Giovanni Borgia, 2nd Duke of Gandia

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Giovanni de Candia Borgia (Juan de Borja y Cattanei)
Duke of Gandia
Buch2-318.jpg
Alleged portrait of Giovanni Borgia[citation needed]
II Duke of Gandia
Reign 1488-1497
Spouse(s) Maria Enriquez de Luna

Issue

Juan de Borja y Enriquez, III Duke of Gandia
Francisca Jesus de Borja
Isabel de Borja y Enriquez, abbess of Santa Clara Gandia
Noble family Borja (House of Gandia) or Borgia
Father Pope Alexander VI
Mother Vannozza dei Cattanei
Born 1475[1]
Italy, presumably Rome
Died 14 June 1497
Rome
Coat of arms of the dukes of Gandía of the House of Borja or Borgia

Giovanni Borgia, II Duke of Gandía (1475–1497) was the son of Pope Alexander VI and the brother of Cesare Borgia, Gioffre Borgia, and Lucrezia Borgia. Giovanni, also known as Juan or Joan, was the eldest of the Pope's four children by Vannozza dei Cattanei.[2][3] Due to a number of papal bulls issued after his murder, it is unclear whether Giovanni was born in 1476 or 1477, but it was long thought that he was the eldest son instead of Cesare.

Giovanni Borgia was probably born in Rome to then-cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, later to become Pope Alexander VI, and his mistress Vannozza dei Cattanei, who was married to Domenico da Rignano. Giovanni married Maria Enriquez de Luna, the Spanish betrothed of his deceased older half-brother, Pedro Luis, in September 1493. He was made 2nd Duke of Gandia, Duke of Sessa, Grand Constable of Naples, Governor of St. Peter's, and Gonfalonier and Captain General of the Church.

Giovanni and Maria had three children: Twins Juan de Borja y Enriquez (known as Juan Borgia), who became the 3rd duke of Gandía, and Francisca de Jesus Borja, who became a nun at a convent in Valladolid. This second Juan was the father of Saint Francis Borgia. Their third child, Isabel de Borja y Enriquez, was born after her father was killed. she grew up to become abbess of Santa Clara in Gandia.

He was murdered the night of 14 June 1497 near what later became the Piazza della Giudecca in the Ghetto of Rome. He was last seen alive when he was leaving from a feast that his mother had in his honor at her villa with his other siblings Cesare, Lucrezia, and Gioffre, Gioffre's wife Sancha of Aragon, their cousin Juan Borgia Lanzol, and Vannozza's husband, Carlo Canale, all in attendance. The next morning his horse came back without its rider and one of the stirrups was cut, and he was reported missing. A search party found his body in the Tiber with his throat slit, and about nine stab wounds on his torso. His grief-stricken father launched an intensive investigation into the murder, only to end it abruptly a week later. While the Orsini family had ample motive to kill Giovanni, it was later rumored that his own brother Cesare Borgia had him murdered.[citation needed] However, there is another rumor which says that his younger brother Gioffre Borgia murdered him due to Giovanni's relationship with Gioffre's wife, Sancha.[citation needed] His richly-attired body was recovered from the Tiber River with 30 golden ducats untouched in the purse at his belt. To the immense grief of the pope, this act occasioned the epigram by Sannazzaro on the pope as "fisher of men". Borgia's only attendant was also slain, so there were no known witnesses.[4]

In Pinturicchio's fresco Disputation of St. Catherine in the Borgia Apartments, the male figure mounted on a horse in the far right portion of the fresco may be a depiction of Juan.[5]

In fiction[edit]

In most adaptations, he is referred to by his Spanish name, Juan.

In Mario Puzo's historical novel The Family, Giovanni Borgia's murder by his younger brother Geoffre is central to the drama and plot of the story.

In the 2010 animated short film, Assassin's Creed: Ascendance, a fictionalised version of Juan's death is depicted by the hand of Cesare Borgia, who hires a prostitute to murder him.

In the 2011 Showtime series, The Borgias, Juan is played by David Oakes. He dies in the second season of the series, in the episode "World of Wonders". He is killed by his brother Cesare.

In the 2011 French/German series, Borgia, Juan is played by French actor Stanley Weber. He is a main character in the first season and dies in that season's finale "The Serpent Rises". In this adaptation, his murder is perpetrated primarily by Lucrezia with the help of her lover, Perotto Calderon.

The CBBC television show Horrible Histories features a song portraying the Borgia family, with Ben Willbond as Giovanni Borgia.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Maxwell-Stuart, P.G., Chronicle of the Popes, London, Thames and Hudson, 1997, page 158, ISBN 0-500-01798-0
  2. ^ Christopher Hibbert: The Borgias and their enemies. Harcourt, Inc. 2008, p. 30
  3. ^ Sarah Bradford: Cesare Borgia. His Life and Times. London 1876, p. 17
  4. ^ Sabatini, II.4.
  5. ^ Maxwell-Stuart, P.G., Chronicle of the Popes, London, Thames and Hudson, 1997, page 159, ISBN 0-500-01798-0

See also[edit]

External links[edit]