• The Borgias

  • Power and Depravity in Renaissance Italy
  • By: Paul Strathern
  • Narrated by: Julian Elfer
  • Length: 11 hrs and 12 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (90 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Borgia family have become a byword for evil. Corruption, incest, ruthless megalomania, avarice, and vicious cruelty - all have been associated with their name. And yet, paradoxically, this family lived when the Renaissance was coming into its full flowering in Italy. Examples of infamy flourished alongside some of the finest art produced in western history.           

This is but one of several paradoxes associated with the Borgia family. For the family which produced corrupt popes, depraved princes, and poisoners, would also produce a saint. These paradoxes which so characterize the Borgias have seldom been examined in great detail. Previously history has tended to condemn, or attempt in part to exonerate, this remarkable family. Yet in order to understand the Borgias, much more is needed than evidence for and against. The Borgias must be related to their time, together with the world which enabled them to flourish. Within this context the Renaissance itself takes on a very different aspect. Was the corruption part of the creation, or vice versa?                      

The primitive psychological forces which first played out in the amphitheaters of ancient Greece are all here. Along with the final, tragic downfall.

©2019 Paul Strathern (P)2019 Tantor

What listeners say about The Borgias

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Gossip

The author does not rise above the standard line on the Borgias. There is little to no consideration of social norms of the period. The author also makes psychological asides based on more modern standards.

10 people found this helpful

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Hard to believe they were so awful!

These times are interesting but the people are unbelievably nasty. And nobody cares how much havoc they create. Popes and all!

1 person found this helpful

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Amazing!

Paul Strathern did it again! This book is so entertaining and informational. You won't be bored for a minute. I didn't love the narrator, but it could be because I'm used to Perkins from Strathern's other books, who is wonderful.

1 person found this helpful

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Psychopathic Clergy

This is indeed a story of a thoroughly morally bankrupt papacy! Very intriguing!!! Highly recommend!!

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Borgias were no medicis

narration and writing are great but the story of Borgias itself is mostly Cesare's fascination with ancient Roman empire and it's generals.

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  • Liam
  • 10-16-20

Must read if you're interested in European history

This book was a very exciting read, well researched and gives a clear picture of the borgia family and the controversy surrounding them. Strathern is a talented storyteller and presents the story of the borgias masterfully in this book. If you are interested in the renaissance or just interested in scandal, this book is for you.

3 people found this helpful

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  • LC
  • 01-18-22

Interesting and well presented

I enjoyed this, both as history and a an interesting story in itself. It took a while to get into because of familiarising with the various people, places, and things going on etc.
Well written and well read.
I will probably listen again sometime as i expect it to make more sense now I have built up a picture of who is who and the various forces and positions involved.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Andrew
  • 03-24-21

Absolutely Fascinating

This book really does get you hooked and does not disappoint. It reads like a renaissance soap opera!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mr. Sam Richman
  • 11-07-19

Superb, never such colourful historic reading

Just amazing, I am at a loss for words. A very interesting insight into the machinations of power, lust, betrayal and humanity.

1 person found this helpful

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  • emrys
  • 06-04-22

Enjoyable

A very good, interesting and most enjoyable book to listen to. I must say that it does not follow some other books I have read about the Borgias. In one the Borgia children are not the Pope's actual offspring, but I suppose it is so far in the past that we cannot now know.
A very good narration.

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  • Severn
  • 04-21-20

Accents strike again

Once again, silly, affected pronunciation gives the kiss of death to a book. The narrator, for reasons known only to him, adopts a cod Italian pronunciation of many words, especially ( though by no means uniquely) "Borrrgia", though occasionally he gives himself away and says "Borgia" like any other English speaker. After literally dozens of examples of "Rrrodrrrigo Borrrgia" I gave up. Grrrr.