church, becoming Pope Alexander VI. The position brings with it many enemies, internal and state-based, and he has to use all of his abilities of diplomacy, ruthlessness, charm, and the power of the church to stay in power, and alive. Luckily, his children are equally ambitious.

  • Following the Borgia family as they rise to power in the Roman Catholic church. Rodrigo Borgia uses bribery, with the help of his son, to secure his position as Pope Alexander VI. But he has gained enemies in the College of Cardinals, who begin to plot against him. He must find alliances.


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  • At this point in history the Pope of Rome had vastly larger powers than the Pope of modern day. The popes of the 15th Century were essentially religious kings, and had wives and children and controlled armies. The series which shows on Showtime covers in the opening Rodrigo Borgia (Jeremy Irons) scheming his way into becoming pope by having his son Cesare Borgia (Francois Arnaud) bribe the voting bishops to elect him as the head of the Roman Catholic Church as Pope Alexander VI. Rodrigo is openly opposed by a group of Cardinals led by Cardinal Della Rovere (Colm Feore) who attempts to poison Rodrigo and discredit him with a hired assassin Micheletto (Sean Harris) who is ultimately turned by Rodrigo's son Cesare and hired as a spy. When Rodrigo takes power he can no longer openly have relations with women and his mistress and mother of his children Vanozza dei Cattanei (Joanne Whalley) objects to his dedication to the church over his attentions toward her. When Rodrigo feels further pressures form the affairs of office he turns to young Guilia Farnese (Lotte Verbeek) for comfort, who in turn becomes good friends to Rodrigo's daughter Lucrezia Borgia (Holliday Grainger), causing further fracturing of the happy Borgia household.

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