Most Evil Pope in History – Alexander VI The Devil Pope

Most Evil Pope in History – Alexander VI The Devil Pope

He was a master of deception, articulate and
artful. He would become, to some, the black sheep
of the papacy, a Pope whose lust for wealth and power knew no bounds. The great Italian writer Niccolò Machiavelli,
who wrote the world’s most renowned book on unscrupulous politicians, once said of
this pope, “He never did anything, or thought of anything, other than deceiving men.” We might add women to that, too, because this
incorrigible and corrupt pope fathered quite a few illegitimate children. He was also renowned as being something of
a smooth-talker and not hard on the eyes to females. Some say he sold his soul to the devil and
would stop at nothing to achieve his goals. Welcome to the life of the bad pope, Alexander
VI. He was born on the first day of the new year
in 1431 and was named Rodrigo de Borja, which was the Italianized version of his Spanish
name. The pope-to-be came from a noble background,
from an Italo-Spanish family that was part of the House of Borgia. During the Italian Renaissance their power
extended across Europe, and together the families would be accused of many, many crimes. These days when some historians speak of the
Borgias, attendant are tales of murder, adultery, theft, nepotism and rampant corruption. Their sins were plentiful to say the least. During his early life Rodrigo studied law
at the University of Bologna, but when his uncle was made Pope and so head of the Catholic
church the 25-year old Alexander was made a cardinal. This didn’t take much effort since nepotism
was the order of the day back then. Those in the family were given prominent positions
on the basis that they were part of the family. Merit didn’t count for much. Just a year later and Rodrigo found himself
in the position of vice-chancellor of the Holy Roman Church. For the next decade he lived not how one would
think, seeing that he held a position in the church. He did not dedicate his entire life to the
service of God, and instead spent much of his time amassing a fortune and spreading
his seed. In 1468, he was ordained into the priesthood,
but this did not change his ways. He wanted wealth and power and he wanted to
seduce those he was attracted to. He was after all very rich, but in in younger
years he was also a handsome man who had a way with words. It’s thought he had seven children in total,
and four of the kids he had to a woman named Vanozza de’ Catanei. Those four have also gone down in the history
books, especially his son, Cesare Borgia. In later years, Rodrigo would become the archbishop
of Valencia and when he gave up that post Cesare would take it over. His stepping down from this position happened
because of a death in the papacy. This was the death of Pope Innocent VIII which
happened on 25 July in 1492. A new pope was needed and the now 67-year
old Rodrigo wanted that position. There were two other men also vying to be
pope. Rumors surfaced that Rodrigo paid vast amounts
of money to bribe certain people and ensure his ascendancy to the head of the Catholic
church. It wasn’t only him, though, chroniclers
at the time wrote that all three contenders ran very expensive campaigns. 200,000 gold ducats can go a long way in politics,
and after being made head of the church a person could do certain people a lot of favors. We say politics, because the church was steeped
in politics. Rodrigo won and was made Pope Alexander VI
on 11 August 1492. A wolf was now in the big seat and in time
he would share a place in the Christian Church’s Hall of Infamy. The Roman people were happy with the result
since Rodrigo was a popular man, and they might have cheered him as he began to talk
about justice and order. He went about Papal business in a way that
impressed the populace and also started some grand building projects. Things were looking up for the new pope, but
then his power got the better of him. He soon started granting his relatives positions
in the church and those positions would give a person power and wealth. Doing these favors is a practice known as
simony. This made him as many friends as it made him
enemies. People started asking if the new pope was
more interested in advancing his relatives’ power and their wealth than he was in the
Catholic Church. Problems were brewing, though, because a French
invasion was imminent. The French King had laid claim to Naples,
but that’s a story in itself. Alexander was well aware that the French wouldn’t
stop at just taking Naples, so something had to be done about the threat. The Pope formed an alliance which would become
known as the League of Venice, or the Holy League. There wasn’t really anything holy about
it. It was an alliance that joined together some
of the wealthiest people in Europe and they all agreed to stop France in its tracks as
it sought to take over parts of Europe. It would grow to include a number of European
states, all of them united against the French. What all this resulted in, in the end, was
more power for Alexander. In total, he appointed 47 new cardinals to
further enhance his power. Then something terrible happened to the Pope. Remember we told you about four of his children
that all had a certain amount of influence themselves. Those children were named Cesare, Gioffre,
Lucrezia and Giovanni. The latter, sometimes named Juan, was murdered. This man held a lot of positions, notably
the 2nd Duke of Gandia, Duke of Sessa, the Governor of St. Peter’s, the Grand Constable
of Naples, and Gonfalonier and Captain General of the Church. When you were born a Borgia, gaining titles
such as these was inevitable. On the night of 14 June, 1497, Juan had attended
a feast with many people including his three siblings. He left that feast on horseback and the next
day as the sun rose his horse was seen wandering around without a rider. Juan was presumed missing since no one had
seen him. He was soon found, though, with his throat
slit and his body stabbed nine times. An investigation was launched and it was first
thought that the murder could have been related to a feud with another noble family, although
some people thought his own brother, Gioffre, had done the act. Others said the other brother, Cesare, had
committed the vicious crime. No one ever found out who the assassin was. Juan had many enemies not only over power
feuds but because he was also infamous for his lust and relationships with countless
women. Alexander went into a dark phase after this
but came out saying that from now on he was going to dedicate all his life to reform and
morality in the name of God. Those might have been empty words, given he
was so embedded in power struggles. There were some people who believed he and
Cesare had poisoned one of his own cardinals since a cardinal’s wealth went back to the
church after their death. Some poor people who got stuck in the middle
of this affair did admit that Alexander had been involved, but it has to be said their
confession was extracted through torture. The torturers worked for Alexander’s worst
enemy, Julius II. That Julius didn’t like Alexander is something
of an understatement. He despised the man, and when Alexander’s
reign as pope ended Julius would become the next pope. When he gained that position this is what
he had to say about Alexander and the entire Borgia family: “I will not live in the same rooms as the
Borgias lived. He [Alexander VI] desecrated the Holy Church
as none before. He usurped the papal power by the devil’s
aid, and I forbid under the pain of excommunication anyone to speak or think of Borgia again. His name and memory must be forgotten. It must be crossed out of every document and
memorial. His reign must be obliterated.” Something you’ve all heard about happened
when Alexander was pope and that was when a man named Christopher Columbus arrived at
a place we now call North America. Back then it was just The New World. But what about the natives who lived there? Well, Alexander issued a set of decrees called
papal bulls that granted the ownership of certain parts of these new lands to certain
noble people. There are some historians that say Alexander
gave those people the right to make the natives of these new found lands their slaves, although
others just say the decrees were only supposed to ensure the natives were converted to Christianity. Yet others say the natives were given an option,
either submit to your new rulers or face an attack. Inside Rome, Alexander was always threatened
by factions that wanted to bring him down. He had many critics, too, and they weren’t
afraid to speak out. One such critic was the head of a monastery
and he was named Girolamo Savonarola. Savonarola said the church had to shape up
and it had to be rid of its corruption. He said the concern should be and should have
always been practicing religion and concentrating on helping the poor. He actually became known as the “Preacher
of the Despairing.” To this day Alexander is symbolic with the
corruption of the Catholic church and he paved the way for the rise of Protestantism. That would happen not long after Alexander
passed away. His day of reckoning with his God was the
18th of August, 1503. Alexander had been feeling ill the previous
few days and had a temperature. There was some blood-letting to try and improve
his sickness, but that didn’t help. He knew he was on his way out and on the 18th
he made a confession to a Bishop. Surrounded by cardinals he died some time
later. His body was presented to the clergy of Rome
a day after that, but decomposition had already altered the way he looked. One historian wrote, “It was a revolting
scene to look at that deformed, blackened corpse, prodigiously swelled, and exhaling
an infectious smell; his lips and nose were covered with brown drivel.” If that doesn’t sound horrible enough, another
witness wrote that the body was, “the ugliest, most monstrous and horrible dead body that
was ever seen, without any form or likeness of humanity.” There are theories that suggest the way the
body looked was perhaps due to him having been poisoned, and by his own son, Cesare,
no less. Others said he merely died a very diseased
man, and this is what was to blame for the fast decomposition. A lot of negative things were said about this
pope, but on the positive side he devoted much of his time to promoting the arts. A man you might have heard of named Michelangelo
had the support of Alexander. He wasn’t the only artist to work for him,
either. Alexander also got behind education and issued
decrees for the building of universities. He approved the construction of what would
one day become the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, and he also approved the construction
of the University of Valencia. Still, the Catholic Church remained mired
in controversy and 14 years after Alexander died a German reformer named Martin Luther
would famously walk up to a church and nail his Ninety-five Theses to a door. This outlined the corruptions of the Catholic
church and many people approved. Luther’s words would spread around Europe
as fast as a plague. Luther’s words in modern parlance went viral,
and the world was forever changed. Wars of religion would be fought and many
people would be persecuted and killed over many years. We’ll leave you with a quote from Alexander: “Who are we to trust if not our family?” His problem might have been keeping things
in the family a little too much, and if the stories are true, his family weren’t exactly
the most virtuous people in the world. If you enjoyed this little history class then
we know you’ll love another one of our videos. We’ve got two for you to pick from so check
one of them out now! Either this one over here or this one, so
click now!

100 thoughts on “Most Evil Pope in History – Alexander VI The Devil Pope

  1. The Borgias is a fantastic series for those who love political intrigue, planning and plotting. Back then the papacy had it's own army and Borgias is depicted as quite cunning.

  2. Why not mention how he white washed the bible and had his son Ceaser Borgia model as Jesus? He is the real person in the modern day Jesus pics.

  3. I am disappointed he’s pretty tame compared to other evil religious rulers I was hoping to here very brutal acts cause that stuff is interesting at least to me.

  4. It seems like y'all hate Catholics aka real Christians and won't cover the countless protestant cult leaders that have done far more evil things then way less people in the catholic true faith have!

  5. Who exactly did he bribe? Was it other men of the cloth? because that tidbit in detail would have made this episode better.

  6. Colombus never went to Northamerica. He arrived to what is now the Dominican Republic. He also explore others islands of the caribbean, Venezuela and Honduras, nothing more

  7. World is Queen's Commonwealth under maritime law, everything else is hegelian, we need a velvet revolution and scaled direct democracy, thorium energy renders oil and money obsolete

  8. after he die everyone said very bad but being with the devil can do that too if you heart is black then do be surprise you look like a pile of ** after you die


  10. he was no more evil or corrupt than the next pope, just believed so because Della Rovere spent his entire life trying to destroy him as he lived his life in his shadow, the truth of it is the Borgia were a Spanish family alone in Italy surrounded by wealthier, more prominent and powerful families of Italian and french lineage, they may have done corrupt and bad things but so did every nobleman, prince and person of power in renaissance Italy, much of what they are accused of the other families of rome and the accusers are also guilty of. just an example of people glorifying romantic idolisms and rumours of famous names. when the papal states took the lands of the romagna that cesare conquered back for the church the people rose up in rebellion, if he was such an evil man why did his people love him and why did his lands prosper in the time he ruled them?

  11. but there was a pope that spit roasted a dude for giving his wealth to the poor instead of him along with said pope being a massive hedonist how wasnt he worse?

  12. He mite of been bad but he didn't do half the things it's said he did. The 2ed pope after him lead a massive smear Champaign against him. A lot of the stuff people said he did was refuted by future popes

  13. The bad pope? There were many bad popes, enough to fill volumes with accounts of their trechery and sins. Pretty much all of the popes in the middle ages and renaissance were corrupt. Several of them were known to be pedophiles.

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