The Borgias by Marion Johnson (1981, Hardcover)

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The Borgias
by Marion Johnson
Publisher:  Holt, Rinehart and Winston
Copyright 1981
FIRST AMERICAN EDITION

The name of Borgia symbolizes all that is considered corrupt in the Church of the fifteenth-century.  Why the Borgia family has been singled out from among other families who produced the Renaissance popes (few of whom were models of moral rectitude) is one of those chances of history.  One reason is probably that they were Spaniards:  a much tougher and rougher race than the Italians who committed their sins and conducted their intrigues in a manner that other Italians were accustomed to.  Above all, however, the Borgias' notoriety seems to lie in the fact that they were all or nearly all strong and colorful characters who caught the world's attention whatever they did.  The crimes and sins -- and there were plenty of both -- of Rodrigo Borgia, Pope Alexander VI, his children Cesare and Lucrezia, and the legends of poisoning and incest that surrounded them, have fired the imagination of playwrights, poets, painters, novelists, and historians of all subsequent generations.

In this lavishly illustrated biography, Marion Johnson plots the dramatic rise of the Borgias from their beginnings in Spain to their occupation of the highest position in Renaissance society, at a time when Italy was the center of the European stage, both culturally and politically.  She explains why history has shown the Borgias as fallen men and women in a bad era, but considers the condemnation to have been too absolute and instead contends that behind the gaudy horrors lie people of real talent and achievement, possessors even of moderate virtues.

Condition:  Used.  Hardcover.  Dust cover.  Pages are tanned and darkening from age.  Previous owner's "Library Of" stamp is on the title page.  Dust covers are tanned from age.  Dust covers show a bit of edge wear and tear and creasing.  Binding is beginning to split in places throughout the book, but pages are in tact.

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    • ISBN 0030595762
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