Gioffre Borgia

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Gioffre Borgia
Prince of Squillace
JoffreBorgia.jpg
A portrait of a young man, believed to be Jofré Borgia.
Spouse(s) Sancha of Aragon
Maria de Mila

Issue

Francesco Borgia de Mila
Lucrezia Borgia de Mila
Antonia Borgia de Mila
Maria Borgia de Mila
Noble family House of Borgia
Father Pope Alexander VI
Mother Vannozza dei Cattanei
Born 1482 (1482)
Died 1518 (1519)

Gioffre Borgia, (also known as Goffredo [Italian], or Jofré Borja [Valencian] ), (1482–1518) was the youngest son of Pope Alexander VI and Vannozza dei Cattanei, and a member of the House of Borgia. He was the youngest brother of Cesare, Giovanni, and Lucrezia Borgia.

Early relations[edit]

Gioffre married Sancha (Sancia) of Aragon, daughter of Alfonso II of Naples, obtaining as dowry both the Principality of Squillace (1494), and after a period of political turmoil in the Kingdom of Naples, the Duchy of Alvito (1497).

Gioffre and Sancha, were 12 and 16, respectively, at the time of their marriage. In fact, the marriage was a political one. Alfonso had married his daughter to Gioffre and given the over-large dowry in return for Pope Alexander's recognition of Alfonso's claim to the throne of Naples. Almost as soon as the wedding ceremony was over, the political situation changed with the invasion of Italy by King Charles VIII of France, who claimed Naples as his own. Alfonso fled, leaving the throne to his short-lived son, and a long war between Spain, France and their Italian adherents ensued.

During this time the young couple lived mostly at Rome, where Sancha reputedly had affairs with both of her husband's elder brothers, Giovanni and Cesare, among others. This soured their relationship and, as a result, they had no children. In the beginning of their marriage, Sancha was somewhat domineering over her husband (due to his age) and she sought after older men.

Gioffre's relationship with his father was poor. Pope Alexander VI considered him a weakling because of his lack of interest in politics; once even publicly questioning his parentage. In 1497 the Pope publicly exonerated Gioffre of the murder of his brother Giovanni Borgia, 2nd Duke of Gandia because of the many rumours that Cesare was in fact the killer, due to public antagonism between the two over Sancha. In fact, Pope Alexander at one time had become so angry at Gioffre when he was injured in a fight, that he took his anger out on Gioffre by shutting him up in Castel Sant'Angelo for a time.

For a brief period of time, he aided his sister Lucrezia in governing the town of Spoleto.

Later life[edit]

During the War of 1499–1504, when Louis XII of France attempted to conquer Naples, Gioffre sided with the French; but when he was captured by Prospero Colonna he changed sides to join the Spanish, which caused a rebellion in Alvito. In 1504 he sent the condottiero Fabrizio Colonna to stabilise his lands, partly paid for with money he had appropriated from the papal treasury after the death of his father the year before. With the rebellion crushed, Gioffre finally moved to his estates in Alvito and Squillace in 1504.

But only two years later Sancha died and Gioffre lost the rights to Alvito, which was subsequently seized by the Spanish King of Naples, Ferdinand II of Aragon. However, Gioffre was able to retain Squillace, on the Calabrian coast, which he ruled as a feudal vassal of Naples.

Gioffre's second marriage was to Maria de Mila. They had four children: a son, Francesco; and three daughters: Lucrezia, Antonia and Maria Borgia. The eldest, Francesco, inherited his father's lands and the title of Prince of Squillace. Gioffre's descendants ruled the tiny city of Squillace until 1735. They generally ruled through governors, since they resided at either Naples or the Spanish court.

See also[edit]

Representations in popular culture[edit]

Art[edit]

Gioffre and Sancha are generally thought to have been the models for the boy and girl in the artist Pinturicchio's 'Disputation of St Catherine', where they are depicted as a young couple in love.

Television[edit]

  • In the 1981 BBC mini-series, The Borgias, Jofré was played by British Actor Louis Selwyn.
  • In the 2011 Showtime series The Borgias, Joffré was played by British actor Aidan Alexander. Despite being one of the main characters, the role was a minor one, and he only appeared in the first season.
  • In the 2011 French-German series Borgia, Goffredo was played by Czech actor Adam Misík in the first and second seasons. In the upcoming third and final season, the role was recast and will be played by Italian actor Niccolò Besio.