Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/329

This page needs to be proofread.
289

ALEXANDER 289 ALEXANDER of the stubborn Renedict XIII. He was des- tined, however, to rule but ten months. His pon- tificate was marked by unsuccessful efforts to reach Rome, then in control of King I.adislas of Na- ples, whom Alexander deprived of his kingdom m favour of Louis II of Anjou. Detained by Cardi- nal Cossa in Bologna, the stronglmUl of that self- seeking adviser, he died there iiiuicr circumstances which led the enemies of Cossa, who succeeded Alexander V as Jolm XXIII, to bring before the Council of Constance the now discredited charge that he had poisoned the Pisan pope. Alexander lived long enough to disappoint the hopes his elec- tion inspired. His legitimacy was soon questioned, and the world was cliagrined to find that instead of two popes it now had three. His ardour for re- form diminished. Generous to a fault, he scattered favours with undiscriminating munificence. The mendicant orders were unduly favoured by being confirmed in privileges which parish priests and the theological faculties resented as encroaching on their rights. Whether or not Alexander was a true pope is a question which canonists and historians of the Schism still disciiss. The Church has not pronounced a definite opinion, nor is it at all likely that she will. The Roman "Clerarchia Cattolica", not an authoritative work, which prior to 1906 con- tained a chronological list of the popes, designated Alexander V as the 211th pope, succeeding Greg- ory XII. resigned. (See P.p.*cy.) His remains are interred in the church of St. Francis at Bologna in a tomb magnificently restored in 1889 under the direction of Leo XIII. (See Schism, Western; Pis., Council of.) Librr Ponlificalis, e.l. Duchesne, II, 511-515. 53G-544; Hkfele. ConcUienaeschichte (Freiburg, 1807), VI: Mcratobi, Rrrum Itnlicarum Scrivtoret (Milan. 1730-341, III, ii, 842: XIV, 1 195: Kays/vldcs, Annalea Eccl., 1409, 72, 73-S0-8.5-89; and 1410, .5-13; Crfiohton, Histori/ of the Papaci/ (London, 1897). I, 2,5lj-2e7; Pastor-Antrobus, llirlory o/ the Popet (I.ondon, 1898), I. 190. See also works on the Schism, par- ticularly the well-dot umented Valois, La France et le grand Bchiame d'Occident (Paris, 1902). : Salembier, Le grand Bchisme d'Occident (Paris. 1900). The only independent life is by Mark RrsifeRE. ' lo'ToptA-al ;«X^at, 6 (Wijif Trdirai 'A^iay5pos i (.thens, 18S1). J. B. Petehson. Alexander VI Pope, (Rodrioo Borgi.), b. at Xativa, near Valencia, in Spain, 1 January, 1431; d. in Rome, 18 .Vugust, 1.503. His parents were Jofre Lani.ol and Isabella Borja, sister of Cardinal .lfonso Borja, later Pope Callixtus III. The young Rodrigo had not yet definitely chosen his profession when the eleva- tion of his uncle to the papacy (1455) opened up new prospects to his ambition. He was adopted into the immediate family of Callixtus and was known henceforward to the Italians as Rodrigo Borgia. Like so many other princely cadets, he was obtruded upon the Church, the question of a clerical vocation being left com- pletely out of consideration. Arms or .lkx.v.sder .Vfter conferring several rich ^1 benefices on him, his uncle sent him for a short year to study law at the University of Bologna. In 1456, at the age of twenty-five, he was made Cardinal- Deacon of St. Nicolo in Carcere, and held that title until 1471, when he became Cardinal- Hishop of Albano; in 1476 he w.as made Canlinal-Hishop of Porto anil Dean of the Sacred College (ICubel, Hierarcliia Catholica, II, 12). Ilis oliicial posi- tion in the Curia after 1457 w.as that of Vicc-Chancel- lor of the Roman Church, and though many envied him this lucrative otlice he seems in liis long adminis- tration of the Papal Chancery to have given general satisfaction. Even Gulcciardini admits that "in him were combined rare prudence and vigilance, mature re- flection, marvellous power of persuasion, skill and ca- pacity for the coniluct of the most difficult affairs". On the other hand, the list of archbishonrics, bisho[)- rics, abbacies, and oilier dignities held by him, as enumerated by the Hishop of iModcna in a letter to the Duchess of Ferrara (Pastor, Historj' of the Popes, V, 533, Knglish tr.) reads hke the famous catalogue of Leporello; and since, notwithstanding the magnifi- cence of his household and his pa.ssion for card-pl:iy- ing, he was strictly abstemious in eating and drinking, and a careful administrator, he became one of the wealthiest men of his time. In his twenty-ninth yiar he drew a scathing letter of reproof from Pope I'ius II for misconduct in Sienna which had been .so notorious as to shock the whole town and court (Raynaldus, Ann. eccl. ad. an. 1460, n. 31). Even after his ordi- nation to the priesthood, in 1468, he contiinied his evil ways. His contemporaries praise his handsome and imposing figure, his cheerful countenance, persuasive manner, brilliant conversation, and intimate mastery of the ways of polite society. The best portrait of him is said to be that painted by Pinturicchio in the Appartimento Borgia at the Vatican; Yriarte (.u- tour des Borgia, 79) praises its general air of gran- deur iiiconttslable. Towards 1470 began his relations with the Roman lady, Vanozza Catanei, the mother of his four children: Juan, Ca?sar, Lucrezia and Jofre, born, respectively, according to Gregorovius (Lucre- zia Borgia, 13) in' 1474, 1476, 1480, and 1482. Borgia, by a bare two-thircls majority secured by liis own vote, was proclaimed Pope on the morning of 11 Aug., 1492,andtook thename of Alexander VI. [For details of the conclave see Pastor, " Hist, of the Popes", (German ed., Freiburg, 1S95), III, 275-278; also Am. Cath. Quart. Review, .pril, 1900.] That he ob- tained the papacy through simony was the general belief (Pastor, loc. cit.) and is not improbable (Uay- naltlus, Ann. eccl. ad an. 1492, n. 26), ttiough it would be difficult to prove it juridically; at any rate, as the law then stood the election was valid. There is no irresistible evidence that Borgia paid anyone a ducat for his vote; Infessura's t:de of mule-loads of silver has long since been discreilited. Piistor's indictment, on closer inspection, needs .some revision; for he states (III, 277) that eight of the twenty-three electors, viz. della Rovere, Piccolomini, Medici, Caraffa, Costa, Basso, Zeno, and Cibo, held out to the end against Bor- gia. If that were true, Borgia could not have secured a two-thirds majority. . we can affirm with cer- tainty is that the determining factor of this election was the accession to Borgia of Cardinal Ascanio Sforza's vote and influence: it is almost equally certain that .Sforza's course was dictated not by silver, but by the desire to be the future Pontiff's chief adviser. The elevation to the papacy of one who for thir- ty-five years had conducted the affairs of the Roman chancery with rare ability and industry met with gen- eral approbation; we find no evidence of the "alarm and horror" of which Guicciardini speaks. To the Romans especially, who had come to regard Borgia as one of them.sclves, and who predicted a pontificate at once splendid and energetic, the choice was most ac- ceptable; and they manifesteil their joy in bonfires, torchlight proceessions, garlands of flowers, and the erection of triumphal arches with extravagant inscrip- tions. At his coronation in St. Peter's (26 .Vug.), and during his progress to St. John Lateran, he was greeted with an ovation, "greater", says the diarist, "than any Pontiff had ever received". He proceeded at once to justify this good opinion of the Romans by put- ting an end to the lawle.s.sncss which reigned in the cily. the extent of which we can infer from the state- mi-nt of Infcssura that within a few months over two hundred and twenty assassinations had taken place.