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The Sword of Cesar Borgia

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0021475/00001

Material Information

Title: The Sword of Cesar Borgia A Redating with an Examination of His Personal Iconography
Physical Description: 1 online resource (115 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Bemis, Elizabeth H
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: arms, borgia, caetani, cesar, cesare, sword
Art and Art History -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Art History thesis, M.A.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: THE SWORD OF CESAR BORGIA: A REDATING WITH AN EXAMINATION OF HIS PERSONAL ICONOGRAPHY The blade of the sword of Cesar Borgia, today in the possessions of the Fondazione Camillo Caetani, is elaborately etched with scenes based on the life of Julius Caesar. Six classically inspired tableaus comprise the core of the decorative program: Worship of a Bull, Crossing of the Rubicon, Worship of Love, Triumph of Julius Caesar, Worship of Faith and Pax Romana. These images are the only extant examples of the personal iconography Cesar Borgia employed to represent himself as the modern Caesar. The etched decoration is most commonly dated contemporaneously to the original fabrication of the sword which due to an inscription on the hilt is given a time frame between 1493 and 1498. The inscription refers to Cesar as a Cardinal and these are the years between which he held that title in service to the Roman Church. However, that assumption is not inevitably true, and the probability exists that these images were added at a later date. Perhaps the most grandiose expression of Cesar s individual symbolism is found in a parade of the Triumphs of Julius Caesar, held in Cesar Borgia s honor in February 1500. This study will consider the sword and the parade together, presenting them as two key elements, one material and one ephemeral, in the development of Cesar s personal iconography. Most notable, on both the sword and in the parade, is his unusual depiction of the scene of the Crossing of the Rubicon. This particular episode evokes Cesar s military achievements and his recent appointment as Captain General of the Papal Army. The close alignment found between this parade and the scenes on the sword suggests that they share a common date of execution, around the year 1500. It is known through the Diary of Johannas Burchard, Master of Ceremonies to the Papacy, that Cesar was given the Blessed Sword, an annual gift presented by the pope to a secular ruler, in that year. This thesis asserts that the etchings on the Caetani sword were added to an existing blade as preparation for its presentation as a blessed sword. The importance of the adjustment in date becomes clear when an enhanced understanding of the role played by decorative arts as means of self-representation in the political and social arenas of Renaissance Europe is attained. For an individual whose life was so clearly divided with two very different roles the intention that fueled Cesar s iconography would have been dramatically divergent from one phase to the other. Therefore a clear probability of date is paramount to our understanding of the personal iconography of Cesar Borgia.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Elizabeth H Bemis.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Ross, Elizabeth.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0021475:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0021475/00001

Material Information

Title: The Sword of Cesar Borgia A Redating with an Examination of His Personal Iconography
Physical Description: 1 online resource (115 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Bemis, Elizabeth H
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: arms, borgia, caetani, cesar, cesare, sword
Art and Art History -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Art History thesis, M.A.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: THE SWORD OF CESAR BORGIA: A REDATING WITH AN EXAMINATION OF HIS PERSONAL ICONOGRAPHY The blade of the sword of Cesar Borgia, today in the possessions of the Fondazione Camillo Caetani, is elaborately etched with scenes based on the life of Julius Caesar. Six classically inspired tableaus comprise the core of the decorative program: Worship of a Bull, Crossing of the Rubicon, Worship of Love, Triumph of Julius Caesar, Worship of Faith and Pax Romana. These images are the only extant examples of the personal iconography Cesar Borgia employed to represent himself as the modern Caesar. The etched decoration is most commonly dated contemporaneously to the original fabrication of the sword which due to an inscription on the hilt is given a time frame between 1493 and 1498. The inscription refers to Cesar as a Cardinal and these are the years between which he held that title in service to the Roman Church. However, that assumption is not inevitably true, and the probability exists that these images were added at a later date. Perhaps the most grandiose expression of Cesar s individual symbolism is found in a parade of the Triumphs of Julius Caesar, held in Cesar Borgia s honor in February 1500. This study will consider the sword and the parade together, presenting them as two key elements, one material and one ephemeral, in the development of Cesar s personal iconography. Most notable, on both the sword and in the parade, is his unusual depiction of the scene of the Crossing of the Rubicon. This particular episode evokes Cesar s military achievements and his recent appointment as Captain General of the Papal Army. The close alignment found between this parade and the scenes on the sword suggests that they share a common date of execution, around the year 1500. It is known through the Diary of Johannas Burchard, Master of Ceremonies to the Papacy, that Cesar was given the Blessed Sword, an annual gift presented by the pope to a secular ruler, in that year. This thesis asserts that the etchings on the Caetani sword were added to an existing blade as preparation for its presentation as a blessed sword. The importance of the adjustment in date becomes clear when an enhanced understanding of the role played by decorative arts as means of self-representation in the political and social arenas of Renaissance Europe is attained. For an individual whose life was so clearly divided with two very different roles the intention that fueled Cesar s iconography would have been dramatically divergent from one phase to the other. Therefore a clear probability of date is paramount to our understanding of the personal iconography of Cesar Borgia.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Elizabeth H Bemis.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Ross, Elizabeth.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0021475:00001


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THE SWORD OF CESAR BORGIA: A REDATING WITH AN EXAMINATION OF HIS
PERSONAL ICONOGRAPHY


















By

ELIZABETH BEMIS


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2007





























O 2007 Elizabeth Bemis



























To those with whom I share my life and my love of the past









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank Dr. Elizabeth Ross for her guidance through this research, and Dr.

Barbara Barletta for her support of my work and throughout my studies. Thank you to Dr.

Caterina Fiorani and the Fondazione Camillo Caetani for giving me the opportunity to see the

sword of Cesare Borgia, and to Nick Humphrey and Nigel Bamforth of the Victoria and Albert

Museum for allowing me to view the scabbard of Cesare Borgia. To the office and library staff

of the University of Florida, Thank you.

I would like to thank my parents for their support of my education. Finally, thank you to

my sister for her continued and diligent support throughout this process and for her willingness

to share her life with the Borgias.












TABLE OF CONTENTS



ACKNOWLEDGMENT S .............. ...............4.....


LI ST OF FIGURE S .............. ...............6.....


AB S TRAC T ......_ ................. ............_........8


CHAPTER


1 INTRODUCTION ................. ...............10.......... ......


2 DESCRIPTION OF THE SWORD AND SCABBARD ................. .......... ................1 6


3 DISCUSSION OF THE ARTISTS............... ...............27


4 PROVENANCE .............. ...............37....


5 DATE OF THE SWORD .............. ...............43....


6 THE IMPORTANCE OF DECORATIVE ARTS............... ...............64..


FIGURE S ................. ...............79.......... ......


LIST OF REFERENCES ................. ...............108................


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................. ...............115......... ......











LIST OF FIGURES


Figure page

1 Sword of Cesar Borgia ................. ...............79........... ...

2 Sword of Cesar Borgia, face and verso.................. ...............80..............

3 Scabbard to the sword of Cesar Borgia ................. ...............81..............

4 Worship of the Bull taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia. ................ ............. .......82

5 Worship of the Bull taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia. ................ ............. .......83

6 Monogram taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia. ............. ...............84.....

7 Monogram taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia. ............. ...............84.....

8 The Crossing of the Rubicon and the Worship of Love taken from the sword of Cesar
Borgia ................. ...............85.......__.....

9 The Crossing of the Rubicon taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia. .............. ..... ........._.85

10 Worship of Love taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia ................. ................ ...._.86

11 Triumph of Caesar taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia .................... ...............8

12 Triumph of Caesar taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia .................... ...............8

13 Decorative band taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia ................. ........................89

15 Worship of Faith and the Pax Romana taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia. ................90

16 Worship of Faith taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia ................. ........................91

17 17.a M usic 17.b Rhetoric. .............. ...............92....

18 Pax Romana taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia ................. ................. ....___.93

19 Face of the scabbard of Cesar Borgia. ........... _.......... ...............94

20 Detail of the trace lines on the face of the scabbard of Cesar Borgia. .............. ..............95

21 Detail of the Worship of Love and additional decorative elements taken from the
scabbard of Cesar Borgia. .............. ...............96....

22 Detail of the top of the back of the scabbard of Cesar Borgia ................. ............... ....97

23 Back of the scabbard of Cesar Borgia ................. ...............98..............











24 Detail of the back of the scabbard of Cesar Borgia. ................ ................ ......... .99

25 Pinturicchio, Disputa. ................. ...............100................

26 Medal of Alexander VI. ................ ................................. ................101

27 Pinturicchio,Detail of the arch from the Disputa.................. ............... ......... ...10

28 Pinturicchio, Ceiling of the Sala del Credo. ............. ...............103....

29 Pinturicchio, Annunciation. ............. ...............104....

30 Pinturicchio, Adoration of the Shepards ................. ...............105..............

31 Pinturicchio, Visitation of St. Bernardino............... ...............10

32 Early example of the Golden Rose, MS. Barb. Lat. 3030. ................ ......................107

33 Example of the Ducal cap. ............_......___ ...............107.









Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts

THE SWORD OF CESAR BORGIA: A REDATING WITH AN EXAMINATION OF HIS
PERSONAL ICONOGRAPHY

By

Elizabeth Bemis

August 2007

Chair: Elizabeth Ross
Maj or: Art History

The blade of the sword of Cesar Borgia, today in the possessions of the Fondazione

Camillo Caetani, is elaborately etched with scenes based on the life of Julius Caesar. Six

classically inspired tableaus comprise the core of the decorative program: Worship of a Bull,

Crossing of the Rubicon, Worship of Love, Triumph of Julius Caesar, Worship of Faith and Pax

Romana. These images are the only extant examples of the personal iconography Cesar Borgia

employed to represent himself as the modern Caesar. The etched decoration is most commonly

dated contemporaneously to the original fabrication of the sword which due to an inscription on

the hilt is given a time frame between 1493 and 1498. The inscription refers to Cesar as a

Cardinal and these are the years between which he held that title in service to the Roman Church.

However, that assumption is not inevitably true, and the probability exists that these images were

added at a later date.

Perhaps the most grandiose expression of Cesar' s individual symbolism is found in a

parade of the Triumphs of Julius Caesar, held in Cesar Borgia' s honor in February 1500. This

study will consider the sword and the parade together, presenting them as two key elements, one

material and one ephemeral, in the development of Cesar's personal iconography. Most notable,

on both the sword and in the parade, is his unusual depiction of the scene of the Crossing of the









Rubicon. This particular episode evokes Cesar's military achievements and his recent

appointment as Captain General of the Papal Army.

The close alignment found between this parade and the scenes on the sword suggests that

they share a common date of execution, around the year 1500. It is known through the Diary of

Johannas Burchard, Master of Ceremonies to the Papacy, that Cesar was given the Blessed

Sword, an annual gift presented by the pope to a secular ruler, in that year. This thesis asserts

that the etchings on the Caetani sword were added to an existing blade as preparation for its

presentation as a blessed sword.

The importance of the adjustment in date becomes clear when an enhanced understanding

of the role played by decorative arts as means of self-representation in the political and social

arenas of Renaissance Europe is attained. For an individual whose life was so clearly divided

with two very different roles the intention that fueled Cesar' s iconography would have been

dramatically divergent from one phase to the other. Therefore a clear probability of date is

paramount to our understanding of the personal iconography of Cesar Borgia.









CHAPTER 1
INTTRODUCTION

Today in Rome, in the chattels of the Fondonzione Camillo Caetani, can be a found a

sword that belong to one of Italy's most infamous princes. As the fifteenth century gave way to

the sixteenth, Cesar Borgia, owner to this magnificent sword, wrapped his Eingers around the

peninsula of Italy, leaving his mark on the soil and men residing within it.

He was the son of Pope Alexander VI, one of the Hyve more famous children born to him

by Vannozza de' Cattanei. As was dictated by his standing as the second male, Cesar dedicated

much of his life to the Church. In 1493, at the age of twenty-two he attained the rank of

Cardinal, no doubt due to the fact that his father was the reigning pontiff. But through the tragic

death of his older brother, the secular aspirations of the Borigas were left without a conduit; so

just five years later, in 1498, Cesar would put off the purple to marry and cement the standing of

his family in European power politics.

Through Cesar's marriage into the French court, a political alliance was drawn between the

Kingdom of France and the Papacy. His French wife, the duchy of Valentinois, and the title of

lieutenant general in the French Army came at the cost of a papal dispensation for the dissolution

of Louis XII' s marriage to Jeanne de France and the pontiff' s permission for the King to marry

Anne of Brittnay, his brother' s widow.

Mere months after Cesar' s return to Italy with the French invasion of Milan in 1499, he

began his militaristic subjugation of the northern city-states of the Romagna. Upon his return to

Rome in 1500, Alexander made him Captain General of the Papal Army. With secular and

religious control, the Borgias came very close to uniting the separate city-states of Italy under

one rule.









After the untimely death of his father, Cesar controlled the elections of two pontiffs, losing

his power to the betrayal of Julius II. He died on March 11, 1507, four days shy of the Ides of

March.

Charging alone onto the field of battle, Cesar Borgia would die a death no less epic than

his namesake. He would derive much more than just his name from the life of Julius Caesar,

building from the deeds of the Roman Emperor his personal iconography. The engravings on the

blade of this 'Queen of Swords,' provide the foremost material manifestation of his chosen

propagandist narrative (Fig 1,2). Six classically inspired scenes comprise the core of the

decorative program: the Worship of a Bull, the Crossing of the Rubicon, the Worship of Love,

the Triumph ofJulius Caesar, the Worship ofFaith, and the Pa-x Romana. The iconography of

Julius Caesar is not well developed in the arts of this period; there are a few extant examples, one

being the Triumphs of Caesar by Andrea Mantagna. The most notable aspect of Cesar Borgia' s

use of the iconography of Julius Caesar is the unusual inclusion of the Crossing of the Rubicon.

The scene of the Triumph ofJulius Caesar serves as an additional connection to the ancient

world and to traditional Caesar imagery.

Perhaps the most grand expression of this individualized symbolism is found in a parade

held in Cesar's honor in February 1500. Here, on sumptuous display for the people of Rome, the

Triumphs of Julius Caesar blend with Cesar Borgia's recent military victories, creating a

memorable spectacle. This study will consider the sword and the parade together, presenting

them as two key elements, one material and one ephemeral, in the development of Cesar' s

personal iconography.

The close alignment found between this parade and the scenes on the sword suggests that

they share a common date of execution, around the year 1500. It is known through the Diary of









Johannas Burchard, Master of Ceremonies to the Papacy, that Cesar was given the Blessed

Sword, an annual gift presented by the pope to a secular ruler, in that year. It is a clear

presumption to consider that the Caetani sword could be the Blessed Sword of 1500.

However, the hilt of the sword is engraved with Cesar' s name, and in this inscription he is

referenced by his title of Cardinal. This citation likely dates the fabrication of the hilt and most

likely of the blade to the years between 1493 and 1498, the time of his service to the Roman

Church under that title. Previous scholarship has presumed that the sword and the etchings are

dated to the same time. However, there is no reason to believe that an existing sword, belonging

to Cesar during his cardinalate, could not have been later prepared with engravings for

presentation as the Blessed Sword of 1500. The additional possibility does exists that the

appearance of the title of Cardinal found on the sword, whose etched ornamentation clearly has

ties to 1500, could be the persistence of an old honorific, although this circumstance is much less

likely .

The elaborately worked leather scabbard intended for this sword will also be examined

(Fig 3). A discussion based on the analysis of Gimnter Gall will provide evidence to support the

assertion that the etchings on the blade date to the year 1500.

Chapter four will outline these arguments and issues of dating in further detail.

To understand the importance of such a small shift in dating, from 1498 to 1500, one must

turn again to the personal iconography of Cesar Borgia. The modification makes sense in the

context of his life: he would use an iconography derived from Julius Caesar, most particularly

the Triumph and the Crossing of the Rubicon, during his military career, rather than during his

time as a cardinal. The development of these self-fabricating images is intensely

individualized, bound to how the beneficiary sees his or herself and how they wish to be seen. As









did a number of Renaissance leaders, Cesar Borgia aligned himself with an ancient figure,

transferring onto himself through visual means the ideals commonly conceived to be held by that

historical individual. For the obvious reason of his name, Cesar found his personal inspiration in

Julius Caesar. But it is with the Roman general's military prowess that Cesar chooses to

associate. No other elements of his life are valued to the same degree.

It would be truly unnecessary for a Cardinal to define himself as possessing genius in

warfare while confined to a clerical way of life that offered him little but an annual income and

most certainly no outlet for strength of lordship. It can be justly stated that the personal

iconography Cesar formed from his relationship to Julius Caesar would only have been

developed after he renounced his cardinalate in 1498 to seek a secular and military career. The

only extant artifact remaining to display these deeply personal images is this sword.

During the time which Cesar lived, arms and armor were a device for self-definition and

propaganda. Although part of what modern art historical studies refer to as decorative arts, those

obj ects now bound by this categorization were an essential part to a social and political system

which relied heavily on visual media.

Prominent figures from the Medieval and Renaissance periods used these images to align

themselves with great leaders from history. Through this usurped magnificence, these figures of

the 1400s and 1500s built a new image far greater in character than possible on their own. If the

public perceived an individual ruler to be the symbolic heir of an ancient, powerful icon, that

ruler becomes charged with the specific virtues of the chosen historical figure. Due to the

immediate impact and permanence provided by visual arts, they became highly effective tools in

the portrayal of these alliances. Cosimo de'Medici desired to liken himself to the virtues of

SCharles M. Rosenburg, Art and Politics in Late Medieval and Early Renaissance Italv: 1250-1500 (Notre Dame,
I.N.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1990), p.6.










Joseph; thusly he had commissioned a twenty-piece tapestry cycle of The Story ofJoseph.2 The

Gonzagas, Dukes of Mantua, would place their symbolic ancestry in the Arthurian Legends,

more specifically Lancelot and his code of etiquette or couroisie, required behavior in the

paramount courts of the Renaissance.3 An episode from the quest for the Holy Grail generates

the subj ect matter for the frescos in the Sala of the Ducal Palace in Mantua, painted by Pisanello

in the 1440s at the request of Marchese Lodovico Gonazaga. 4

Philip the Good' s use of the history of Alexander the Great in his celebrated tapestry cycle

as a declaration of his standing as the modern day Alexander is parallel to Cesar Borgia's use of

Julius Caesar throughout the propaganda of his military campaigns.

The etchings on the Caetani sword are the perfect example of an individual deriving

personal power from the adopted image of a historical icon. The parade held in 1500 is an

absolute illustration of the outward propaganda intended to persuade the viewer to attribute

Cesar Borgia with the characteristics of the man whom the Renaissance considered the greatest

general ever to live.'

The importance of these visual arts, both tangible and performed, is evident. As a

representation of an art form previously held in such esteem for its decisive function in the

politics and society, the value of the sword once belonging to the Borgia prince should be

returned to the status it originally occupied. In order for this to occur it is necessary to

understand better the circumstances under which the sword and the designs that ornament its


2 Marina Berlozerskaya, Luxury Arts of the Renaissance (Los Angeles:The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2005), p.108.

3 JOanna Woods-Marsden, The Gonzaga of Mantua and Pisanello's Arthurian Frescoes (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton
University Press), p.147.

4 Ibid., p.3.

5 Andrew Martindale, The Triumphs of Caesar by Andrea Mantegna in the Collection of Her Majesty the Oueen at
Hampton Court (London: Harvey Miller Publishers, 1979), p.59.









blade were created. Through that investigation, a picture will be revealed of the true significance

held by the sword for both Renaissance art history and the personal iconography of the man who,

ever so briefly, held the awe of Italy.









CHAPTER 2
DESCRIPTION OF THE SWORD AND SCABBARD

The form taken by Cesar' s sword, that of a late 15th or early 16th century fighting sword, is

marked by a dramatically curved quillion (cross guard), a broad, double-edged blade, and is

fluted by two shallow channels that extend for close to the entirety of the blade. The blade itself

measures 1.025m in length and .083m at the base. The hilt is comprised of a circular pommel,

grip and cross, all of which are gold-gilt and elaborately decorated with filigree work embedded

in diversely colored enamel. On both sides, in the center of the guard, a triangular Hield of blue

enamel extends into the center of the face of the blade. On one side bears the inscription, written

in silver, Ces. Borg. Car. Valen (Cesar Borgia Cardinalis Valentianus); the other holds a Borgia

coat-of-arms.

Like the hilt, the first third of the blade is also gilt in gold and elaborated, but unlike the

purely ornamental work on the hilt, the decorative program executed here is both narrative and

complex. This section of the blade is, on both sides, divided through designed etching, into four

separate scenes. Of these eight framed compartments one holds the name CESAR constructed as

a multi-leveled monogram. Another displays two winged putti supporting the caduceus. The

remaining six are etched with scenes of the Classical world.

With these representations begin the existing examples of Cesar' s personal iconography

and his alliance to Julius Caesar. These images, specifically the use of the Crossing of the

Rubicon, will provide essential elements towards the dating of the sword. The triumphal chariot

of Caesar, the presence of a sacrifieial bull and the bearing of the spoils of war are customary

components to the Triumphs of Julius Caesar. Here the bull is given particular attention due

undoubtedly to the status of this animal as a chief emblem of the Borgia family. The Crossing of

the Rubicon is a unique scene, uncommon to contemporary portraits of the military triumphs of










the great emperor. The inclusion of it here is revealing to the narrative iconography desired by

the sword's owner.

The story told on the face of blade begins with a representation of the Sacrifice or Worship

ofa Bull (Fig 4,5). The animal stands on an architectural base, functioning in this case as an

altar. The structure is inscribed 'D.O.M. Hostia' (Deo optimo maximo hostia) 'a sacrifice to

the most high god.' In the foreground of the setting lies a female nude. She is described by

Charles Yriarte, a French scholar writing in the late 1800's whose body of work is littered with

articles and books on the Borgia family, as a victim who is, like Medusa, "coiffe:e de serpents".l

On the ground next to her sit an incensory and a carafe. To the right of the altar are a number of

nude canephors (basket carriers); and to the left, a group of nude women, one who enters the

sacred fire at the base of the altar. A Eigure dressed in a chlamyde can also be seen. The

inscription CVM NVMINE CESARIS OMEN transcribes the intentions of the scene. 'A

favorable omen with Caesar's divine will.'

Moving up the blade, the next composition is Cesar' s monogram (Fig 6,7). It is important

to note that although modern scholars spell his name with an 'e' on the end, for the maj ority of

his life, with very few exceptions, Cesar always used the Spanish spelling which was without the

terminal 'e', and this inscribed monogram is no exception. The intertwined letters are encased in

a circle, surrounded by decorative foliage and flanked by two winged bulls.

Above this ornamental section, Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon (Fig 8,9). This depiction

of Julius Caesar' s famous j ourney is taken from the description of the same event given in

Suetonius' Lives of the Twelve Caesars.2 The inscription that runs across the bottom of the



i Charles Yriarte, Autour des Borgia (Paris: J. Rothschild, 1891), p.153.

SSuetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p.17.










scene is also taken from Suetonius; although, for aesthetic reasons the engraver has transposed

the last two words; JACTA EST ALEA, 'the die is cast', the words Caesar was said to have

spoken at this very moment. The composition is divided into two groups; one occupies each side

of the river. Nude cavalrymen carrying javelins, some mounted with flags reading 'C', ride in

close formation. A figure which resembles a river nymph, described as a laurel wreathed child

playing the flute, sits at the bottom left of the composition.3 A second figure, nude but draped

with cloth, sits on the right bank of the river. Two bull heads frame the base of the arrangement.

The final etching on the face of the blade, capping the column of narrative design, is a

depiction of The Worship of Love (Fig 8,10). A figure representing cupid or a personification of

love is shown blindfolded, standing on a pedestal that bears the inscription T.Q.I.S.A.G.4 The

true meaning of these letters has possibly been lost to us, but a sound proposal was made in the

margins of Abbate Ferdinando Galiani's notebook. 5 The suggestion held that the letters

represented the dedication of the work, 'Tibi. Quem. Ille. Sextus. Alexander. Genuit' 'To you

son of Alexander VI'. An additional architectural str-ucture can be seen over the nude figures on

the left side of the composition. Here the letters AMOR can be read. The meaning of this

inscription is an obvious reference to the subj ect of the scene.

As we turn the blade to the reverse our decoration opens with the Triumph ofJulius Caesar

and the word BENEMERENT 'to the well-deserving' (Fig 11,12). Among a parade of figures

and horses carrying the standards and arms of Rome, Caesar sits on a horse-drawn chariot,

crowned by laurels and holding an olive branch. The orb of the world rests in his lap. One reads



SYriarte, Autour des Borgia, p.154.
4Ibid.

SYriarte, Autour des Borgia, p.173. Although the inscriptions are found in Galiani's notebook they were probably
not written by him.









on the seat of his chariot, D.CES. This has most commonly been read as Divus Caesar (Divine

Caesar). Sarah Bradford acknowledges the possibility that the inscription refers to Cesare Borgia

through his Spanish title of Don Cesar.6 The letters may also represent Cesare's name under the

title of Duc which he received from the French King later in his life.

In the same scene, a standard is held which reads SPQRCS, 'Senatus Populusque Romanus

Caesar,' 'The Senate and People of Rome and Caesar.' A round tower occupies the majority of

the background. Yriarte identifies this structure as the Campanile of the Cathedral of Pisa,

referencing Cesare's time at the University in Pisa as the reason for its appearance on his sword.

He goes so far as to describe the lean of the etched tower as matching the degree of inclination

imposed upon the structure of the bell tower.7 It is more likely that this is a non-specifie,

classically inspired structure and the square spire behind it is representative of the ancient

Egyptian obelisques seen throughout Rome. This scene of victory is closed at the top by an

illusionistic arch bearing the Borgia coat of arms on either side.

The following frame is another ornamental band (Fig 13,14). Decorative foliage and bulls

surround an oval, very similar to the section of the opposite face bearing Cesar' s monogram.

Encased within this oval is the image of two winged Eigures holding a caduceus.

FIDES. FREVALENT. ARMIS, 'Faith is more prevalent than arms', is the inscription that

opens the scene of Faith (Fig 15,16). Faith is depicted as a shrouded woman, seated resembling a

statue in an architectural niche. She is surrounded by nude Eigures, both women and men who

appear to be paying homage. This scene is reminiscent of similar compositions by Pinturicchio





6 Sarah Bradford, Cesare Borgia (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1976), p.80.

SYriarte, Autour des Borgia, p.176.









in his frescos for the Borgia Apartments, particularly in the Sala delle Arti Liberali (Fig 17a.b).

The ever-present Borgia Bull is also shown twice, one at each side of the base of the image.

The final scene etched on the blade of Cesar Borgia is of the Pax Romana (Fig 15,18). An

eagle spreads his wings as he sits atop a globe that is supported by a column. A dog sits at the

base of the structure while musicians stand to each side, playing their instruments. It is directly

above this image that the blade in punched with the mark of the blade smith.

A final piece of information is duplicated on each side of the blade. Running across the

base, directly above the hilt, one can read the inscription OPVS HERC (Fig 5,12). This has long

been considered the signature of the artist and will be discussed in chapter two with the question

of authorship.

For the continued iconographic program one must look to the elaborate leather scabbard

created as the counterpart to this magnificent sword; for as Claude Blair expressed in his 1966

article "Cesare Borgia's sword-scabbard," it is impossible to study one without looking at and

understanding the other. In addition to the relative relationship found between the engravings

on the sword and the images worked into the leather on the scabbard, the true importance of the

scabbard to this argument, as stated previously, is found in the date given by Giinter Gall in his

work Leder im Europtiischen Kunsthanakuerk. Gall dates the scabbard, from stylistic

comparison, to the beginning of the 16th century. He further questions that the scabbard is

contemporary with the fabrication of the sword, suggesting that a simple sheath was made at the

time of the sword's manufacture. The scabbard under examination here is a more elaborate







SClaude Blair, "Cesare Borgia's sword-scabbard," Victoria and 41bert~useum Bulletin Reprints 6, reprinted from
the Bulletin, vol.2, no.4 (Oct. 1966): 3.










pomp-sheath that was commissioned some time later.9 If the sheath, matching in design and

ideology was made some time after the fabrication of the sword, one logical conclusion to be

drawn is that the etchings on the blade were added at a later date, coinciding not with the blade

and hilt of the sword but instead with the production of the scabbard.

The scabbard was acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1869, purchased in Italy

by the Museum's director, Henry Cole, who described it as "the Einest piece of Art in leather

known"'o (Fig 3,19). It is evident through the same form of monogram present on the sword and

scabbard and through the complementary dimensions of both, that this scabbard was made for

the sword described above. 1 However, it is very doubtful that this sheath ever accompanied the

blade for which it was intended. Evidence that the two works under question were never j oined

can be found in the fact that the scabbard in the Victoria and Albert Museum is unfinished. The

lower decorations of the face are only lightly traced (Fig 20). The intentions of foliage, two

Eigures seated on a shield or coat-of-arms, an oval cartouche with no suggestion of the proposed

interior, and three nude Eigures standing to support the above oval can still be seen. The Einal

third of the leather remains untouched.






9 Giinter Gall, Leder Im Europiiischen Kunsthandwerk (Berlin: Klinkhardt & Biermann Braunschweig, 1965), p.163.
It should also be noted that Gall so firmly dates the sword years into the sixteenth century that he sights the death of
Cesar Borgia in 1507 as a possible reason for the unfinished state of the scabbard.

'0 Blair, "Cesare Borgia's sword-scabbard," p.125.

'' Ibid., p.3-6. The current length of the scabbard is 33 3/16 in., 13/16 of this being waste leather at the mouth,
which would have been removed had the scabbard been completed. There is also approximately '/ in. of leather
missing from the point, so the intended length would have measured 32 %/ in. To calculate the width for the mouth
of the scabbard one must consider that the current measurement of 3 % inches is a result of at least 1/8 inch of
shrinking in the leather. This leaves an original measurement of 3 5/8 inches. With a design measuring 32 %/ long
and 3 5/8 at the width of the mouth, the dimensions are exact for the blade currently owned by the Caetani family.
The sheath today remains mounted on a walnut former, most likely the one around which the leather was originally
formed. Blair's article also gives an extensive description of how the scabbard was created and the processes that
were used in the fashioning of its designs.










In his journal, Monseigneur Onorato Caetani describes the sword as he saw it in Rome at

the palace of Grimaldi, the ambassador of Spain, having been brought there by Abate Galiani,

owner of the sword during much of the 18th century. His words characterize the scabbard that

held the sword at that time as a sheath of black shagreen (untanned leather), giving so little detail

as to imply that the sheath itself had none. 12 It is obvious that this description does not match the

highly decorated work currently in London; therefore it must be assumed that at this time the

sword and scabbard under discussion were already separated. The scabbard which accompanied

the sword when Monseigneur Caetani saw it in Rome was most likely the simple case described

by Gall as being contemporary to the sword's production.

The decorations on the face of the scabbard open with a ribbon delineated by raised strips

of leather and incised with the words "MATERIAM SVPERABIT OPVS" (Fig 21). The words

of Ovid, found in his M~etamorphosis,~~tt~~tt~~tt~ 'The work is superior to the material.'1 This band is

shortly followed by the top of a triumphal arch that marks the background of the scene of the

Triumph of Love. The barrel vault frames the sky of the background in which a crescent moon

can be seen. Seven nude figures, men and women, prepare to pay homage to the personification

of Venus who stands atop a short domed column. Venus is shown as a nude woman holding a

myrtle branch and supporting a light drapery in the bend of her elbows. 14 Never to be without a


12 Yriarte, Autour des Borgia, p.148. This quotation is taken from the aforementioned journal entry. 'Le marquis
abb6 Galiani, neveu du c616bre Mgr. Galiani, 6tant venu g Rome, je le visitai dans le Palais de l'ambassadeur
d'Espagne Grimaldi, oil il demeurait. Je lui offris mon oraison funbbre en honneur de l'Imp~ratrice Marie-Th~rbse,
et dans la conversation, comme nous touchions g mille sujets, nous en vinmes, g parler de l'Epde du duc de
Valentinois que, d'apris ce que j'avais entendu dire par Mgr Borgia qui l'avait vue g Naples, lui appartenait. A ma
grande surprise j'appris qu'il l'avait apport~e g Rome. Elle 6tait dans un fourreau de chagrin noir...

'3 Ovid, Metamorphosis (New York: Barnes and Noble Books, 2005), Book 2, line 5. The verb used by the artist of
the scabbard is different from that found in Ovid's work. In 4utour des Borgia, Yriarte attributes this modification
to artist error, sighting this occurrence as not uncommon. Blair, however, translated this inscription as 'The work
will be superior to the material' seeming to imply that the tense change was intentional.

14 Blair, "Cesare Borgia's sword-scabbard," p.14, note 17. The suggestion that this figure was Venus and that the
greenery in her hand is a myrtle branch was made by Jennifer Montagu of the Warb~urg Institute.









subtle reference to the Borgia family, an additional layer of symbolic importance can perhaps be

seen in the fact that Venus is also linked to the zodiac sign Taur-us whose animal symbol is the

Bull the Borgia emblem. 1

To the right of this elevated figure of Venus, stand four men. They walk in a procession

carrying the trophies of war. Banners are also depicted, one with a coat-of-arms that is general

or now indistinguishable by age; and another, carried by the leader and inscribed 'SI'. Blair' s

theory states that these initials are representative of the phrase "Sacr-um Imperium", "The Sacred

Empire."16 Gall's assertion that the 'SI' is a signature of the artist is highly improbable. 1 In the

foreground and far right of the group of men stands a nude female with a covered vessel,

possibly to hold the sacrificial wine. At her feet kneels a man preparing to sacrifice a ram. To

close the scene, on the left of the deity stand two men. On the ground at the base of column

another ritualistic vessel is depicted.

Below the ground of the sacrificial scene a decorative motif continues the scabbard' s

raised embellishments. An eagle stands, with wings spread, on top of a floral support and

flanked by two upward turned cornucopias or horn features erupting with flames. Two spiraled

tendrils form what would have been the lesser end of these elements. They also mark the end of

the fully formed designs.

Upon turning the scabbard the decorations continue (Fig 22). First are a series of structural

components at the top of the sheath. Two leather scrolls, which had the scabbard been

completed, would have been trimmed to hug the curved triangular cut of the swords guard,

becoming the very top of the leather are the initial elements. Just below the two scrolled bands

'5 Blair, "Cesare Borgia's sword scabbard," p.9 and note 17.

16 Ibid., p.9 and note 18.

17 Gall, Leder Im Europaiischen Kunsthandwerk, p.160.










are five tubes of raised leather designed to hold the threaded attachments for a sword belt.

Between the top two of these cylindrical structures lies the monogram that ties this scabbard to

Cesar Borgia and to his sword. As on the blade, the form which constructs his name is an

overlaying monogram encased in an oval. Extending below the two lower and horizontal belt

loops are the first examples of the iconographic feature that dominated the reverse of the leather

artwork, the downward pointing flames added to the Borgia arms in the 13th century and found

on the coat-of-arms of Calixtus III. I

Just below the final belt loop there is a thin raised rib, mimicking in form the scrolled

bands at the top of the scabbard and taking the shape of an elaborate inverted ogee. The ribs of

leather which span the breadth of the scabbard merge at the point of this gothic style arch and

continue as a raised spine down the length of the sheath. At two points this rib separates to form

detailed cartouches. As the decoration moves down the scabbard, the first cartouche frames two

winged putti, both holding long torches and supporting a now very damaged escutcheon. It is

difficult to distinguish, but it does not appear that the coat of arms illustrated inside the shield

was relative to the Borgias. The two figures stand on a ground disrupted by either flame or

water.

Below the base of this cartouche the extent of damage found in the relief work is extensive

(Fig 23,24). From two winged medusa heads, one on each side of the spine, hang additional

examples of armor and trophies of war. To the right side a small rectangular ribbon with tabs on

each end bears the inscription 'PAR' which Blair defines as, 'Pax Augusta Romana', 'The

Augustan Roman Peace;'19 although, there is nothing to suggest that the Borgia tendency for



1s Yriarte, Autour des Borgia, p.155.

19 Blair, "Cesare Borgia's sword-scabbard," p. 9.










self-aggrandizement did not enter into play here and that the 'A' is not representative of

Alexander VI. This would not be a far stretch from the inscription found across the Triumphal

arch depicted in the Disput<'t of the Borgia Apartments, reading PACIS CVLTORI and

referencing a new reign or culture of peace to be established by the reigning pontiff (Fig 25).

This was a motto common to Alexander VI and can also be found on a commemorative medal

that the he had made in honor of the completion of the proj ects he had commissioned on the

Castel Sant'Angelo, perhaps more specifically the digging of the moat. The medal reads,

ALEXANDER.VI.PONT. IVST.PACIS.Q. CVLTOR20 (Fig 26). It would seem that Alexander

had the desire to be judged as a peace-maker, and through the army of Cesar' s he would come

very close to doing so.

But to turn the focus once more to the elaborate decoration of the scabbard, what follows is

the second cartouche (Fig 24). Encased here is a badly damaged figure of Love or Venus, again

personified as a nude woman holding a branch and supporting a style of light drapery. This

scene terminates the pictorial decoration of the verso side of the scabbard. The image of the

double-pronged, downward pointing flame discussed earlier serves as the patterned element of

the program, seen repeating over the surface of the leather, top to bottom. The monogram of

Cesar is also repeated twice more in the upper third of the sheath.

The most distinguishing mark featured on the verso side of this magnificent work is not,

however, an intended component. There are two points where the leather has split, revealing the

wooden form around which the skin is wrapped (Fig 24). It is in these spaces that we Eind our

reason for the separation of the sword and scabbard. The elaborate work in leather was never




20 N.R. Parks, "On the Meaning of Pinturicchio's Sala dei Santi," Art History, vol.2, no.3 (September 1979), p.296
and note 29.










finished, most likely due to this fault in structure, and thus the two descriptive pieces were never

joined.

So how does this elaborate program coincide with the personal iconography Cesar Borgia,

designed for himself and displayed so prominently on the blade of his sword? The answer to that

lies in the subj ect herself, Venus. More than just a reference to the worship of Love on the blade

or to Cesar' s propensity towards sexual overindulgence; here on the scabbard she is an

illustration of the Venus Genetrix, the Universal Mother aspect of the Roman goddess, and the

mythical forbearer of the Gens Julia, the house of Julius Caesar. Suetonius describes a

dedication before the Temple of Venus Genetrix, taking place during a military campaign as the

ancient emperor sought to conquer the world.21 Herein lies more evidence that the etchings of

Julius Caesar on the blade of the sword and this highly crafted scabbard were fashioned at the

same time.


























21 Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Chapter 61, p.29.









CHAPTER 3
DISCUSSION OF THE ARTISTS

The quest to name the craftsman of the blade and the artist of its decoration has dominated

much of the scholarship on the sword from the time of its resurgence into history during the

1700's until recent years. Abate Galiani, the owner of the sword during the mid to late 18th

century and Ademollo, an author who compiled Galiani's personal papers and correspondences,

were among the first to attempt the answer. Blair dedicated a number of pages to the matter,

although his article' s subj ect was the scabbard. But the answer is not simple and lies perhaps in

three different men: a blade smith, a designer, and a goldsmith.

The only artist who can be associated with the sword with some level of certainty is

Pinturicchio, known through his famous works in the Sistine Chapel, Borgia Apartments, and the

Piccolomini Library in Sienna. It is in under the title of designer to the images that his

relationship to the sword and, subsequently the scabbard will be established. Pinturiccchio's

involvement elevates the status and artistic importance of the sword's decoration by associating

it with a maj or painter of the period. There are two other men involved in the production of the

sword whose identities remain unknown to us.

To begin with the blade itself, Ademollo, in his anthology of Galiani's materials, writes

that the mark punched into the face of the blade, just above the etchings and at the beginning of

the damascening, takes the shape of a tower and that this brand indicates the blade came from

Castile. Two Blessed Swords commissioned by Alexander VI, given first to an elector from

Brandenburg and second in 1498 to Bogislaw, the Duke of Pomerania, bear the same







SF. Ademollo, "La Famiglia e L'Eredita dell'Abate Galiani," Nuova antologia, vol.23, series 2 (1880): 662.









swordsmith' s mark.2 To this end it must be considered that these two blades were also sent from

Spain, most likely at the request of the pontiff in Rome.

The importation of weapons and artists from Spain was not uncommon during this period,

nor was it anything less than ordinary for the Borgias. The three Blessed Swords commissioned

by Pope Calixtus III, Alexander VI's uncle, were executed by Catalan goldsmiths.3 Spain

enjoyed a prominence in the manufactory of armor, one with origins dating to the time of the

ancient Caesars. The mines found in Spanish soil, "contained in perfection all the metals then

applied to warlike uses, and its rivers were believed to possess peculiar properties for the

tempering of blades."4 The exportation of Catalan swords to Italy continued well into the

fourteenth century.'

It seems likely that the Borgias continued this time-honored tradition into the fifteenth and

sixteenth centuries. There was no part of the Borgia household that could be held as anything

less than Spanish. In the inner circles of family and intimate confidants, the spoken word was in

the Spanish tongue. It was the language of their personal correspondences, the manner of their

dress, and the source of their private education.

Those positions considered most critical were only trusted to individuals of Spanish blood.

Miguel da Corella, Michelotto, was the Spaniard who became known through gossip as Cesar' s

personal assassin. Six-thousand of Cesar' s 10,000 man infantry upon his departure for the

Romagna in 1500 were Spanish. Spain gave birth to all of his captains.6 It is indisputable that


2 Charles Yriarte, "Le graveur d'Epees de Cesar Borgia," Les Lettres et les Arts, vol. 1 (Jan. 1886): 181.

3 Cyril G.E. Bunt, The Goldsmiths of Italy (London: Martin Hopkinson and Company, Ltd.,), p.18.
4 Albert F. Calvert, Spanish Arms and Armour (London: J. Lane, 1907), p.1.

SIbid., p.6.

6 Bradford, Cesare Borgia, p.135.









the Borgias brought the country of their origins to Italy, and in that exodus of Catalan, the blade

that would become the foundation of this 'Queen of swords' found its way across the sea.

Ademollo asserts that the damascening was done by the hand of an Italian sword smith and

was most probably completed in Rome.' So it is here that one must look to Eind the second

character to play a role in the sword's creation, the individual who designed the etchings.

The designs for the etchings on the blade are most likely the work of the Perugian painter

Bernardino di Betto, known as Pinturicchio. Because of his close relationship to both Alexander

VI and Cesar and to the etched imagery's similarity to some of his frescos, most scholars agree

with this attribution.

To place an acknowledgement of participation more firmly in the hand of Pinturicchio

three things must be examined: the extent of Pinturicchio's work with the Borigas; the

possibility of his involvement through proximity, employment and payments; and the

comparison of the designs in Pinturicchio' s work to those found on the blade.

Pinturicchio began his career under the Borgias in 1492 with the complex fresco cycles in

what is today known as the Borgia Apartments. Pope Alexander VI took for his private

residence and receiving quarters six rooms from the first floor of the Torre Borgia, the first floor

of the previous palace of Nicholas V, and one room that had belonged to the residence of

Nicholas III.

The decorative paintings found on the ceilings of these rooms were almost certainly

completed during the Einal months of 1494, but the conclusion of the paintings on the ceilings of

Alexander' s personal apartments did not terminate Pinturicchio' s employment by the Borgia

family. For Alexander, he executed additional frescos in the Castel Sant'Angelo, a series


SAdemollo, "La Famiglia d L'Eredita dell'Abate Galiani," p.662.










probably completed by the end of 1495. These dates are assembled from extant documents

recording two distinct payments made to the artist. On December 1, 1495 Pinturicchio was

granted two parcels of land near Chiusi for a term of 29 years, in return for an annual levy of

thirty measure of corn. These deeds of real estate were the means by which Pinturicchio was

paid for the works executed in the Borgia Apartments and in the Castel Sant'Angelo: "Ex tuo

artificio picturarum per te in Arce S. augeli ac in palatio apostolico factarum."s

In a second letter of the Papal Chamberlain, dated July 28, 1497 and a subsequent letter of

affirmation from the Pope, this one dated October 24, 1497, the tax on those properties

previously assigned to Pinturicchio was remitted, 'in consideration of his labours in the Vatican

and in the Castel Sant'Angelo: "Ex suo artificio picturarum in palatio nostro Apostolico et etiam

in restaurata arce Castri nostril Angelo."9

This method of payment was most commonly reserved for court painters that received an

annual salary. These artists were paid for completed works through a system of compensation

including gifts of land or houses. An example contemporary to Pinturicchio was the parcel of

land gifted to Mantegna by a patron for the completion of "a little picture."'o

It has not been suggested that Pinturicchio was a famniliaris of the Borgia household, but

the application of that title would not be an exaggeration of the artist' s status to both Alexander

VI and to his son Cesar. This remittance of taxes, demonstrated though the 1497 letter gives us

additional insight to the standing held by Pinturicchio in the inner household of the Papacy and






SCorrado Ricci, Pinturicchio (London: William Heinemann, 1902), p.134.
9 Ibid.

'O Alison Cole, Virtue and Magnificence (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1995), p.38.









its extended family. The exemption of taxes was a common gift bestowed upon an artist who

had earned the title of familia.ris. 1

Pinturicchio would return to his works in the Castel Sant'Angelo in early 1498, for shortly

after their completion they were damaged in an explosion caused by a lightning strike on

October 29, 1497. 12 Gregorovius recites the episode, stating that "the explosion of the powder

magazine in 1497 destroyed the upper chambers, but they were afterwards restored and painted

by Pinturicchio."13 A letter dated February 5, 1498, grants further relief from taxation to the

painter for his completed works in the Castel Sant'Angelo and the Vatican. The work in the

Castel is the restoration of the previously frescoed rooms, and the mention of paintings in the

Vatican are most probably a reference to frescos executed in a number of rooms that overlooked

the courtyard of Belvedere in Saint Peters. 14

These two buildings do house the maj or proj ects completed by the artist under the

patronage of the Borgias, but evidence exists that he continued his work for the family through

other avenues. At some time during the year of 1500 the relationship between Cesar Borgia and

Pinturicchio became a more personal and direct one, bypassing the Pope in his former role as

intermediary. Pinturicchio wrote to Cesar, now the Duke of Valentinois, requesting that he gift a

well that would complete the same small property given to him by Alexander VI in 1494. The

Duke promptly wrote to the Vice-Treasurer of Perugia explaining the esteem in which he held

the artist and his talents, and that Pinturicchio's request was to be granted. 1


11 Ibid., p.37.

12 Ludwig Pastor, History of the Popes (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., 1950), vol.5, p.522-523.
13 Ricci, Pinturicchio, p.134.

14 Ibid., p.135.

1s Charles Yriarte, Cesare Borgia (London: Francis Aldor Publisher, 1949), p.125.









One cannot help but compare this grant to the previously discussed system of

compensation reserved for court artists who were paid for completed works through gifts of

funds for their own homes. Should it be then assumed that Pinturicchio is asking Cesar for the

payment of a finished piece of art? It is known that Pinturicchio became Cesar' s personal painter

in 1501, leaving his service in August of 1502 at the request of Cardinal Piccolomini for whom

he would paint the famous frescos in Siena. 16 It is not much to assume that their patron/artist

relationship began informally one year earlier, tying Pinturicchio to Cesar Borgia during the year

of his sword' s decoration.

Through a comparison of Pinturicchio' s body of work and the ornamentation found on

both the sword and scabbard it becomes more clear that Pinturicchio was the designer, as there

are little elements from his palate of images found on both. A true analysis is difficult since the

maj ority of his work for the Borgia Family has been lost, but in looking at large commissions

completed around the same time associations can still be found.

The obvious illusions to the family emblems that decorate all Borgia commissions are seen

in both the Borgia Apartment and on the sword and sheath of Cesar Borgia. The bull and the

Lanzol coat-of-arms are two of those elements. The most convincing point of comparison with

Pinturicchio's work in the Borgia Apartments is a small element found in the famous Disputa~ in

the Sala die Santi (Fig 25,27). On the far right, in the top band of the triumphal arch, there is a

scene that can faintly be defined and strongly resembles the representations of the Triumph and

Worship of Love found on both the sword and the front of the scabbard.







16 Ibid.









Additionally in Alexander' s Vatican apartments, the eagle of the Pax Romana, found both

on the sword and the scabbard can be seen in a small corner of the ceiling of the Sala del Credo

(Fig 28).

In the decorative columns in the Annunciation of the Baglione Chapel, a number of

elements similar to scabbard can be distinguished (Fig 29). The dual cornucopia, located at the

right in the same fresco, resemble those seen under the eagle portrayed on the face on the leather

work. From the Medusa heads, seen in the column on the right of the painting, hang additional

elements, similar in concept to the pair of heads on the verso side of the scabbard (Fig 24). The

tabbed cartouche also on the same column is common in Pinturicchio's work, and as it has been

stated is present on the back of the sheath. In the same chapel on the right-hand column framing

the depiction of the Ad'oration of the .1/Apheil~ Jr\, the decorative foliage and floral motifs are

reminiscent of the ornamental work on both the sword and scabbard (Fig 30).

Pinturicchio's Visitation ofSaint Bernardino in Santa Maria in Aracoeli provides a final

example (Fig 31). The decorative columns inside the work, supporting the rounded arch, are

weapons and trophies of war much like those on the back of the scabbard. The medusa head is

also depicted here. But it is the small cupid standing on the cornice that is of particular interest.

Standing with a tall staff resting on one shoulder and a Borgia shield supported in the opposite

hand, this figure is repeated at least twice more in works tailored to the Borgia taste. He is seen

again in the Borgia Apartments, in a more generalized form, at the feet of the personified Liberal

Arts in the Sala delle Arti Liberali; and more closely replicated in the damaged cartouche on the

back of the scabbard (Fig 17a.b.).

Out of this comparison, it can be clearly seen that Pinturicchio' s style is very present in the

designs used as blueprints by the final artist to play a part in the creation of this elaborate arm.









The identity of the goldsmith who transferred Pinturicchio' s designs to the metal of the blade is

still debated.

A great deal has been devoted to the identity of this artist. After first identifying the name

of the goldsmith who signed his work, OPVS HERC, as Hercule de Pesaro, a goldsmith

mentioned in Vatican documents, Yriarte ultimately settles on Hercule de Fideli, goldsmith to

the Dukes of Ferrara. 1

Hercule de Fideli was the Christian name of the once Jewish artist Salomone da Sasso. His

life in the employ of this great Renaissance family began with the interest of Duke Ercole d'Este

shown in the late quarter of the 15th century. This "Hercule Aurifex IIImi Duics Ferrarie" made

jewelry for Isabella d'Este and, according to Yriarte, most probably swords for Alfonso d'Este

and Francesco Gonzaga. I Hercule de Fideli was in the employ of Alfonso I d'Este when, in

December 1501, this Duke of Ferrara married Lucrezia Borgia, beloved daughter of Pope

Alexander VI joining the d'Este family with that of the infamous Spaniards. Hercule's standing

with the d'Este family was proven by the selection of his daughter by Alfonso for the honorable

position of lady in waiting to his new bride. 19

The piece of evidence that Yriarte holds as the lynch pin is found etched on a magnificent

blade gifted to the Berlin Museum by the prince Frederick-Charles.20 This sword belongs to the

body of work thought to be that of the artist of the Caetani sword. Here, on the sword of

Frederick-Charles, inscribed on the cornice of a building, Yriarte claims to have found the




'7 Yriarte, "Le Graveur d'Epees de Cesar Borgia," p.182.

's Yriarte, Autour des Borgia, p.202.

19 Ibid., p.202-204.

20 Ibid., p.206.










signature of the artist, FIDELI. 21 For him this is the proof that Hercule de Fideli, goldsmith to

the Dukes of Ferrare is the artist of the Borgia sword and of all those in the compiled body of

work.

Based on this identification a number of additional contemporary, late fifteenth and early

sixteenth-century blades bearing similar etchings to Hercule's work were attributed to him.

However, Blair challenges Yriarte's conclusion with a strong re-examination of evidence. He

discusses Yriarte's deduction and ultimately dismisses his final attribution.

The sword that identifies the artist as having worked for Alfonso I d'Este is included in

what Blair refers to as, "a well-known group of fakes, probably produced in Milan in the

1830's." Additionally, and perhaps more damaging to Yriarte's argument, the inscription labeled

by the scholar as the signature of Hercule de Fideli does not read FIDELI but is instead

FIDELIS. The scene in which this 'signature' is found is the Worship ofLove, and, therefore,

the inclusion of the word FIDELIS cannot be considered as anything but a traditional

inscription.22 With the knowledge of the d'Este sword as a fake and the loss of the signature

'FIDELI', we have returned to an unknown artist who bears the very common Christian name

Hercule.

With this Blair restores the uncertainty concerning the artist of Cesar Borgia' s sword. The

name of Angelino di Dominco de Sutri was posed by Cyril G.E. Bunt in his book The

Gol~llainiths ofltaly. He was the favored goldsmith of Alexander VI, making the Blessed Sword

for the ten consecutive years between 1492 and 1501. He was also responsible for each Rosa

d'Oro, golden rose, created from 1493 to 1506. It is known through the Vatican archives that



21 Blair, "Cesare Borgia's sword scabbard," p.12.

22Ibid., p.12-13.










Angelino made the blessed sword, belt, and ducal cap that were presented to Alphonso d'Este in

1501.23 As this artist was working in Rome, specifically in the Papal circle, and as it is

generally accepted that the sword of Cesare Borgia was made in those same locations, it is highly

plausible that Angelio di Domenico de Sutri was responsible for the execution of the Caetani

sword. As for the inscription OPVS HERC, Yriarte's Hercule de Fideli is known to have worked

with Angelino di Domenico, so perhaps Blair' s convincing argument as to why he would not

have been the premier goldsmith does not completely exclude him from involvement.

History has perhaps swallowed the evidence that would give us a definitive answer to this

question. It can most certainly not be achieved through the known documentation, but perhaps

through future research, including most certainly those pieces of the Papacy of Alexander VI and

the Borgia family that have found preservation in the Vatican archives a resolution can be

established.

























23 Bunt, The Goldsmiths of Italy, p.19-20.









CHAPTER 4
PROVENANCE

There does exist a thin trail of the sword' s provenance after its production, although

unfortunately it does not begin until the 18th century, long after the work' s forging and

decoration. One must again turn to Ademollo for the origins of the sword' s resurgence.

Ademollo, through the papers of Abbate Galiani, cites that the sword came into the possession of

the House of Montallegro in Spain. To the particular member of the family, history finds the

first known owner of the weapon in Gioacchino di Montallegro, Marques de Salas, Councilman

and Secretary of State and War of the Infant Charles of Bourbon. It is this Duke of Montallagro

who, in 1734, brought the famous sword across the Mediterranean from Spain to Naples.

It should be noted that Agostino di Cesaretti, in his work, Istoria del Principato di

Piombino, mistook the individual who owned the sword, incorrectly attributing custody to a

Duke of Montalbano.2 This inaccuracy was quickly corrected by other scholars, and it has been

written by no other that it was not the Duke of Montallagro through whom the sword found its

way back to Italy.

It is established that the Spanish Duke was still in possession of the blade in 1759. From

his hands the weapon passed as a gift to a man whose identity is not known. It is from this

private individual that Abate Galiani acquired the work for an undisclosed price. He was

uncharacteristically elusive on the subj ect even to his closest friends. In a letter to Madame

d'Epinay, dated October 2, 1773, he claims the means by which he came to possess the sword to

be an unnecessary detail.3


i Ademollo, "La Famiglia e l'eredita dell'abate Galliani," p.663-665.

2 Agostino di Cesaretti, Istoria del Principato di Piombino (Forni Editore S.p.A., 1974), p.87-88.

3 Eug~ne Asse, Lettres de L'abb6 Galiani a Madame d'Epinav (Paris: G. Charpentier, 1881), vol.1, p.93. ...Il est
superflu de vous center comment, par quels detours, cette 6pde est tomb~e dans mes mains... "










Over the following years Galiani would search endlessly for information on the sword and

the man for whom it had been designed. It had been his desire to write a biography of Cesar

Borgia and to include in that work a monograph of the weapon. To this end he exhausted

sources, asking Madame d'Epinay to serve as his liaison for any remaining information in

France. His aspiration was unfortunately never met, and upon the death of Abbate Galiani in

October 1787, the once special notebook on which he had written "The Sword of Duke

Valentino" was placed with the other 22 volumes of letters, ten cases of manuscripts, and other

miscellaneous papers.

The sword itself did not meet such an ordinary end; in fact fate would have it seek to

cauterize a wound torn by Cesar and Alexander' s campaign to unite the Italian city-states. The

will of Abate Galiani, drawn the day of his death and found by Ademollo in the archives of

Naples, illustrates his wishes:

Mes executeurs testamentaires savant que j'ai promise de ceder pour le prix de trios cents

ducats napolitains a Monseigneur Gaetani d'Aragon, qui est a Rome, une celebre epee du duc de

Valentinois, avec les memories que j'ai recueillis sur ce precieux obj et. Je les prie done de

l'offrir au prelat pour le prix indique. Mais s'il ne desirait plus l'acquerir, je veux qu'on offre

respectueusement, en mon nom, la susdite epee a S.M.I. I'Imperatrice de toutes les Russies,

comme souvenir de ma reconnaissance infinie pour rous ses bienfaits. 14 octobre 1787 4







4 Yriarte, Autour des Borgia, p.149. "The executors of my will know that I promised to cede for the price of 300
napolitan ducats to Monsigneur Gaetani d'Aragon, who is in Rome, a famous sword of the Duke of Valentinois,
with the memories that I gathered on the precious object. I pray them then to offer it to the prelate for the indicated
price. But if he would not desire anymore to acquire it, I want that one offers respectively, in my name, the above
mentioned sword to S.M.I. the Empress of all the Russians as remembrance for my infinite recognition for all its
kindnesses."









Galiani had abandoned an earlier intention of presenting the sword as a present to the Pope

due to the accession of Pius VI to the pontifieal throne and the new ill-favor in which he found

himself with the papacy.

Catherine the Great, the Empress mentioned by Galiani, was a personal friend to the Abate

and the source of a number of gifts he received throughout his life. A particular present that

arrived in the days before his death was a jeweled snuffbox, on which could be seen a portrait of

the Empress, and a letter offering thanks to Galiani for the part that he had played in the drafting

and negotiation of trade agreements that had taken place between Russia and the Kingdom of

Naples during the previous years.' For this personal connection and for the infamy of the

Renaissance prince, Catherine was ardent to acquire the sword for her esteemed collection,

immediately dispatching her ambassador. Much to the disappointment of the Russian Empress

he arrived too late, and through the right of pre-emption, the Caetani family took ownership of

Abate Galiani's beloved sword.

The Monsigneur Caetani did not, however, take lightly this usurpation of an item desired

by the famous royal collector and asked through a friend that it be published in a number of

Gazettes around Europe that he would present the sword to Saint-Petersburg upon their request. 6

That petition was never made.

The Caetani family held a strong and bitter connection to the Borgias. Throughout the

Middle Ages they held the seat of feudal power in a number of Hiefs in the country surrounding

Rome and in the Kingdom of Naples. They held that power still during the Borgia reign of the

late fifteenth century. The greatly respected and ancient family was no stranger to Roman



5 Francis Steegmuller, A Woman. A Man. and Two Kingdoms (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991), p.242.

6 Ademollo, "La Famiglia e l'eredita dell'abate Galiani," p.666.










religious politics: Benedetto Caetani would become Boniface VIII, reigning from 1294 to 1303.

Still that would not be enough to stop Alexander VI from confiscating their lands for the offense

of supporting the Neapolitan cause at the expense of the Papacy.

The Caetani estates were surrendered in November of 1499, only to be promptly sold to

Lucrezia Borgia for 80,000 ducats. The title of Duke of Sermonta was given to the son that she

bore for Alphonso d'Este. The insult was vile with the taste of blatant nepotism, but far worse

was the death of Giacomo Caetani during his imprisonment in the Castel Sant'Angelo. Although

the circumstances of his death were not suspicious, murder was whispered as it often was when

the Borgias were concerned. The estates of the Caetani family were restored during the papacy

of Julius II, but the Borgia' s mark was not one to soon be forgotten.

Monsigneur Caetani had first become aware of the sword' s presence in Italy seven years

earlier during a trip that Abate Galiani had taken to Rome. The circumstances surrounding the

meeting that had taken place between the two men is detailed in the letter that Caetani promptly

sent along with the asking price of 300 napolitan ducats, to Don Francesco Azzariti, executor of

Abbate Galiani's will:'

Sono io stato molto sensibile alla perdita che si e fatta di un ingegno non comune qual'e

stato il Consigliere Abbate Galiani suo Zio, ma sempre piu la sua memorial mi sara cara, perched

dopo 7 anni si e ricordato di una promessa a me fatta o per meglio dire fatta alla mia famiglia

indotta da me ad acquistare il monument di questa spada e collocarla nella fortezza di

Sermoneta assediata, e malmenata dal Duca Valentino nemico capital della mia Casa.

Ringraziando dunque si la sua degnissima Persona che si e data il pensiero di registrarmi

l'articolo del Testamento che mi concern, quanto il sig. Barone D. Lorenzo Ripa, le partecipo


SYriarte, Autour des Borgia, p.149.









che saranno rimessi nelle loro mani i trecento ducati Napolitani dal latore di questa istessa letter

e supplico di trasmettere nelle mani stesse in un pacchetto ben chiuso e sigillato tutte le memories

manoscritte raccolte dal sig. Abbate Galiani su questo important monument, memories che mi

ricordo bene di avemne letto qualche cosa, allorche da Amico il Sig. Abate Galiani mi fece la

confidenza di mostrarmele nel suo ultimo viaggio che fece in Roma dimorando nel Palazzo del

Marchese Grimaldi allora Ambasciatore di Spagna. Questo monument acquistato sara una

memorial etemna nella mia famiglia dell'amicizia che vi e stata tra il Galiani e me; il l'ho

conosciuto la prima volta nel 1769 nel Conclave di Clemente XIV, allorche ritomava da Parigi, e

da quel tempo in poi ci siamo sempre riguardati come due Amici che avevano qualche rapporto

d'idee sopra Medaglie, Antichita, ecc. Roma, 17 Novembre 1787

Monseigneur Onorato Caetani was an ancestor of those deposed Dukes of Sermoneta and a

man who held an interest in art and archaeology. After becoming aware of the sword's existence

and viewing first hand its presence in Italy he dreamt of ruling over a prized piece of the man

that had persecuted the Caetani family and of placing it in the castle of Sermonta with an

inscription written to recall the crimes of the Borgias.

Once ownership had been achieved Massimiliano Caetani d'Aragon was assigned the task

of composing Onorato's long awaited inscription. Massimiliano corresponded with Cancelliere:

Je me suis vu, lui dit-il, dans la necessity de demander une inscription sur l'epee du

Valentinois, si interessante pour nous, les Gaetani, contre lesquels, ainsi que contre les Orsini et

les Colonna, cet home pervers a employee la force, assiegeant Sermoneta et assassinant nombre







SAdemollo, "La Famiglia e l'eredita dell'abate Galiani," p.665-666.










de members de notre famille..., je vous prie done de jeter un coup d'oeil sur ce que je vous

envote.g

Despite the symbolic choice of the castle in Sermonta, the fortress taken by Alexander and

Cesar in 1499, the weapon does not find a home there. Due to the schedule of the Duke which

rarely allowed him to visit the Rocca, the sword was kept in Rome where it remains today, held

by the subsequent generations of this famous Italian family. 10





































9 Yriarte, Autour des Borgia, p.169-170. "I saw myself, he tells him, in the necessity to demand an inscription on
the sword of Valentinois, if interesting for us, the Gaetani, against which, like against the Orsini and the Colonna,
this perverse man employed the force besieging Sermonta and assassinating a number of members of our familiy...,
I pray you then to throw a trick of the eye on that which I send you."

10 Ibid., p.170.









CHAPTER 5
DATE OF THE SWORD

The true question of this inquiry lies in the date and the occasion for which the etched

images on the sword were produced. Previous scholars' presumption that the sword and the

etchings that decorate its blade were produced contemporarily, has hindered their pursuit for the

date of fabrication. Cesar Borgia was given the Blessed Sword, as well as the Ducal Cap of

Honor and the Golden Rose, in 1500. Through an examination of existing scholarship on papal

history, Italian goldsmiths of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and events in the lives of

Borgias themselves, it will be made evident that the Caetani sword is almost certainly the

Blessed Sword gifted to Cesar by his father and that the images were inscribed upon the blade

for this occasion.

These three gifts, the Golden Rose, the Ducal Cap of Honor and the Blessed Sword were

papal gifts, presented annually to a single prince who had sacrificed significant service to

Christendom and to the Church. The history for all of these gifts stretches to early Christianity.

For the Golden Rose, it is first mentioned in a papal bull dated 1049, but the tradition is rumored

to have begun during the pontificate of Gregory the Great (590-604). No early examples are

still in existence. It is presumed that in its originally the gift took the form of a single stemmed

bloom, resembling closely the natural flower, and was made of pure gold (Fig 32). This is the

style that most closely resembles the Rose given to Cesar, the ceremony and description of which

will be recounted below.

In later centuries the Golden Rose was created in much more elaborate form as evident in

the report of the Rose presented by Clement VIII in 1524 to England' s Henry VIII:




SCharles Burns, Golden Rose and Blessed Sword (Glasgow: John S. Burns & Sons, 1970), p.2.









This tree was forged of Eine gold and wrought with branch leaves and flowers resembling

roses set in a pot of gold...In the uppermost rose was a fair sapphire, loup pearced, the bigness of

an acorn. The tree was of height half an English yard, and in breadth a foot. 2

Early examples were treated, giving the metal blossom a red tint, but this practice was

eventually discarded.

As for the Ducal Cap of Honor and the Blessed Sword, it is generally acknowledged that

the first references are found in the early thirteenth century, much later than those of the Golden

Rose.3 The Cap and Sword were designed as a significant manifestation of the confidence the

papacy bestowed upon the receiver for their ability to defend the Church and its faith both

spiritually and temporally. The two obj ects were often gifted in the same ceremony, as the Ducal

Cap held an element of symbolic protection particular to the needs of the men who generally

received the Blessed Sword. It is believed by some that the tradition of the Blessed Sword is

taken from the ancient custom of offering the standard of St. Peter and the keys to a leader who

was preparing to confront the enemies of the church.4 The Cap, representing the unfaltering

protection of the Holy Spirit, offered to guarantee the temperance of danger soon to be

encountered for the cause of Christendom.

The Ducal Cap of Honor was traditionally made of dark crimson or black velvet and was

trimmed with ermine (Fig 33). It was ornamented with gold thread and pearls, woven into a

representation of the Dove of the Holy Spirit. Alternating rays were depicted extending from the

crown of the Cap, using the same materials. At last there is the Blessed Sword, customarily


2 Bunt, The Goldsmiths of Italy, p.15-16.

3 Burns, Golden Rose and Blessed Sword, p.11-12.

4 Bunt, The Goldsmiths of Italy, p.17.

5 Burns, Golden Rose an d Blessed Sword, p.15.









taking the form of a cross-handled arm with detailed engravings or etchings on the blade and

highly crafted, ornate repousse work in the metal of the guard, grip and pommel.6

It is the claim of this examination that the Caetani sword is the Blessed Sword of 1500;

therefore, an examination of the blades commonly used for these ceremonial gifts is necessary.

As discussed previously, a number of the blades used by Alexander VI and his uncle Calixtus in

their commissioned papal gifts were imported from Spain. The use of a pre-fabricated blade is a

pivotal piece of evidence in the classification of Cesar' s sword in Rome as a Blessed Sword.

The Blessed Sword was commonly a costly gift. Approximately three gold florins were

paid for the blade alone, despite the fact that it was not a directly commissioned piece; they were

purchased ready-made.' As this was already standard practice and Alexander being a frugal

man, the pontiff likely took a sword belonging to Cesar during his years as a Cardinal, and

created the Blessed Sword of 1500 through the addition of the elaborate etchings designed by

Pinturicchio and the traditional blessing.

The blessing of the papal sword always took place early in the evening on Christmas Eve,

preparing it for presentation the following year. On the rare occasion that a Pope did not intend

to present the sword to anyone, the rite was still observed and the Blessed Sword was kept for

future donation. Because no document of the blessing or investiture of Cesar Borgia' s Blessed

Sword survives, we are left with a variety of possibilities. The sword could have been blessed on

either Christmas Eve in 1498 or one year later in 1499. Between these two years there exists

such a range of scenarios. It seems a futile effort to try to pinpoint one in particular as holding a

stronger possibility of proof than another.



6 Ibid., p.14.
7Ibid.










It is known, nevertheless, that Cesar did receive all three of these gifts, each during 1500,

the year of his return from France and his first victories in the Romagna. On the 26th Of

February, in that same year, the Duc of Valentinois was met by dignitaries and officials of the

Roman Curia at the Porto del Popolo, from where he would make his public return to the

Vatican.

For those who lined the streets the see the magnificence of 'il Valentino', he did not

disappoint. First to cross their gaze were his baggage wagons, mules draped in his colors and

two heralds, one wearing the colors of France, the other Cesar's arms. Behind them marched a

thousand infantry, fully dressed for battle. One-hundred select members of his personal guard

bore the name CESAR embroidered on their chests in threads of silver. The manner of dress

chosen by Cesar on this occasion was dramatically different from that seen during his earlier and

much more elaborate entrance into France. For this entry, wore a simple black robe of velvet,

ornamented only by the gold collar of the Order of St. Michael, an honor bestowed upon him by

the King of France. This display wound through the streets of the Eternal City, finding its way to

the Castle Sant' Angelo where standards bearing reference to the glorious exploits of the Duc

were flown by his father. The pageant parade would end where Alexander, on a balcony in the

Vatican, waited for sight of his son. Cesar had made his celebrated return.

Days later in a ceremony on March 29, the fourth Sunday after Lent, as was the tradition,

he would become Gonfaloniere and Captain General of the Holy Roman Church and would

receive the Golden Rose and the Ducal Cap. The details of the ceremonies are recounted in

Burchard's diary.





SBradford, Cesare Borgia, p.114.










Alexander spoke as Cesar stood before him in the medieval basilica, imploring God to

bestow upon the man, who would within moments become Gonfaloniere, all blessings, spiritual

and temporal. He wrapped his son' s shoulders in the mantle of the Gonfaloniere reciting the

words, "May the Lord endow you with the cloak of salvation and place around you the garment

of joyousness, in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen." 9

The Pope then placed the Ducal Cap on Cesar' s head. This particular example of insignia

must have been exceptional in expense, for the size of the pearls was large enough that they

warranted particular notice in Burchard's description. He details the cap as being ornamented

with pearls "the size of an ordinary nut." The Pontiff again recited the tradition, "Receive this

insignia of the pre-eminence of the office of Gonfaloniere... You will, from now on, be bound to

defend the Faith and the Holy Church, and may He, who is blessed through the ages, give you

the strength to perform your duty."lo Cesar responded in turn, pronouncing the oath of fidelity.ll

The Borgias now ruled over Italy, body and soul.

Immediately following the investiture of Gonfaloniere, Cesar received the Golden Rose,

placed in his right hand by the Cardinal of St. Clemente while Alexander spoke.

Take this rose from our hands, from us who, although undeservedly, hold the place of God

on earth; this rose which symbolizes the j oy of Jerusalem triumphant and the Church militant;

this exquisite flower which is the manifestation of the faithful in Christ and the j oy and the

crown of all the saints. Take this rose planted by the river of many waters, my most beloved son

who are, in the judgment of the world, noble, powerful and endowed with many talents, that you


9 C8TO1 Beuf, Cesare Borgia (New York: Oxford University Press, 1942), p.148.
'0 Ibid.

'' Ibid., p.149. "I Cesare Borgia of France, Duke of Valentinois, Gonfaloniere, and Captain General of the Holy
Roman Church from this hour forth will be faithful and obedient to St. Peter, the Holy Church, and You, my Lord,
Alexander VI, Pope, and to your successors...so may God and these Sacred Gospels help me"










may become more renowned in every virtue. He who is the Trinity and the Unity through all the

ages. Amen. 12

Cesar knelt to kiss the feet of his father, thus concluding the rites.

But no mention has been made of the sword usually gifted in the same ceremony. It is

later referenced in Burchard's diary that Cesar was given the Blessed Sword, but no firm

statement is made of a payment or ceremony. As we are left with no descriptive memory of it,

various dates are cited by different authors.

The earliest year is given by Burns were he states that Alexander gives the Blessed Sword

to his own son in 1499. 13 In his 1890 article, Euguene Muintz, a renowned French scholar on the

arts of the Papal Courts, strangely skips the year 1500 in his discussion of those swords gifted by

Alexander VI. He does mention the sword of Cesar Borgia, but it is not in alliance with a papal

gift; it is only referenced as a discussion point for comparative iconography with a sword of

Innocent VIII. 14 It is not until a later work from 1898 that Miintz suggests Cesar Borgia as a

recipient for the sword of 1500. He states that "I'epee de 1500 (ou 1501)" was given to Cesar

Borgia. 1 Bunt also mentions the presentation of the Blessed Sword to Cesar, giving the date of

1501.16 That date can, however, be quickly excluded from consideration as it is readily

acknowledged that Alfonso d'Este received the papal gifts in that year, leaving the year 1500 as

the most probable suggestion.



I2 Ibid.

'3 Burns, Golden Rose and Blessed Sword, p.23.

14 Eugene Mtintz, "Les epees d'honneur distribuees par les papes pendant les XIVe, Xve, et XVIe siecles," Revue
de l 'art chretien, issue 39 (1889), p.291.

15 Eugene Mtintz, Les Arts a la Cour des Papes Innocent VIII, Alexandre VI, Pie III (1484-1503) (Paris: Ernest
Leroux, Editeur, 1898), p.238.

16 Bunt, The Goldsmiths of Italy. p.20.









To Eind the strongest piece of evidence in support of the supposition that the etchings

found on the sword were completed for this occasion, we need to look no further than the sword

itself and to Cesar' s soj ourn in Rome during the spring months of 1500. A very strong alliance

exists between the images of Julius Caesar seen on the blade and a number of celebrations held

to honor the victories of Duc upon his return to Rome and upon his elevation to Gonfaloniere

and Captain General of the Papal Army. Races were held, as was customary to the Jubilee, but

on February 28, the day after Cesar' s processional entrance, the people of Rome were treated to a

spectacle outside the bounds of the normal celebrations.

In a parade that wound from the Piazza Navona to the Vatican and back again, twelve

chariots showcased the triumphs of the ancient Caesar. Eleven of the wagons were decorated

with scenes, mastered by Papal artists, representing tableaus relative to recent events in the life

of the Duc. Among the scenes, most notable to this discussion, was the Crossing of the Rubicon.

Cesar rode on horseback alongside the parade. Some have suggested that he went as far as

to mount the Einal chariot as it returned to the Piazza the Einal time and adopt the persona of the

Roman Emperor, but this is most probably legend. It was not an uncommon practice to represent

the triumphs of the ancient military leaders during carnival, but the very personal elements of

Cesar Borgia that are present in this particular event should not be written off as immaterial. 1

Episodes from the life of Julius Caesar, specifically, the moment of Crossing the Rubicon and his

Triumph, comprise one-third of Cesar's sword's decoration. This creates an association between

the sword and the events of 1500, but the unique nature of the choice to represent the crossing is

all the more telling.





17 Jacob Burckhardt, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy (New York: Barnes and Noble, Inc., 1999), p.257.









The Crossing of the Rubicon is not a commonly included in Renaissance depictions of the

Triumphs of Caesar. The standard procession, both in art and life, followed a similar formula.

No particular scenes from the life of the leader where shown. It was a generalized procession

mimicking the antique practice and style. Mantegna' s Triumphs of Caesar, which he painted for

the Dukes of Mantua, are an example of this formulaic picture. Trumpets and standard bearers

begin the series, followed by the trophies and weapons of war; next more men, marching with

plunder and sacrificial bulls, bear standards and play music. In Mantegna's paintings we find

Julius Caesar at the end of the spectacle, seated in the triumphal chariot. Traditionally, Caesar

was more commonly found in the center of the parade; however, there is evidence that

Mantegna' s work is unfinished and that he had intended a number of additional canvases. I

What is important is the general nature of what was considered the Triumphs of Caesar

and the stark absence of any specific events in the life of Julius Caesar. This makes the parades

of 1500 unique. Andrew Martindale goes to the length of suggesting that the artists and

organizers of Cesar' s celebrations were influenced by Mantegna' s famous work. 19 The

representation of the Crossing of the Rubicon then becomes a conspicuous addition whose

significance should not be overlooked.

It must he assumed then that it was Cesar' s desire to adopt this scene as part of his

personal iconography, both on his sword and during the parades that honored his recent triumphs

in northern Italy. A personal connection must have been felt by Cesar between this moment in

his life, representing his newfound military dominance and this event in the life of the ancient

general, who ruled the known world through military power. More importantly, Cesar had



1s Martindale, The Triumphs of Caesar by Andrea Mantegna, p.64-66.

19 Ibid., p.49.










replaced the ancient conqueror as the general of the army of Rome. He marked this association

through the engravings on his sword and in the parade.

Cesar Borgia cites Suetonius' description of this event on another obj ect of virtue in his

possession, further developing his attachment to this particular scene. Inscribed in small black

letters on a signet ring belonging to the Duc is written "fais ce que dois advienne que pourra,"

'do what thou must, come what will.'20 These are the words spoken by Julius Caesar,

immediately following the utterance "the die is cast."21 Through the use of this inscription on a

personal item of adornment, it is all the more clear that Cesar is deeply attached to this moment

in the life of the Roman general, and the fact that the inscription is written in French is the most

telling piece. Never would he have strayed from his native tongue until after he had quartered

his arms with the lilies of France in 1499, giving great weight to the suggestion that it is only

after he takes up military arms that he can find self-definition in this moment of Caesar' s life.

Another element connecting the 1500 triumphal parade and the Caetani sword is a motto

closely tied to this moment in the life of the Duc. It is on this occasion that he adopts the motto

"Aut Caesar, aut nihil," 'either Caesar or nothing'. In his 1911 description of the events of

February 28th, under the pretense of a carnival masquerade, Alexander Dumas states that the

standards held by the bearers bore this inscription as the device.22 Although Sabatini disagrees,

stating that it is a fiction to believe that Cesar ever adopted the phrase into his repertoire, he

immediately contradicts himself with the assertion that the device was engraved on his sword.23


20 From the Notes and Queries section of The Connoisseur. The Connoisseur, vol. XVIII. (May-August 1907), p.59.
This is a response to a question posed in the Notes and Queries section of The Connoisseur, vol.17. (January April
1907), p.116.
21 Suetonius, History of the Twelve Caesars (London: David Nutt, 1899), chapter 32, p.39.

22Alexander Dumas, The Borgias (London: Arthur L. Humphreys, 1911), p.174.

23Rafael Sabatini, The Life of Cesare Borgia (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1930), p.203.










This is clearly an inaccuracy, as it is seen nowhere on the sword or scabbard. But the association

between the sword and this motto is a curiosity, and Sabatini is not the only author to have made

the mistake. It is also fallaciously mentioned by Cancellieri and Ademollo.24 25 However, it

must have held some reference in the minds of Cesar' s near contemporaries, for it is found in the

1591 Symbolica Heroica of M. Claudius Paradin above an image and description of the Duc of

Valentinois.26

Although it is not known for certain that the Duc adopted this device, the continuation of

references to it throughout Borgia scholarship again implies an intimate correlation between the

events of the parade in 1500 and the engravings on the sword. This evidence, in conjunction

with the knowledge that the Blessed Sword was bestowed upon Cesar during this year, offers

substantial weight to the suggestion that the Blessed Sword given to Cesar Borgia and the sword

now in Rome are the same work.

This inquest is not the first indication ever made that these two swords are perhaps the

same. Although he does not reference it as the Blessed Sword, Ivan Cloulas states that Cesar,

"had his magnificent parade sword engraved with episodes of Caesar' s triumphs along with

scenes of his own triumphal chariot procession of the previous spring."27 ClOulas give this

impression despite the fact that he cites Yriarte's discussion in Autour des Borgia as a source for

material regarding the sword. He leaves no additional note with which to track his assertion, but


Sabatini believes that the sword which bears the inscription of the motto is the sword made for the coronation of the
King of Naples, but does reference that it is the same sword that today belongs to the Caetani family and whose
scabbard is in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

24 Cancellierei, Lettera, p.18

25 Ademollo, La Famiglia, p. 663

26 M. Claudius Paradin, The Heroical Devices of M. Claudius Paradin 1591 (New York: Scholars' Facsimiles &
Reprints, 1984), p.347.

27 IVaH ClOulas, The Borgias (New York: Franklin Watts, 1989), p.183.










it raises the question that there was perhaps some archival document that led him to such an

uncommonly held belief.

To return to the authorities of goldsmith and papal artists who more closely tie the two

swords together, Bunt states that it is "probable that we might add the famous Borgia cinquedea

to the list of extant papal swords."28 Burns asserts that there are ten Blessed Swords still in

existence. He continues that, "One particularly ornate and sumptuous example can be seen in the

Sword given to Cesare Borgia in 1500, the enamel decoration of which is remarkable fine."29

Although Burns does not directly reference the sword that belongs today to the Caetani family, it

is the only weapon known still to exist that once belonged to Cesar Borgia. Nor can it be ignored

that the sword described by Bums as being the Blessed Sword of 1500 has enamel work, as that

is the only type of decoration found on the hilt of the Caetani sword. As the typical form taken

by the Blessed Sword has a grip and pommel worked in decorative silver repousee, Bum's

recounting of the enamel as the remarkable feature is logical.30

From here the direct indications of a correlation, end and one must piece together multiple

sources at a time. Miintz implies, in his discussion of the Blessed sword given to Cesar, that

although there is no piece of evidence to solidify the idea, it is possible this sword, the Blessed

Sword, is the same sword mentioned in the inventory taken of the belongings of Cesar' s wife.31

In 1878, Edmond Bonnaffe published the inventory of Charlotte d'Albret, Duchess of

Valentinois and wife of Cesar Borgia. Upon her death in 1514 a register of her possessions was


28Bunt, The Goldsmith's of Italy, p.20.

29 Burns, Golden Rose and Blessed Sword, p.14.
3o Ibid.

31 Miintz, Les Arts a la Cour des Papes Innocent VIII. Alexander VI. Pie III (1484-1503), p.238. Miintz does not
believe that the Blessed Sword is the sword that today belongs to the Caetani family. He mentioned this sword as
another sword that had belonged to Cesar.









taken in which was naturally found a number of obj ects having once belonged to her late

husband. Of those things, Bonnaffe references a sword in Rome decorated with gold enamels,

which in the eighteenth century had belonged to Abbe Galiani, the leather sleeve of which was

located in the Museum of Kensington (today the Victoria and Albert Museum).32 He is without

question describing the sword in discussion here.

If the two sources, Miintz and Bonnaffe, are combined, along with the statement by Burns

that the Blessed Sword of 1500 was decorated with enamel work and not the traditional repousse,

an agreement is formed that the papal gift presented to Cesar Borgia in 1500 found its way into

the inventories of his wife and is today within the property of the Caetani family in Rome.

Despite this evidence, or perhaps because to date it has never been compiled, it is the

commonly held opinion that the terminus post quem for the fabrication of the weapon and its

decoration is 1493, the terminus ante quem 1498. This opinion rests solely on the assumption

that the inscription on the hilt that references Cesar as a Cardinal is contemporaneous to the

etchings on the blade. As stated, that is not necessarily the case. To this possibility an argument

will be addressed that allows for Cesar and his father continuing to refer to Cesar as Cardinal

after 1498.

It is known, through Burchard, that a private consistory took place on August 17, 1498 in

that Cesar formally asked permission to be released from his obligations to the church.

On Friday, the 17th of the month of August, 1498, there was a private consistory, in which
the Most Reverend Lord cardinal of Valencia made the statement, that, from his tenderest
age, he had felt an inclination to the secular state of life; that, however, the Holy Father had
absolutely willed that he should change his view and devote himself to the clerical career;
and had, to this effect granted him continually so many ecclesiastical dignities, and ordered
that he should be promoted to the Order of Deaconship, while he himself had not
considered it proper to oppose the Pontiff' s command. But, since his mind, his wish and
his inclinations still are, as they ever were, for the secular state, he now supplicated our

32Edmond Bonnaff6, Inventaire de la Duchesse de Valentinois Charlotte d'Albret (Paris: A.Quantin, 1878), p.53.









Most Holy Lord to design and favor him with uncommon clemency, and give him
dispensation to depose his ecclesiastical habit and dignity, and allow him to return to the
world and contract marriage; and he begged the most reverend lords cardinals to consent to
such a dispensation, and to request our Holy Father for him and, together with him, that he
may release him of all the churches, monestaries and whatever other ecclesiastical
benefices in his possession, and which he would all resign into the hands of the same Holy
Lord. All the cardinals, by common consent and accord, referred the matter of this
dispensation to the will and discretion of Our Most Holy Lord, the Pope.33

The exact date by which Cesar had returned all benefices to the arms of the Church is

unknown, although a few of the stepping stones along that path are recorded in the documents of

the Vatican archives. By November 4, 1498 he had surrendered the diocese of Nantes. His

resignation of his diocese in Valencia and Elna was accepted by Alexander VI, as was the

renunciation of the abbey of Vallisdegna in a consistory on November 26th of the same year. It is

assumed that the remaining benefices were also resigned; although, there are no existing

documents to offer confirmation.34

According to common belief Cesar ceases to be a Cardinal through this abdication. For

those who hold this statement to be true, a terminal date of production is created and it falls in

the final months of 1498.

The keepers of the Borgia history and more particularly the sword of Cesar Borgia have

sought to identify the instance for which such a piece of art would have been made for a cardinal.

There are two occasions during this time that have been branded as worthy of the production.

The first of these events came when Ferrantino d'Aragon died unexpectedly at the age of

twenty-seven and was succeeded by his uncle Federigo as the new King of Naples. In a

consistory on June 8th 1497, Cesar was appointed as the papal legate who would travel in place



33 Peter De Roo, Materials for the History of Pope Alexander VI His Relatives and His Time (Bruges: Desclee de
Brouwer and Co., 1924), vol.1, p.284.

34 Ibid., p.284-285.










of the pontiff when the time came for the formal investiture and coronation, although this was an

honor well above his standing in the College of Cardinals.

Three thousand zecchini left the pontifical treasury to finance the travel of Cesar and his

substantial group of retainers, prelates, camp followers, and horses.35 The coronation took place

on August 11, 1497. Cesar arrived at the cathedral in Capua dressed in crimson velvet and a

mantle of gold cloth, carried in a sedia gestatoria.36 Regrettably the ceremony itself is poorly

documented. It is known that Cesar followed all the dignity and ceremony befitting such an

event. It is rightly assumed that a sword was involved in the rites of formal investiture. There is

no description of the sword used on this occasion, and so it becomes this point in time that is

linked to the Caetani sword.

Burchard, who is usually diligent in his recording of activities relating to the pontificate,

does not recount this coronation, and is in fact uncharacteristically quiet during the months of

June, July, and August in 1497. This intermission has frustrated researchers whose interests lie

with the Borgia family, as June 14 marks the death of Juan Borgia, Duke of Gandia and favorite

son of Alexander VI.

In his grief, the pope vowed to reform the church, and in these months the Vatican was

kept busy planning the immense canonical repentance for Alexander' s self-admitted sins.

During a public consistory held on June 19, speaking more as a father than a Pope, Alexander

would say the following:

The Duke of Gandia is dead. His death was given us the greatest sorrow, and no greater
pain that this could be suffer, because we loved him above all things, and esteemed not
more the Papacy nor anything else. Rather, had we seven papacies, we would give them
all to have the Duke alive again. God had done this perhaps for some sin of ours...37 We

35Beuf, Cesare Borgia, p.90.

36 Bradford, Cesare Borgia, p.67.

37Ibid., p.64.









have decided, therefore, to regulate the manner of living in the Church, and to appoint a
commission of six cardinals, who shall have the charge of preparing the holy work...and
we submit our own person to the regulations that they shall make.38

The explanation for Burchard' s absence at the ceremony in Naples can be found in Alexander' s

response to the loss of the Duke and in the work being done in Rome that would require the

attention of the chronicle kept by his master of ceremonies.

Since the description of the sword used in the coronation ceremony in 1497 has been lost

to time, we may examine the details found in Burchard' s Diarium of the coronation of King

Alfonso II that took place on May 8th 1494 in Naples:

From the royal treasure chamber were brought first, the royal crown in a vessel of gilded
silver... Then the sword was brought in its scabbard, studded with pearls and precious
stones from the end to end...39

In this we find the first piece of evidence why it is unlikely that the weapon that is today known

simply as the sword of Cesare Borgia was the sword made for the coronation of King Federigo in

1497. The sword used in 1494 is kept in an elaborate and highly decorative scabbard. It is

improbable that in a matter of three years the style chosen by Alexander or accepted as

appropriate would have changed in such a dramatic degree. If Cesar' s sword and the scabbard

that was intended for it are those used in this coronation, the sheath has departed from a style of

jeweled encrustation to one of a beautiful but subdued and simple decorative relief executed in

leather.

It must also be remembered that the intended scabbard was never finished and that the

sword, when as last described in the 18th century, was encased in a sheath of rough, black hide.

Would either the Pope or the new King have accepted this as the coronation sword? Most

assuredly not.

38De Roo, Materials for a History of Pope Alexander VI His Relatives and His Time, vol.3, p.171.

39 JOhannes Burchardus, Pope Alexander VI and His Court (New York: Nicholas L. Brown, 1921), p.71.










Moreover, the royal insignia, of which the sword is part, are resigned to the King during

the coronation ceremony.40 To this end, if the date of execution for the designs was 1497, King

Federico would have received a sword decorated without reference to Naples, the Papacy,

Alexander VI, Federigo himself, or devices of the Aragonese family from which both the Pope

and the Neapolitan King claimed ancestry. It would have been instead etched solely with

references to the life and aspirations of the man in pontificalibus that had handed it to him.41

The suggestion that this explains the circumstance surrounding the fabrication and decoration of

the sword can be quickly dismissed. Far more telling is the question of why Cesar would trouble

to design a sword and scabbard with scenes so personal in narrative and image as a gift for

someone else. Again this is a highly unlikely circumstance. It is much more probable that the

sword was designed for a different moment in the life of Cesar Borgia.

The possibility has been suggested that the sword was made for this occasion, but not used

as the coronation sword, instead held before Cardinal Borgia during the ceremony as a symbol of

spiritual and temporal power. Blair dismisses this as the reason for the sword's creation, arguing

that the type of sword used in this capacity would have been a bearing sword which is a larger

two handed arm that is intended for processional or ritual use. These situations require the sword

to be held upright, leaving no need for belt attachments on the scabbard.42

The other occurrence in the life of Cesar that scholars have considered significant enough

to bear the weight of such a weapon is his renunciation of the purple in 1498. It is known that

Cesar and his father had considered this secularization as early as February 1498. It was


40 Ibid., p.76. "The King was then crowned in the proper order and the royal insignia were handed over to him..."
This is from Burchard's account of the coronation of King Alphonso II.

41 See Albert Van de Put's The Aragonese Double Crown & the Borja or Borgia Device (London: Gryphon Club
1910), for an account of the Borgia use of the Aragonese heraldic symbols.

42Blair, "Cesare Borgia's sword scabbard," p.9-10.










whispered that Cesar considered it as he stepped over the body of his freshly slain older brother

in June of the previous year; 43 but whatever the length of deliberation, it is generally agreed that

with his departure for France in October 1498, Cesar disavows the title of Cardinal. As stated

before, this is considered to be the final moment in Cesar's life that could be aligned with the

production of the sword due to the inscription on the hilt. As this was the most significant event

to date, it became a natural instance to which scholars could pin production.

If Cesar had designed this as a tangible example of his secular aspirations, as is greatly

theorized by most scholars, he would have undoubtedly carried it with him as he embarked upon

the journey to solidify those ambitions. But, although his entry into France was described in

acute detail, there remains no mention of any sword. An astonishing 200,000 ducats were spent

for Cesar' s departure to France, the glory of which was displayed during his entrance into

Chinon where he was to meet Louis XII, King of France. This exceptional and theatrical affair

was witnessed by an ancestor of Brantime and whose recording of it was woven into elegant

prose in the author' s Femmes Galanztes.44 Sarah Bradford recounts the event through a

translation of Brantime:

The Duke of Valentinois entered thus on Wednesday, the eighteenth day of December
1498. Before him marched the Cardinal of Rouen, M. de Ravestain, the Seneschal of
Toulouse, M. de Clermont, with many Lords and Gentlemen to the foot of the bridge; he
was preceded by twenty-four handsome mules carrying trunks, coffers and chests, covered
with cloths bearing the Duke's arms, then again came another twenty-four mules with their
trappings halved in red and yellow...the colours of the King, then twelve mules with
coverings of yellow striped satin. Then came six mules with trappings of cloth of gold, of
which one stripe was of cloth of gold cut, the other smooth, which made seventy in
all... And after came sixteen beautiful great chargers, led by grooms, covered in cloth of
gold, crimson and yellow...after these came eighteen pages, each one on a fine charger, of
whom sixteen were dressed in crimson velvet, the two others in cloth of gold. These, the
people said, must be his two favourites. Then came six fine mules richly equipped with

43It is believed by some scholars, and by a number of his contemporaries, that Cesar was responsible for the death
of his brother.

44Beuf, Cesare Borgia, p.100.









saddles, bridles and trappings in crimson velvet, accompanied by grooms dressed in the
same. Then two mules carrying coffers and all covered in cloth of gold. The people, said
that those two must be carrying something more exquisite than the others, or some Bulls
and fine Indulgences from Rome, or some Holy Relics. Then after came thirty gentlemen
(Cesare' s Roman noblemen) clad in cloth of gold and silver, followed by three musicians,
two tambours and one rebec, dressed in cloth of gold according to the style of their
country, and their rebecs had strings of gold. They marched between the gentlemen and
the Duke of Valentinois, playing all the while. Then came four with trumpets and clarions
of silver, richly dressed, playing their instruments without ceasing. There were also
twenty-four lackeys all clad in crimson velvet halved with yellow silk, and they were all
around the Duke; beside him rode the Cardinal of Rouen, conversing with him... As to the
Duke, he was mounted on a great tall horse (one of the Gonzaga corsierei) very richly
harnessed, with a covering of red satin halved with cloth of gold (in truth I am not very
sure what stuff it might be) and embroidered with very rich gems and large pearls. In his
bonnet were two double rows of five or six rubies, as large as a bean, which gave out a
great light. On the brim of his bonnet there were also a great quantity of jewels, even to
his boots, which were all adorned with chains of gold and edged with pearls.45

There are two effects further described as particularly remarkable examples of the wealth

spent on Cesar' s unveiling to the French. The first, an additional description by Brantime's

ancestor was of the collar worn by the Duc over his costume of black velvet. It was described as

being worth over 30,000 ducats, with a medallion of diamonds suspended from it.46

The second is perhaps more legendary than the reasonably accurate account given by

Brantime, but is nonetheless descriptive of the impression the magnificence of the Duc' s display

left upon the people who witnessed the affair. It is said that the horse upon which the Duc rode

was shod in shoes of solid gold. As the story was told, a number of his mules were also shod

with the same precious metal and that during the long procession through Chinon the shoes,

either due to intentionally loose fittings or to the malleability of the gold, parted from the hooves

and were left in the streets as examples of the Duc' s generosity.47




45 Bradford, Cesare Borgia, p.89-90.

46 Sabatini, The Life of Cesare Borgia, p.161.

47 Ibid., p.162.










What is to be gained from this extensive description of the elaborate entrance performed by

the Duc upon the occasion of his initial audience with Louis XII is an awareness of how well this

moment in history was documented, and most particularly the minute degree to which the detail

of his dress was observed. There is a notable absence of any description of arms or armor. If a

sword of such magnificence had been by the side of the man at the center of the procession, it

would have been noticed. The lack of mention strongly indicates that no sword was on hand to

be observed.

There are alternative reasons as to why the title of Cardinal is present on a sword produced

for Cesar after the year 1498. Cesar asked to be released from his ecclesiastical dignity on

August 17, 1498. The Royal Patents conferring upon him the duchy of Valentinois in France had

reached Rome on August 7. 48 In October of that same year he took formal leave of his father,

departing for the land where he was to marry and rule as Duc. Although he had already been

bestowed with his new title, on the day of departure he signed his name, not under the

designation of Duc but as Cardinal Valentinus. Cattaneo, a Mantuan envoy, writes:

Valencia has certainly left in lay clothes, and having made his preparations as duke,
nonetheless he signed himself up to the last moment as Cesar, Card. Valentino...and this
perhaps as a precaution.. 49

For a time, Burchard would also continue referring to Cesar as Cardinalis Valentinus, doing so

on this same occasion."

If this was precautionary, his fears were not unfounded. Carlotta of Naples, daughter to

King Federigo, was Cesar' s desired bride, but she and her father would hear nothing of it.

Federigo declared:

48Ibid., p.153.

49 Bradford, Cesare Borgia, p.81.

"0 Ibid., p.83.










The son of a Pope, who is also a Cardinal, is not a fitting husband for my daughter. Let it
be ordained, however, that a Cardinal may enter into the state of wedlock; then he may
keep his hat, and I will, notwithstanding, give him my daughter."

Carlotta showed no disappointment, claiming she herself had no desire to be known as 'La

Cardinala'.52 Despite this proclamation, Cesar' s dispensation and elevation to the status of Duc

was not enough to satisfy Federigo's distaste. In February of 1499 Louis XII had failed to find a

bride for him. Cesar wrote to his father telling Alexander of his preparations to return to Italy. It

was said that he would be reinstated as a Cardinal.53 So imminent was his departure that he

received the King's messages for the Pope.54

As late as August 1499, Baldasare Castiglione described Cesar as "the son of a pope, a

renegade cardinal, a prince of France, and a great captain."5 It seems that no one believed Cesar

had truly given up his status in the church. The young Duc knew all too well the fickle nature of

fate and seemed himself to doubt his own secular success.

Although Cesar did marry in May of 1499, we have already far extended the time to which

he and his father could have clung to his previous title. It seems that, at least for a short time, he

was genuinely a Cardinal of the Roman Church and a Duc of France. But it is additionally

possible that, though Cesar gave up his benefices in the consistory of 1498, he nonetheless

retained some religious bond to the church, possibly perhaps even his title.

To prove conclusively that the etchings on the blade of the Caetani sword were completed

in 1500 cannot be accomplished through the available documentation. It is entirely possible that

51 E.L. Miron, Duchess Derelict: A Study of the Life and Times of Charlotte d'Albrect, Duchess of Valentinois
(London: S. Paul & Co., 1911), p.121.
52 Bradford, Cesare Borgia, p.93.

53 William Harrison Woodward, Cesare Borgia (London: Francis Aldor, Publisher, 1947), p.141.

54 Sabatini, The Life of Cesare Borgia, p.163.

55Yriarte, Cesare Borgia, p.88.









the intimate nature of the participants negated the need for the kind of papers that would have

left definitive proof. Nonetheless, the sword and the scabbard intended as its cover are

exceedingly critical to our understanding of the development of Cesar Borgia' s personal

iconography.









CHAPTER 6
THE IMPORTANCE OF DECORATIVE ARTS

The question has been posed on a number of occasions as to why the study of this sword is

important and, in particular, why the shifting of a few years makes a difference in our

understanding of the work. To answer this, one must first appreciate the profound and essential

role that the category of arts into which this sword falls, what we now refer to as decorative arts,

played during the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries.

Throughout the discipline of art history, the movement towards this awareness has proven

lethargic due to the concept of the great academic triad of painting, sculpture and architecture,

perpetuated over the centuries by Vasari, Winckelmann, and Goethe. In the eras which surround

the medieval and Renaissance periods, starkly different standards held true. Value was placed on

costly works in gold, tapestries, arms and armor, and the pageantry of the court. These works

were esteemed not only for their substantive worth but also for the powerful significance they

held. Upon the realization of the critical importance these works played in the political and

social sphere of medieval and Renaissance Europe, we can then turn to the question of why a

minor shift in the dating of our 'Queen of Swords' is significant enough to warrant our scholastic

attention.

Political power can be expressed in a number of ways. During the Renaissance the visual

played a substantial role in the acquisition, retention, and expression of power. These

accomplishments were made through the creation and manipulation of representative obj ects and

in the environments that quartered the worthy. Visual arts grew to be important weapons in the

game of persuasive politics. As Charles Rosenberg writes:




SMarina Belozerskaya, Rethinking the Renaissance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), p.4.










Their efficiency lay in the manner in which they could convey multivalent messages
quickly and forcefully to a public accustomed to thinking in terms of images and
allegories, and persuaded the audience of the truth and significance of their arguments. 2

They offered an immediacy and tangible permanence that few other things could, allowing

a patron to solidify an idea or image of him or herself in the consciousness of the material

world.3

For a political environment and social system where the maintenance of the hierarchical

structure through the use of the visual is essential to its survival, luxury arts are vital symbols of

a patron' s authority and distinction, their taste and virtue.4 Although all art obj ects generally

provided some form of outward projection in regards to their owner, obj ects rendered in the more

precious materials were among the most sought after and admired. In this visual competition,

elaborate ensembles of tapestries, arms, and obj ects of virtue were the most highly prized items.

This expenditure was a signaling system for those worthy to display a manifestation of

their power. The period understanding of the value of visual demonstration found justification in

Ari stotl e.

A magnificent man...has the capacity to observe what is suitable and to spend large sums
with good taste. For as we said at the outset, a characteristic is defined by its activities and
by its obj ects...A magnificent man will spend amounts of this kind because it is noble to
do so...He will try to find out how to achieve the most noble and suitable result rather than
how much it will cost him and how it can be done cheaply... The most valued possession is
the most costly such as gold, but the most valued achievement or result is one that is great
and noble: to look at it will be to admire it, and what is magnificent is admirable...In
private affairs, magnificence is shown in those expenditures which are made only once -
e.g., a wedding and the like, and anything of interest to the whole city or to eminent people
and also in receiving and taking leave of foreign quests...It is also typical of a
magnificent man to furnish his house commensurate with his wealth for it, too, is a kind




2 Rosenberg, Art and Politics, p.3.

3 Ibid., p.1-4.

4 Berlozerskaya, Luxury Arts of the Renaissance, p.16.










of ornament and to prefer spending his money on works that endure, since they are the
noblest.

Magnificence came to dominate the desired virtues of man. In Sabadino' s volume De

Triumphis Religionis, a book dedicated to Ercole d'Este, the weighted value placed on this one

characteristic is evident. Book five dedicated the entirety of its thirty-seven folios,

approximately one third of the entire work, to magnificence. Nine other princely virtues were

discussed in the remaining space. To the author writing in 1497, the aspects of magnificence

have changed little from the Aristotelian view. It remained the product of lavish spending,

symbolizing, and reaffirming power and authority. Magnificence and the visual portrayal of it in

tapestries, arms, military triumphs, and tournaments grew increasingly important to the modes of

self-presentation used in Renaissance courts and the iconographies developed for each.

Tapestries were among the most prized arts used for the visual propaganda of self-

definition and transference of virtue. They orchestrated court environments and relayed political

allegories, cast under the appearance of a mythological, biblical, or historical tableau.6

The astonishing amounts of money spent of these textiles made of silk, gold, and silver

threads are telling of their worth in the terms of political currency. Charles V took his Capture

of Tunis weavings to war to impress his enemies with superior magnificence and grandeur. So

important to him was the accuracy of the scenes that he had Jan Vermeyen, his court painter and

designer of the series, accompany him on to the field of battle.7 Twenty-seven thousand Flemish

pounds were spent on the luxurious hangings, all this at a time that the coffers of the emperor





SAristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1962), p.90-92.

6 Belozerskaya, Luxury Arts of the Renaissance, p.102.

SAlbert Calvert, The Spanish Royal Tapestries (London: John Lane, 1921), p.viii.









were exhausted from war. s The justification in such time for this expense can only be attributed

to the political gravity Charles felt they would carry.

During that same campaign, Emperor Charles V took with him 96 of his already woven

tapestries, including the Los Honores, the Story ofAlexander the Great, the Deeds ofHercules,

David and Goliath, a cycled devoted to Our Lady, and the Passion of Christ. With sets for every

impression the emperor could wish to leave, from his military prowess to his virtues, he traveled

with an arsenal of visual propaganda. The Los Honores tapestries also made an appearance at

his coronation at Aachen where they served as, "An overview of the virtues a monarch must

practice...to attain greatness" and acting as "a metaphor of his rule."9

The same must have held true for Charles the Bold when in 1476 he took the Triumph of

Caesar ensemble and the M~illefleur tapestry on his campaign of war. The militaristic virtue

derived from the Triumph of Caesar is evident, but even the M~illefleur tapestry which appears to

be no more than decorative foliage, through the placement of the ducal arms in the center, gives

the claim of an earthy paradise brought to being by the rule of the Burgundians.

For those that could not afford this luxury, painting became their method of illustrated

propaganda. Today, frescos are the privileged wall decor, this referencing once again the

academic triad where painting is held to a higher status. But during the Renaissance, frescos

were only seen on walls when tapestries were not superimposed upon them or if the cost of these

luxurious textiles proved too much for the patron and this less expensive form of ornamentation

was all that could be afforded. In the case of the latter, the frescos were often painted to imitate





SBelozerskaya, Luxury Arts of the Renaissance, p.97.

9 Ibid., p. 100-102.









the trappings of hanging tapestries. A series of hunting frescos found in the castle of Bartolomeo

Colleoni included metal hooks and the fringe of fabric threads. 10

The previously discussed frescos in the Sala dei Pisanello sought to display the power of

the Gonzagas. The Sala frescos were used to promote the military reputation and most

specifically the magnificent war-horses for which the Gonzaga were famous. Cesar wrote to

Francesco Gonzaga upon his departure for France in 1498, asking him to send one of these great

horses, as he had found himself, "absolutely destitute of fine coursers suitable to us in such a

journey."

Parts of the surface of the Sala dei Pisanello are textured, and it has been shown through

reconstructions of an unfinished tournament scene that a substantial portion of the commission

was to be covered with raised relief and overlaid in gold and silver:

The extent of the gilded relief in the tournament scene should be recognized as an
imaginative response to the challenge of providing a work with a precise function within a
particular context: that of endowing Lodovico Gonzaga with an appearance of splendor in
a setting in which received visitors...The scene' s ostentatious glow would have
symbolized Gonzaga power by suggesting the physical splendor of Gonzaga rule at the
moment in Mantuan history when a more expensive medium than fresco for a large scale
work was financially out of the question. 12

The use of gilding in the frescos was intended to mimic the gold and silver threads of

tapestries. The raised relief added to this illusion, as tapestries were not static works of art but

instead shifting with the movements made by the guests of the atmosphere.

But for all their worth in political persuasion, tapestries were not the only means by which

these rulers displayed their maj esty and military might. Arms and armor were additional



'o Cole, Virtue and Magnificence, p.30.

11 Bradford, Cesare Borgia, p.82.

12 Joanna Woods-Marsden, "Pictoral style and ideology: Pisanello's Arthurian cycle in Mantua," Arte Lombarda,
(1987/1-2-3): 133-134.









instruments used in these exhibitions. The nobility of the feudal system were a military class

who through arms and armor dressed the part. These adornments were seen as symbols of

superior status, and the attire of warfare became a uniform of noble class identity. Military

costume expressed the virtues that all Renaissance statesmen desired to be associated with:

strength at arms, nobility of character and chivalric presence. This form of dress offered to

impress and intimidate the admirers and enemies of the wearer, presenting important

authentication to the image desired by the ruler. Additionally, because of the cost, supremely

crafted and richly elaborated armor served to distinguish the gentlemen that wore it above the

ranks of others. It was an exclusive art that carried a political resonance of wealth and served as

invaluable assets to an individuals' iconographic alliance to the great figures of history.

Allusions to the ancients were frequent in the decoration of these obj ects, seeking through this

iconography to present those who donned them as a new Hercules, Alexander, or Caesar. As

with tapestries, the more elaborate, the more magnificence seeped into the image of the ruler.

The ever-ostentatious dukes of Burgundy were often seen riding onto the field of battle wearing

armor decorated with gold and precious stones.

The example that most truly represents the value and use of arms and armor can be found

in the inventories of the great art cabinets. The obj ects accumulated in these collections were

representative of what was held important by the individual, and what was esteemed at the time.

In his 16th century Kansrl (ikaininr'l (art cabinet) amassed at the Ambras catle in Innsbrook,

Archduke Ferdinand II accumulated a collection that required the space of four separate but

interconnected buildings. One of these buildings housed a variety of his curiosities, assorted arts

from nature and man. The other three contained this anthology of arms and armor. Through

these halls he divided his collection into rooms by theme and desired impression. The first









offered glory to the chivalric tradition through a display of tournament harnesses womn from the

time of Maximilian I to his own. Another displayed the military supremacy of the archduke

himself, housing in chronological order seventeen examples of his personal armor. Thirdly, he

amassed a room of Turkish armor. The advertisement made through these 120 suits of armor

was the Christian and Habsburg dominance of the Ottomans and their belief in Islam. 13

In the same vain, Charles V created a collection to inventory his personal arms and armor.

Through their display he documented his political and military victories, deriving personal pride

when viewing them himself and instilling fear and admiration when viewed by others.

The exhibition of these items was common in the portraits of military men. A painting of

Philip II in which he wears an exceptional suit, illustrated in explicit detail, is an example of this

trend. Through this seemingly simple choice of dress he has eluded to his military career, his

social rank, refinement, and wealth. Due to the power of these armaments they became essential

elements in a statesman's arsenal of political propaganda.

The western preoccupation with this form of iconographic demonstration did not escape

the notice of their eastern counterparts. The Sultan Suleyman I, earning the epithet of "the

Magnificent" from his luxurious displays of the regalia of warfare, commissioned from the

Venetians a helmet to demonstrate his standing in this game of supremacy through opulence. So

impressive was the work that before it was sent to its patron, it was displayed for three days in

the Doge' s Palace. The design of the helmet that carried a 100,000 ducat price tag was not left to

chance. It was intentionally patterned, mimicking the papal tiara, trumping its triple crown with

a four tiers. 14 The inference of his superiority over the leader of Christianity is an example of the


13 Berlozerskaya, Luxury Arts of the Renaissance, p.135-136. The final room housed a collection of unique and
peculiar armor belonging to children, giants and dwarfs.
14 Ibid., p.144.










use of these adornments as proclamations of authority and greater magnificence. He said of his

sumptuous spending that he desired to speak to his European rivals through the contextual

language that they most strongly recognized. 1

Triumphs and tournaments are ephemeral examples of these luxurious material displays.

The examples of both, staged by the leaders of Europe, are boundless. What makes the

pageantry of this period different is the shift in focus from the middle class to the elites as the

focal point towards which to direct the impression of magnificence.

As to state ceremonies, of which the triumph is part, the Renaissance revival of the ancient

world caused them to search for ancient forms of performance. The development of state entry

is a direct descendant of the Roman imperial triumph. During this period the ideological

structure of the existing form of entrance changed, distinctively weakening its connection to the

middle classes. What had first been a series of tableaux vivants staged as a procession for the

enj oyment of the masses developed into an exceedingly symbolic instrument in the world of

political propaganda: 16

What spread across Europe was the notion of the entry as a triumph in terms of the
monarch as hero, reflecting exactly the change in political climate as the nation states of
early modern Europe developed their identity by focusing a people's loyalty ton the cult of
a dynasty. As a result the entry gradually ceased to be an assertion of absolute power with
corresponding expression of subservience by the urban bourgeois classes... The result was
that any entry into an Italian princely city became an instrumentum regni devised and
designed under the aegis of the court poets, humanists, and artists. 1

Ceremonies became an expression of the hierarchical str-ucture of society. The procession,

through its display of symbolic visual and often physical authority illustrated the power politics.




's Ibid., p.115.

16 Strong, Art and Power, p.42-44.

17 Ibid., p.47-48.










The Medici were quite skilled in this art by 1589 when Christina of Lorraine entered

Florence as the bride-to-be of Grand Duke Ferdinand. The street festival held on this occasion

gave little concern to the desires or impressions of the commoners; it was no more than an

expansion of the announcements intended for the insular word of the ducal court. I The

perfection of the state ceremony was of such critical importance to Venetian rulers that the

Savaii de Teruraferma was formed. This group of five men, one of which was the political

supervisor of official ceremonies, were elected to the collegio of the senate and were charged

with ensuring that the ducal ceremonies produced the desired political conclusion. 19

The fundamental elements behind the Renaissance triumphs and state ceremonies were

consistent in their desire for one thing: the substantiation of propagation of not the reality, but the

idea of rulership. Through the spectacle of these triumphs, Renaissance figures gained the same

perceived magnificence as was derived from the use of references to the ancients in material

luxury arts.

Tournaments offered a similar vehicle for political persuasion, serving as vital expressions

of elevated nobility and class identity. Despite the advent of firearms, the tournament continued

to be an important element of the staged propaganda by a court or ruler, over time it became

increasingly scripted in order to ensure that the appropriate individual was the recipient of

victory.20 In addition to the display of military expertise and individual excellence, tournaments

served as a ground for the display of the fashion of arms. Premier examples of arms and armor

were required dress. Each separate sport involved a distinct form of each, which made

participation quite cost prohibitive. This parade of the regalia of warfare asserted the wealth of

's Ibid., p.48.

19 Edward Muir, Civic Ritual in Renaissance Venice (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1981), p.187.

20 Strong, Art and Power, p.50.









the taste of the respective owner. Other forms of tournament, different from the stereotypical

view of it as a chivalric j oust, involved animals, for example, the bullfight. The achievement of

skill required the kind of leisure time few members of the common classes had.

The seventeenth century would eventually remove the tournament entirely from the view

of the public; the foundations of that change can be seen during the Renaissance. They were

removed from the piazzas and open city spaces where they were accessible to the populace, and

brought within the architectural complexes and closed world of the courts. This change was part

of the development of the view of accessibility as indicative of social status. 21 The true

importance of the impression of princely virtues lay in the observance of it by enemies, peers,

and pawns in the political games of the day.

With the establishment of the significant and complex role that these luxury arts and

pageants play in the political atmosphere of Renaissance Europe, it should be shown that the

Borgias prescribed to this form of dynastic and self-propaganda. To do this it is unnecessary to

take more than a surface glace at their history.

Popes and men of the church were not immune from the desire to be viewed as magnificent

and virtuous. The decoration of the Sala Regia, the room used for conclaves, public consistories,

and the formal reception of foreign sovereigns and dignitaries by the pope, was designed for its

impression of the triumph of the church. The pictorial cycle began with scenes of six kings that

had defended the Roman Church, personifying the ideal relationship of the great secular states to

the great faith. Additional scenes were added later, these showing a number of sovereigns

submitting obedience to the pope. Among these was the victory of the Christian army over the

Turkish forces at Tunis. The Emperor Charles V, leader of that Christian army, is shown


21 Ibid., p.43.










offering the victory and his deference to the Church by kissing the foot of the supreme pontiff.

The theme being demonstrated was a common one in papal propaganda during the Renaissance,

the illustration of the supremacy of papal authority over temporal rule.22 The need to legitimize

Rome as the true seat of the papacy was another particular piece of religious propaganda popular

in the Renaissance. The inscriptions found under Vasari's painting Gregory XI Returns to Rome

fr~om Avignon in 1376 speaks to this need, stating that it was divine inspiration that caused

Gregory to return the Church to Rome.23

Alexander VI would prove no exception to this papal desire. For his advancement to the

Holy See he spared no expense, nor did he spare the iconographic references to ancient heroes.

"Divine Alexander, Alexander the Great," were the cries of the Roman public as Pope Alexander

VI made his way to the Lateran basilica for his coronation. The streets were lined with

tapestries, draped with garlands, and intersected with triumphal arches. A fountain of wine,

shaped as the Borgia Bull, stood outside the church of San Marco. A banner twelve-meters long

and bearing the papal standard flew over the Castle Sant'Angelo. "Anthony was not received

with as much splendour by Cleopatra as Alexander by the Romans."24

Alexander' s want for magnificence and luxury arts was not exclusive to his rule as pope

and to the papacy's need for the assertion of power. In a description given in 1484, by Ascanio

Sforza upon viewing the palace built in Rome by Pope Alexander VI during the time that he was






22 Randolph Starn, "Triumphalism and the Sala Regia in the Vatican," in "All the wordl's a stage..." Art and
Pagentry in the Renaissance and Baroque, (University Park: The Pennsylvania State University, 1990), vol.6, part 1,
p.31.
23 Ibid., p.31-32.

24 Bradford, Cesare Borgia, p.28.









still Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, it was likened to the Golden Palace of Nero. He mentions vast

tapestries of hunting scenes, chests of gold, and silver plate.25

As for his children, they all inherited their father' s taste for luxury, but for brevity only the

manifestations of Cesar' s character will be discussed. There is little need to look further than his

entrance into Chinon, but as there are other examples and this one has already been recounted, a

brief mention of the rest of Cesar' s extravagance is in order.

Little remains in Rome, as it was wiped clean of the Borgia presence shortly after the death

of Alexander, so the inventory of Cesar' s wife Charlotte d' Albret the maj ority of which came

into her possession through her marriage, again proves useful. "Neither 'rare books' nor

'valuable paintings' indeed find their way into her list of possessions; but not Anne de Bretagne

herself could boast more princely parures, more exquisite stores of gold and silver plate..."26

The list of rich fabrics and their various uses throughout the palace is exhaustive, the number of

precious jewels that lined her clothing substantial.

Eight-two tapestries were named in her collection. Fourty-seven of them were of Felletin

manufacture. Haut Lice tapestries representing the Passion and Resurrection of Christ, the

Infant Moses, Alexander the Great, and Hercules are also listed. Upon Charlotte's death all of

Cesar' s rich weavings passed into the possession of her nephew, Henri II of Navarre. Cesar must

have held a particular taste for tapestries. During his campaigns in the Romagna, Cesar acquired

through the confiscation of the property and possessions of Fererigo da Montefeltro an eleven-

piece tapestry set of the Trojan War. These he kept for himself while gifting the Sleeping Cupid





25 Marion Johnson, The Borgias (New York: Penguin Books, 2001), p.66.

26 MifOn, The Derelict Duchess, p. 237.










of Michelangelo, obtained in the same usurpation as the tapestries, quite readily to Isabella

d'Este.

To the triumphs that he displayed, the most prevalent manifestation has already been

discussed, but the festivities held in honor of Lucrezia Borgia' s marriage to Alfonso d'Este

during the time bridging 1501 and 1502, are worthy of note. On New Year' s Eve triumphs were

staged in which the first two floats were the triumphs of Hercules, an allusion to the duke of

Ferrara, and the triumphs of Julius Caesar, Cesar' s chosen iconographic representation. No

reference was made to the bride. As the wedding celebration continued, a comedy staged on the

night of January 2 used the same metaphoric ancient figures, illustrating that both Hercules and

Caesar overcame Fortune with their Virtue. All present would have understood the ancient men

as thinly veiled references to the princes of the Renaissance. Facts regarding the career of the

new Borgia Duc were recounted, and with the appearance of Jupiter, Alexander VI was

personified.27 COSar was present for these ceremonies, and perhaps had a hand in their design.

Tournaments were something in which Cesar once again looked to Spain for inspiration.

As has been discussed, tournaments, once public spectacles held for the delight of the masses, at

this time became a means by which to impress the elite. During August, just before Cesar's

departure for France, Cattaneo witnessed an example this change.

In these days Valencia, armed as a janissary, with another fourteen men, gave many blows

and proofs of strength in killing eight bulls in the presence of Don Alfonso, Donna Lucretia and

"his Princess" (Sancia), in Monsignor Ascanio's park were he had taken them remote from the

crowd for greater privacy.28


27Bonner Mitchell, "Les Intermbdes au Service de L'Etat," in Les F~tes de la Renaissance, (Paris: Centre National
de la Recherche Scientifique, 1956), vol.3, p.119-120.

28Bradford, Cesare Borgia, p.80.









But for an event that was traditionally inclusive of other men in standing, and that

previously, as described above, Cesar had performed with others, on June 24, 1500 he would

showcase no strength and honor but his own. Just months after his entrance into Rome and the

conference of his recent dignities Cesar again treated the Roman spectators to a show of his

magnificence. He entered the bullfighting arena on horseback, as was the Spanish style, killing

six, some say seven, wild bulls. For the last slaying, he dismounted, and with a single stroke the

bull was beheaded, 'a thing which seemed great to all Rome.'29 However it appeared this was

not a feat for the pleasure of Rome; it was a statement to those in power who witnessed it or

would hear of it through the rivers of Italian gossip. "Princes and governments all over Italy now

regarded him with mixed feeling of wonderment, expectation, and awe."30 He had dismissed

the traditional tournament, stacked in favor of the king, yet still offering some opportunity for

others to showcase their skills. This display was for the aggrandizement of Cesar alone.

It is evident that the Borgias were not strangers to the use of luxury arts and the physical

manifestations of it. Clearly the sword of Cesar Borgia is part of this display. The answer to the

question of why the appropriate dating of this work is important can now be fully appreciated.

If one is to view the obj ect as it was originally intended, as a representation of the self-

fabricated image and personal iconography chosen by Cesar Borgia, it offers tremendous insight

into his life and motivations. However, for this individual, life was spent in two very distinct

phases. If the date commonly given for this sword is correct, and Cesar has in these years, 1493-

1498, created a personal iconographic image modeled after Julius Caesar, the question must be

asked as to why. It would be a strange and almost mocking choice for an individual who was



29 Bradford, Cesare Borgia, p.122. A quote by Paolo Capello, the Venetian envoy.

30 Beuf, Cesare Borgia, p.152.









bound to an ecclesiastical life that offered no outlet for military supremacy. If instead the other

faction of Cesar' s life is considered as spawning the iconography, a strong correspondence in

context develops. As the new leader of the army of Rome, Caesar's army, Cesar Borgia has

crossed his Rubicon to this long dreamt of military position, one that is seeped in the politics of

power. This is the moment in which he aligns himself through the creation of his personal

iconography, to the virtues of the ancient Caesar.









APPENDIX
FIGURES

Image not shown due to copyright

Figure 1. The Sword of Cesar Borgia, Fondazione Camillo Caetani, Rome. (Bulgari, Argentieri
Gemmari e Orafi d'Italia)










Image not shown due to copyright


Figure 2. Sword of Cesar Borgia, face and verso, Fondazione Camillo Caetani, Rome. (Boccia,
Armi Bianche Italiane, 209-214.)










Image not shown due to copyright

Figure 3. Scabbard to the sword of Cesar Borgia, Victoria and Albert Museum, London (Alfano,
I Borgia, p.193.)











Image not shown due to copyright


Figure 4. Photograph of the scene of the Worship of the Bull taken from the sword of Cesar
Borgia, Fondazione Camillo Caetani, Rome. (Boccia, Armi Bianche Italiane, 209-
214.)










Image not shown due to copyright


Figure 5. Drawing of the scene of the Worship of the Bull taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia,
Fondazione Camillo Caetani, Rome. (Bradford, Cesare Borgia, p.79)










Image not shown due to copyright

Figure 6. Photograph of the monogram taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia, Fondazione
Camillo Caetani, Rome. (Boccia, Armi Bianche Italiane, 209-214)







Image not shown due to copyright

Figure 7. Drawing of the monogram taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia, Fondazione Camillo
Caetani, Rome. (Bradford, Cesare Borgia, p.78)










Image not shown due to copyright


Figure 8. Photograph of the scenes of The Crossing of the Rubicon and the Worship of Love
taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia, Fondazione Camillo Caetani, Rome. (Boccia,
Armi Bianche Italiane, 209-214)




Image not shown due to copyright

Figure 9. Drawing of the scene of The Crossing of the Rubicon taken from the sword of Cesar
Borgia, Fondazione Camillo Caetani, Rome. (Yriarte, Autour des Borgia, p. 172)










Image not shown due to copyright


Figure 10. Drawing of the scene of the Worship of Love taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia,
Fondazione Camillo Caetani, Rome. (Yriarte, "Les Graveur d'Epees de Cesar
Borgia," p.166)










Image not shown due to copyright


Figure 11i. Photograph of the scene of the Triumph of Caesar taken from the sword of Cesar
Borgia, Fondazione Camillo Caetani, Rome. (Boccia, Armi Bianche Italiane, 209-
214)










Image not shown due to copyright


Figure 12. Drawing of the scene of the Triumph of Caesar taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia,
Fondazione Camillo Caetani, Rome. (Yriarte, Autour des Borgia, p.176)










Image not shown due to copyright


Figure 13. Photograph of a decorative band taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia, Fondazione
Camillo Caetani, Rome. (Boccia, Armi Bianche Italiane, 209-214)




Image not shown due to copyright

Figure 14. Drawing of a decorative band taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia, Fondazione
Camillo Caetani, Rome. (Bradford, Cesare Borgia, p.79)










Image not shown due to copyright


Figure 15. Photograph of the scenes of the Worship of Faith and the Pax Romana taken from the
sword of Cesar Borgia, Fondazione Camillo Caetani, Rome. (Boccia, Armi Bianche
Italiane, 209-214)










Image not shown due to copyright


Figure 16. Drawing of the scene of the Worship of Faith taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia,
Fondazione Camillo Caetani, Rome. (Yriarte, "Les Graveur d'Epees de Cesar
Borgia," p.169)






























A. Image not shown due to copyright


B. Image not shown due to copyright


Figure 17. A. The figure of Music, Borgia Apartments, Vatican City. (Acidini, Pintoricchio,
fig.35) B. The figure of Rhetoric, Borgia Apartments, Vatican City. (Acidini,
Pintoricchio, fig.36)










Image not shown due to copyright


Figure 18. Drawing of the Pax Romana taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia, Fondazione
Camillo Caetani, Rome. (Yriarte, "Les Graveur d'Epees de Cesar Borgia," p.169)










Image not shown due to copyright


Figure 19. The face of the scabbard of Cesar Borgia, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
(Boccia, Armi Bianche Italiane, 215-223)












Image not shown due to copyright


Figure 20. Detail of the trace lines on the face of the scabbard of Cesar Borgia, Victoria and
Albert Museum, London. (Boccia, Armi Bianche Italiane, 215-223)










Image not shown due to copyright


Figure 21. Detail of the Worship of Love and additional decorative elements taken from the
scabbard of Cesar Borgia, Victoria and Albert Museum, London. (Boccia, Armi
Bianche Italiane, 215-223)










Image not shown due to copyright


Figure 22. Detail of the top of the back of the scabbard of Cesar Borgia, Victoria and Albert
Museum, London. (Boccia, Armi Bianche Italiane, 215-223)










Image not shown due to copyright

Figure 23. The Back of the scabbard of Cesar Borgia, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
(Boccia, Armi Bianche Italiane, 215-223)










Image not shown due to copyright

Figure 24. Detail of the back of the scabbard of Cesar Borgia, Victoria and Albert Museum,
London. (Alfano, I Borgia, II.9, pl93)












Image not shown due to copyright

Figure 25. Pinturicchio, Disputa, 1492-1494, fresco, Borgia Apartments, Rome. (Saxl, Lectures,
vol.2, pl.124.a)










Image not shown due to copyright


Figure 26. Medal of Alexander VI, Vatican City. (Alfano, I Borgia, I.93, p. 163)
















Image not shown due to copyright


Figure 27. Pinturicchio,Detail of the arch from the Disputa, 1492-1494, fresco, Borgia
Apartments, Vatican City. (Alfano, I Borgia, p.282)










Image not shown due to copyright


Figure 28. Pinturicchio, Ceiling of the Sala del Credo, 1492-1494, Borgia Apartments, Vatican
City. (Saxl, Lectures, vol.2, pl. 117.b)










Image not shown due to copyright


Figure 29. Pinturicchio, Annunciation, 1479-1510, fresco, Baglione Chapel, Santa Maria
Maggiore, Spello. (Roettgen, Italian Frescos: The Flowering of the Renaissance
1470-1510, pl.148)










Image not shown due to copyright


Figure 30. Pinturicchio, Adoration of the Shepards, 1479-1485, fresco, Baglione Chapel, Santa
Maria Maggiore, Spello. (Roettgen, Italian Frescoes: The Flowering of the
Renaissance 1470-1510, pl.144)











Image not shown due to copyright


Figure 31. Pinturicchio, Visitation of St. Bernardino, fresco, Santa Maria in Aracoeli, Rome.
(Palombi, S. Maria in Aracoeli, fig.55)










Image not shown due to copyright


Figure 32. An early example of the Golden Rose, MS. Barb. Lat. 3030, Biblioteca Apostolica,
Vaticano. (Burns, Golden Rose & Blessed Sword, pl.i)


Image not shown due to copyright

Figure 33. An example of the Ducal cap, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. (Burns, Golden
Rose & Blessed Sword, pl.xy)










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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Elizabeth Bemis received her bachelors degree from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta,

Georgia with a maj or in art history and a minor in studio art. Upon completion of that degree she

attended the University of Florida and earned a master' s degree in art history with a

concentration in Renaissance studies.





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1 THE SWORD OF CESAR BORGIA: A RE DATING WITH AN EXAMINATION OF HIS PERSONAL ICONOGRAPHY By ELIZABETH BEMIS A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2007

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2 2007 Elizabeth Bemis

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3 To those with whom I share my life and my love of the past

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank Dr. Elizabeth Ross for her guidance through this research, and Dr. Barbara Barletta for her support of my work and throughout my studi es. Thank you to Dr. Caterina Fiorani and the Fondazione Camillo Ca etani for giving me the opportunity to see the sword of Cesare Borgia, and to Nick Humphrey and Nigel Bamforth of the Victoria and Albert Museum for allowing me to view the scabbard of Cesare Borgia. To the office and library staff of the University of Florida, Thank you. I would like to thank my parents for their suppo rt of my education. Finally, thank you to my sister for her continued and diligent suppor t throughout this process and for her willingness to share her life with the Borgias.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 LIST OF FIGURES................................................................................................................ .........6 ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ..............8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION..................................................................................................................10 2 DESCRIPTION OF THE SWORD AND SCABBARD........................................................16 3 DISCUSSION OF THE ARTISTS.........................................................................................27 4 PROVENANCE.....................................................................................................................37 5 DATE OF THE SWORD.......................................................................................................43 6 THE IMPORTANCE OF DECORATIVE ARTS..................................................................64 FIGURES........................................................................................................................ ...............79 LIST OF REFERENCES.............................................................................................................108 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.......................................................................................................115

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6 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1 Sword of Cesar Borgia.......................................................................................................79 2 Sword of Cesar Borgia, face and verso..............................................................................80 3 Scabbard to the sword of Cesar Borgia..............................................................................81 4 Worship of the Bull taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia..............................................82 5 Worship of the Bull taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia..............................................83 6 Monogram taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia............................................................84 7 Monogram taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia............................................................84 8 The Crossing of the Rubicon and the Worshi p of Love taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia......................................................................................................................... ........85 9 The Crossing of the Rubicon taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia................................85 10 Worship of Love taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia...................................................86 11 Triumph of Caesar taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia................................................87 12 Triumph of Caesar taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia................................................88 13 Decorative band taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia....................................................89 15 Worship of Faith and the Pax Romana ta ken from the sword of Cesar Borgia.................90 16 Worship of Faith taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia...................................................91 17 17.a Music 17.b Rhetoric...............................................................................................92 18 Pax Romana taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia..........................................................93 19 Face of the scabbard of Cesar Borgia................................................................................94 20 Detail of the trace lines on the face of the scabbard of Cesar Borgia................................95 21 Detail of the Worship of Love and additional decorative elements taken from the scabbard of Cesar Borgia...................................................................................................96 22 Detail of the top of the back of the scabbard of Cesar Borgia...........................................97 23 Back of the scabbard of Cesar Borgia................................................................................98

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7 24 Detail of the back of the scabbard of Cesar Borgia...........................................................99 25 Pinturicchio, Disput....................................................................................................... .100 26 Medal of Alexander VI....................................................................................................101 27 Pinturicchio,Detail of th e arch from the Disput.............................................................102 28 Pinturicchio, Ceiling of the Sala del Credo.....................................................................103 29 Pinturicchio, Annunciation..............................................................................................104 30 Pinturicchio, Adoration of the Shepards..........................................................................105 31 Pinturicchio, Visitati on of St. Bernardino........................................................................106 32 Early example of the Golden Rose, MS. Barb. Lat. 3030...............................................107 33 Example of the Ducal cap................................................................................................107

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8 Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts THE SWORD OF CESAR BORGIA: A RE DATING WITH AN EXAMINATION OF HIS PERSONAL ICONOGRAPHY By Elizabeth Bemis August 2007 Chair: Elizabeth Ross Major: Art History The blade of the sword of Cesar Borgia, t oday in the possessions of the Fondazione Camillo Caetani, is elaborately etched with s cenes based on the life of Julius Caesar. Six classically inspired tableaus comprise the core of the decorative program: Worship of a Bull, Crossing of the Rubicon, Worshi p of Love, Triumph of Julius C aesar, Worship of Faith and Pax Romana. These images are the only extant exam ples of the personal iconography Cesar Borgia employed to represent himself as the modern Caes ar. The etched decoration is most commonly dated contemporaneously to the original fabrica tion of the sword which due to an inscription on the hilt is given a time frame between 1493 and 1498. The inscription refers to Cesar as a Cardinal and these are the years between which he he ld that title in servi ce to the Roman Church. However, that assumption is not inevitably true, a nd the probability exists that these images were added at a later date. Perhaps the most grandiose expression of Ce sars individual symbolism is found in a parade of the Triumphs of Julius Caesar, held in Cesar Borgias honor in February 1500. This study will consider the sword and the parade together, presenting them as two key elements, one material and one ephemeral, in the developmen t of Cesars personal iconography. Most notable, on both the sword and in the parade, is his unusual depiction of the scene of the Crossing of the

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9 Rubicon. This particular episode evokes Ce sars military achievements and his recent appointment as Captain Ge neral of the Papal Army. The close alignment found between this parade and the scenes on th e sword suggests that they share a common date of execution, around the y ear 1500. It is known through the Diary of Johannas Burchard, Master of Ceremonies to the Papacy, that Cesar was given the Blessed Sword, an annual gift presented by the pope to a secu lar ruler, in that year This thesis asserts that the etchings on the Caetani sword were added to an existi ng blade as preparation for its presentation as a blessed sword. The importance of the adjustment in date becomes clear when an enhanced understanding of the role played by decorative arts as means of self-representation in the political and social arenas of Renaissance Europe is attained. For an individual whose life was so clearly divided with two very different roles the intention th at fueled Cesars iconography would have been dramatically divergent from one phase to the othe r. Therefore a clear probability of date is paramount to our understanding of the personal iconography of Cesar Borgia.

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10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Today in Rome, in the chattels of the Fondonzione Camillo Caetani, can be a found a sword that belong to one of Italys most infamous princes. As the fifteenth century gave way to the sixteenth, Cesar Borgia, owner to this ma gnificent sword, wrapped his fingers around the peninsula of Italy, leaving his mark on the soil and men residing within it. He was the son of Pope Alexander VI, one of the five more famous children born to him by Vannozza de Cattanei. As was dictated by his standing as the second male, Cesar dedicated much of his life to the Church. In 1493, at th e age of twenty-two he attained the rank of Cardinal, no doubt due to the fact that his father was the reigning pontiff. But through the tragic death of his older brother, the secular aspirations of the Borigas were left without a conduit; so just five years later, in 1498, Cesar would put off the purple to marry and cement the standing of his family in European power politics. Through Cesars marriage into the French court, a political alliance was drawn between the Kingdom of France and the Papacy. His French wife, the duchy of Valentinois, and the title of lieutenant general in the French Army came at the cost of a papal dispensation for the dissolution of Louis XIIs marriage to Jeanne de France a nd the pontiffs permission for the King to marry Anne of Brittnay, his brothers widow. Mere months after Cesars return to Italy with the French invasion of Milan in 1499, he began his militaristic subjugation of the northern c ity-states of the Romagna. Upon his return to Rome in 1500, Alexander made him Captain Gene ral of the Papal Army. With secular and religious control, the Borgias ca me very close to uniting the sepa rate city-states of Italy under one rule.

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11 After the untimely death of his father, Cesar controlled the elections of two pontiffs, losing his power to the betrayal of Julius II. He died on March 11, 1507, four days shy of the Ides of March. Charging alone onto the field of battle, Cesar Borgia would die a deat h no less epic than his namesake. He would derive much more than just his name from the life of Julius Caesar, building from the deeds of the Roman Emperor hi s personal iconography. The engravings on the blade of this Queen of Swords provide the foremost material manifestation of his chosen propagandist narrative (Fig 1,2). Six classically inspired scenes comprise the core of the decorative program: the Worship of a Bull the Crossing of the Rubicon the Worship of Love the Triumph of Julius Caesar the Worship of Faith and the Pax Romana The iconography of Julius Caesar is not well developed in the arts of this period; ther e are a few extant examples, one being the Triumphs of Caesar by Andrea Mantagna. The most not able aspect of Cesar Borgias use of the iconography of Julius Caesar is the unusual inclusion of the Crossing of the Rubicon The scene of the Triumph of Julius Caesar serves as an additional connection to the ancient world and to traditional Caesar imagery. Perhaps the most grand expression of this i ndividualized symbolism is found in a parade held in Cesars honor in February 1500. Here, on sumptuous display for the people of Rome, the Triumphs of Julius Caesar blend with Cesar Borgias recent military victories, creating a memorable spectacle. This study will consider the sword and the parade together, presenting them as two key elements, one material and on e ephemeral, in the development of Cesars personal iconography. The close alignment found between this parade and the scenes on th e sword suggests that they share a common date of execution, around the year 1500. It is known through the Diary of

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12 Johannas Burchard, Master of Ceremonies to the Papacy, that Cesar was given the Blessed Sword, an annual gift presented by the pope to a s ecular ruler, in that year. It is a clear presumption to consider that the Caetani sword could be the Blessed Sword of 1500. However, the hilt of the sword is engraved with Cesars name, and in th is inscription he is referenced by his title of Cardinal. This citati on likely dates the fabrication of the hilt and most likely of the blade to the y ears between 1493 and 1498, the time of his service to the Roman Church under that title. Previ ous scholarship has presumed that the sword and the etchings are dated to the same time. However, there is no re ason to believe that an existing sword, belonging to Cesar during his cardinalate, could not have been later prepared with engravings for presentation as the Blessed Sword of 1500. The additional possibility do es exists that the appearance of the title of Card inal found on the sword, whose etched ornamentation clearly has ties to 1500, could be the persis tence of an old honorific, although this circumstance is much less likely. The elaborately worked leather scabbard inte nded for this sword will also be examined (Fig 3). A discussion based on the analysis of G nter Gall will provide evidence to support the assertion that the etchings on the blade date to the year 1500. Chapter four will outline these arguments a nd issues of dating in further detail. To understand the importance of such a sma ll shift in dating, from 1498 to 1500, one must turn again to the personal iconography of Cesa r Borgia. The modification makes sense in the context of his life: he would use an iconography derived from Ju lius Caesar, most particularly the Triumph and the Crossing of the Rubicon, duri ng his military career, rather than during his time as a cardinal. The development of these self-fabricating images is intensely individualized, bound to how the bene ficiary sees his or herself and how they wish to be seen. As

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13 did a number of Renaissance leaders, Cesar Borg ia aligned himself with an ancient figure, transferring onto himself through visual means the ideals commonly conceived to be held by that historical individual. For the obvious reason of his name, Cesar found his personal inspiration in Julius Caesar. But it is with the Roman gene rals military prowess that Cesar chooses to associate. No other elements of his life are valued to the same degree. It would be truly unnece ssary for a Cardinal to define himself as possessing genius in warfare while confined to a clerical way of lif e that offered him little but an annual income and most certainly no outlet for strength of lordship. It can be justly stated that the personal iconography Cesar formed from his relationshi p to Julius Caesar would only have been developed after he renounced his cardinalate in 1498 to seek a secular and military career. The only extant artifact remaining to display these deeply personal images is this sword. During the time which Cesar lived, arms and armor were a device fo r self-definition and propaganda. Although part of what modern art historical studies re fer to as decorative arts, those objects now bound by this categorization were an esse ntial part to a social and political system which relied heavily on visual media. Prominent figures from the Medieval and Rena issance periods used these images to align themselves with great leaders from history. Th rough this usurped magnificence, these figures of the 1400s and 1500s built a new image far greater in character than possible on their own. If the public perceived an individual rule r to be the symbolic heir of an ancient, powerful icon, that ruler becomes charged with the specific virtues of the chosen historical figure.1 Due to the immediate impact and permanence provided by visual arts, they became highly effective tools in the portrayal of these alliances. Cosimo deMed ici desired to liken himself to the virtues of 1 Charles M. Rosenburg, Art and Politics in Late Medieval and Early Renaissance Italy: 1250-1500 (Notre Dame, I.N.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1990), p.6.

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14 Joseph; thusly he had commissioned a twenty-piece tape stry cycle of The Story of Joseph .2 The Gonzagas, Dukes of Mantua, would place their symbolic ancestry in the Arthurian Legends, more specifically Lancelot a nd his code of etiquette or couroisie required behavior in the paramount courts of the Renaissance.3 An episode from the quest for the Holy Grail generates the subject matter for the frescos in the Sala of the Ducal Palace in Mantua, painted by Pisanello in the 1440s at the request of Marchese Lodovico Gonazaga.4 Philip the Goods use of the history of Alexande r the Great in his celebrated tapestry cycle as a declaration of his standing as the modern day Alexander is para llel to Cesar Borgias use of Julius Caesar throughout the propaga nda of his military campaigns. The etchings on the Caetani sword are the pe rfect example of an individual deriving personal power from the adopted image of a histor ical icon. The parade held in 1500 is an absolute illustration of the out ward propaganda intended to pers uade the viewer to attribute Cesar Borgia with the characteristics of the ma n whom the Renaissance considered the greatest general ever to live.5 The importance of these visual arts, both ta ngible and performed, is evident. As a representation of an art form pr eviously held in such esteem for its decisive function in the politics and society, the value of the sword once belonging to the Borgia prince should be returned to the status it origin ally occupied. In order for this to occur it is necessary to understand better the circumstances under which th e sword and the designs that ornament its 2 Marina Berlozerskaya, Luxury Arts of the Renaissance (Los Angeles:The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2005), p.108. 3 Joanna Woods-Marsden, The Gonzaga of Mantua and Pisanellos Arthurian Frescoes (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press), p.147. 4 Ibid., p.3. 5 Andrew Martindale, The Triumphs of Caesar by Andrea Mantegna in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen at Hampton Court (London: Harvey Miller Publishers, 1979), p.59.

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15 blade were created. Through that in vestigation, a picture will be re vealed of the true significance held by the sword for both Renaissance art hist ory and the personal icono graphy of the man who, ever so briefly, held the awe of Italy.

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16 CHAPTER 2 DESCRIPTION OF THE SWORD AND SCABBARD The form taken by Cesars sword, that of a late 15th or early 16th century fighting sword, is marked by a dramatically curved quillion (cro ss guard), a broad, double-edged blade, and is fluted by two shallow channels that extend for close to the entirety of the blade. The blade itself measures 1.025m in length and .083m at the base. The hilt is comprised of a circular pommel, grip and cross, all of which are gold-gilt and elaborately decorated with filigree work embedded in diversely colored enamel. On both sides, in the center of the guard, a triangular field of blue enamel extends into the center of the face of the blade. On one side bears the inscription, written in silver, Ces. Borg. Car. Valen (Cesar Borgia Cardinalis Valentianus); the other holds a Borgia coat-of-arms. Like the hilt, the first third of the blade is also gilt in gold and el aborated, but unlike the purely ornamental work on the hilt, the decorativ e program executed here is both narrative and complex. This section of the blade is, on both si des, divided through designed etching, into four separate scenes. Of these eight framed compar tments one holds the name CESAR constructed as a multi-leveled monogram. Another displays tw o winged putti supporting the caduceus. The remaining six are etched with scenes of the Classical world. With these representations begin the existi ng examples of Cesars personal iconography and his alliance to Julius Caesar. Thes e images, specifically the use of the Crossing of the Rubicon will provide essential elements towards th e dating of the sword. The triumphal chariot of Caesar, the presence of a sacr ificial bull and the bearing of th e spoils of war are customary components to the Triumphs of Julius Caesar. He re the bull is given pa rticular a ttention due undoubtedly to the status of this animal as a chief emblem of the Borgia family. The Crossing of the Rubicon is a unique scene, uncommon to contemporary portraits of the military triumphs of

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17 the great emperor. The inclusion of it here is revealing to the na rrative iconography desired by the swords owner. The story told on the face of blade begins with a repr esentation of the Sacrifice or Worship of a Bull (Fig 4,5). The animal stands on an architect ural base, functioning in this case as an altar. The structure is inscri bed D.O.M. Hostia (Deo optimo ma ximo hostia) a sacrifice to the most high god. In the foreground of the se tting lies a female nude. She is described by Charles Yriarte, a French scholar writing in th e late 1800s whose body of wo rk is littered with articles and books on the Borgia family, as a vi ctim who is, like Medusa, coiffe de serpents.1 On the ground next to her sit an incensory and a carafe. To the right of the altar are a number of nude canephors (basket carriers); and to the le ft, a group of nude women, one who enters the sacred fire at the base of the altar. A figur e dressed in a chlamyde can also be seen. The inscription CVM NVMINE CESARIS OMEN transc ribes the intentions of the scene. A favorable omen with Caesars divine will. Moving up the blade, the next composition is Ce sars monogram (Fig 6,7). It is important to note that although modern scholars spell his name with an e on the e nd, for the majority of his life, with very few exceptions, Cesar always used the Spanish spelli ng which was without the terminal e, and this inscribed monogram is no exception. The intertwined letters are encased in a circle, surrounded by decorative foliage and flanked by two winged bulls. Above this ornamental section, Julius Caesar cr osses the Rubicon (Fig 8,9). This depiction of Julius Caesars famous journey is taken from the description of the same event given in Suetonius Lives of the Twelve Caesars .2 The inscription that runs across the bottom of the 1 Charles Yriarte, Autour des Borgia (Paris: J. Rothschild, 1891), p.153. 2 Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p.17.

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18 scene is also taken from Suet onius; although, for aesthetic reasons the engraver has transposed the last two words; JACTA EST ALEA, the die is cast, the words Caesar was said to have spoken at this very moment. The composition is divided into two groups; one occupies each side of the river. Nude cavalrymen carrying javelins, some mounted with flags reading C, ride in close formation. A figure which resembles a rive r nymph, described as a laurel wreathed child playing the flute, sits at th e bottom left of the composition.3 A second figure, nude but draped with cloth, sits on the right bank of the river. Two bu ll heads frame the base of the arrangement. The final etching on the face of the blade, ca pping the column of narrative design, is a depiction of The Worship of Love (Fig 8,10). A figure representing cupid or a personification of love is shown blindfolded, standing on a pedest al that bears the inscription T.Q.I.S.A.G.4 The true meaning of these letters ha s possibly been lost to us, but a sound proposal was made in the margins of Abbate Ferd inando Galianis notebook.5 The suggestion held that the letters represented the dedication of the work, Tibi. Quem. Ille. Sextus. Alexander. Genuit To you son of Alexander VI. An additional architectura l structure can be seen over the nude figures on the left side of the composition. Here the lett ers AMOR can be read. The meaning of this inscription is an obvious referen ce to the subject of the scene. As we turn the blade to the reve rse our decoration opens with the Triumph of Julius Caesar and the word BENEMERENT to the well-deser ving (Fig 11,12). Among a parade of figures and horses carrying the standards and arms of Rome, Caesar sits on a horse-drawn chariot, crowned by laurels and holding an olive branch. The orb of the wo rld rests in his lap. One reads 3 Yriarte, Autour des Borgia p.154. 4 Ibid. 5 Yriarte, Autour des Borgia p.173. Although the inscriptions are found in Galianis notebook they were probably not written by him.

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19 on the seat of his chariot, D.CES. This has mo st commonly been read as Divus Caesar (Divine Caesar). Sarah Bradford acknowledges the possibility that the inscription refers to Cesare Borgia through his Spanish title of Don Cesar.6 The letters may also represent Cesares name under the title of Duc which he received from the French King later in his life. In the same scene, a standard is held whic h reads SPQRCS, Senatus Populusque Romanus Caesar, The Senate and People of Rome and Caesar. A round tower occupies the majority of the background. Yriarte identifies this structur e as the Campanile of the Cathedral of Pisa, referencing Cesares time at the University in Pisa as the reason for its appearance on his sword. He goes so far as to describe th e lean of the etched tower as ma tching the degree of inclination imposed upon the struct ure of the bell tower.7 It is more likely that this is a non-specific, classically inspired structure and the square sp ire behind it is representative of the ancient Egyptian obelisques seen throughout Rome. This scene of victory is closed at the top by an illusionistic arch bearing the Borgia coat of arms on either side. The following frame is another ornamental ba nd (Fig 13,14). Decorative foliage and bulls surround an oval, very similar to the section of the opposite face bearing Cesars monogram. Encased within this oval is the image of two winged figures holding a caduceus. FIDES. FREVALENT. ARMIS, Faith is more pr evalent than arms, is the inscription that opens the scene of Faith (Fig 15,16). Faith is de picted as a shrouded woman, seated resembling a statue in an architectural niche. She is surrounded by nude figures, both women and men who appear to be paying homage. This scene is re miniscent of similar com positions by Pinturicchio 6 Sarah Bradford, Cesare Borgia (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1976), p.80. 7 Yriarte, Autour des Borgia p.176.

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20 in his frescos for the Borgia Apartments, particularly in the Sala delle Arti Liberali (Fig 17a.b). The ever-present Borgia Bull is also shown twice, one at each side of the base of the image. The final scene etched on the bl ade of Cesar Borgia is of the Pax Romana (Fig 15,18). An eagle spreads his wings as he sits atop a globe that is supported by a co lumn. A dog sits at the base of the structure while musicians stand to each side, playing their instrume nts. It is directly above this image that the blade in punc hed with the mark of the blade smith. A final piece of information is duplicated on each side of the blade. Running across the base, directly above the hilt, one can read the inscription OPVS HERC (Fig 5,12). This has long been considered the signature of the artist and will be discussed in chapter two with the question of authorship. For the continued iconographic program one must look to the elaborat e leather scabbard created as the counterpart to this magnificent sw ord; for as Claude Bl air expressed in his 1966 article Cesare Borgias swordscabbard, it is impossible to study one without looking at and understanding the other.8 In addition to the relative relationship found between the engravings on the sword and the images worked into the leat her on the scabbard, the true importance of the scabbard to this argument, as stated previousl y, is found in the date given by Gnter Gall in his work Leder im Europischen Kunsthandwerk Gall dates the scabbard, from stylistic comparison, to the beginning of the 16th century. He further questi ons that the scabbard is contemporary with the fabrication of the sword, suggesti ng that a simple sheath was made at the time of the swords manufacture. The scabbard under examination here is a more elaborate 8 Claude Blair, Cesare Borgias sword-scabbard, Victoria and Albert Museum Bulletin Reprints 6 reprinted from the Bulletin vol.2, no.4 (Oct. 1966): 3.

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21 pomp-sheath that was commissioned some time later.9 If the sheath, matching in design and ideology was made some time after the fabricatio n of the sword, one logical conclusion to be drawn is that the etchings on the blade were adde d at a later date, coinciding not with the blade and hilt of the sword but instead with the production of the scabbard. The scabbard was acquired by the Victoria a nd Albert Museum in 1869, purchased in Italy by the Museums director, Henry Cole, who describe d it as the finest piece of Art in leather known10 (Fig 3,19). It is evident through the same form of monogr am present on the sword and scabbard and through the complementary dimensions of both, that this scabbard was made for the sword described above.11 However, it is very doubtful that this sheath ever accompanied the blade for which it was intended. Evidence that the two works under questi on were never joined can be found in the fact that the scabbard in the Victoria and Al bert Museum is unfinished. The lower decorations of the face are only lightly trac ed (Fig 20). The intentions of foliage, two figures seated on a shield or coat-of-arms, an oval cartouche with no suggestion of the proposed interior, and three nude figures standing to suppor t the above oval can still be seen. The final third of the leathe r remains untouched. 9 Gnter Gall, Leder Im Europischen Kunsthandwerk (Berlin: Klinkhardt & Biermann Braunschweig, 1965), p.163. It should also be noted that Gall so firmly dates the sword years into the sixteenth century that he sights the death of Cesar Borgia in 1507 as a possible reason for the unfinished state of the scabbard. 10 Blair, Cesare Borgias sword-scabbard, p.125. 11 Ibid., p.3-6. The current length of the scabbard is 33 3/16 in., 13/16 of this being waste leather at the mouth, which would have been removed had the scabbard been completed. There is also approximately in. of leather missing from the point, so the intended length would have measured 32 in. To calculate the width for the mouth of the scabbard one must consider that the current measur ement of 3 inches is a resu lt of at least 1/8 inch of shrinking in the leather. This leaves an original measurement of 3 5/8 inches. With a design measuring 32 long and 3 5/8 at the width of the mouth, the dimensions are exact for the blade currently owned by the Caetani family. The sheath today remains mounted on a walnut former, most likely the one around which the leather was originally formed. Blairs article also gives an extensive descriptio n of how the scabbard was created and the processes that were used in the fashioning of its designs.

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22 In his journal, Monseigneur O norato Caetani describes the swor d as he saw it in Rome at the palace of Grimaldi, the ambassador of Sp ain, having been brought there by Abate Galiani, owner of the sword dur ing much of the 18th century. His words characterize the scabbard that held the sword at that time as a sheath of black shagreen (untanne d leather), giving so little detail as to imply that the sheath itself had none.12 It is obvious that this description does not match the highly decorated work currently in London; theref ore it must be assumed that at this time the sword and scabbard under discussion were alrea dy separated. The scabbard which accompanied the sword when Monseigneur Caetani saw it in Ro me was most likely the simple case described by Gall as being contemporary to the swords production. The decorations on the face of the scabbard ope n with a ribbon delineated by raised strips of leather and incised with the words MA TERIAM SVPERABIT OPVS (Fig 21). The words of Ovid, found in his Metamorphosis The work is superior to the material.13 This band is shortly followed by the top of a triumphal arch that marks the background of the scene of the Triumph of Love The barrel vault frames the sky of the background in which a crescent moon can be seen. Seven nude figures, men and women, prepare to pay homage to the personification of Venus who stands atop a short domed colu mn. Venus is shown as a nude woman holding a myrtle branch and supporting a light drapery in the bend of her elbows.14 Never to be without a 12 Yriarte, Autour des Borgia p.148. This quotation is taken from the aforementioned journal entry. Le marquis abb Galiani, neveu du clbre Mgr. Galiani, tant venu Rome, je le visitai dans le Palais de lambassadeur dEspagne Grimaldi, o il demeurait. Je lui offris mon oraison funbre en honneur de lImpratrice Marie-Thrse, et dans la conversation, comme nous touchions mille sujets, nous en vnmes, parler de lpe du duc de Valentinois que, daprs ce que javais entendu dire par Mgr Borgia qui lavait vue Naples, lui appartenait. A ma grande suprise jappris quil lavait apporte Rome. Elle tait dans un fourreau de chagrin noir 13 Ovid, Metamorphosis (New York: Barnes and Noble Books, 2005), Book 2, line 5. The verb used by the artist of the scabbard is different from that found in Ovids work. In Autour des Borgia Yriarte attributes this modification to artist error, sighting this occurrence as not uncommon. Blair, however, translated this inscription as The work will be superior to the material seeming to imply that the tense change was intentional. 14 Blair, Cesare Borgias sword-scabba rd, p.14, note 17. The suggestion that this figure was Venus and that the greenery in her hand is a myrtle branch was made by Jennifer Montagu of the Warburg Institute.

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23 subtle reference to the Borgia family, an addition al layer of symbolic importance can perhaps be seen in the fact that Venus is also linked to the zodiac sign Taurus whos e animal symbol is the Bull the Borgia emblem.15 To the right of this elevated figure of Venus stand four men. They walk in a procession carrying the trophies of war. Banne rs are also depicted, one with a coat-of-arms that is general or now indistinguishable by age; and another, carried by the leader and inscribed SI. Blairs theory states that these initials are representati ve of the phrase Sacrum Imperium, The Sacred Empire.16 Galls assertion that the SI is a si gnature of the artist is highly improbable.17 In the foreground and far right of the group of men st ands a nude female with a covered vessel, possibly to hold the sacrificial wi ne. At her feet kneels a man prep aring to sacrifice a ram. To close the scene, on the left of the deity stand two men. On the ground at the base of column another ritualistic vessel is depicted. Below the ground of the sacrificial scene a decorative motif conti nues the scabbards raised embellishments. An eagle stands, with wings spread, on top of a floral support and flanked by two upward turned cornucopias or horn features erupting with flames. Two spiraled tendrils form what would have been the lesser end of these elements They also mark the end of the fully formed designs. Upon turning the scabbard the deco rations continue (Fig 22). Firs t are a series of structural components at the top of the sheath. Two l eather scrolls, which had the scabbard been completed, would have been trimmed to hug the curved triangular cut of the swords guard, becoming the very top of the leat her are the initial elements. Ju st below the two scrolled bands 15 Blair, Cesare Borgias sword scabbard, p.9 and note 17. 16 Ibid., p.9 and note 18. 17 Gall, Leder Im Europischen Kunsthandwerk p.160.

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24 are five tubes of raised leather designed to hold the threaded attachme nts for a sword belt. Between the top two of these cylindr ical structures lies the monogram that ties this scabbard to Cesar Borgia and to his sword. As on the blade, the form which constructs his name is an overlaying monogram encased in an oval. Extending below the two lower and horizontal belt loops are the first examples of the iconographic fe ature that dominated the reverse of the leather artwork, the downward pointing flames a dded to the Borgia arms in the 13th century and found on the coat-of-arms of Calixtus III.18 Just below the final belt loop there is a thin raised rib, mimicking in form the scrolled bands at the top of the scabbard and taking the shape of an elaborat e inverted ogee. The ribs of leather which span the breadth of the scabbard merge at the point of this gothic style arch and continue as a raised spine down th e length of the sheath. At two poi nts this rib separates to form detailed cartouches. As the decoration moves dow n the scabbard, the first cartouche frames two winged putti, both holding long to rches and supporting a now very damaged escutcheon. It is difficult to distinguish, but it does not appear that the coat of arms illustrated inside the shield was relative to the Borgias. The two figures stand on a ground disrupted by either flame or water. Below the base of this cartouche the extent of damage found in the reli ef work is extensive (Fig 23,24). From two winged medusa heads, one on each side of the spine, hang additional examples of armor and trophies of war. To the right side a small recta ngular ribbon with tabs on each end bears the inscription PAR which Blai r defines as, Pax Augusta Romana, The Augustan Roman Peace;19 although, there is nothing to sugge st that the Borgia tendency for 18 Yriarte, Autour des Borgia p.155. 19 Blair, Cesare Borgias sword-scabbard, p. 9.

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25 self-aggrandizement did not enter into play here and that the A is not representative of Alexander VI. This would not be a far stretc h from the inscription found across the Triumphal arch depicted in the Disput of the Borgia Apartments reading PACIS CVLTORI and referencing a new reign or culture of peace to be established by the reigning pontiff (Fig 25). This was a motto common to Alexander VI a nd can also be found on a commemorative medal that the he had made in honor of the comple tion of the projects he had commissioned on the Castel SantAngelo, perhaps more specifically the digging of the moat. The medal reads, ALEXANDER.VI.PONT. IV ST.PACIS.Q.CVLTOR20 (Fig 26). It would seem that Alexander had the desire to be judged as a peace-maker, and through the army of Cesars he would come very close to doing so. But to turn the focus once more to the elaborat e decoration of the scabbard, what follows is the second cartouche (Fig 24). Encased here is a badly damaged figure of Love or Venus, again personified as a nude woman holdi ng a branch and supporting a styl e of light drapery. This scene terminates the pictorial decoration of the verso side of the scabbard. The image of the double-pronged, downward pointing fl ame discussed earlier serves as the patterned element of the program, seen repeating over the surface of the leather, top to bottom. The monogram of Cesar is also repeated twice more in the upper third of the sheath. The most distinguishing mark featured on the verso side of this magnificent work is not, however, an intended component. There are two points where the le ather has split, revealing the wooden form around which the skin is wrapped (Fig 24). It is in these spaces that we find our reason for the separation of the sword and scabba rd. The elaborate work in leather was never 20 N.R. Parks, On the Meaning of Pinturicchios Sala dei Santi, Art History vol.2, no.3 (September 1979), p.296 and note 29.

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26 finished, most likely due to this fault in structure, a nd thus the two descript ive pieces were never joined. So how does this elaborate program coincide with the personal iconography Cesar Borgia, designed for himself and displayed so prominently on the blade of his sword? The answer to that lies in the subject herself, Venus. More than just a reference to the worship of Love on the blade or to Cesars propensity towards sexual overi ndulgence; here on the scabbard she is an illustration of the Venus Genetrix, the Universa l Mother aspect of the Roman goddess, and the mythical forbearer of the Gens Julia, the hous e of Julius Caesar. Suetonius describes a dedication before the Temple of Venus Genetrix, taking place during a military campaign as the ancient emperor sought to conquer the world.21 Herein lies more eviden ce that the etchings of Julius Caesar on the blade of the sword and this highly crafted sc abbard were fashioned at the same time. 21 Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars Chapter 61, p.29.

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27 CHAPTER 3 DISCUSSION OF THE ARTISTS The quest to name the craftsman of the blade and the artist of its decoration has dominated much of the scholarship on the sword from the time of its resurgence into history during the 1700s until recent years. Abate Galiani, the owner of the sword during the mid to late 18th century and Ademollo, an author who compiled Galianis personal papers and correspondences, were among the first to attempt the answer. Bl air dedicated a number of pages to the matter, although his articles subject was the scabbard. But the answer is not simple and lies perhaps in three different men: a blade sm ith, a designer, and a goldsmith. The only artist who can be associated with the sword with some level of certainty is Pinturicchio, known through his famous works in th e Sistine Chapel, Borgia Apartments, and the Piccolomini Library in Sienna. It is in under the title of desi gner to the images that his relationship to the sword and, subsequently the sc abbard will be established. Pinturiccchios involvement elevates the status and artistic importance of the swords decoration by associating it with a major painter of the pe riod. There are two other men i nvolved in the production of the sword whose identities remain unknown to us. To begin with the blade itself, Ademollo, in his anthology of Galianis materials, writes that the mark punched into the face of the blade, just above the etchings and at the beginning of the damascening, takes the shape of a tower and th at this brand indicate s the blade came from Castile.1 Two Blessed Swords commissioned by Alexa nder VI, given first to an elector from Brandenburg and second in 1498 to Bogislaw, the Duke of Pomerani a, bear the same 1 F. Ademollo, La Famiglia e LEredita dellAbate Galiani, Nuova antologia vol.23, series 2 (1880): 662.

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28 swordsmiths mark.2 To this end it must be considered that these two blades were also sent from Spain, most likely at the reque st of the pontiff in Rome. The importation of weapons and artists from Spain was not uncommon during this period, nor was it anything less than ordinary for the Bo rgias. The three Blessed Swords commissioned by Pope Calixtus III, Alexander VIs uncle, were executed by Catalan goldsmiths.3 Spain enjoyed a prominence in the manufactory of armor, one with origins dating to the time of the ancient Caesars. The mines found in Spanish soil, contained in perfection all the metals then applied to warlike uses, and its rivers were believed to possess peculiar properties for the tempering of blades.4 The exportation of Catalan swords to Italy continued well into the fourteenth century.5 It seems likely that the Borgias continued this time-honored tradition into the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. There was no part of the Borgia household that could be held as anything less than Spanish. In the inner ci rcles of family and intimate confidants, the spoken word was in the Spanish tongue. It was the language of th eir personal correspondences, the manner of their dress, and the source of th eir private education. Those positions considered most critical were only trusted to individuals of Spanish blood. Miguel da Corella, Michelotto, was the Spaniard who became known through gossip as Cesars personal assassin. Six-thousand of Cesars 10,000 man infantry upon his departure for the Romagna in 1500 were Spanish. Spain gave birth to all of his captains.6 It is indisputable that 2 Charles Yriarte, Le graveur dEpees de Cesar Borgia, Les Lettres et les Arts vol. 1 (Jan. 1886): 181. 3 Cyril G.E. Bunt, The Goldsmiths of Italy (London: Martin Hopkinson and Company, Ltd.,), p.18. 4 Albert F. Calvert, Spanish Arms and Armour (London: J. Lane, 1907), p.1. 5 Ibid., p.6. 6 Bradford, Cesare Borgia p.135.

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29 the Borgias brought the country of their origins to Italy, and in th at exodus of Catalan, the blade that would become the foundation of this Qu een of swords found its way across the sea. Ademollo asserts that the damascening was done by the hand of an Italian sword smith and was most probably completed in Rome.7 So it is here that one must look to find the second character to play a role in the swords creation, the individua l who designed the etchings. The designs for the etchings on the blade are mo st likely the work of the Perugian painter Bernardino di Betto, known as Pinturicchio. Becau se of his close relationship to both Alexander VI and Cesar and to the etched imagerys similar ity to some of his frescos, most scholars agree with this attribution. To place an acknowledgement of participation more firmly in the hand of Pinturicchio three things must be examined: the extent of Pinturicchios work with the Borigas; the possibility of his involvement through proxi mity, employment and payments; and the comparison of the designs in Pinturicchios work to those found on the blade. Pinturicchio began his career under the Borgia s in 1492 with the complex fresco cycles in what is today known as the Borgia Apartments Pope Alexander VI took for his private residence and receiving quarters si x rooms from the first floor of the Torre Borgia, the first floor of the previous palace of Nicholas V, and one room that had belonge d to the residence of Nicholas III. The decorative paintings found on the ceilings of these rooms were almost certainly completed during the final months of 1494, but the c onclusion of the paintings on the ceilings of Alexanders personal apartments did not termin ate Pinturicchios employment by the Borgia family. For Alexander, he executed additional frescos in the Castel SantAngelo, a series 7 Ademollo, La Famiglia d LEredita dellAbate Galiani, p.662.

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30 probably completed by the end of 1495. These da tes are assembled from extant documents recording two distinct payments made to th e artist. On December 1, 1495 Pinturicchio was granted two parcels of land near Chiusi for a term of 29 years, in return for an annual levy of thirty measure of corn. These deeds of real estate were the means by which Pinturicchio was paid for the works executed in the Borgia Apar tments and in the Castel SantAngelo: Ex tuo artificio picturarum per te in Arce S. augeli ac in palatio apostolico factarum.8 In a second letter of the Papal Chamberlain, da ted July 28, 1497 and a subsequent letter of affirmation from the Pope, this one date d October 24, 1497, the tax on those properties previously assigned to Pinturicchio was remitted, in consideration of his labours in the Vatican and in the Castel SantAngelo: Ex suo artificio picturarum in palatio nostro Apostolico et etiam in restaurata arce Ca stri nostril Angelo.9 This method of payment was most commonly rese rved for court painte rs that received an annual salary. These artists were paid for co mpleted works through a system of compensation including gifts of land or houses. An example c ontemporary to Pinturicchio was the parcel of land gifted to Mantegna by a patron fo r the completion of a little picture.10 It has not been suggested that Pinturicchio was a familiaris of the Borgia household, but the application of that title would not be an exag geration of the artists status to both Alexander VI and to his son Cesar. This remittance of taxes, demonstrated though the 1497 letter gives us additional insight to the standing held by Pinturicchio in the in ner household of the Papacy and 8 Corrado Ricci, Pinturicchio (London: William Heinemann, 1902), p.134. 9 Ibid. 10 Alison Cole, Virtue and Magnificence (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1995), p.38.

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31 its extended family. The exemption of taxes was a common gift bestowed upon an artist who had earned the title of familiaris .11 Pinturicchio would return to his works in th e Castel SantAngelo in early 1498, for shortly after their completion they were damaged in an explosion caused by a lightning strike on October 29, 1497.12 Gregorovius recites the episode, sta ting that the explosion of the powder magazine in 1497 destroyed the upper chambers, but they were afterwards restored and painted by Pinturicchio.13 A letter dated February 5, 1498, grants further relief from taxation to the painter for his completed works in the Castel SantAngelo and the Vatican. The work in the Castel is the restoration of the previously frescoed rooms, and the mention of paintings in the Vatican are most probably a reference to fresco s executed in a number of rooms that overlooked the courtyard of Belvedere in Saint Peters.14 These two buildings do house the major pr ojects completed by the artist under the patronage of the Borgias, but ev idence exists that he continued his work for the family through other avenues. At some time during the year of 1500 the relationship between Cesar Borgia and Pinturicchio became a more personal and direct one, bypassing the Pope in his former role as intermediary. Pinturicchio wrote to Cesar, now the Duke of Valen tinois, requesting that he gift a well that would complete the same small property given to him by Alexander VI in 1494. The Duke promptly wrote to the Vice -Treasurer of Perugia explaining the esteem in which he held the artist and his talents, and that Pint uricchios request was to be granted.15 11 Ibid., p.37. 12 Ludwig Pastor, History of the Popes (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., 1950), vol.5, p.522-523. 13 Ricci, Pinturicchio p.134. 14 Ibid., p.135. 15 Charles Yriarte, Cesare Borgia (London: Francis Aldor Publisher, 1949), p.125.

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32 One cannot help but compare this grant to the previously discussed system of compensation reserved for court artists who were paid for co mpleted works through gifts of funds for their own homes. Should it be then assu med that Pinturicchio is asking Cesar for the payment of a finished piece of art? It is known that Pinturicchio became Cesars personal painter in 1501, leaving his service in August of 1502 at th e request of Cardinal Piccolomini for whom he would paint the famous frescos in Siena.16 It is not much to assume that their patron/artist relationship began informally one y ear earlier, tying Pinturicchio to Cesar Borgia during the year of his swords decoration. Through a comparison of Pinturicchios body of work and the ornamentation found on both the sword and scabbard it becomes more clea r that Pinturicchio was the designer, as there are little elements from his palate of images fo und on both. A true analysis is difficult since the majority of his work for the Borgia Family ha s been lost, but in look ing at large commissions completed around the same time a ssociations can still be found. The obvious illusions to the family emblems that decorate all Borgia commissions are seen in both the Borgia Apartment and on the sword and sheath of Cesar Borgia. The bull and the Lanzol coat-of-arms are two of those elements. The most convincing point of comparison with Pinturicchios work in the Borgia Apartmen ts is a small element found in the famous Disput in the Sala die Santi (Fig 25,27). On the far right, in the top band of the triumphal arch, there is a scene that can faintly be defined and str ongly resembles the representations of the Triumph and Worship of Love found on both the sword and the front of the scabbard. 16 Ibid.

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33 Additionally in Alexanders Vatican apartments, the eagle of the Pax Romana found both on the sword and the scabbard can be seen in a sm all corner of the ceiling of the Sala del Credo (Fig 28). In the decorative columns in the Annunciation of the Baglione Chapel, a number of elements similar to scabbard can be distinguishe d (Fig 29). The dual cornucopia, located at the right in the same fresco, resemble those seen und er the eagle portrayed on the face on the leather work. From the Medusa heads, seen in the column on the right of the painting, hang additional elements, similar in concept to the pair of heads on the verso side of the scabbard (Fig 24). The tabbed cartouche also on the same column is comm on in Pinturicchios work, and as it has been stated is present on the back of the sheath. In the same chapel on the right-hand column framing the depiction of the Adoration of the Shepherds the decorative foliage and floral motifs are reminiscent of the ornamental work on both the sword and scabbard (Fig 30). Pinturicchios Visitation of Saint Bernardino in Santa Maria in Aracoeli provides a final example (Fig 31). The decorative columns in side the work, supporti ng the rounded arch, are weapons and trophies of war much like those on th e back of the scabbard. The medusa head is also depicted here. But it is the small cupid standing on the cornice th at is of particular interest. Standing with a tall staff rest ing on one shoulder and a Borgia shield supported in the opposite hand, this figure is repeated at leas t twice more in works tailored to the Borgia taste. He is seen again in the Borgia Apartments, in a more generali zed form, at the feet of the personified Liberal Arts in the Sala delle Arti Liberali; and more closely replicated in the damaged cartouche on the back of the scabbard (Fig 17a.b.). Out of this comparison, it can be clearly seen th at Pinturicchios style is very present in the designs used as blueprints by the fi nal artist to play a part in the creation of this elaborate arm.

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34 The identity of the goldsmith who transferred Pinturicchios designs to the metal of the blade is still debated. A great deal has been devoted to the identity of this artist. After first identifying the name of the goldsmith who signed his work, OPVS HERC, as Hercule de Pesaro, a goldsmith mentioned in Vatican documents, Yriarte ultimatel y settles on Hercule de Fideli, goldsmith to the Dukes of Ferrara.17 Hercule de Fideli was the Christian name of th e once Jewish artist Salomone da Sasso. His life in the employ of this great Renaissance family began with the interest of Duke Ercole dEste shown in the late quarter of the 15th century. This Hercule Aurifex IIImi Duics Ferrarie made jewelry for Isabella dEste and, according to Yria rte, most probably swords for Alfonso dEste and Francesco Gonzaga.18 Hercule de Fideli was in the em ploy of Alfonso I dEste when, in December 1501, this Duke of Ferrara married Lucrezia Borgia, beloved daughter of Pope Alexander VI joining the dEste family with that of the infamous Spaniards. Hercules standing with the dEste family was proven by the sel ection of his daughter by Alfonso for the honorable position of lady in waiting to his new bride.19 The piece of evidence that Yriarte holds as the lynch pin is found etched on a magnificent blade gifted to the Berlin Museum by the prince Frederick-Charles.20 This sword belongs to the body of work thought to be that of the artist of the Caetani sword. Here, on the sword of Frederick-Charles, inscribed on the cornice of a building, Yriarte claims to have found the 17 Yriarte, Le Graveur dEpees de Cesar Borgia," p.182. 18 Yriarte, Autour des Borgia p.202. 19 Ibid., p.202-204. 20 Ibid., p.206.

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35 signature of the artist, FIDELI.21 For him this is the proof that Hercule de Fideli, goldsmith to the Dukes of Ferrare is the arti st of the Borgia sword and of all those in the compiled body of work. Based on this identification a number of add itional contemporary, late fifteenth and early sixteenth-century blades bearing similar etchings to He rcules work were attributed to him. However, Blair challenges Yria rtes conclusion with a strong re-examination of evidence. He discusses Yriartes deduction and ultima tely dismisses his final attribution. The sword that identifies the ar tist as having worked for Alfonso I dEste is included in what Blair refers to as, a well-known group of fakes, probably produced in Milan in the 1830s. Additionally, and perhaps more damaging to Yriartes argument, the inscription labeled by the scholar as the signature of Hercule de Fideli does not read FI DELI but is instead FIDELIS. The scene in which th is signature is found is the Worship of Love and, therefore, the inclusion of the word FIDELIS cannot be considered as anyt hing but a traditional inscription.22 With the knowledge of the dEste sword as a fake and the lo ss of the signature FIDELI, we have returned to an unknown ar tist who bears the very common Christian name Hercule. With this Blair restores the uncertainty concer ning the artist of Cesar Borgias sword. The name of Angelino di Dominco de Sutri was posed by Cyril G.E. Bunt in his book The Goldsmiths of Italy He was the favored goldsmith of Alexander VI, making the Blessed Sword for the ten consecutive years between 1492 and 1501. He was also responsible for each Rosa dOro, golden rose, created from 1493 to 1506. It is known through the Vatican archives that 21 Blair, Cesare Borgias sword scabbard, p.12. 22 Ibid., p.12-13.

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36 Angelino made the blessed sword, belt, and ducal cap that were presente d to Alphonso dEste in 1501.23 As this artist was working in Rome, speci fically in the Papal circle, and as it is generally accepted that the sword of Cesare Borgia was made in those same locations, it is highly plausible that Angelio di Domenico de Sutri was responsib le for the execution of the Caetani sword. As for the inscription OPVS HERC, Yriart es Hercule de Fideli is known to have worked with Angelino di Domenico, so perhaps Blairs convincing argument as to why he would not have been the premier goldsmith does not completely exclude him from involvement. History has perhaps swallowed the evidence that would give us a definitive answer to this question. It can most certainly not be achie ved through the known doc umentation, but perhaps through future research, including most certainly those pieces of th e Papacy of Alexander VI and the Borgia family that have found preservation in the Vatican archives a resolution can be established. 23 Bunt, The Goldsmiths of Italy p.19-20.

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37 CHAPTER 4 PROVENANCE There does exist a thin trail of the sw ords provenance afte r its production, although unfortunately it does not begin until the 18th century, long after the works forging and decoration. One must again turn to Ademollo for the origins of the swords resurgence. Ademollo, through the papers of Abbate Galiani, cites that the sword cam e into the possession of the House of Montallegro in Spain. To the par ticular member of the family, history finds the first known owner of the weapon in Gioacchino di Montallegro, Marques de Salas, Councilman and Secretary of State and War of the Infant Charles of Bourbon. It is this Duke of Montallagro who, in 1734, brought the famous sword across th e Mediterranean from Spain to Naples.1 It should be noted that Agosti no di Cesaretti, in his work, Istoria del Principato di Piombino mistook the individual who owned the swor d, incorrectly attributing custody to a Duke of Montalbano.2 This inaccuracy was quickly correct ed by other scholars, and it has been written by no other that it wa s not the Duke of Montallagro through whom the sword found its way back to Italy. It is established that the Sp anish Duke was still in possessi on of the blade in 1759. From his hands the weapon passed as a gift to a man w hose identity is not known. It is from this private individual that Abate Ga liani acquired the work for an undisclosed price. He was uncharacteristically elusive on the subject even to his closest friends. In a letter to Madame dpinay, dated October 2, 1773, he claims the m eans by which he came to possess the sword to be an unnecessary detail.3 1 Ademollo, La Famiglia e leredita dellabate Galliani, p.663-665. 2 Agostino di Cesaretti, Istoria del Principato di Piombino (Forni Editore S.p.A., 1974), p.87-88. 3 Eugne Asse, Lettres de Labb Galiani a Madame dpinay (Paris: G. Charpentier, 18 81), vol.1, p.93. Il est superflu de vous conter comment, par quels detours, cette pe est tombe dans mes mains

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38 Over the following years Galiani would search endlessly for information on the sword and the man for whom it had been designed. It had been his desire to wr ite a biography of Cesar Borgia and to include in that work a monogra ph of the weapon. To this end he exhausted sources, asking Madame dpinay to serve as his liaison for any remaining information in France. His aspiration was unfortunately never met, and upon the death of Abbate Galiani in October 1787, the once special notebook on which he had written The Sword of Duke Valentino was placed with the other 22 volumes of letters, ten cases of manuscripts, and other miscellaneous papers. The sword itself did not meet such an ordinary end; in fact fate would have it seek to cauterize a wound torn by Ce sar and Alexanders campaign to unite the Italian city-states. The will of Abate Galiani, drawn the day of his death and found by Ad emollo in the archives of Naples, illustrates his wishes: Mes excuteurs testamentaires savant que jai promis de cder pour le prix de trios cents ducats napolitains Monseigneur Gaetani dArag on, qui est Rome, une clbre pe du duc de Valentinois, avec les memories que jai recueill is sur ce prcieux objet. Je les prie done de loffrir au prlat pour le prix indiqu. Mais sil ne desirait pl us lacqurir, je veux quon offre respectueusement, en mon nom, la susdite pe S.M.I. lImpratrice de toutes les Russies, comme souvenir de ma reconnaissance infinie pour rous ses bienfa its. 14 octobre 1787 4 4 Yriarte, Autour des Borgia p.149. The executors of my will know that I promised to cede for the price of 300 napolitan ducats to Monsigneur Gaetani dAragon, who is in Rome, a famous sword of the Duke of Valentinois, with the memories that I gathered on th e precious object. I pray them then to offer it to the prelate for the indicated price. But if he would not desire anymore to acquire it, I want that one offers respectively, in my name, the above mentioned sword to S.M.I. the Empress of all the Russian s as remembrance for my infinite recognition for all its kindnesses.

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39 Galiani had abandoned an earlier intention of presenting the swor d as a present to the Pope due to the accession of Pius VI to the pontifical throne and the new ill-favor in which he found himself with the papacy. Catherine the Great, the Empre ss mentioned by Galiani, was a personal friend to the Abate and the source of a number of gifts he received throughout his life. A particular present that arrived in the days before his death was a jeweled snuffbox, on whic h could be seen a portrait of the Empress, and a letter offering thanks to Galiani for the part that he ha d played in the drafting and negotiation of trade agreements that had taken place between Russia and the Kingdom of Naples during the previous years.5 For this personal connection and for the infamy of the Renaissance prince, Catherine wa s ardent to acquire the swor d for her esteemed collection, immediately dispatching her ambassador. Much to the disappointment of the Russian Empress he arrived too late, and through the right of pr e-emption, the Caetani family took ownership of Abate Galianis beloved sword. The Monsigneur Caetani did not, however, take lightly this usurpation of an item desired by the famous royal collector and asked through a friend that it be published in a number of Gazettes around Europe that he would present the sword to Sain t-Petersburg upon their request.6 That petition was never made. The Caetani family held a strong and bitter connection to the Bo rgias. Throughout the Middle Ages they held the seat of feudal power in a number of fiefs in the country surrounding Rome and in the Kingdom of Naples. They held that power still during th e Borgia reign of the late fifteenth century. The greatly respected and ancient family was no stranger to Roman 5 Francis Steegmuller, A Woman, A Man, and Two Kingdoms (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991), p.242. 6 Ademollo, La Famiglia e lered ita dellabate Galiani, p.666.

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40 religious politics: Benedetto Caetani would b ecome Boniface VIII, rei gning from 1294 to 1303. Still that would not be enough to stop Alexander VI from confiscating thei r lands for the offense of supporting the Neapolitan cause at the expense of the Papacy. The Caetani estates were surre ndered in November of 1499, only to be promptly sold to Lucrezia Borgia for 80,000 ducats. The title of D uke of Sermonta was give n to the son that she bore for Alphonso dEste. The insult was vile with the taste of blatant nepotism, but far worse was the death of Giacomo Caetani during his im prisonment in the Castel SantAngelo. Although the circumstances of his death were not suspicio us, murder was whispered as it often was when the Borgias were concerned. The estates of the Caetani family were restored during the papacy of Julius II, but the Borgias mark was not one to soon be forgotten. Monsigneur Caetani had first become aware of the swords presence in Italy seven years earlier during a trip that Abate Galiani had taken to Rome. The circumstances surrounding the meeting that had taken place between the two men is detailed in the letter that Caetani promptly sent along with the asking price of 300 napolitan ducats, to Don Francesco Azzariti, executor of Abbate Galianis will:7 Sono io stato molto sensibile alla perdita che si fatta di un ingegno non comune qual stato il Consigliere Abbate Galian i suo Zio, ma sempre pi la sua memoria mi sar cara, perch dopo 7 anni si ricordato di una promessa a me fatta o per meglio dire fatta alla mia famiglia indotta da me ad acquistare il monumento di questa spada e collocarla nella fortezza di Sermoneta assediata, e malmenata dal Duca Va lentino nemico capitale della mia Casa. Ringraziando dunque s la sua degnissima Persona che si data il pensiero di registrarmi larticolo del Testamento che mi concerne, quant o il sig. Barone D. Lore nzo Ripa, le partecipo 7 Yriarte, Autour des Borgia p.149.

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41 che saranno rimessi nelle loro mani i trecento duca ti Napolitani dal latore di questa istessa lettera e supplico di trasmettere nelle mani stesse in un pacchetto ben chiuso e si gillato tutte le memorie manoscritte raccolte dal sig. Abbate Galiani su questo importante monumento, memorie che mi ricordo bene di averne letto qualche cosa, allorc h da Amico il Sig. Abate Galiani mi fece la confidenza di mostrarmele nel suo ultimo viaggi o che fece in Roma dimorando nel Palazzo del Marchese Grimaldi allora Ambasciatore di Sp agna. Questo monumento acquistato sar una memoria eterna nella mia famiglia dellamici zia che vi stata tra il Galiani e me; il lho conosciuto la prima volta nel 1769 ne l Conclave di Clemente XIV, allorch ritornava da Parigi, e da quel tempo in poi ci siamo sempre riguardat i come due Amici che avevano qualche rapporto didee sopra Medaglie, Antichit, ecc. Roma, 17 Novembre 1787 8 Monseigneur Onorato Caetani was an ancestor of those deposed Dukes of Sermoneta and a man who held an interest in ar t and archaeology. After becoming aware of the swords existence and viewing first hand its presence in Italy he dreamt of ruling over a prized piece of the man that had persecuted the Caetani family and of placing it in the castle of Sermonta with an inscription written to recall the crimes of the Borgias. Once ownership had been achieved Massimiliano Caetani dAragon was assigned the task of composing Onoratos long awaite d inscription. Massimiliano co rresponded with Cancelliere: Je me suis vu, lui dit-il, da ns la ncessit de demander une inscription sur lpe du Valentinois, si intressante pour nous, les Gaetani, contre lesquels, ainsi qu e contre les Orsini et les Colonna, cet home pervers a employ la force, assigeant Sermoneta et assassinant nombre 8 Ademollo, La Famiglia e lered ita dellabate Galiani, p.665-666.

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42 de members de notre famille, je vous prie done de jeter un coup dil sur ce que je vous envoie.9 Despite the symbolic choice of the castle in Sermonta, the fortress taken by Alexander and Cesar in 1499, the weapon does not find a home ther e. Due to the schedule of the Duke which rarely allowed him to visit the Rocca, the swor d was kept in Rome wher e it remains today, held by the subsequent generations of this famous Italian family.10 9 Yriarte, Autour des Borgia p.169-170. I saw myself, he tells him, in the necessity to demand an inscription on the sword of Valentinois, if interesting for us, the Gaetan i, against which, like against the Orsini and the Colonna, this perverse man employed the force besieging Sermonta and assassinating a number of members of our familiy, I pray you then to throw a trick of the eye on that which I send you. 10 Ibid., p.170.

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43 CHAPTER 5 DATE OF THE SWORD The true question of this inquiry lies in th e date and the occasion for which the etched images on the sword were produced. Previous scholars presumption th at the sword and the etchings that decorate its blade were produced contemporarily, has hindered their pursuit for the date of fabrication. Cesar Borgia was given the Blessed Sword, as well as the Ducal Cap of Honor and the Golden Rose, in 1500. Through an examination of existing scholarship on papal history, Italian goldsmiths of the fifteenth and si xteenth centuries, and events in the lives of Borgias themselves, it will be made evident that the Caetani sword is almost certainly the Blessed Sword gifted to Cesar by his father a nd that the images were inscribed upon the blade for this occasion. These three gifts, the Golden Rose, the Ducal Cap of Honor and the Blessed Sword were papal gifts, presented annually to a single prince who had sacr ificed significant service to Christendom and to the Church. The history for all of these gifts stretches to early Christianity. For the Golden Rose, it is first mentioned in a papal bull dated 1049, but the tradition is rumored to have begun during the pontificat e of Gregory the Great (590-604).1 No early examples are still in existence. It is presumed that in its originally th e gift took the form of a single stemmed bloom, resembling closely the natural flower, and was made of pure gold (Fig 32). This is the style that most closely resembles the Rose give n to Cesar, the ceremony and description of which will be recounted below. In later centuries the Golden Rose was created in much more elaborate form as evident in the report of the Rose presented by Clem ent VIII in 1524 to Englands Henry VIII: 1 Charles Burns, Golden Rose and Blessed Sword (Glasgow: John S. Burns & Sons, 1970), p.2.

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44 This tree was forged of fine gold and wrought with branch leaves and flowers resembling roses set in a pot of goldIn the uppermost rose was a fair sapphire, l oup pearced, the bigness of an acorn. The tree was of height half an English yard, and in breadth a foot.2 Early examples were treated, giving the metal blossom a red tint, but this practice was eventually discarded. As for the Ducal Cap of Honor and the Blessed Sword, it is generally acknowledged that the first references are found in th e early thirteenth century, much later than those of the Golden Rose.3 The Cap and Sword were designed as a si gnificant manifestation of the confidence the papacy bestowed upon the receiver for their abili ty to defend the Church and its faith both spiritually and temporally. The two objects were often gifted in the same ceremony, as the Ducal Cap held an element of symbolic protection part icular to the needs of the men who generally received the Blessed Sword. It is believed by so me that the tradition of the Blessed Sword is taken from the ancient custom of offering the sta ndard of St. Peter and th e keys to a leader who was preparing to confront the enemies of the church.4 The Cap, representing the unfaltering protection of the Holy Spirit, offered to gua rantee the temperance of danger soon to be encountered for the cause of Christendom.5 The Ducal Cap of Honor was traditionally made of dark crimson or black velvet and was trimmed with ermine (Fig 33). It was ornament ed with gold thread and pearls, woven into a representation of the Dove of the Holy Spirit. Al ternating rays were depicted extending from the crown of the Cap, using the same materials. At last there is the Blessed Sword, customarily 2 Bunt, The Goldsmiths of Italy p.15-16. 3 Burns, Golden Rose and Blessed Sword, p.11-12. 4 Bunt, The Goldsmiths of Italy p.17. 5 Burns, Golden Rose an d Blessed Sword p.15.

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45 taking the form of a cross-handled arm with deta iled engravings or et chings on the blade and highly crafted, ornate repouss work in the metal of the guard, grip and pommel.6 It is the claim of this examination that th e Caetani sword is the Blessed Sword of 1500; therefore, an examination of the blades commonly used for these ceremonial gifts is necessary. As discussed previously, a number of the blades used by Alexander VI and his uncle Calixtus in their commissioned papal gifts were imported from Spain. The use of a pre-fabricated blade is a pivotal piece of evidence in the classification of Cesars sword in Rome as a Blessed Sword. The Blessed Sword was commonly a costly gift Approximately three gold florins were paid for the blade alone, despite the fact that it was not a directly commissioned piece; they were purchased ready-made.7 As this was already standard pr actice and Alexander being a frugal man, the pontiff likely took a sw ord belonging to Cesar during hi s years as a Cardinal, and created the Blessed Sword of 1500 through the addition of the el aborate etchings designed by Pinturicchio and the traditional blessing. The blessing of the papal sword always took pl ace early in the evening on Christmas Eve, preparing it for presentation the following year. On the rare occa sion that a Pope did not intend to present the sword to anyone, th e rite was still observed and the Blessed Sword was kept for future donation. Because no document of the blessi ng or investiture of Cesar Borgias Blessed Sword survives, we are left with a variety of po ssibilities. The sword c ould have been blessed on either Christmas Eve in 1498 or one year later in 1499. Between these two years there exists such a range of scenarios. It seems a futile effort to try to pinpoint one in particular as holding a stronger possibility of pr oof than another. 6 Ibid., p.14. 7 Ibid.

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46 It is known, nevertheless, that Cesar did receive all three of these gift s, each during 1500, the year of his return from France and his first victories in the Romagna. On the 26th of February, in that same year, the Duc of Valen tinois was met by dignitaries and officials of the Roman Curia at the Porto del Popolo, from wh ere he would make his public return to the Vatican. For those who lined the streets the see the magnificence of il Valentino, he did not disappoint. First to cross thei r gaze were his baggage wagons, mules draped in his colors and two heralds, one wearing the colo rs of France, the other Cesars arms. Behind them marched a thousand infantry, fully dressed for battle. On e-hundred select members of his personal guard bore the name CESAR embroidered on th eir chests in threads of silver.8 The manner of dress chosen by Cesar on this occasion was dramatically different from that seen during his earlier and much more elaborate entrance into France. For this entry, wore a simple black robe of velvet, ornamented only by the gold collar of the Order of St. Michael, an honor bestowed upon him by the King of France. This display wound through the streets of the Eternal City, finding its way to the Castle Sant Angelo where standards bearing reference to the glorious exploits of the Duc were flown by his father. The pageant parade would end where Alexander, on a balcony in the Vatican, waited for sight of his son. Cesar had made his celebrated return. Days later in a ceremony on March 29, the f ourth Sunday after Lent as was the tradition, he would become Gonfaloniere and Captain Ge neral of the Holy Roman Church and would receive the Golden Rose and the Ducal Cap. Th e details of the ceremonies are recounted in Burchards diary. 8 Bradford, Cesare Borgia p.114.

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47 Alexander spoke as Cesar stood before him in the medieval basilica, imploring God to bestow upon the man, who would within moments b ecome Gonfaloniere, a ll blessings, spiritual and temporal. He wrapped his sons shoulders in the mantle of the Gonfaloniere reciting the words, May the Lord endow you with the cloa k of salvation and place around you the garment of joyousness, in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen. 9 The Pope then placed the Ducal Cap on Cesars head. This particular example of insignia must have been exceptional in expense, for th e size of the pearls was large enough that they warranted particular notice in Burchards descri ption. He details the cap as being ornamented with pearls the size of an ordinary nut. The Pontiff again recited the tradition, Receive this insignia of the pre-eminence of the office of GonfaloniereY ou will, from now on, be bound to defend the Faith and the Holy Church, and may He, who is blessed through the ages, give you the strength to perform your duty.10 Cesar responded in turn, pronouncing the oath of fidelity.11 The Borgias now ruled over Italy, body and soul. Immediately following the investiture of Gonf aloniere, Cesar received the Golden Rose, placed in his right hand by the Cardinal of St. Clemente while Alexander spoke. Take this rose from our hands, from us w ho, although undeservedly, ho ld the place of God on earth; this rose which symbolizes the joy of Jerusalem triumphant and the Church militant; this exquisite flower which is the manifestation of the faithful in Christ and the joy and the crown of all the saints. Take th is rose planted by the river of many waters, my most beloved son who are, in the judgment of the world, noble, powe rful and endowed with many talents, that you 9 Carol Beuf, Cesare Borgia (New York: Oxford Univers ity Press, 1942), p.148. 10 Ibid. 11 Ibid., p.149. I Cesare Borgia of France, Duke of Valentinois, Gonfaloniere, and Captain General of the Holy Roman Church from this hour forth will be faithful and obedient to St. Peter, the Holy Church, and You, my Lord, Alexander VI, Pope, and to your successorsso may God and these Sacred Gospels help me

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48 may become more renowned in every virtue. He who is the Trinity and the Unity th rough all the ages. Amen.12 Cesar knelt to kiss the feet of his father, thus concluding the rites. But no mention has been made of the sword usually gifted in the same ceremony. It is later referenced in Burchards diary that Cesar was given the Blessed Sword, but no firm statement is made of a payment or ceremony. As we are left with no descriptive memory of it, various dates are cited by different authors. The earliest year is given by Burns were he st ates that Alexander gi ves the Blessed Sword to his own son in 1499.13 In his 1890 article, Euguene Mnt z, a renowned French scholar on the arts of the Papal Courts, strangely skips the year 1500 in his discussion of those swords gifted by Alexander VI. He does mention the sword of Cesa r Borgia, but it is not in alliance with a papal gift; it is only referenced as a discussion point for comparative iconography with a sword of Innocent VIII.14 It is not until a later work from 1898 that Mntz suggests Cesar Borgia as a recipient for the sword of 1500. He states that lpe de 1500 (ou 1501) was given to Cesar Borgia.15 Bunt also mentions the presentation of th e Blessed Sword to Cesar, giving the date of 1501.16 That date can, however, be quickly excl uded from consideration as it is readily acknowledged that Alfonso dEste received the papa l gifts in that year, leaving the year 1500 as the most probable suggestion. 12 Ibid. 13 Burns, Golden Rose and Blessed Sword p.23. 14 Eugene Mntz, Les epees dhonneur distribuees par les papes pendant les XIVe, Xve, et XVIe siecles, Revue de lart chretien issue 39 (1889), p.291. 15 Eugene Mntz, Les Arts a la Cour des Papes Innocent VIII, Alexandre VI, Pie III (1484-1503) (Paris: Ernest Leroux, Editeur, 1898), p.238. 16 Bunt, The Goldsmiths of Italy, p.20.

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49 To find the strongest piece of evidence in support of the supposition that the etchings found on the sword were completed for this occasi on, we need to look no further than the sword itself and to Cesars sojourn in Rome during th e spring months of 1500. A very strong alliance exists between the images of Julius Caesar seen on the blade and a number of celebrations held to honor the victories of Duc upon his return to Rome and upon his elevation to Gonfaloniere and Captain General of the Papal Army. Races we re held, as was customary to the Jubilee, but on February 28, the day after Cesar s processional entrance, the peopl e of Rome were treated to a spectacle outside the bounds of the normal celebrations. In a parade that wound from the Piazza Navona to the Vatican and back again, twelve chariots showcased the triumphs of the ancient Caesar. Eleven of the wagons were decorated with scenes, mastered by Papal artists, representing tableaus relative to rece nt events in the life of the Duc. Among the scenes, most notable to th is discussion, was the Crossing of the Rubicon. Cesar rode on horseback alongside the parade. So me have suggested that he went as far as to mount the final chariot as it returned to the Piazza the final time and adopt the persona of the Roman Emperor, but this is most probably legen d. It was not an uncommon practice to represent the triumphs of the ancient military leaders duri ng carnival, but the very personal elements of Cesar Borgia that are present in this particular event should no t be written off as immaterial.17 Episodes from the life of Julius Caesar, specifical ly, the moment of Crossing the Rubicon and his Triumph, comprise one-third of Ce sars swords decoration. This creates an association between the sword and the events of 1500, but the unique nature of the choi ce to represent the crossing is all the more telling. 17 Jacob Burckhardt, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy (New York: Barnes and Noble, Inc., 1999), p.257.

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50 The Crossing of the Rubicon is not a commonl y included in Renaissance depictions of the Triumphs of Caesar. The standard procession, both in art and life, followed a similar formula. No particular scenes from the life of the lead er where shown. It was a generalized procession mimicking the antique practice and style. Mantegnas Triumphs of Caesar which he painted for the Dukes of Mantua, are an example of this form ulaic picture. Trumpets and standard bearers begin the series, followed by the trophies and we apons of war; next more men, marching with plunder and sacrificial bulls, bear standards and pl ay music. In Mantegnas paintings we find Julius Caesar at the end of the sp ectacle, seated in the triumphal chariot. Traditionally, Caesar was more commonly found in the center of th e parade; however, there is evidence that Mantegnas work is unfinished and that he had intended a number of additional canvases.18 What is important is the general nature of what was considered the Triumphs of Caesar and the stark absence of any specific events in th e life of Julius Caesar. This makes the parades of 1500 unique. Andrew Martindale goes to th e length of suggesting that the artists and organizers of Cesars celebrations were influenced by Mantegnas famous work.19 The representation of the Crossing of the Rubic on then becomes a conspicuous addition whose significance should not be overlooked. It must he assumed then that it was Cesars desire to adopt this scene as part of his personal iconography, both on his sword and during th e parades that honored his recent triumphs in northern Italy. A personal connection must ha ve been felt by Cesar between this moment in his life, representing his newfound military dominance and this even t in the life of the ancient general, who ruled the known world through m ilitary power. More importantly, Cesar had 18 Martindale, The Triumphs of Caesar by Andrea Mantegna p.64-66. 19 Ibid., p.49.

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51 replaced the ancient conqueror as the general of the army of Rome He marked this association through the engravings on his sword and in the parade. Cesar Borgia cites Suetonius description of th is event on another object of virtue in his possession, further developing his attachment to this particular scene. In scribed in small black letters on a signet ring belonging to the Duc is written fais ce que dois advienne que pourra, do what thou must, come what will.20 These are the words spoken by Julius Caesar, immediately following the utterance the die is cast.21 Through the use of this inscription on a personal item of adornment, it is all the more clear that Cesar is deeply attached to this moment in the life of the Roman general, and the fact that the inscription is written in French is the most telling piece. Never would he have strayed from his native tongue until after he had quartered his arms with the lilies of France in 1499, givi ng great weight to the s uggestion that it is only after he takes up military arms that he can find self-definition in this moment of Caesars life. Another element connecting the 1500 triumphal parade and the Caetani sword is a motto closely tied to this moment in the life of the Duc. It is on this occasion that he adopts the motto Aut Caesar, aut nihil, either Caesar or nothi ng. In his 1911 descrip tion of the events of February 28th, under the pretense of a carnival masque rade, Alexander Dumas states that the standards held by the bearers bore this inscription as the device.22 Although Sabatini disagrees, stating that it is a fiction to believe that Cesar ever adopted th e phrase into his repertoire, he immediately contradicts himself with the assert ion that the device was engraved on his sword.23 20 From the Notes and Querie s section of The Connoisseur The Connoisseur vol. XVIII. (May-August 1907), p.59. This is a response to a question posed in the Notes and Queries section of The Connoisseur vol.17. (January April 1907), p.116. 21 Suetonius, History of the Twelve Caesars (London: David Nutt, 1899), chapter 32, p.39. 22 Alexander Dumas, The Borgias (London: Arthur L. Humphreys, 1911), p.174. 23 Rafael Sabatini, The Life of Cesare Borgia (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1930), p.203.

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52 This is clearly an inaccuracy, as it is seen nowhere on the sword or scabbard. But the association between the sword and this motto is a curiosity, and Sabatini is not the only author to have made the mistake. It is also fallaciousl y mentioned by Cancellieri and Ademollo.24 25 However, it must have held some reference in the minds of Cesars near contemporarie s, for it is found in the 1591 Symbolica Heroica of M. Claudius Paradin above an im age and description of the Duc of Valentinois.26 Although it is not known for certain that the Du c adopted this device, the continuation of references to it throughout Borgia scholarship ag ain implies an intimate correlation between the events of the parade in 1500 and the engravi ngs on the sword. This evidence, in conjunction with the knowledge that the Bl essed Sword was bestowed upon Ce sar during this year, offers substantial weight to the suggest ion that the Blessed Sword given to Cesar Borgia and the sword now in Rome are the same work. This inquest is not the first indication ever made that these two swords are perhaps the same. Although he does not reference it as the Ble ssed Sword, Ivan Cloulas states that Cesar, had his magnificent parade sword engraved wi th episodes of Caesars triumphs along with scenes of his own triumphal chariot procession of the previous spring.27 Cloulas give this impression despite the fact that he cites Yriartes discussion in Autour des Borgia as a source for material regarding the sword. He leaves no addi tional note with which to track his assertion, but Sabatini believes that the sword which bears the inscription of the motto is the sword made for the coronation of the King of Naples, but does reference that it is the same sw ord that today belongs to the Caetani family and whose scabbard is in the Victoria and Albert Museum. 24 Cancellierei, Lettera, p.18 25 Ademollo, La Famiglia, p. 663 26 M. Claudius Paradin, The Heroical Devices of M. Claudius Paradin 1591 (New York: Scholars Facsimiles & Reprints, 1984), p.347. 27 Ivan Cloulas, The Borgias (New York: Franklin Watts, 1989), p.183.

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53 it raises the question that there was perhaps some archival document that led him to such an uncommonly held belief. To return to the authorities of goldsmith a nd papal artists who more closely tie the two swords together, Bunt states that it is probable that we might add the famous Borgia cinquedea to the list of extant papal swords.28 Burns asserts that there ar e ten Blessed Swords still in existence. He continues that, O ne particularly ornate and sumptuous example can be seen in the Sword given to Cesare Borgia in 1500, the enam el decoration of which is remarkabley fine.29 Although Burns does not directly re ference the sword that belongs today to the Caetani family, it is the only weapon known still to ex ist that once belonged to Cesar Borgia. Nor can it be ignored that the sword described by Burns as being the Blessed Sword of 1500 has enamel work, as that is the only type of decoration found on the hilt of the Caetani sword. As the typical form taken by the Blessed Sword has a grip and pommel wo rked in decorative silver repouse, Burns recounting of the enamel as the remarkable feature is logical.30 From here the direct indications of a correla tion, end and one must piece together multiple sources at a time. Mntz implies, in his discu ssion of the Blessed sword given to Cesar, that although there is no piece of evidence to solidify the idea, it is possible this sword, the Blessed Sword, is the same sword mentioned in the invent ory taken of the belongings of Cesars wife.31 In 1878, Edmond Bonnaff published the invent ory of Charlotte dAlbret, Duchess of Valentinois and wife of Cesar Borgia. Upon her death in 1514 a register of her possessions was 28 Bunt, The Goldsmiths of Italy p.20. 29 Burns, Golden Rose and Blessed Sword p.14. 30 Ibid. 31 Mntz, Les Arts a la Cour des Papes Innocent VIII, Alexander VI, Pie III (1484-1503) p.238. Mntz does not believe that the Blessed Sword is the sword that today belongs to the Caetani family. He mentioned this sword as another sword that had belonged to Cesar.

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54 taken in which was naturally found a number of objects having once belonged to her late husband. Of those things, Bonnaff references a sword in Rome decorated with gold enamels, which in the eighteenth century had belonged to Abbe Galiani, the leather sleeve of which was located in the Museum of Kensington (t oday the Victoria and Albert Museum).32 He is without question describing the sw ord in discussion here. If the two sources, Mntz and Bonnaff, are co mbined, along with the statement by Burns that the Blessed Sword of 1500 was decorated with enamel work and not the traditional repouss, an agreement is formed that the papal gift pres ented to Cesar Borgia in 1500 found its way into the inventories of his wife and is today within the property of the Caetani family in Rome. Despite this evidence, or perhaps because to date it has never been compiled, it is the commonly held opinion that the terminus post que m for the fabrication of the weapon and its decoration is 1493, the terminus ante quem 1498. This opinion rests solely on the assumption that the inscription on the hilt that references Cesar as a Card inal is contemporaneous to the etchings on the blade. As stated, that is not neces sarily the case. To th is possibility an argument will be addressed that allows for Cesar and his father continuing to refer to Cesar as Cardinal after 1498. It is known, through Burchard, that a privat e consistory took place on August 17, 1498 in that Cesar formally asked permission to be re leased from his obligations to the church. On Friday, the 17th of the month of August, 1498, there was a private consistory, in which the Most Reverend Lord cardinal of Valencia ma de the statement, that, from his tenderest age, he had felt an inclination to the secular state of life; th at, however, the Holy Father had absolutely willed that he should change his vi ew and devote himself to the clerical career; and had, to this effect granted him continually so many ecclesiastical dignities, and ordered that he should be promoted to the Orde r of Deaconship, while he himself had not considered it proper to oppose the Pontiffs command. But, since his mind, his wish and his inclinations still are, as they ever were for the secular state, he now supplicated our 32 Edmond Bonnaff, Inventaire de la Duchesse de Valentinois Charlotte dAlbret (Paris: A.Quantin, 1878), p.53.

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55 Most Holy Lord to design and favor hi m with uncommon clemency, and give him dispensation to depose his ecclesiastical habit and dignity, and allow him to return to the world and contract marriage; a nd he begged the most reverend lo rds cardinals to consent to such a dispensation, and to request our Holy Fath er for him and, together with him, that he may release him of all the churches, monestaries and wh atever other ecclesiastical benefices in his possession, and which he would all resign into the hand s of the same Holy Lord. All the cardinals, by common consent and accord, referred the matter of this dispensation to the will and discretion of Our Most Holy Lord, the Pope.33 The exact date by which Cesar had returned a ll benefices to the arms of the Church is unknown, although a few of the stepping stones along that path are recorded in the documents of the Vatican archives. By November 4, 1498 he had surrendered the dio cese of Nantes. His resignation of his diocese in Valencia and Elna was accepted by Alexander VI, as was the renunciation of the abbey of Vallisdegna in a consistory on November 26th of the same year. It is assumed that the remaining benefices were also resigned; although, there are no existing documents to offer confirmation.34 According to common belief Cesar ceases to be a Cardinal through this abdication. For those who hold this statement to be true, a termin al date of production is created and it falls in the final months of 1498. The keepers of the Borgia history and more pa rticularly the sword of Cesar Borgia have sought to identify the instance for which such a piece of art would ha ve been made for a cardinal. There are two occasions during this time that have been branded as worthy of the production. The first of these events came when Ferrant ino dAragon died unexpectedly at the age of twenty-seven and was succeeded by his uncle Federigo as the new King of Naples. In a consistory on June 8th 1497, Cesar was appointed as the papa l legate who would travel in place 33 Peter De Roo, Materials for the History of Pope Alexander VI His Relatives and His Time (Bruges: Desclee de Brouwer and Co., 1924), vol.1, p.284. 34 Ibid., p.284-285.

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56 of the pontiff when the time came for the formal investiture and coronati on, although this was an honor well above his standing in the College of Cardinals. Three thousand zecchini left the pontifical treasury to fi nance the travel of Cesar and his substantial group of retainers, pr elates, camp followers, and horses.35 The coronation took place on August 11, 1497. Cesar arrived at the cathedral in Capua dressed in crimson velvet and a mantle of gold cloth, carried in a sedia gestatoria .36 Regrettably the ceremony itself is poorly documented. It is known that Cesar followed all the dignity and ceremony befitting such an event. It is rightly assumed that a sword was involved in the rites of formal investiture. There is no description of the sword used on this occasion, and so it becomes this point in time that is linked to the Caetani sword. Burchard, who is usually diligent in his record ing of activities relati ng to the pontificate, does not recount this coronation, and is in fact uncharacteristically quie t during the months of June, July, and August in 1497. This intermission has frustrated research ers whose interests lie with the Borgia family, as June 14 marks the d eath of Juan Borgia, Duke of Gandia and favorite son of Alexander VI. In his grief, the pope vowed to reform the church, and in these months the Vatican was kept busy planning the immense canonical repentance for Alexa nders self-admitted sins. During a public consistory held on June 19, spea king more as a father than a Pope, Alexander would say the following: The Duke of Gandia is dead. His death was given us the greatest sorrow, and no greater pain that this could be suffer, because we loved him above all things, and esteemed not more the Papacy nor anything else. Rather, had we seven papacies, we would give them all to have the Duke alive again. God ha d done this perhaps for some sin of ours37 We 35 Beuf, Cesare Borgia p.90. 36 Bradford, Cesare Borgia p.67. 37 Ibid., p.64.

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57 have decided, therefore, to regulate the manne r of living in the Chur ch, and to appoint a commission of six cardinals, who shall have the charge of preparing the holy workand we submit our own person to the re gulations that they shall make.38 The explanation for Burchards absence at the ceremony in Naples can be found in Alexanders response to the loss of the Duke and in the wo rk being done in Rome that would require the attention of the chronicle kept by his master of ceremonies. Since the description of the sword used in the coronation ceremony in 1497 has been lost to time, we may examine the details found in Burchards Diarium of the coronation of King Alfonso II that took place on May 8th 1494 in Naples: From the royal treasure chamber were brought fi rst, the royal crown in a vessel of gilded silverThen the sword was brought in its s cabbard, studded with pearls and precious stones from the end to end39 In this we find the first piece of evidence why it is unlikely that the weapon that is today known simply as the sword of Cesare Borgia was the sw ord made for the coronation of King Federigo in 1497. The sword used in 1494 is kept in an elab orate and highly decorative scabbard. It is improbable that in a matter of three years the style chosen by Alexander or accepted as appropriate would have changed in such a drama tic degree. If Cesars sword and the scabbard that was intended for it are those used in this co ronation, the sheath has depa rted from a style of jeweled encrustation to one of a beautiful but su bdued and simple decora tive relief executed in leather. It must also be remembered that the intende d scabbard was never finished and that the sword, when as last described in the 18th century, was encased in a sh eath of rough, black hide. Would either the Pope or the new King have acc epted this as the coronation sword? Most assuredly not. 38 De Roo, Materials for a History of Pope Alexander VI His Relatives and His Time vol.3, p.171. 39 Johannes Burchardus, Pope Alexander VI and His Court (New York: Nicholas L. Brown, 1921), p.71.

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58 Moreover, the royal insignia, of which the sw ord is part, are resigned to the King during the coronation ceremony.40 To this end, if the date of execution for the designs was 1497, King Federico would have received a sword decora ted without reference to Naples, the Papacy, Alexander VI, Federigo himself, or devices of the Aragonese fa mily from which both the Pope and the Neapolitan King claimed ancestry. It would have been instead etched solely with references to the life and aspirations of the man in pontificalibus that had handed it to him.41 The suggestion that this explains the circumstance surrounding th e fabrication and decoration of the sword can be quickly dismissed. Far more te lling is the question of why Cesar would trouble to design a sword and scabbard with scenes so personal in narrative and image as a gift for someone else. Again this is a highly unlikely ci rcumstance. It is much more probable that the sword was designed for a different moment in the life of Cesar Borgia. The possibility has been suggested that the sw ord was made for this occasion, but not used as the coronation sword, instead held before Card inal Borgia during the ceremony as a symbol of spiritual and temporal power. Blair dismisses th is as the reason for the swords creation, arguing that the type of sword used in this capacity would have been a bearing sword which is a larger two handed arm that is intended for processional or ritual use. These situations require the sword to be held upright, leaving no need for belt attachments on the scabbard.42 The other occurrence in the life of Cesar that scholars have considered significant enough to bear the weight of such a w eapon is his renunciati on of the purple in 1498. It is known that Cesar and his father had considered this secu larization as early as February 1498. It was 40 Ibid., p.76. The King was then crowned in the proper order and the royal insignia were handed over to him This is from Burchards account of the coronation of King Alphonso II. 41 See Albert Van de Puts The Aragonese Double Crown & the Borja or Borgia Device (London: Gryphon Club 1910), for an account of the Borgia us e of the Aragonese heraldic symbols. 42 Blair, Cesare Borgias sword scabbard, p.9-10.

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59 whispered that Cesar considered it as he steppe d over the body of his freshly slain older brother in June of the previous year;43 but whatever the length of deliber ation, it is generally agreed that with his departure for France in October 1498, Cesar disavows the title of Cardinal. As stated before, this is considered to be the final moment in Cesars life that could be aligned with the production of the sword due to the inscription on the hilt. As this was the most significant event to date, it became a natural instance to which scholars could pin production. If Cesar had designed this as a tangible exam ple of his secular aspi rations, as is greatly theorized by most scholars, he would have undoubt edly carried it with him as he embarked upon the journey to solidify those ambitions. But, although his entry into France was described in acute detail, there remains no mention of any sword. An astonishing 200,000 ducats were spent for Cesars departure to France, the glory of which was disp layed during his entrance into Chinon where he was to meet Louis XII, King of France. This exceptional and theatrical affair was witnessed by an ancestor of Brantme and whose recording of it wa s woven into elegant prose in the authors Femmes Galantes .44 Sarah Bradford recounts the event through a translation of Brantme: The Duke of Valentinois entered thus on Wednesday, the eighteenth day of December 1498. Before him marched the Cardinal of Rouen, M. de Ravestain, the Seneschal of Toulouse, M. de Clermont, with many Lords a nd Gentlemen to the foot of the bridge; he was preceded by twenty-four handsome mules carrying trunks, coffers and chests, covered with cloths bearing the Dukes arms, then ag ain came another twenty-four mules with their trappings halved in red and yellowthe colo urs of the King, then twelve mules with coverings of yellow striped satin. Then came si x mules with trappings of cloth of gold, of which one stripe was of cloth of gold cut, the other smooth, which made seventy in allAnd after came sixteen beautiful great ch argers, led by grooms, covered in cloth of gold, crimson and yellowafter these came eighteen pages, each one on a fine charger, of whom sixteen were dressed in crimson velvet, th e two others in cloth of gold. These, the people said, must be his two favourites. Then came six fine mules richly equipped with 43 It is believed by some scholars, and by a number of his contemporaries, that Cesar was responsible for the death of his brother. 44 Beuf, Cesare Borgia p.100.

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60 saddles, bridles and trappings in crimson ve lvet, accompanied by grooms dressed in the same. Then two mules carrying coffers and all covered in cloth of gold. The people, said that those two must be carrying something more exquisite than the others, or some Bulls and fine Indulgences from Rome, or some Holy Relics. Then after came thirty gentlemen (Cesares Roman noblemen) clad in cloth of gold and silver, followed by three musicians, two tambours and one rebec, dressed in clot h of gold according to the style of their country, and their rebecs had strings of gol d. They marched between the gentlemen and the Duke of Valentinois, playing all the while. Then came four with trumpets and clarions of silver, richly dressed, playing their inst ruments without ceasing. There were also twenty-four lackeys all clad in crimson velvet halved with yellow silk, and they were all around the Duke; beside him rode the Cardinal of Rouen, conversing with himAs to the Duke, he was mounted on a great tall horse ( one of the Gonzaga cors ierei) very richly harnessed, with a covering of re d satin halved with cloth of gold (in truth I am not very sure what stuff it might be) and embroidered with very rich gems and large pearls. In his bonnet were two double rows of five or six rubi es, as large as a bean, which gave out a great light. On the brim of his bonnet there were also a great quantity of jewels, even to his boots, which were all adorned with chains of gold and edged with pearls.45 There are two effects further described as part icularly remarkable examples of the wealth spent on Cesars unveiling to the French. The fi rst, an additional de scription by Brantmes ancestor was of the collar worn by the Duc over his costume of black velvet. It was described as being worth over 30,000 ducats, with a me dallion of diamonds suspended from it.46 The second is perhaps more legendary than the reasonably accurate account given by Brantme, but is nonetheless descriptive of the impression the magnificence of the Ducs display left upon the people who witnessed the affair. It is said that the horse upon which the Duc rode was shod in shoes of solid gold. As the story was told, a number of his mules were also shod with the same precious metal and that duri ng the long procession through Chinon the shoes, either due to intentionally loose fittings or to the ma lleability of the gold, parted from the hooves and were left in the streets as examples of the Ducs generosity.47 45 Bradford, Cesare Borgia p.89-90. 46 Sabatini, The Life of Cesare Borgia p.161. 47 Ibid., p.162.

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61 What is to be gained from this extensive de scription of the elaborat e entrance performed by the Duc upon the occasion of his init ial audience with Louis XII is an awareness of how well this moment in history was documented, and most pa rticularly the minute degree to which the detail of his dress was observed. There is a notable absence of any descrip tion of arms or armor. If a sword of such magnificence had been by the side of the man at the cente r of the procession, it would have been noticed. The lack of menti on strongly indicates that no sword was on hand to be observed. There are alternative reasons as to why the t itle of Cardinal is pr esent on a sword produced for Cesar after the year 1498. Cesar asked to be released from his ecclesiastical dignity on August 17, 1498. The Royal Patents conferring upon him the duchy of Valentinois in France had reached Rome on August 7. 48 In October of that same year he took formal leave of his father, departing for the land where he was to marry a nd rule as Duc. Although he had already been bestowed with his new title, on the day of departure he signed his name, not under the designation of Duc but as Cardinal Valent inus. Cattaneo, a Mantuan envoy, writes: Valencia has certainly left in lay clothes, and having made his preparations as duke, nonetheless he signed himself up to the last moment as Cesar, Ca rd. Valentinoand this perhaps as a precaution49 For a time, Burchard would also continue referr ing to Cesar as Cardinalis Valentinus, doing so on this same occasion.50 If this was precautionary, his fears were not unfounded. Carlotta of Naples, daughter to King Federigo, was Cesars desired bride, but sh e and her father would hear nothing of it. Federigo declared: 48 Ibid., p.153. 49 Bradford, Cesare Borgia p.81. 50 Ibid., p.83.

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62 The son of a Pope, who is also a Cardinal, is not a fitting husband for my daughter. Let it be ordained, however, that a Ca rdinal may enter into the stat e of wedlock; then he may keep his hat, and I will, notw ithstanding, give him my daughter.51 Carlotta showed no disappointment, claiming sh e herself had no desire to be known as La Cardinala.52 Despite this proclamation, Cesars dispensa tion and elevation to the status of Duc was not enough to satisfy Federigo s distaste. In February of 1499 Louis XII had failed to find a bride for him. Cesar wrote to his father telling Alex ander of his preparations to return to Italy. It was said that he would be reinstated as a Cardinal.53 So imminent was his departure that he received the Kings messages for the Pope.54 As late as August 1499, Baldasare Castiglione described Cesar as the son of a pope, a renegade cardinal, a prince of France, and a great captain.55 It seems that no one believed Cesar had truly given up his status in the church. Th e young Duc knew all too well the fickle nature of fate and seemed himself to doubt his own secular success. Although Cesar did marry in May of 1499, we have already far extended the time to which he and his father could have clung to his previous title. It seems that, at least for a short time, he was genuinely a Cardinal of the Roman Church and a Duc of France. But it is additionally possible that, though Cesar gave up his benefice s in the consistory of 1498, he nonetheless retained some religious bond to the church, possibly perhaps even his title. To prove conclusively that the etchings on th e blade of the Caetani sword were completed in 1500 cannot be accomplished through the available documentation. It is entirely possible that 51 E.L. Miron, Duchess Derelict: A Study of the Life and Times of Charlotte dAlbrect, Duchess of Valentinois (London: S. Paul & Co., 1911), p.121. 52 Bradford, Cesare Borgia p.93. 53 William Harrison Woodward, Cesare Borgia (London: Francis Aldor, Publisher, 1947), p.141. 54 Sabatini, The Life of Cesare Borgia p.163. 55 Yriarte, Cesare Borgia p.88.

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63 the intimate nature of the participants negated th e need for the kind of papers that would have left definitive proof. Nonetheless, the swor d and the scabbard intended as its cover are exceedingly critical to our understanding of the development of Cesar Borgias personal iconography.

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64 CHAPTER 6 THE IMPORTANCE OF DECORATIVE ARTS The question has been posed on a number of occas ions as to why the study of this sword is important and, in particular, why the shifti ng of a few years makes a difference in our understanding of the work. To answer this, one must first appreciate the profound and essential role that the category of arts into which this swor d falls, what we now refer to as decorative arts, played during the fourteenth, fift eenth, and sixteenth centuries. Throughout the discipline of ar t history, the movement towards this awareness has proven lethargic due to the concept of the great academic triad of pain ting, sculpture and architecture, perpetuated over the centuries by Vasari, Wincke lmann, and Goethe. In the eras which surround the medieval and Renaissance periods, starkly di fferent standards held true. Value was placed on costly works in gold, tapestries, arms and armor, and the pageantry of the court. These works were esteemed not only for their substantive wo rth but also for the pow erful significance they held.1 Upon the realization of the critical importa nce these works played in the political and social sphere of medieval and Renaissance Euro pe, we can then turn to the question of why a minor shift in the dating of our Queen of Swor ds is significant enough to warrant our scholastic attention. Political power can be expresse d in a number of ways. Duri ng the Renaissance the visual played a substantial role in the acquisiti on, retention, and expression of power. These accomplishments were made through the creation a nd manipulation of representative objects and in the environments that quartered the worthy. Vi sual arts grew to be important weapons in the game of persuasive politics. As Charles Rosenberg writes: 1 Marina Belozerskaya, Rethinking the Renaissance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), p.4.

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65 Their efficiency lay in the manner in wh ich they could convey multivalent messages quickly and forcefully to a public accustomed to thinki ng in terms of images and allegories, and persuaded the audience of the truth and si gnificance of their arguments.2 They offered an immediacy and tangible perm anence that few other things could, allowing a patron to solidify an idea or image of him or herself in the consciousness of the material world.3 For a political environment and social system where the main tenance of the hierarchical structure through the use of the visual is essential to its survival, luxury ar ts are vital symbols of a patrons authority and distin ction, their taste and virtue.4 Although all art objects generally provided some form of outward pr ojection in regards to their owne r, objects rendered in the more precious materials were among the most sought af ter and admired. In this visual competition, elaborate ensembles of tapestries arms, and objects of virtue were the most highly prized items. This expenditure was a signaling system for those worthy to display a manifestation of their power. The period understandi ng of the value of visual dem onstration found justification in Aristotle. A magnificent manhas the capacity to observe wh at is suitable and to spend large sums with good taste. For as we said at the outset, a charac teristic is defined by its activities and by its objectsA magnificent man will spend am ounts of this kind be cause it is noble to do soHe will try to find out how to achieve the most noble and suitable result rather than how much it will cost him and how it can be done cheaplyThe most valued possession is the most costly such as gold, but the most valu ed achievement or result is one that is great and noble: to look at it will be to admire it, and what is magnificent is admirableIn private affairs, magnificence is shown in t hose expenditures which are made only once e.g., a wedding and the like, and anything of intere st to the whole city or to eminent people and also in receiving and taking leave of foreign quests It is also typical of a magnificent man to furnish his house commensurat e with his wealth for it, too, is a kind 2 Rosenberg, Art and Politics p.3. 3 Ibid., p.1-4. 4 Berlozerskaya, Luxury Arts of the Renaissance p.16.

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66 of ornament and to prefer spending his mone y on works that endure, since they are the noblest.5 Magnificence came to dominate the desired virtues of man. In Sabadinos volume De Triumphis Religionis a book dedicated to Ercole dEste, the weighted value placed on this one characteristic is evident. Book five dedica ted the entirety of it s thirty-seven folios, approximately one third of the en tire work, to magnificence. Nine other princely virtues were discussed in the remaining space. To the auth or writing in 1497, the aspects of magnificence have changed little from the Aristotelian view It remained the product of lavish spending, symbolizing, and reaffirming power and authority. Magnificence and the visu al portrayal of it in tapestries, arms, military triumphs, and tournament s grew increasingly important to the modes of self-presentation used in Renaissance cour ts and the iconographies developed for each. Tapestries were among the most prized arts used for the visual propaganda of selfdefinition and transference of virtue. They orchestrated cour t environments and relayed political allegories, cast under the app earance of a mythological, biblic al, or historical tableau.6 The astonishing amounts of mone y spent of these textiles made of silk, gold, and silver threads are telling of their wo rth in the terms of political currency. Charles V took his Capture of Tunis weavings to war to impress his enemies w ith superior magnificence and grandeur. So important to him was the accuracy of the scenes that he had Jan Vermeyen, his court painter and designer of the series, accompany him on to the field of battle.7 Twenty-seven thousand Flemish pounds were spent on the luxurious hangings, all this at a time that the coffers of the emperor 5 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1962), p.90-92. 6 Belozerskaya, Luxury Arts of the Renaissance p.102. 7 Albert Calvert, The Spanish Royal Tapestries (London: John Lane, 1921), p.viii.

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67 were exhausted from war.8 The justification in such time for this expense can only be attributed to the political gravity Charles felt they would carry. During that same campaign, Emperor Charles V took with him 96 of his already woven tapestries, including the Los Honores the Story of Alexander the Great the Deeds of Hercules David and Goliath a cycled devoted to Our Lady and the Passion of Christ With sets for every impression the emperor could wish to leave, from his military prowess to his virtues, he traveled with an arsenal of visual propaganda. The Los Honores tapestries also made an appearance at his coronation at Aachen where they served as An overview of the virtues a monarch must practiceto attain greatness and acting as a metaphor of his rule.9 The same must have held true for Charles the Bold when in 1476 he took the Triumph of Caesar ensemble and the Millefleur tapestry on his campaign of war. The militaristic virtue derived from the Triumph of Caesar is evident, but even the Millefleur tapestry which appears to be no more than decorative foliage, through the pl acement of the ducal arms in the center, gives the claim of an earthy paradi se brought to being by th e rule of the Burgundians. For those that could not afford this luxur y, painting became their method of illustrated propaganda. Today, frescos are the privileged wall dcor, this refe rencing once again the academic triad where painting is held to a highe r status. But during the Renaissance, frescos were only seen on walls when tapestries were not superimposed upon them or if the cost of these luxurious textiles proved too much for the patron and this less expensive form of ornamentation was all that could be afforded. In the case of th e latter, the frescos were often painted to imitate 8 Belozerskaya, Luxury Arts of the Renaissance p.97. 9 Ibid., p.100-102.

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68 the trappings of hanging tapestries A series of hunting frescos found in the castle of Bartolomeo Colleoni included metal hooks and th e fringe of fabric threads.10 The previously discussed frescos in the Sala dei Pisanello sought to display the power of the Gonzagas. The Sala frescos were used to promote the military reputation and most specifically the magnificent war-horses for which the Gonzaga were famous. Cesar wrote to Francesco Gonzaga upon his departure for France in 1498, asking him to send one of these great horses, as he had found himself, absolutely destitut e of fine coursers suitable to us in such a journey.11 Parts of the surface of the Sala dei Pisanello are textured, and it has been shown through reconstructions of an unfinished tournament s cene that a substantial portion of the commission was to be covered with raised relief and overlaid in gold and silver: The extent of the gilded relief in the t ournament scene should be recognized as an imaginative response to the chal lenge of providing a work with a precise function within a particular context: that of endowing Lodovico Gonzaga with an app earance of splendor in a setting in which received visitorsThe scenes ostentatious glow would have symbolized Gonzaga power by suggesting the phys ical splendor of Gonzaga rule at the moment in Mantuan history when a more expensive medium than fresco for a large scale work was financially out of the question.12 The use of gilding in the frescos was intende d to mimic the gold and silver threads of tapestries. The raised relief added to this illusio n, as tapestries were not static works of art but instead shifting with the movements ma de by the guests of the atmosphere. But for all their worth in political persuasion, tapestries were not the only means by which these rulers displayed their majesty and milita ry might. Arms and armor were additional 10 Cole, Virtue and Magnificence p.30. 11 Bradford, Cesare Borgia p.82. 12 Joanna Woods-Marsden, Pictoral style and ideology: Pisanellos Arthurian cycle in Mantua, Arte Lombarda (1987/1-2-3): 133-134.

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69 instruments used in these exhibitions. The nobil ity of the feudal system were a military class who through arms and armor dressed the part. These adornments were seen as symbols of superior status, and the attire of warfare beca me a uniform of noble cl ass identity. Military costume expressed the virtues th at all Renaissance statesmen de sired to be associated with: strength at arms, nobility of character and chival ric presence. This form of dress offered to impress and intimidate the admirers and en emies of the wearer, presenting important authentication to the image desi red by the ruler. Additionally, because of the cost, supremely crafted and richly elaborated armor served to di stinguish the gentlemen that wore it above the ranks of others. It was an exclus ive art that carried a political re sonance of wealth and served as invaluable assets to an indi viduals iconographic alliance to th e great figures of history. Allusions to the ancients were frequent in the decoration of th ese objects, seeking through this iconography to present those who donned them as a new Hercules, Alexander, or Caesar. As with tapestries, the more elaborat e, the more magnificence seeped into the image of the ruler. The ever-ostentatious dukes of Burgundy were ofte n seen riding onto the fi eld of battle wearing armor decorated with gold and precious stones. The example that most truly represents the value and use of arms and armor can be found in the inventories of the great art cabinets. The objects accumula ted in these collections were representative of what was held important by the individual, and wh at was esteemed at the time. In his 16th century Kunstkammer (art cabinet) amassed at th e Ambras catle in Innsbrook, Archduke Ferdinand II accumulated a collection that required the space of four separate but interconnected buildings. One of th ese buildings housed a variety of his curiosities, assorted arts from nature and man. The other three containe d this anthology of arms and armor. Through these halls he divided his collection into room s by theme and desired impression. The first

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70 offered glory to the chivalric tr adition through a displa y of tournament harnesses worn from the time of Maximilian I to his own. Another disp layed the military supremacy of the archduke himself, housing in chronological or der seventeen examples of his personal armor. Thirdly, he amassed a room of Turkish armor. The adve rtisement made through th ese 120 suits of armor was the Christian and Habsburg dominance of the Ottomans and their belief in Islam.13 In the same vain, Charles V created a collection to inventory his person al arms and armor. Through their display he documented his political and military victories, deriving personal pride when viewing them himself and instilling fe ar and admiration when viewed by others. The exhibition of these items was common in the portraits of military men. A painting of Philip II in which he wears an exceptional suit, illu strated in explicit detail, is an example of this trend. Through this seemingly simple choice of dress he has eluded to his military career, his social rank, refinement, and wealth. Due to the power of these armaments they became essential elements in a statesmans arse nal of political propaganda. The western preoccupation with this form of iconographic demonstr ation did not escape the notice of their eastern counterparts. The Su ltan Suleyman I, earning the epithet of the Magnificent from his luxurious displays of the regalia of warfare, commissioned from the Venetians a helmet to demonstrat e his standing in this game of supremacy through opulence. So impressive was the work that before it was sent to its patron, it was displayed for three days in the Doges Palace. The design of the helmet that carried a 100,000 ducat price tag was not left to chance. It was intentionally patterned, mimicking the papal tiara, trumping its triple crown with a four tiers.14 The inference of his superior ity over the leader of Christianity is an example of the 13 Berlozerskaya, Luxury Arts of the Renaissance p.135-136. The final room housed a collection of unique and peculiar armor belonging to children, giants and dwarfs. 14 Ibid., p.144.

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71 use of these adornments as proclamations of auth ority and greater magnificence. He said of his sumptuous spending that he desired to speak to his European rivals through the contextual language that they most strongly recognized.15 Triumphs and tournaments are ephemeral exampl es of these luxurious material displays. The examples of both, staged by the leaders of Europe, are boundless. What makes the pageantry of this period different is the shift in focus from the middle class to the elites as the focal point towards which to direct the impression of magnificence. As to state ceremonies, of which the triumph is part, the Renaissance revival of the ancient world caused them to search for ancient forms of performance. The development of state entry is a direct descendant of the Roman imperial triumph. During this period the ideological structure of the existing form of entrance change d, distinctively weakening its connection to the middle classes. What had first been a series of tableaux vivants staged as a procession for the enjoyment of the masses developed into an exc eedingly symbolic instrument in the world of political propaganda:16 What spread across Europe was the notion of the entry as a triumph in terms of the monarch as hero, reflecting exactly the change in political climate as the nation states of early modern Europe developed their identity by focusing a peoples loyalty ton the cult of a dynasty. As a result the entry gradually ceased to be an assertion of absolute power with corresponding expression of subservience by the urban bourgeois classesThe result was that any entry into an Ital ian princely city became an instrumentum regni devised and designed under the aegis of the c ourt poets, humanists, and artists.17 Ceremonies became an expression of the hierar chical structure of society. The procession, through its display of symbolic visual and often physical authority illust rated the power politics. 15 Ibid., p.115. 16 Strong, Art and Power p.42-44. 17 Ibid., p.47-48.

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72 The Medici were quite skilled in this ar t by 1589 when Christina of Lorraine entered Florence as the bride-to-be of Grand Duke Ferdin and. The street festival held on this occasion gave little concern to the de sires or impressions of the comm oners; it was no more than an expansion of the announcements intended fo r the insular word of the ducal court.18 The perfection of the state ceremony was of such critical importan ce to Venetian rulers that the Savaii de Terraferma was formed. This group of five men, one of which was the political supervisor of official ceremonies, were elected to the collegio of the senate and were charged with ensuring that the ducal ceremonies produced the desired political conclusion.19 The fundamental elements behind the Renai ssance triumphs and state ceremonies were consistent in their desire for one thing: the substantia tion of propagation of not the reality, but the idea of rulership. Through the sp ectacle of these triumphs, Renai ssance figures gained the same perceived magnificence as was derived from the use of references to the ancients in material luxury arts. Tournaments offered a similar vehicle for politic al persuasion, serving as vital expressions of elevated nobility and class iden tity. Despite the advent of fi rearms, the tournament continued to be an important element of the staged propa ganda by a court or ruler, over time it became increasingly scripted in order to ensure that the appropriate individua l was the recipient of victory.20 In addition to the display of military expertise and individual excellence, tournaments served as a ground for the display of the fashion of arms. Premier examples of arms and armor were required dress. Each separate sport involved a distinct form of each, which made participation quite cost prohibitive. This parade of the regalia of warfare asserted the wealth of 18 Ibid., p.48. 19 Edward Muir, Civic Ritual in Renaissance Venice (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1981), p.187. 20 Strong, Art and Power p.50.

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73 the taste of the respective owner. Other forms of tournament, different from the stereotypical view of it as a chivalric joust, involved animals, for example, the bullfight. The achievement of skill required the kind of leisure time few members of the common classes had. The seventeenth century would eventually rem ove the tournament entirely from the view of the public; the foundations of that change can be seen during the Renaissance. They were removed from the piazzas and open city spaces wh ere they were accessible to the populace, and brought within the architectural co mplexes and closed world of the courts. This change was part of the development of the view of accessi bility as indicative of social status. 21 The true importance of the impression of pr incely virtues lay in the observance of it by enemies, peers, and pawns in the political games of the day. With the establishment of the significant and complex role that these luxury arts and pageants play in the political atmosphere of Renaissance Europe, it shou ld be shown that the Borgias prescribed to this form of dynastic and self-propaganda. To do this it is unnecessary to take more than a surface glace at their history. Popes and men of the church were not immune from the desire to be viewed as magnificent and virtuous. The decoration of th e Sala Regia, the room used fo r conclaves, public consistories, and the formal reception of foreign sovereigns and dignitaries by the pope, was designed for its impression of the triumph of the church. The pictor ial cycle began with scenes of six kings that had defended the Roman Church, personifying the idea l relationship of the gr eat secular states to the great faith. Additional scenes were added later, these showing a number of sovereigns submitting obedience to the pope. Among these was the victory of the Christian army over the Turkish forces at Tunis. The Emperor Charles V, leader of that Christian army, is shown 21 Ibid., p.43.

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74 offering the victory and his defere nce to the Church by kissing the foot of the supreme pontiff. The theme being demonstrated was a common one in papal propaganda du ring the Renaissance, the illustration of the supremacy of papal authority over temporal rule.22 The need to legitimize Rome as the true seat of the papacy was anot her particular piece of re ligious propaganda popular in the Renaissance. The inscriptions found under Vasaris painting Gregory XI Returns to Rome from Avignon in 1376 speaks to this need, stating that it was divine inspiration that caused Gregory to return the Church to Rome.23 Alexander VI would prove no exception to this papal desire. For his advancement to the Holy See he spared no expense, nor did he spar e the iconographic references to ancient heroes. Divine Alexander, Alexander the Great, were th e cries of the Roman public as Pope Alexander VI made his way to the Lateran basilica for his coronation. The stre ets were lined with tapestries, draped with garlands, and intersecte d with triumphal arches. A fountain of wine, shaped as the Borgia Bull, stood outside the church of San Marco. A banner twelve-meters long and bearing the papal standard flew over the Castle SantAnge lo. Anthony was not received with as much splendour by Cleopatra as Alexander by the Romans.24 Alexanders want for magnificen ce and luxury arts was not exclusive to his rule as pope and to the papacys need for the assertion of power. In a description given in 1484, by Ascanio Sforza upon viewing the palace built in Rome by Pope Alexander VI during the time that he was 22 Randolph Starn, Triumphalism and the Sala Regia in the Vatican, in All the wordls a stage Art and Pagentry in the Renaissance and Baroque (University Park: The Pennsylvania St ate University, 1990), vol.6, part 1, p.31. 23 Ibid., p.31-32. 24 Bradford, Cesare Borgia p.28.

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75 still Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, it was likened to the Golden Palace of Nero. He mentions vast tapestries of hunting scenes, chests of gold, and silver plate.25 As for his children, they all inherited their fa thers taste for luxury, but for brevity only the manifestations of Cesars character will be discusse d. There is little need to look further than his entrance into Chinon, but as there are other examples and this one has already been recounted, a brief mention of the rest of Ce sars extravagance is in order. Little remains in Rome, as it was wiped clean of the Borgia presence shortly after the death of Alexander, so the inventory of Cesars wife Charlotte dAlbret the majority of which came into her possession through her marriage, ag ain proves useful. Neither rare books nor valuable paintings indeed find their way into he r list of possessions; but not Anne de Bretagne herself could boast more princely parures, more exquisite stores of gold and silver plate26 The list of rich fabrics and their various uses throughout the palace is exhaustive, the number of precious jewels that lined her clothing substantial. Eight-two tapestries were named in her collectio n. Fourty-seven of them were of Felletin manufacture. Haut Lice tapestries representing the Passion and Resurrection of Christ the Infant Moses Alexander the Great and Hercules are also listed. Upon Charlottes death all of Cesars rich weavings passed into the possession of her nephew, He nri II of Navarre. Cesar must have held a particular taste for tapestries. Du ring his campaigns in the Romagna, Cesar acquired through the confiscation of the pr operty and possessions of Fereri go da Montefeltro an elevenpiece tapestry set of the Trojan War These he kept for himself while gifting the Sleeping Cupid 25 Marion Johnson, The Borgias (New York: Penguin Books, 2001), p.66. 26 Miron, The Derelict Duchess p. 237.

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76 of Michelangelo, obtained in the same usurpation as the tapestri es, quite readily to Isabella dEste. To the triumphs that he displayed, the most prevalent manifestation has already been discussed, but the festivities held in honor of Lucrezia Borgias marriage to Alfonso dEste during the time bridging 1501 and 1502, are worthy of note. On New Years Eve triumphs were staged in which the first two floats were the tr iumphs of Hercules, an allusion to th e duke of Ferrara, and the triumphs of Julius Caesar, Ce sars chosen iconographi c representation. No reference was made to the bride. As the wedding celebration continued, a comedy staged on the night of January 2 used the same metaphoric an cient figures, illustrating that both Hercules and Caesar overcame Fortune with their Virtue. Al l present would have understood the ancient men as thinly veiled references to the princes of th e Renaissance. Facts regarding the career of the new Borgia Duc were recounted, and with the appearance of Jupiter, Alexander VI was personified.27 Cesar was present for these ceremonies and perhaps had a hand in their design. Tournaments were something in which Cesar on ce again looked to Spain for inspiration. As has been discussed, tournament s, once public spectacles held for the delight of the masses, at this time became a means by which to impress th e elite. During August, just before Cesars departure for France, Cattaneo witne ssed an example this change. In these days Valencia, armed as a janissar y, with another fourteen men, gave many blows and proofs of strength in killing eight bulls in the presence of Don Alfonso, Donna Lucretia and his Princess (Sancia), in Monsignor Ascanios park were he had taken them remote from the crowd for greater privacy.28 27 Bonner Mitchell, Les Intermdes au Service de Ltat, in Les Ftes de la Renaissance (Paris: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 1956), vol.3, p.119-120. 28 Bradford, Cesare Borgia p.80.

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77 But for an event that was traditionally in clusive of other men in standing, and that previously, as described above Cesar had performed with ot hers, on June 24, 1500 he would showcase no strength and honor but his own. Just months after his entrance into Rome and the conference of his recent dignities Cesar again treated the Roman spectators to a show of his magnificence. He entered the bullfighting arena on horseback, as was the Spanish style, killing six, some say seven, wild bulls. For the last slay ing, he dismounted, and with a single stroke the bull was beheaded, a thing which seemed great to all Rome.29 However it appeared this was not a feat for the pleasure of Rome; it was a st atement to those in power who witnessed it or would hear of it through the rive rs of Italian gossip. Princes and governments all over Italy now regarded him with mixed feeling of wonderment, expectation, and awe.30 He had dismissed the traditional tournament, stacked in favor of the king, yet still offering some opportunity for others to showcase their skills. This displa y was for the aggrandizement of Cesar alone. It is evident that the Borgias were not strangers to the use of luxury arts and the physical manifestations of it. Clearly the sword of Cesar Borgia is part of this display. The answer to the question of why the appropriate da ting of this work is important can now be fully appreciated. If one is to view the object as it was origin ally intended, as a repr esentation of the selffabricated image and personal iconography chosen by Cesar Borgia, it offers tremendous insight into his life and motivations. However, for this individual, life was spen t in two very distinct phases. If the date commonly given for this swor d is correct, and Cesar has in these years, 14931498, created a personal iconographic image modeled after Julius C aesar, the ques tion must be asked as to why. It would be a strange and al most mocking choice for an individual who was 29 Bradford, Cesare Borgia p.122. A quote by Paolo Capello, the Venetian envoy. 30 Beuf, Cesare Borgia p.152.

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78 bound to an ecclesiastical life that offered no outle t for military supremacy. If instead the other faction of Cesars life is cons idered as spawning the iconography, a strong correspondence in context develops. As the new leader of the ar my of Rome, Caesars army, Cesar Borgia has crossed his Rubicon to this long dr eamt of military position, one that is seeped in the politics of power. This is the moment in which he alig ns himself through the cr eation of his personal iconography, to the virtues of the ancient Caesar.

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79 APPENDIX FIGURES Image not shown due to copyright Figure 1. The Sword of Cesar Borgia, Fondazione Ca millo Caetani, Rome. (Bulgari, Argentieri Gemmari e Orafi dItalia )

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80 Image not shown due to copyright Figure 2. Sword of Cesar Borgia, face and verso, Fondazione Camillo Caetani, Rome. (Boccia, Armi Bianche Italiane 209-214.)

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81 Image not shown due to copyright Figure 3. Scabbard to the sword of Cesar Borgia Victoria and Albert Museum, London (Alfano, I Borgia p.193.)

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82 Image not shown due to copyright Figure 4. Photograph of the scene of the Worshi p of the Bull taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia, Fondazione Camillo Caetani, Ro me. (Boccia, Armi Bianche Italiane 209214.)

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83 Image not shown due to copyright Figure 5. Drawing of the scene of the Worship of the Bull taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia, Fondazione Camillo Caetani, Rome. (Bradford, Cesare Borgia p.79)

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84 Image not shown due to copyright Figure 6. Photograph of the monogram taken fr om the sword of Cesar Borgia, Fondazione Camillo Caetani, Rome. (Boccia, Armi Bianche Italiane 209-214) Image not shown due to copyright Figure 7. Drawing of the monogram taken from th e sword of Cesar Borgia, Fondazione Camillo Caetani, Rome. (Bradford, Cesare Borgia p.78)

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85 Image not shown due to copyright Figure 8. Photograph of the scenes of The Cro ssing of the Rubicon and the Worship of Love taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia, Fondazione Camillo Caetani, Rome. (Boccia, Armi Bianche Italiane, 209-214) Image not shown due to copyright Figure 9. Drawing of the scene of The Crossing of the Rubicon taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia, Fondazione Camillo Caetani, Rome. (Yriarte, Autour des Borgia p.172)

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86 Image not shown due to copyright Figure 10. Drawing of the scene of the Worship of Love taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia, Fondazione Camillo Caetani, Rome. (Yriarte, Les Graveur dEpees de Cesar Borgia, p.166)

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87 Image not shown due to copyright Figure 11. Photograph of the scene of the Triump h of Caesar taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia, Fondazione Camillo Caetani, Ro me. (Boccia, Armi Bianche Italiane 209214)

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88 Image not shown due to copyright Figure 12. Drawing of the scene of the Triumph of Caesar taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia, Fondazione Camillo Caetani, Rome. (Yriarte, Autour des Borgia p.176)

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89 Image not shown due to copyright Figure 13. Photograph of a decorative band taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia, Fondazione Camillo Caetani, Rome. (Boccia, Armi Bianche Italiane 209-214) Image not shown due to copyright Figure 14. Drawing of a decorative band taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia, Fondazione Camillo Caetani, Rome. (Bradford, Cesare Borgia p.79)

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90 Image not shown due to copyright Figure 15. Photograph of the scenes of the Worshi p of Faith and the Pax Romana taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia, Fond azione Camillo Caetani, Rome. (Boccia, Armi Bianche Italiane 209-214)

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91 Image not shown due to copyright Figure 16. Drawing of the scene of the Worship of Faith taken from the sword of Cesar Borgia, Fondazione Camillo Caetani, Rome. (Yriarte, Les Graveur dEpees de Cesar Borgia, p.169)

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92 A. Image not shown due to copyright B. Image not shown due to copyright Figure 17. A. The figure of Music, Borgia Apartm ents, Vatican City. (Acidini, Pintoricchio, fig.35) B. The figure of Rhetoric, Borgia Apartments, Vatican City. (Acidini, Pintoricchio, fig.36)

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93 Image not shown due to copyright Figure 18. Drawing of the Pax Romana taken fr om the sword of Cesar Borgia, Fondazione Camillo Caetani, Rome. (Yriarte, Les Graveur dEpees de Cesar Borgia, p.169)

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94 Image not shown due to copyright Figure 19. The face of the scabbard of Cesar Borgia, Victoria and Albert Museum, London. (Boccia, Armi Bianche Italiane 215-223)

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95 Image not shown due to copyright Figure 20. Detail of the trace lines on the face of the scabbard of Cesar Borgia, Victoria and Albert Museum, London. (Boccia, Armi Bianche Italiane 215-223)

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96 Image not shown due to copyright Figure 21. Detail of the Worship of Love and additional decorative elements taken from the scabbard of Cesar Borgia, Victoria a nd Albert Museum, London. (Boccia, Armi Bianche Italiane 215-223)

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97 Image not shown due to copyright Figure 22. Detail of the top of the back of the scabbard of Cesar Borgia, Victoria and Albert Museum, London. (Boccia, Armi Bianche Italiane 215-223)

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98 Image not shown due to copyright Figure 23. The Back of the scabbard of Cesa r Borgia, Victoria a nd Albert Museum, London. (Boccia, Armi Bianche Italiane 215-223)

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99 Image not shown due to copyright Figure 24. Detail of the back of the scabbard of Cesar Borgia, Victoria and Albert Museum, London. (Alfano, I Borgia II.9, p193)

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100 Image not shown due to copyright Figure 25. Pinturicchio, Disput 1492-1494, fresco, Borgia Apartm ents, Rome. (Saxl, Lectures vol.2, pl.124.a)

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101 Image not shown due to copyright Figure 26. Medal of Alexander VI, Vatican City. (Alfano, I Borgia I.93, p.163)

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102 Image not shown due to copyright Figure 27. Pinturicchio,Detail of the arch from the Disput 1492-1494, fresco, Borgia Apartments, Vatican City. (Alfano, I Borgia p.282)

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103 Image not shown due to copyright Figure 28. Pinturicchio, Ceiling of the Sala de l Credo, 1492-1494, Borgia Apartments, Vatican City. (Saxl, Lectures vol.2, pl.117.b)

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104 Image not shown due to copyright Figure 29. Pinturicchio, Annunciation 1479-1510, fresco, Baglione Chapel, Santa Maria Maggiore, Spello. (Roettge n, Italian Frescos: The Flow ering of the Renaissance 1470-1510 pl.148)

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105 Image not shown due to copyright Figure 30. Pinturicchio, A doration of the Shepards 1479-1485, fresco, Baglione Chapel, Santa Maria Maggiore, Spello. (Roettgen, It alian Frescoes: The Flowering of the Renaissance 1470-1510 pl.144)

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106 Image not shown due to copyright Figure 31. Pinturicchio, Vis itation of St. Bernardino fresco, Santa Maria in Aracoeli, Rome. (Palombi, S. Maria in Aracoeli, fig.55)

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107 Image not shown due to copyright Figure 32. An early example of the Golden Ro se, MS. Barb. Lat. 3030, Biblioteca Apostolica, Vaticano. (Burns, Golden Rose & Blessed Sword pl.i) Image not shown due to copyright Figure 33. An example of the Ducal cap, Kunsth istorisches Museum, Vienna. (Burns, Golden Rose & Blessed Sword, pl.xv)

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108 LIST OF REFERENCES Acidini, Christina. Pintoricchio Florence: Scala, 1999. Acton, Harold. The Bourbons of Naples, 1734-1825 London: Methuen, 1957. Ademollo, F. La Famiglia e l eredita dellabate Galiani, Nuova antologia Vol.23, Series 2 (1880): 640-667. Alfano, Carla. I Borgia Milan: Mondadori Electa S.p.A, 2002. Alvisi, Edoardo. Cesare Borgia Duca di Romagna Imola, 1878. Aristotle. Nicomachaen Ethics Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1962. Asse, Eugne. Letters of LAbb Galiani Vol. 1. Paris: G. Charpentier, 1881. Bal, Mieke, Normal Bryson. Semiotics and Art History, The Art Bulletin Vol. 73, No. 2 (Jun., 1991): 174-208. Belozerskaya, Marina. Luxur y Arts of the Renaissance Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2005. Rethinking the Renaissance Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Beuf, Carol. Cesare Borgia The Machiavellian Prince New York: Oxford University Press, 1942. Blair, Claude. Cesare Borgias Sword Scabbard, Victoria and Albert Muse um Bulletin reprints 6 reprinted from the Bulletin Vol. 2, No.4 (Oct., 1966): 125-136. Boccia, Lionello G., Eduardo T. Coelho. Armi Bianche Italiane Milano: Bramante Editrice, 1975. Boiteaux, Martine. Ftes et traditions espagnoles Rome au XVIIe sicle," in Barocco Romano e Barocco Italiano : il teat ro, leffimero, lallegoria Marcello Fagiolo and Maria Luisa Madonna, (Rome: Gangemi Editore), 1985, 117-134. Bonnaff, Edmond. Inventaire de la Duch ess de Valentinois Charlotte dAlbret Paris: A.Quantin, 1878. Bradford, Sarah. Cesare Bo rgia His Life and Times New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1976. Bulgari, Contantino G. Argentieri Gemmari e Orafi dItalia Roma: Lorenzo del Turco, 1958. Bunt, Cyril G.E. The Goldsmiths of Italy: So me Accounts of their Gu ilds, Statues, and Work London: Martin Hopkinson and Company, LTD., 1926.

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109 Burchard, Johann. At th e Court of the Borgia London: The Folio Society, 1993. Burchard, Johannis. Diarium V.I-III. Paris: Ernest Leroux, 1883. Burchardus, Johannes. Pope Alexander VI and His Court: Extracts From the Latin Diary of Johannes Burchardus Bishop of Orta and Ci vita Castellana, Pontifical Master of Ceremonies New York: Nicholas L. Brown, 1921. Burckhardt, Jacob. The Civilizati on of the Renaissance in Italy New York: Barnes & Noble, Inc., 1999. Italian Renaissance Painting according to Genres Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2005. Burns, Charles. Golden Rose and Blessed Sword: Papal Gifts to Scottish Monachs Glasgow: John S. Burns & Sons, 1970. Calvert, Albert Frederick. Spanish arms and ar mor: Being a Historical and Descriptive Account of the Royal Armoury of Madrid London: J. Lane, 1907. The Spanish Royal Tapestries London: John Lane, 1921. Calvesi, Maurizio, Lorenzo Canova. Rejoice! 700 Years of Art for the Papal Jubilee New York: Rizzoli Internationa l Publications Inc., 1999. Campbell, Stephen J. The Cabinet of Eros New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004. Cancelliere, Francesco. Lettera del ch. Sig. Ab. Francesco Canell iere al ch. Sig. D. Sebastiano Ciampi, Canonico Sandomiriese, Cavaliere deg li Ordini dello speron dOro (1), e di S. Stansilao (2), Professore di F ilologia nella Regia Universit di Versavia es. Sopra le sue Feriae Varsavienses, e le Spade du pi celebri Sovr ani, e Generali, in Estratto dal vi. Facc. dell Effemeridi letterarie di Roma (Marzo 1821): 3-27. Carnicelli, D.D. Lord Morleys Tryumphs of Frances Petrarcke Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1971. Carta, Marina. S. Maria in Aracoeli Instituto Nazionale di Studi Romani, 1988. Cesaretti, Agostino di. Istoria del Principato di Piombino Forni Editore S.p.A, 1974. Chamberlin, E.R. The Fall of the House of Borgia New York: Dorset Press, 1974. Churchill, Sidney J.A. The Goldsmith s of Rome Under the Papal Authority London: Macmillan & Col, Limited, 1907. Cloulas, Ivan. The Borgias New York: Franklin Watts, 1989. Cole, Alison. Virtue and Magnificen ce: Art of the Renaissance Courts New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1995.

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110 Corvo, Frederick Baron. A History of the Borgias New York: Randon House, 1931. Dacos, Nicole. La decouverte de la Domus Aurea et la Foramtion des Grotesques a la Renaissance London: The Warburg Institute, 1969. Daley, John. The Vatican: Spirit and Art of Christian Rome New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1975. De Campos, D. Redig. Art Treasures of the Vatican Englewood: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1974, Treasures of the Vatican Cleveland: The Worl d Publishing Company, 1962. De Hevesy, Andre. Portraits of the Borgias Cesare, The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs Vol.61, No. 353 (August 1932), 70, 74-75. DellArco, Maurizio Fagiol o. The Art of the Popes New York: Crown Publishers Inc., 1982. De Roo, Peter. Material for a History of Pope Alexander VI His Relatives and His Time Vol. 1-5. Bruges, Desclee De Brouwer and Co., 1924. Dumas, Alexander. The Borgias London: Arthur L. Humphreys, 1911. Ferrara, Orestes. The Borgia Pope Alexander The Sixth New York: Sheed & Ward, 1940. Fusero, Clemente. Translated by Peter Green. The Borgias New York: Praeger Publishers, 1972. Galiani, Ferdinando. Lettres de lAbbe Galiani a Madame dEpinay: Voltaire, Diderot, Grimm, le baron dHolbach, Morellet, Suard, dAlembe rt, Marmontel, la Vicomtesse de Belsunce, etc: publiees dapres les Editions originales Vol 1-2. Paris, 1881. Gall, Gnter. Leder Im Europischen Kunsthandwerk Berlin: Klinkhardt & Biermann Braunschweig, 1965. Gregorovius, Ferdinand. Lucretia Borgia, accord ing to original documents and correspondence of her day New York, B. Blom, 1968. Guicciardini, Francesc o. Storia dItalia Bari,Gius. Laterza & Figli, 1929 Gundersheimer, Werner L. Art and Life at the Court of Ercole I dEs te: The De triumphis religionis of Giovanni Sabadino degli Arienti Genve: Librairie Droz, 1972. Hale, J.R. War and Society in Renaissance Europe 1450-1620 Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 1985. Haney, John. Cesare Borgia New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987.

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111 Hersey, George L. High Renaissanc e Art in St. Peters and the Vatican Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993. Hillgarth J.N. The Image of Alexander VI and Cesare Borgia in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes Vol. 59 (1996): 119-129. Hollingsworth, Mary. Patronage in Renaissance Italy: From 1400 to the Early Sixteenth Century Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 1994. Jacquiot, Josphe. De LEntre De Csar Ro me LEntre Des Rois De France Dans Leurs Bonnes Villes," in Italian Renaissance Festivals and Their European Influence J.R. Mulryne and Margaret Shewring, editors, (L ewiston/Queenston/Lampeter : The Edwin Mellen Press, 1992): 255-268. Johnson, Marion. The Borgias New York: Penguin Books, 2001. Kempers, Bram. Painting, Power and Patronage: The Rise of the Professional Artist in the Italian Renaissance London: Allen Lane, The Penguin Group, 1987. Kessler, Herbert L. Seeing Medieval Art Toronto: Broadview Press, 2004. Spiritual Seeing Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000. Knecht, R.J. Court Festivals as Political Spect acle: The Example of Sixteen-Century France, in Europa Triumphans: Court and Civic Festivals in Early Modern Europe Vol.1. Hampshire: Ashgate, 2004. 19-31. Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1998. Mallett, Michael. The Borgias: The Ri se and Fall of A Renaissance Dynasty Chicago: Academy Chicago Publishers, 1987. Manca, Joseph. Andrea Mantegna and the Italian Renaissance New York: Parkstone Press International, 2006. Martindale, Andrew. The Comp lete Paintings of Mantegna New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1967. The Triumphs of Caesar by Andrea Mante gna in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen at Hampton Court London: Harvey Miller Publishers, 1979. Menotti, Mario. Documenti Inediti salla Famiglia e la Corte di Alessandro VI Roma: Tipografia dellUnione Editrice, 1917. Miron, E.L. Duchess derelict: a study of the life and times of Charlotte dAlbret, duchess of Valentinois London: S. Paul & Co., 1911. Mitchell, Bonner. 1598 : A Year of Pa geantry in Late Renaissance Ferrara Binghamton: Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1990.

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112 Italian Civic Pageantr y in the High Renaissance Firenze: Leo S. Olschki Editore, 1979. Mrke, Olaf. The Symbolism of Rulershi p, in Princes and Princely Culture 1450-1650 Leiden: Brill, 2003. (vol. 1, 31-50) Muir, Edward. Civic Ritual in Renaissance Venice Princeton : Princeton University Press, 1981. Mntz, Eugne. Les Arts A la Cour des Pa pes Innocent VIII, Alexa ndre VI, Pie III (1484-1503) Paris: Ernest Leroux, Editeur, 1898. Les Epees dhonneur distribuees par les papes pendant les XIVe, Xve et XVIe siecles," Revue de lart chretien Issue 39 (1889) : 408-411. "Les Epees dhonneur distri buees par les papes pendant le s XIVe, Xve et XVIe siecles," Revue de lart chretien Issue 40 (1890) : 281-292. Nicolle, David. Fornovo 1495: Frances Bloody Fighting Retreat London: Osprey Military, 1996. Nogara, Bartolomeo. Art Treasures of the Vatican New York: Tudor Publishing Company, 1950. Ovid. The Metamorphoses New York: Barnes and Noble Books, 2005. Paradin, Claude. The Heroicall Devi ses of M. Claudius Paradin (1591) New York: Scholars Facsimiles & Reprints, 1984. Partridge, Loren. The Art of Renaissance Italy New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1996. Parks, N. Randolph. On the Meaning of Pinturicchios Sala dei Santi, Art History Vol 2. No.3 (September 1979), 291-320. Pastor, Ludwig. The History of the Popes, From the Close of th e Middle Ages. Drawn from the Secret Archives of the Vatic an and other Original Sources Vol. V, VI, VII. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., 1950, Pyhrr, Stuart W., Jose-A. Godoy. Heroic Armor of the Italian Renaissance, Filippo Negroli and His Contemporaries New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1999. Ricci, Corrado. Pintoricchio London: William Heinemann,1902. And Ernesto Begni. Vatican : Its History Its Treasures New York: Letters and Arts Publishing Co., 2003. Roettgen, Steffi. Italian Frescoes: Th e Flowering of the Renaissance 1470-1510 New York: Abbeville Press Publishers, 1996.

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113 Rosenberg, Charles M. Art and Politics in La te Medieval and Early Renaissance Italy: 12501500 Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1990. Rossi, Joseph. The Abb Galiani in France New York: Publications of the Institute of French Studies, Inc., 1930. Saxl, Fritz. Lectures Vol.I.II. London: Warburg Inst itute, University of London, 1957. Sabatini, Rafael. The Life of Cesare Borgia Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1930. Schlumberger, Gustave. Charlott e dAlbret, femme de Cesar Borgia et la Chateau de La MotteFeuilly Paris: Librairie Plon, 1913. Schulz, J. Pinturicchio and the Revival of Antiquity, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes Vol. 25, No. (Jan.-Jun. 1962): 35-55. Segala Elisabetta, Ida Sciortino. Domus Aurea Milan: Electa, 1999. Starn, Randolph. Triumphalism and the Sala Re gia in the Vatican, in All the worlds a stage Art and Pageantry in the Renaissance and Baroque Vol. VI, Part 1 Triumphal Celebrations and the Rituals of Statecraft. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University, 1990. 22-81. Steegmuller, Francis. A Woma n, A Man, and Two Kingdoms: The Story of Madame dpinay and the Abb Galiani New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991. Stone, George Cameron. A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armor In All Countries and In All Times New York: Jack Brussel, 1934. Strong, Roy. Art and Power: Renaissance Festivals 1450-1650 Berkley: University of California Press, 1984. Suetonius. History of the Twelve Caesars London: David Nutt, 1899. Lives of the Caesars Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Van de Put, Albert. The Aragonese double crow n & the Borja, or Borgia device, with notes upon the bearing of such insignia in th e fourteenth and fifteenth centuries London: Gryphon Club, 1910. Wisch, Barbara and Susan Scott Munshower. All the worlds a stage Art and Pageantry in the Renaissance and Baroque Vol. VI, Part 1 Triumphal Celebrations and the Rituals of Statecraft. University Park: Th e Pennsylvania State University, 1990. Wischnitzer, Mark. A History of Jewish Crafts and Guilds New York: Jonathan David, Publishers, 1965. Wohl, Helmut. The Aesthetics of Italian Renaissance Art: A Reconstruction of Style Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

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114 Woods-Marsden, Joanna. Art and Political Identity in Fifteent h-Century Naples: Pisanello, Cristoforo di Geremia, and King Alfonsos Imperial Fantasies, in Art and Politics Charles M. Rosenberg. Notre Dame: Univ ersity of Notre Dame Press, 1990. (11-37) The Gonzaga of Mantua and Pisanellos Arthurian Frescoes Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988. Pictoral style and ideology: Pisa nellos Arthurian cycle in Mantua, Arte Lombarda (1987/1-2-3): 132-139. Woodward, William Harrison. Cesare Borgia London: Chapman and Hall, LTD., 1913. Yrairte, Charles. Autour des Borgia Paris: J. Rothschild, 1891. Translated by William Stirling. Cesare Borgia London: Francis Aldor, Publisher, 1947. Les Borgia. Cesar Borgia, sa vie, sa cap tivite, sa mort, dapres de nouveaux documents des depots des Romagnes, de Simancas et des Navarres Vol 1-2. Paris, 1889. "Le Graveur dEpees de Cesar Borgia," Les Lettres et les Arts Vol. 1 (Jan.,1886) : 163184. "Maitre Hercule de Pesaro orfevre et graveur depees au XV siecle." Gazette archaologique; recueil de monuments pour servir a la connaissance & a lhistoire de lart dans lantiquit e et le moyen-age Vol. 3, (1888) : 65-78, 130-142. Zerner, Henri. "Looking For the Unknownable : The Visual Experien ce of Renaissance Festivals," in Europa Triumphans: Court a nd Civic Festivals in Early Modern Europe Vol.1. Hampshire: Ashgate, 2004. 75-98.

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115 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Elizabeth Bemis received her bachelors degree from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia with a major in art history and a minor in studio art. Upon comple tion of that degree she attended the University of Florida and earne d a masters degree in art history with a concentration in Renaissance studies.


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