Netflix lover? I must confess, I am a lover of Netflix. Every now and again I recharge my batteries by watching documentaries. Once I get on a binge I like to watch a whole season. One of my favorites is Borgia’s.
I have watched the Showtime version, and the European version. Although, there are some that can’t get past some of the flaws, I believe in allowing for dramatic license. In the case of the Borgia’s, on both fronts, it is pretty tame. Even though some would consider each of them soft porn. There is more sexually explicit scenes in the European version. I really like both, I am not sure I could choose one over the other. The Showtime version has a more polished looking cinematography. European version has more of a realistic view of what Rome was like back in the early renissance period. I also love that the Pagan worship is right there in the square.
The giant pine cone has been a part of Roman art since the time of Agrippa. It is believed that the pine cone was a fountain in the baths of Agrippa. It was preserved because the Roman people held high esteem for their ancestors. Some aspects of old Roman were recycled, like the marble on the colosseum. The pine cone was pretty impressive, and there were people that still had some connection to paganism. I greatly respect all religions, and pagans beliefs became a part of Christianity. It is only natural to absorb some of the rites and rituals into a new/different religion. Christianity was new to Italy, thus it adopted some pagan aspects. It only enriches the experience for me.
The Pigna (pine cone) was moved outside the courtyard of the old St Peters Basilica. This is the Saint Peters Basilica that is depicted on the European version. The pine cone was used as a fountain until it was moved to it’s location we see it today. These days the pine cone is flanked by two massive reproduction peacocks.
Like I said before it doesn’t bother me so much about aspects of the show being wrong. It is a show that gives a glimpse, and the glimpse that we get is pretty cleaned up for our perceptions of this era being so romanticized. When people say “These times are so terrible.” Those are the people that never studied history. Our time period is pretty tame. It did not matter who you were, you had to contemplate living through the day or if you were lucky living through the week. Women had to be manipulative, it was how they survived. I love the strong women characters of La Bella Farnese, and Contessa Vannoza Dei Cattanei.
I have read many books about the Borgia family, and there seems to be no hard evidence of incest. All it took was a rumor to ruin a reputation. Much like any social media can do these days. Does it make the story more interesting to have Cesare and Lucredzia commit incest? My personal belief is that Lucredzia and her family were close. These are sometimes the only people that one could “love”. Marriages were contractual, and love had nothing to do with marriage. It was a business contract to bring the families together. Going home to visit a real family must have been such relief. It is hard enough for some people to leave their hometown these days. Could you imagine leaving your home as a teenager, being married to a complete stranger as a teenager, and living with your in-laws? UGH! I am not even adding the intrigue going on behind the scenes. More than likely the husband was abusive. It was legal, and pretty common.
So, if you are a little squeamish about death, sex, or brutality, maybe skip the european version of the Borgia’s. Both shows are really great, and give a different perspective about the family and the time.
Netflix, it is a great obsession! Watch responsibly (love the tag line for Netflix.)