Manus 27: Vita di Alessandro VI Borgia, et del Duca Valentino Suo Figlio. (Italy) Edit


Component Unique Identifier
Item 27
Level of Description


  • early 16th c. (Creation)


  • Scope and Contents

    Language: Italian. Date: early 16th c. Title: Vita di Alessandro VI Borgia, et del Duca Valentino Suo Figlio [Life of Alexander VI Borgia, and of Duke Valentino his Son]. Creator: Unknown [Greg. Leti or Tommasi?]. Place of creation: Italy. Physical description: Paper, 182 leaves ; 27 x 21 cm. Summary: Rodrigo Borgia (1431-1503), later Pope Alexander VI, was a member of a prominent Spanish aristocratic family, and when his uncle, Alfonso Borja, was named Pope Callixtus III, he began a long career in the Church with the help of his uncle’s patronage. Known as much for his simony and nepotism as for his skilled diplomacy and bureaucratic gifts, Alexander VI was a controversial figure, and his election to the papacy succeeded with a bare two-thirds majority of the vote, with his own ballot tipping the balance in his favor. He might best be described as a politician of consummate ability, with only partial interest in the spiritual concerns of the Church. He was especially focused on advancing the careers of his children, including the son whose life is described in this manuscript, Duke Valentino. This volume, composed soon after the death of Alexander, is not referenced in the standard works on the period. A modern manuscript note in Italian on the front free endpaper records the suggestion that the work was written “perhaps by Greg. Leti or Tommasi.” For manuscript authorities, cf. Pastor’s History of the Popes, as well as Villari’s Life of Machiavelli. For a detailed biography of Pope Alexander VI, see James F. Loughlin’s article in The Catholic Encyclopedia (NY: Robert Appleton Co., 1907) ; available online at ; an offprint of the article is kept in a folder with the manuscript. Note: Bound in vellum over paper boards ; gilt title to spine ; marbled edges. Manuscript written on thick paper in dark brown ink in a single early 16th c. humanist hand ; includes table of contents at rear of volume (ff. 173-182). Pagination 1-344 [p. 344 blank], table of contents unnumbered. Vellum split at front hinge. Gift of Bern Dibner, n.d. [Da Vinci collection? – stamp present on f. 1 r.]. Call #: Manus 27