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It's been a while that I wanted to read this beautiful manga of Fuyumi Soryo dedicated to the figure of Cesare Borgia, and finally I managed to buy the whole complete thing :D
First of all, I must admit that my heart skipped a bit when I saw such illustrations:

--Doesn't he look like Nobunaga XDD ?

Truth is, I started to get intrigued by this character thanks to a book about architecture of the Reinassance period.
I'm not a fan of the Reinassance. The most of people when thinking about it are reminded of stuff like "The School of Athens", but the situation in Italy was far from that, even if artists from the period are absurdly famous, it doesn't mean that things were so rose-tintend... To be honest, all the crap that we're experiencing in modern times, one could say that it derives from the Reinassance.
Anyway, the book is quite cool (in case you're interested, it's "The Architecture of the Italian Reinassance" by Peter Murray) and it invited me to get to know more about this period, if just for a matter of common culture. Thus, I decided to buy a copy of "The Prince" of Machiavelli, a book that I wanted to read since for ever.
From here I started to get intrigued by Cesare, who's mentioned by Machiavelli as the perfect example of the "successful man" even if he couldn't avoid failure in the end.

img src="http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a543/daevakun3/daevakun3047/045_zpsfgrdbpqd.jpg">
The Soryo is obviously a fangirl, so her portrait of Cesare is really beautiful and, why not, coherent with the historical sources, presented as generous little essays in each volume.

We live the era and the history throught the eyes of Cesare (filtered by the eyes of a Japanese woman, on top of it!), so many aspects are probably naive in their resolution, but they are still interesting to read.
Some of the most deep moments are dedicated to the thoughts of Cesare about the sempiternal struggle between religious and political power, the best kind of government according to this, and the role of money in society.
Cesare is described as peculiarly cultured and tollerant: he admires the Arabian culture and he's a protegee of Jews. Thinking about the Spanish origin of Cesare's family this doesn't make any sense, but I guess that this way Soryo-sensei was trying to figure out the deal with the influences of Arabian art in Southern Europe and the tolerant politics concerning Jews by Alexander VII.

Another thing that bothered me a bit, was the descriptions of the "nazioni" of the University of Pisa, groups of student separated by geographical origin.
I don't really think that French people were the rough ones while the Spanish guys were all that easy-going-- Even if it's revealed that in the end the whole Spanish group is nothing but bodyguards of Cesare, they really don't fit the historical mood.
Spain was the strongest and stricter monarchy of Europe, the idea of Spanish students acting like commoners and morons is not very trustworthy. Same going for the French group, depicted as anything but French-like (even if its most prominent characters are said to come from Marseille, which is generally "hotter" when it comes to people's characters, compared to the rest of France)...If anything they look like guys from Great Britain x'DDD

But let's take a peek to Cesare's family!

As you know, Cesare was one of the illegitimate sons of Rodrigo Borgia.
Illegittimate mostly because Rodrigo fathered them when he was a cardinal XD
In the manga, Rodrigo is quite the doting father, expecially with Cesare, nicknamed "my little emperor".
As far as I know, the favourite son of Rodrigo was Giovanni, here portrayed as a vain moron.
Giovanni would become Duke of Gandia in place of the eldest son of Rodrigo, Pier Luigi, who died in battle.
As the second son, unable to inherit, Cesare was destined to the religious life. Thinking that Rodrigo wanted to make a Cardinal out of him because he was his favourite and he was super-smart is wrong.

After the bros, is Lucrezia, here portrayed with Giulia Farnese:
It's said that Lucrezia was kindly loved by her father, and I like her depiction in the manga. She has a serious crush on her brother Cesare, not sure if required, but sure her family granted her a pitiful destiny.

Giulia is famous for being another mistress of Rodrigo.
Her depiction and family relationships in the manga seem to be quite accurate.

Another relative introduced in the manga is a cousin of Cesare, Juan, nicknamed "Silenzio", "Silence", for his kind and quiet nature.
He acts a bit like Cesare's "voice of conscience".

No idea about this guy, I couldn't find anything about him on Wikipedia XD

Another semi-obscure character is Francesco Remolines:
He's implicated to the process to Savonarola, he's one of the tutors of Cesare.
If you're sick of shipping Cesare with Young pretty boys, you can use him too XD

But the top of the shipping is him, Michelotto da Corella, the famous killer in service of Cesare!
In the manga Michelotto is a Jew, an orphan who was adopted by Rodrigo so to provide a friend to a young Cesare.
The relationship between the two is one of the best thing of the manga *_* Michelotto is a servant, but he also admires Cesare for his genuine personality, as much as he hates him for his tendency to see people as mere tools.
Michelotto is aware that he's a tool for Cesare too, but at the same time his attachment confuses him!!! On top of it, both of them have the same stubborn personality, so they are incompatible-- Yet so similar!!! I love them.
Where are the doujinshi about Cesare and Michelotto :/ ?

In the manga there are lots of people appearing who are worth a mention, but I would like to focus on just a few of them.
The first and foremost, the "Monsters of the Vatican":
Rodrigo Borgia (future Pope Alexander VI), Cardinal Raffaele Riario and Giuliano della Rovere (future Pope Julius II).

I don't think that we have to wonder why Rodrigo is considered a "monster", even from his own son XD
It's an accurate and interesting depiction, though.
There are lots of interesting political sub-plots in the manga, most of them are interpretations, as in the end most of the truths behind the facts are still unknown (think about the Pazzi Conspiracy, central to the events of the manga), but sure they are constructed skillfully :D !

Raffaele Riario is another interesting character :D
Related to the Della Rovere, he was a supporter of Borgias and, the manga states, a "fan" of the Medicis.
In the manga he's portrayed as a gay with a morbid interest in Cesare--

--And of course Cesare is always up to tease him XD !

The other "monster" is Giuliano della Rovere :D
In the manga he's said to descent from a poor family, so he's usually criticized by Rodrigo and his friends (in the picture is Ascanio Sforza) for his poor taste in things, and his actions as a "new rich".
--Thinking that the Borgia family was anything but "noble" in its origin, I find this interpretation quite hateful.
I love the depiction of Giuliano in this manga!

A man with a harsh past, that made him grew hard and stoic-- Julius II is famous as "The Warrior Pope", and he's the one who came with the Swiss Guards as protectors of the Vatican.
Julius II is usually regarded as one of the worst Popes in history, but he's actually one of my favourites because of his sanguine character :o !!

Another character that I'd like to mention is Niccolò Machiavelli:

His depiction is quite ambiguous.
He's acting as a spy of the Della Rovere/Riario, and as disguise he used that of a Dominican friar.
Apparently Soryo-sensei likes to associate the friars to some kind of ninjas XD ! It's 1492 and Niccolò is still dressing as a ninj-AEHm a friar.
I hope that at some point of the manga he'll dress normally!

His relationship with Cesare is as ambiguous as it is in actual history.
He's strongly intrigued by the person, but Cesare doesn't seem to trust him...We'll see how it'll develop >o< !


Date: 5/5/15 14:14 (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Ho il primo volume di questo manga (per pigrizia ho dimenticato di acquistare i successivi!) e ho amato molto sia i disegni che la storia. Ad essere sincera, Cesare Borgia è uno dei personaggi della storia italiana che preferisco e (in sintonia con il tuo commento!) , quando penso a Nobunaga, mi capita da pensare a Cesare, nonostante quest'ultimo sia vissuto un secolo prima.Un personaggio indubbiamente affascinante.
Il tuo commento mi ha portata a una riflessione che trovo interessante. Quelle immagini di Cesare ricordano davvero Nobunaga (la postura, gli abiti, lo sguardo) e mi chiedo se, seppur involontariamente, nell'immaginario giapponese Nobunaga non abbia assunto un'idea di figura storica (e personaggio) più simile a quella di un conquistatore straniero che a quella di un personaggio storico giapponese a tutti gli effetti. Sarà colpa del mantello? ;)


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