Alfonso of Aragon - The Murder

The Murder

"Since Don Alfonso refused to die of his wounds, he was strangled in his bed" - Burchard

On the evening of July 15, 1500, at the top of the steps before the entrance to St. Peter's Basilica, Alfonso was attacked by hired killers and stabbed in the head, right arm, and leg. When the assassins attempted to haul Alfonso away, his own guards put them to flight. The prince was residing in the palace of Santa Maria in Portico, but so desperate was his condition that he was taken to the chamber of the Borgia Tower where he was cared for by his doctors from Naples, his sister Sancha and his wife. But on the night of August 18, as Alfonso was still recovering, he was strangled in his bed. Michelotto Corella was in the group of the armed men who entered his room. Following his death, his body was carried to the Basilica of St Peter and there deposited in the Chapel of the Virgin Mary of the Fever.

In the political context of a French campaign against Naples, Cesare Borgia was mainly accused of the assassination; however, his death remains shrouded in mystery. Cesare to defend himself pointed out that Alfonso had attempted to kill him with a crossbow shot as he walked in the garden, but not many believed him. Alfonso, given his symphathy for the Colonna family, had enemies at Rome amongst the Orsini too, and it seems possible that the Orsini engineered the attempt on his life in July 1500. Among the accused was also Alfonso's uncle Giovan Maria Gazzera, mysteriously killed in Rome shortly after, and even the Pope Alexander VI, because Alfonso, in May 1500, showed his discontent with Pope's francophile decision to nullify the marriage between Alfonso's cousin Beatrice of Naples and the King of Hungary Matthias I.

Two years later Lucrezia was given in marriage to Alfonso I d'Este. Lucrezia was obliged to simulate the appearance of a virgin spouse in order to marry d'Este. Accordingly she was forced to leave Rodrigo of Aragon, her only child by Alfonso of Aragon, behind forever. Rodrigo Borgia of Aragon died of disease in Bari at 12.

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