The Borgia inspired many stories and many authors. They tempted many to write about them, to glorify them, to debase them, to make them a fiction, an almost symbolic figures of a symbolic era. More than five centuries later, it’s impossible to know how much of the told is actually true and how many a subjective judgment of characters.
Alexander Dumas just like the Borgia inspired many stories and offered his life to eternal speculations. In the 1840’s he wanted to write documentary stories about historical personalities famous for their crimes. Murder, love, incest and power are magic magnetic words for a writer on the hunt. He documented his work by many researches and tried to be accurate about the events he was writing about. Unfortunately, the way History was seen in the 19 century did not permit to Dumas to be a true historian. Reading his version of the Borgia (in French), I found him judgmental, his writing awfully detailed, dry and unable to retell the era. Historical paragraphs follow fictional events creating an incomprehensible story where even the historical accuracy is questioned. Dumas invented a member of the Borgia family called François (he also translated all Italian names in French, another unreadable detail) who’s supposed to be Cesare’s big brother and another suitor of Lucrezia. I’m not familiar how Dumas could possibly create this character or where he found his plausible existence but there he is. So Dumas do not offer a historically accurate chronicle, neither a fictional story about the Borgia. I dare say his book will only disappoint history amateurs and those interested in the Borgia.