Today in history...
14 June 1497 - Death of Juan Borgia, Duke of Gandia.He was a member of the House of Borgia and the son of Pope Alexander VI, Rodrigo Borgia. He was the brother of Cesare, Gioffre, and Lucrezia Borgia.
On the evening of June 14, 1497, Juan’s mother Vannozza held a special dinner at her country villa near Rome to celebrate the honors that were being heaped upon her son.
Juan’s elder brother Cesare was there, together with another brother, Jofre and his wife Sancia and their cousin Cardinal Juan Borgia-Lanzel. The environs of Rome could be dangerous at night for such wealthy people, who could easily fall prey to marauders, so the party broke up around dusk and Juan rode off with Cesare and a group of friends and their servants.
Somewhere along the way, Juan parted company with the others and rode on with two companions, heading for the Castel Sant’Angelo. Juan never got there, nor was he ever seen alive again.
When it was discovered that he was missing, search parties 300-strong were sent out to comb the route Juan had taken. They found nothing. Pope Alexander ordered his Spanish guards to make a fingertip search of the city. They found the groom who had accompanied Juan, but he was so badly beaten up that he could tell them nothing about the fate of his master.
They also found Juan’s horse. The animal's trappings, particularly the stirrups, showed clear signs of a violent struggle. Still, Juan was nowhere to be found and the Borgia guards began bullying householders to betray what, if anything, they knew about the missing duke.
Then, at last, an eyewitness was located. Giorgio Schiavi, a timber merchant who unloaded his wood on an island in the River Tiber, revealed that around two o’clock in the morning, he had seen two men, acting furtively, throw a body into the water.
The searchers dragged the river all night and for half the following day until, at noon, a corpse clad in rich brocade and carrying the insignia of Captain-General of the Church was discovered.
It was Juan. He was brutally hacked about as many as eight times and his throat was cut. His hands were tied together and a stone had been hung about his neck to make sure he sank to the bottom of the river.
Pope Alexander was devastated when he heard how horribly Juan had been killed. It was said that he "let out a great roar like an injured animal when he saw Juan’s bloated, muddied body."
Alexander shut himself away in the Castel Sant'Angelo and refused to let anyone in for several hours. He neither ate nor drank anything for more than three days. In his overwhelming grief, he imagined that Juan had been killed because of his own sinful excesses.
“God has done this perhaps for some sin of ours and not because he deserved such a cruel death,” he cried. “We are determined henceforth to see to our own reform and that of the church. We wish to renounce all nepotism. We will begin, therefore, with ourselves and so proceed through all the ranks of the church.”
It was the grief talking. Alexander was too much of a dyed-in-the-wool sinner to convert himself in the overnight manner he seemed to suggest.
Juan’s killers were never found, though the murder had all the hallmarks of a contract killing. In addition, though, there was talk that nine years after making it, Cesare Borgia had carried out his threat and killed the brother he so fiercely envied."
1519-Isabella Maria d`Este, daughter of Lucrezia Borgia and Alfonso d`Este, born and died at Ferrara, due to complications at birth.
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