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DateLecture
28 March 2019The Borgias : The Most Infamous Family in History
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The Borgias : The Most Infamous Family in History Sarah Dunant Thursday 28 March 2019

Murder, posion, corruption and incest: all perfect ingredients for sensational popular culture. But in an age known for its brutality and church corruption were the Borgias really so bad? Sarah Dunant reveals the real family that dominated the Papacy and Italian politcs during the last decade of the 15th century: the charismatic figure of Pope Alexander VI, living inside his sumptuously decorated apartments, the career of his son, Cesare, cardinal general, employer of Da Vinci and the model for Machiavelli's The Prince, and the journey of Lucrezia Borgia from the "greatest whore in Rome" to a devout and treasured duchess of the city of Ferrara. Sometimes truth is more intoxicating than myth.


Novelist, broadcaster and critic, Sarah read history at Cambridge, then worked for many years as a cultural journalist in radio and television on such programmes as Kaleidoscope (BBC Radio 4), The Late Show (BBC 2) and Night Waves (BBC Radio 3). She has published thirteen novels, taught renaissance studies at the Washington University, St. Louis, is a visiting tutor on the MA in creative writing at Oxford Brooks and has lectured all around the world at festivals and conferences. Her last five novels have been set within the Italian Renaissance. Her next book, published in 2017, completes the story of the Borgia family and the remarkable period of Italian history in which they lived. Her recent series on history for BBC Radio 4, called When Greeks Flew Kites is available on podcast or listen again: 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b090ccrh/episodes/player