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Cesare Borgia

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"Father, do you not see? I control all of this. If I want to live, I live. If I want to take, I take. If I want you to die, you die!"
―Cesare Borgia to his father, 1503.[src]
Cesare Borgia
ACB Cesare render
Biographical information
Born

13 September 1475[1]
Rome, Papal States

Died

12 March 1507 (aged 31)
Viana, Kingdom of Navarre

Political information
Affiliations

House of Borgia
Templars
Papacy (until 1503)

Real-world information
Appears in

Ascendance
Brotherhood
Brotherhood novel
Project Legacy
Assassin's Creed: Recollection
Assassin's Creed: Memories

Voice actor

Andreas Apergis

Cesare Borgia (1475 – 1507) was an illegitimate son of Rodrigo Borgia and a nemesis of the Assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze. Like his father, he was a member of the Templar Order. Eventually, he became Captain General of the Papal armies, though he secretly plotted against his father to take over Rome, and all of Italy afterward.[2]

Prior to his father's death, he claimed the rank of Grand Master of the Templars in Italy, usurping the title completely after murdering his father. Despite his loyalty to the Templars, they were a secondary concern when compared to his own desire to control the powers of the Apple.[3]

BiographyEdit

Early lifeEdit

Cesare Borgia was born in Rome, to Rodrigo Borgia, the Templar Grand Master of the time, and his long-term mistress Vannozza dei Cattanei.[2]

At age 18, Cesare became a Cardinal, while his older brother, Juan (who was also Rodrigo's favorite) became Captain General. Unsatisfied with his life as a Cardinal and jealous of his brother's position and power, he arranged to meet Juan at Tiber Island, where he convinced Juan to spend the night with the courtesan Fiora Cavazza, who later killed him under Cesare's orders.[4]

He then took his place as Captain General, thereby becoming one of the most powerful men in Italy. Once he had become Captain General of the Papal armies, Cesare surrounded himself with cruel and effective men; Ramiro d'Orco, Oliverotto da Fermo, and Vitellozzo Vitelli, all of whom he had killed at a later date.[4]

Becoming a Templar leaderEdit

In 1496, when his father waged war with the Orsini Family to seize their territory, Cesare joined the battle. Among the enemy's ranks was Bartolomeo d'Alviano, in secret an Assassin. When Bartolomeo's resources were down to three fortresses, Cesare cut off his supplies. Just when victory seemed within reach, Carlo Orsini arrived with his army and reinforced Bartolomeo, even wounding Cesare in the face.[5]

In 1498, the Assassin Perotto Calderon and Cesare's sister Lucrezia had formed an intimate relationship, which led to Lucrezia becoming pregnant. However, Cesare had Perotto imprisoned for becoming close to his sister, and took the child away from them. Perotto managed to escape and took his son with him, but as he fled, the members of his Brotherhood executed him for having broken the tenets of their Creed. Cesare somehow managed to once again take the child, and decided to raise him as his own, naming the child Giovanni Borgia.[6]

Siege of MonteriggioniEdit

"We've had too much bloodshed. I think a cleansing is in order. So, consider this an invitation from my family... to yours."
―Cesare Borgia to Ezio Auditore, just before killing Mario Auditore, 1500.[src]

In January 1500, Cesare led an assault on Monteriggioni, the headquarters of the Assassins in Italy, in order to eliminate the Auditore family, who were the leaders of the Assassins. Besieging the city, Cesare's forces overwhelmed the fortress defenders and captured the Apple, Caterina Sforza, and Mario Auditore, the current leader of the Italian Assassins.[2]

The beaten Assassin walked through the gates of Monteriggioni before collapsing onto the ground, followed by Cesare and his allies; including his sister, Lucrezia, Micheletto Corella, Baron Octavian de Valois, and Juan Borgia.[2]

ACBH Cesare Apple of Eden

Cesare with the Apple of Eden during the Siege of Monteriggioni

Cesare sheathed his sword and spoke out to Ezio himself, who had seen the Borgia's entrance and was running across the rooftops to aid Mario. The Borgia Captain General spoke of how the Pope had told him of the Assassins and Apple. He then turned and grabbed the Baron de Valois' firearm from him, a pistol that Ezio's good friend, Leonardo da Vinci, had been forced to fashion for them.[2]

Cesare stated that there had been too much bloodshed on both sides, and that a "cleansing was in order". Raising the pistol into the air, Cesare "invited" Ezio to come and face him in Rome, and killed Mario with a shot from the firearm.[2]

Ezio was then shot down and wounded by a team of arquebusiers. Cesare immediately had Mario decapitated, his severed head placed on a pike. During Ezio's escape, Cesare showed Mario's head to him, exclaiming that he would kill him next. With Monteriggioni in ruins, Cesare and his army returned to Rome with their prize.[2]

Suppressing rebellionEdit

Oliverotto: "I never wished you any harm, Cesare. It was entirely Vitellozzo's plan!"
Cesare: "Ha! Your sacrifice will prove invaluable to me."
―Oliverotto pleading to Cesare before being killed by Micheletto, 1500.

Following the Siege of Monteriggioni, Cesare commanded Ramiro d'Orco, Vitellozzo Vitelli and Oliverotto da Fermo to lead his armies into Romagna and claim it for their Borgia master. However, all three generals eventually rebelled against Cesare, to which he responded by butchering Ramiro.[4]

His death panicked both Oliverotto and Vitellozzo, forcing them both to re-enter Cesare's service, after he accepted their every demand to return without consequences for the rebellion. However, with Romagna his, Cesare no longer required their service. Months later, Cesare threw a "dinner" in Vitellozzo and Oliverotto's honor.[4]

Cesare screenshot large

Cesare greeting Vitelozzo and Oliverotto at the "dinner"

Once both generals arrived at the location Cesare given, he spoke out to them, thanking them for handing Romagna to him, but claimed it was time to shed his "bloody gloves".[4]

As several Papal Guards arrived at Cesare's side, they both realized that they had entered an ambush, thus they both charged into a fray immediately. Though outnumbered, both Oliverotto and Vitellozzo overpowered them. Cesare then armed himself with a crossbow, and as a surviving Papal Guard wounded Vitellozzo, Cesare fired the bolt at Oliverotto's chest.[4]

Several hours later, both Vitellozzo and Oliverotto regained consciousness, recovering from their wounds. As they woke up, they realized that they were chained back-to-back. In front of them Cesare stood, aside Micheletto Corella. Though Oliverotto blamed Vitellozzo for the conspiracy against him, Cesare ultimately ordered Micheletto to strangle both Viellozzo and Oliverotto back-to-back, claiming their "sacrifice" was invaluable to him.[4]

War in RomeEdit

"He is ambitious, ruthless, and cruel beyond imagining. The laws of men mean nothing to him. The powerful Orsini and Colonna families have been brought to kneel at his feet, and the King of France stands at his side."
Niccolò Machiavelli, regarding Cesare Borgia.[src]

By 1500, Cesare had Rome under his iron fist as the commander of the Papal army, though he and his father occasionally disagreed on his choices. He used Borgia towers and their captains to keep control over the five districts of Rome, as he was often away for extended periods of time to oversee the advancement of his army, in a bid to unite all of Italy under his rule.[2]

In and Out 8

Cesare and Rodrigo at the pagan party

During Ezio's infiltration of the Castel Sant'Angelo in late June 1501, Cesare was seen at the stables conversing with his three generals about their plans, where he told them to play along with his father's "tired old men's club", but to remember who they really served.[2]

Subsequently, he shared a romantic moment with his sister. Cesare asked if their father had considered the funds requested by his banker, though she claimed he was away from the Castel and may need convincing. Cesare then left the Castel for Romagna to continue his campaign.[2]

In 1502, Cesare continued to make use of Leonardo da Vinci's intellect, forcing him to design several war machines for his army. However, all of Leonardo's creations were eventually stolen and destroyed by Ezio Auditore, in secret, at Leonardo's own request.[2]

In 1503, Cesare attended Juan Borgia's pagan party, where he gave a brief speech on a soon to be united Italy. After Cesare commanded the party to begin, Rodrigo reminded him that they had not agreed to conquer Italy. However, Cesare stated that he was now in control, although not officially, and simply told his father to enjoy himself.[2]

Later that year, Cesare had his close friend, Francesco Troche, assassinated by Micheletto Corella, for telling his brother of Cesare's intentions for Romagna. Cesare then ordered Micheletto to assassinate the actor Pietro Rossi, Lucrezia's secret lover.[2]

Apple a day 4

Cesare arguing with Rodrigo

In August of 1503, due to the interference of the Roman Assassins, Cesare's army and funds had significantly diminished. Enraged, Cesare confronted Rodrigo, demanding to know what had happened. There, Cesare and Rodrigo argued over the former's insatiable lust for power. Rodrigo commented that he had given Cesare all he had, yet his son was never satisfied.[2]

Cesare demanded that his father give him the Apple of Eden, but Rodrigo refused. At this point, Lucrezia barged in, crying out to her brother that their father was attempting to poison him with the bowl of apples he had left out.[2]

An outraged Cesare responded by charging Rodrigo and shoving the poisoned apple down his throat, suffocating him. Cesare then demanded the Apple's whereabouts from Lucrezia, who confessed under much pressure. However, Ezio beat Cesare to the Basilica di San Pietro, the Apple's location, and retrieved the Piece of Eden before him.[2]

Roads lead to 5

Cesare being arrested

Cesare's rule spiraled downward from there. Cesare had consumed enough of the poison to leave him weak for months; while he recovered, the Assassins used the Apple to dwindle his remaining forces, while the Vatican refused to support the Templar, branding the Borgia's money "tainted".[2]

Cesare sent Micheletto to retrieve his armies from the battlefield in order to reclaim Rome, however, he was confronted by the highest-ranking Assassins as he awaited his return. As the last of his followers fell, Fabio Orsini arrived with the Papal Guard and a warrant for Cesare's arrest by the order of Pope Julius II. Cesare was taken away, imprisoned, and later exiled to Spain.[2]

From Rome to SpainEdit

"This is not how it ends! Chains will not hold me! I will not die by the hand of man!"
―Cesare Borgia, during his arrest, 1503.[src]

Subsequently following his arrest, Cesare was imprisoned in the Castel Sant'Angelo. However, he was able to escape the prison and flee. Though Cesare was later recaptured, Pope Julius II concluded that Cesare needed to be transferred to a more secure prison, and had the Templar moved to the Castillo de la Mota, Aragon, in Spain. Though Ezio had intended to kill Cesare despite his imprisonment, he was unaware of where Cesare had been transferred. He, Machiavelli, and Leonardo began tracking him down, while Micheletto, who had evaded imprisonment and remained loyal to Cesare, planned for his master's escape.[3]

In 1506, Micheletto bribed a prison guard at the Castillo. Having had rope smuggled in for him, Cesare climbed down from his window and snuck past the main gate in his stolen guard uniform. Meeting with Micheletto, he was informed that Ezio was currently tracking him, though he said nothing on the matter. Micheletto then told his master that he had made arrangements in Valencia. With this, Cesare made his escape, and rode to Valencia with Micheletto.[3]

Attack on ValenciaEdit

Cesare: "You got me out of La Mota, sure, and you up my hopes. But now look where you have got me!"
Micheletto: "Master, all my men are dead. I have done what I could."
Cesare: "And failed!"
—Cesare before bursting into a tirade about Micheletto and killing him, Valencia, 1506.[src]

Following his escape, Cesare began to rebuild his forces in Valencia, with men volunteering to enter his service and setting up a large military encampment. Whilst Cesare was raising a small army, he spent most of his time coordinating battle tactics at the Lone Wolf Inn. Ezio and Machiavelli soon discovered this, however, and were able to destroy the encampment and twelve ships with Leonardo's hand-held bombs.[3]

Later, they spied on him from the roof of the Lone Wolf. Cesare blamed Micheletto for the Assassins' attack, and insulted him as a dog, remarking that he should find somewhere to die. During his tirade against Micheletto, Cesare claimed that he would cross the borders and join his brother-in-law, King John III of Navarre to seek his aid.[3]

Though Micheletto begged Cesare, and reminded him of his loyal service, Cesare continued to insult him. However, this rebounded on Cesare, as Micheletto, realizing how much his service meant to his ungrateful master, attempted to murder Cesare by strangling him. However, Cesare was able to shove Micheletto away and shoot him in the head, killing him. Ezio and Machiavelli, who had watched the scene unfold, made a noise from above. Cesare, who heard this, fired his rifle and wounded Machiavelli.[3]

Ezio then took Machiavelli to a doctor instead of attacking Cesare, giving the Templar a chance to escape Valencia and cross the borders to the Kingdom of Navarre.[3]

Siege of Viana and deathEdit

"I will lead mankind into a new world! You cannot kill me! No man can murder me!"
―Cesare Borgia's last words, 1507.[src]
PaxR 8

Cesare fighting Ezio in Viana

In March of 1507, Cesare tried to regain his lost honor by commandeering John III's vast army during the Siege of Viana, after which, should he be victorious, he would regain the support of the French. However, unbeknownst to him, Ezio caught wind of Cesare's involvement in the battle and set out for Viana.[2]

During the siege, Ezio located and charged Cesare on the battlefield, though Cesare held him back just long enough to dodge his Hidden Blade and flee, screaming at his men to kill the Assassin as he retreated. Ezio's pursuit was delayed by several cannonball impacts that stunned him, and incapacitated the other soldiers in the area.[2]

PaxR 6

Ezio letting Cesare fall to his death

Ezio soon caught up to him on the outskirts of the castle walls, where Cesare had his soldiers kill a civilian woman, who was crying for him to help her son, who had been injured. Ezio eventually faced Cesare on the walls of Viana Castle and fought against him, with Cesare wielding a sword and a pistol.

Though Cesare attacked with speed and skill, while also periodically calling reinforcing troops, Ezio nevertheless defeated him, eventually pinning him to the ground. When Cesare vowed not to die at the hands of man, Ezio declared that he would leave Cesare "in the hands of Fate", and threw him off of the castle wall to his death.

Personality and characteristicsEdit

Rodrigo: "We did not agree to conquer Italia."
Cesare: "If your brilliant Captain General says we can do it, why not rejoice and let it happen?"
―Rodrigo and Cesare Borgia, discussing Cesare's ambitions, 1503.[src]

Cesare was born into the Templar Order and, like many of his siblings, was raised by his father into his personal weapon. However, Cesare was naturally an aggressive and ambitious person, and would do anything - including having his own family or friends murdered - in order to obtain power.[4]

CCrasher 5

Cesare and Lucrezia kissing

Cesare maintained an incestuous relationship with his sister, Lucrezia Borgia, and promised her that she would be his queen when he ruled Italy. As such, he frequently descended into jealous rage due to her many dalliances with other men – those of which she would normally woo in order to spite her unfaithful brother.[2]

However, in his attempts to discover the location of the Apple, Cesare physically assaulted her, answering her tearful question if he had ever loved her by saying, "You are my sister, nothing more."[2]

Over time, Cesare came to believe that no mortal man could kill him, and that he would lead mankind into a new era; a belief that he held onto until the moment of his death.[2]

TriviaEdit

Appearance and behavior

  • In the novelization of Brotherhood, Cesare's face had been apparently deformed by the "New Disease", and he had resorted to wearing a mask. However, in the game, he is never seen with either said deformity or mask.
    • Historically, Cesare was infected by the recent outbreak of syphilis and resorted to wearing a mask in public.
  • According to the Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood novel, Cesare excelled at bullfighting. Machiavelli believed he showed such an interest in the sport due to its origins in Spain, and his aggressive nature.
  • Historically, Cesare fathered 11 illegitimate children, some of whose mothers remain unknown.
  • Cesare Borgia was married to Charlotte d'Albret, who bore him a daughter named Louise. This is never mentioned in the game, although Ezio visits her in the novelization. He actually died while fighting for her brother, John d'Albret of Navarre.

Combat

  • Despite being shown to be adept with a crossbow in both Assassin's Creed: Project Legacy and Assassin's Creed: Ascendance, Cesare never wields the weapon in Brotherhood.
  • Since Cesare is immune to executions or counters, and would even harm Ezio on the Assassin's attempts to counter-kill him, Cesare could only be killed by whittling down his defense through attacking repeatedly or by being shot by Ezio's Hidden Gun.

Others

  • His given name is the Italian variation of the name Caesar.
  • Historically, it is said that Niccolò Machiavelli greatly admired Cesare. However, in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, while Machiavelli respects his ability to enforce his will, he also seeks to eliminate Cesare and his family members alongside Ezio. Despite this, he does write a book based partially on Cesare's political life.
  • Cesare has been compared to other Roman Templar rulers. Giovanni Borgia relived the memories of Marcus Junius Brutus through the Bleeding Effect and mistook Cesare for Julius Caesar, attempting to kill Cesare with a knife.[6] Ezio Auditore compared Cesare to Caligula, due to the similarities in their arrogant, narcissistic personalities.[3]
  • When replaying the memory in Viana, after the cutscene in which Ezio drops Cesare from the castle walls, his body can be seen when looking down from the battlements before the memory fades out.
  • When talking to Shaun in the Sanctuary, he mentions that Cesare sent the Pope a letter about the night of his wedding with his French wife, and that he had "done the deed eight times".
  • In the novelization, Cesare’s personal crest was described as "two red bulls quartered with fleur-de-lis", the coat of arms of Duke of Valentinois. In the game however, he wasn't given a personal crest.
  • Cesare is mentioned in Assassin's Creed: Revelations during "The Prince's Banquet", where Ezio disguises himself as a minstrel and sings about Cesare's death.
  • There is an action figure of Cesare available, supplied by the UK branch of the Amazon retailer.
  • Cesare is represented in two mnemonic sets in Assassin's Creed: Project Legacy: the "Borgia Family" set, and the "Shroud of Turin" set.

GalleryEdit

ReferencesEdit

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