Saturday, May 9, 2020

Sarah Bernhardt--

Sarah Bernhardt
Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923).
French courtesan & royal mistress.

Daughter of: Julie Bernard (?-1876), Dutch Jewish courtesan
Jacques Damala
Wife of:
1. Aristides Jacques Damala (1857-1889), Greek-born actor, mar 1882.
Charles Haas
Her lovers were:
1) Charles Haas (1833-1902)
Lover in 1866
French actor
Charles Haas
One of the models
for Charles Swann

'The Circle of Rue Royale'
by James Tissot
@ Musee d'Orsay
"As we have seen, Sarah---forgetting her earl disdain for her mother's career---had no problem with sharing her favors.  It was during these first years at the Odeon that she took up with one of the most distinguished men of her time, the ultra fashionable Charles Haas, who was not only elegant, handsome, and sophisticated but was socially impeccable: one of the very few Jewish members of the Jockey Club and accepted by the aristocracy of the Faubourg St. Germain---le gratin.  Among his close friends: Degas and the Prince of Wales.  In the 1860s he was famous for his worldliness and his success with women; today he is remembered only as Sarah's lover and as the direct model for Proust's Charles Swann.  (Sarah, of course, was to be the model for Proust's Berma.). . . The letters that Sarah wrote to Haas at this time make it clear that he is the adored one, she the adorer. . .  And they stayed friends until he died, in 1902.  Indeed, staying on the best of terms with her ex-lovers was one of Sarah's extracurricular talents."  (Sarah: The Life of Sarah Bernhardt)
Emile, Comte de Keraty
French politician, soldier and author.

"Marie Colombier tells a different story.  Maman and Aunt Rosine take Sarah to the theater with instructions to attract the right kind of man.  It works!  A handsome and which young aristocrat follows her home.  Soon they're a couple. Emile de Keraty, 'as a jaded man about town, was intrigued by Sarah's bizarre mixture of naivete and corruption.  As for Sarah, though she was very attracted, she certainly didn't love him, and after his passionate embraces, she liked him even less...."  (Gottlieb, 2004, n.p.)  [Bio2:SFHP]

"It was during this period that Sarah collected her first real lover, a handsome thirty-ish hussar about-town named Emile, le comte de Keratry.  As usual, there are conflicting accounts of how they met.  Sarah barely mentions him in her memoirs...."  (Gottlieb, 2004)
Edmond Rostand
3) Edmond Rostand (1868-1918)
French poet & playwright.

4) Edouard Angelo.
" . . .Aside from Jarrett, her traveling companions included her old friend and now rival Marie Colombier, filling in for Bernhardt's sister Jeanne, hospitalized for morphine addiction; and Edoaurd Angelo, Bernhardt's leading man and sometime lover. . . ."  (Sarah Bernhardt's First American Theatrical Tour, 1880-1881: 13)

" . . . Edouard Angelo accompanied Bernhardt on the 1880 and 1886 American tours as well."  (Theatre Research in Canada)

"Edoaurd Angelo was Sarah's lover and leading man on her American tour. . . ." (My Double Life: The Memoirs of Sarah Bernhardt: 329)

7) George Sand.
Georges Clairin
8) Georges Clairin.
Gustave Dore
by Nadal, 1867
9) Gustave Dore (1832-1883)
French artist, print-maker, illustrator & sculptor
Character or Persona:  "...At 5 Rue Bayard, just around the corner from the Moulin, was the studio of the artist Gustave Dore -- best known in England perhaps for his illustrations of Paradise Lost and Don Q

10) Gustave Moreau.

11) Gustave Schlumberger.

12) Henri-Maximilien-Joseph, Prince de Ligne(1824-1871)
Prince de Ligne & d'Amblise

Son ofEugene-Francois-Charles-Lamoral de Ligne, 8th Prince de Ligne &
Amelie-Melanie de Conflans.
Husband ofMarguerite de Talleyrand-Perigord

Natural offspring:
Maurice Bernhardt
@Houghton Library
Maurice Bernhardt 1864-1928)
French playwright & theatre director.

"Her personal life was equally dramatic as her stage personas, and saw her become a mistress to Henri, Prince de Ligne (Belgium) with whom she had her only child Maurice in 1864. Due to Henri's status, they never married; although Sarah did go on to marry Aristides Damala, a Greek born actor in 1882. Their marriage deteriorated quickly due to Damala's addiction to morphine and Sarah never married again."  (The Culture Trip)

13) Jean Richepin.

14) Jean Sully Mounet.

15) John Castle.

16) Jules Lemaitre.
Louise Abema
17) Louise Abbema (1853-1927)
French painter, sculptor & designer.
Lou Tellegen
18) Lou Tellegen (1881-1934)
Dutch actor, director & screenwriter.
Lover in 1910-1911.

Husband of:

1. Jeanne de Brouckère, mar 1903; div. 1905
2. Geraldine Farrar, mar 1916; div. 1923
3. Nina Romano, mar 1923; div. 1928
4. Eve Casanova, mar 1930; div. 1932

" . . . The mystery of Reece's private life makes it difficult to know what number wife Jeanne was, but this was her second marriage, having been abandoned by her first husband, Isadore van Dommelen, a dashing Dutchman who, taking the name Lou Tellegan, became a well-known state and screen actor and lover of the actress Sarah Bernhardt. His embellished autobiography, Women Have Been Kind, is a rollicking read. In 1934 Tellegan would kill himself, spectacularly, in his Hollywood apartment by committing hara-kiri on a pair of golden scissors, toppling to a floor spread with his press cuttings of many years. But at this time Diane van Dommelen was in her early twenties and living quietly with her mother and stepfather. A decade later she would become someone with whom several people would have to deal very carefully." (Escape to Provence: 69)

19) Napoleon III of the French.
Jerome Napoleon
20) Prince Napoleon Bonaparte (1822-1891)
French Prince
Comte de Meudon; Conte di Moncalieri; 3rd Prince de Montfort

Son ofJerome Bonaparte, King of Westphalia & Catherine von Wurttemberg.
Husband ofClotilde di Savoia
daughter of Vittorio Emmanuele II of Italy.
"Prince Napoleon, commonly known as 'Plon-Plon,' often used to come to George Sand's rehearsals.  He was extremely fond of her.  The first time I ever saw him I turned pale, and felt as though my heart had stopped beating.  He looked so much like Napoleon I. that I disliked him for it.  By resembling him it seemed to me that he made him seem less far away, and brought him nearer to every one."  (My Double Life: The Memoirs of Sarah Bernhardt: n.p.)

21) Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
[Ref1:104:Matthews & Mellini]

22) Paul Mounet.

23) Pierre Berton.

24) Pierre Loti.
Robert de Montesquiou
25) Robert de Montesquiou (1855-1921)
French poet, novelist, art critic, chronicler, memoirist, designer, book collector & patron of the arts.
Samuel Jean de Pozzi
26) Samuel Pozzi (1846-1918)
French surgeon & gynecologist, soldier & politician, artist & collector
[Sarah & the Doctor]
Samuel Pozzi
Son ofBenjamin Dominique Pozzi, Minister of the Reformed Church of France
and Marthe-Marie Ines Escot-Mesion
Husband ofTherese Loth-Cazalis, Heiress of a railroad magnate, mar 1879
Lover of
1. Georgette LeblancFrench opera singer
2. RejaneFrench actress
3. Emma Sedelmeyer Fischof (in 1890)
4. Sarah's lover in 1879
"In 1864, Pozzi began to his study medicine in Paris. He also met Sarah Bernhardt through a childhood friend, the actor Jean Mounet-Sully, and, according to historian and childhood friend Gustave Schlumberger, they briefly became lovers yet remained lifelong friends afterwards."  (Wikipedia)
Victor Hugo
by Achille Deveria, 1829
27) Victor Hugo (1802-1885)
French poet, novelist & dramatist.

Love Life:  "...Among her friends were the authors George Sand (1804–1876) and Victor Hugo, artist Gustave Moreau (1826–1898), novelist Pierre Loti (1850–1923), and playwrights such as Jean Richepin (1849–1926) and Jules Lemaître (1853–1914), who also became her lovers." (Shapira, 2009).

Personal and Family Background:  Sarah was the illegitimate daughter of a Jewish courtesan.  "Sara Marie Henriette Rosine Bernard was born ca. 22 Oct 1844 to the Dutch Jewish courtesan Youle (Julie) Bernhardt and an unknown father.  Her mother, having no use for a young child, sent her to live in a pension, then a convent, and at age 13 to the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique where she studied acting."  (Codex99).

"Julie Bernardt was the daughter of a Jewish spectacle merchant...." (Scandalous Women)

Physical Traits & Personal Qualities:  "...Sarah Bernhardt had frizzy red hair, a white face and an unfashionably, waiflike figure.  She possessed a very modern genius for publicity...."  (Ridely, 2012, n. p.) [Ref1] [Ref2[Bio1:Tweedland Gentleman's Club]

Friday, May 8, 2020

Italian Princesses--

Caterina Sforza

Contessa di Forli

Pope Sixtus IV with his nephews and courtiers. Girolamo Riario is the second figure from the left.
Girolamo is 2nd figure from left
@Rough Diplomacy
Wife of:
1. Girolamo Riario (1443-1488), mar 1473
Signore di Imola, 1473-1488; Signore di Forli, 1480-1488. 
2. Giacomo Feo (1471-1495):

"The daughter of Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza of Milan and his mistress Lucrezia Landriani, Sforza was raised and educated in her father's household. At age 14 she was married to Girolamo Riario, a nephew of Pope Sixtus IV whose fortunes were on the rise. Sforza followed Riario to Rome and then Romagna, where the couple was invested with the control of the towns of Imola and Forli. Destined to become one of the most well-known women of the Renaissance, Sforza was regarded by her contemporaries with both admiration and trepidation for her fierce occupation of the Castel Sant' Angelo in Rome in 1484 following the death of Sixtus IV as well as for her tenacious governance of Imola and Forli after Riario's assassination in 1488. . . ." (Gender and Scientific Discourse in Early Modern Culture)

Physical appearance & personal qualities.
"In the preceding days, the attacking soldiers had caught occasional glimpses of Caterina on the ramparts of her fortress. At five feet four inches, she was noticeable shorter than the men fighting by her side, though she stood at a respectable height for Italian women of her day. Her figure, beneath a steel cuirass engraved with the image of Saint Catherina of Alexandria, was remarkably slim, despite the fact that she had borne six children. When her long, light brown hair occasionally escaped its restraints and flowed around her face and next, she looked even younger than her thirty-eight years. As she walked with sure, determined steps around her fortress, her enemies strained to see the woman who had challenged the College of Cardinals, single-handedly put down a revolt after the murder of her husband, seduced and married the handsomest member of the Medici clan, and was now locking horns with the formidable Cesare Borgia." (The Tigress of Forli: xiii)

Her lovers were
1) Antonio Maria Ordelaffi (1460-1504)
Signore do Forli
Lover in 1489

"Caterina's relationship with Antonio Maria Ordelaffi developed in the summer of 1489, more than a year after her husband's death... Caterina was a twenty-six-year-old widow, Antonio Maria the twenty-nine-year-old heir of the Ordelaffi. The prospect of a marriage between the two was celebrated by the people of Forli. But, in condemning his niece's 'disorderly' manner of living, Ludovico Sforza seemed to fear a loss of interest in the strategic city. . . Ultimately, the affair was broken up. In an effort to preserve Riario interests, Cardinal Raffaelo Riario arranged for Ordelaffi's removal from 'danger' to safety in Venice." (Monstrous Regiment of Women: 44)

"Meanwhile, Caterina Sforza had been brought to the court of Milan in 1466 by her father, her care and education overseen by her grandmother, Bianca Maria. When Bona of Savoy arrived in Milan, she 'adopted' the four children Lucrezia Landriani had borne Galeazzo Maria and undertook their guidance and education. At the ducal palace Caterina was, like her brothers, carefully trained in the humanist tradition; as Pasolini notes, a classical education was more than an 'ornament of life' for women, who might be---and often were---called upon the govern." (The Monstrous Regiment of Women: 52)

"This princess is described to us as a magnificent woman, endowed with nature's most prodigal gifts; tall, strong, of a good presence, and with a clear superb complexion; in speech eager, impulsive, her voice ringing out for the most part like a trumpet call, but capable of alluring softness. The Giacomo Feo of Savona, mentioned in the last letter, was the brother of fer faithful castellan, and became her husband or lover. He was a man of great power and violence, 'threatening constantly to sell his soul to the devil, and (a more serious matter) the State to the Turks, and Catarina was subjugated by him.' 'Feo became an odious tyrant; denunciations, persecutions, tortures are his wedding gifts.' As was to be expected, Feo fell by the hand of the assassin. He was stabbed to the heart one day, under the very eyes of his sovereign, as they were returning together from the chase. Directly she saw that he was past all hope, she lost not an instant, by mounting her horse at once, she rode at the head of her guards to the quarter inhabited by the murderers, and there she caused to be massacred without distinction every living creature, even the women and children. Such was the savage vengeance of Catarina Sforza." (The Most Illustrious Ladies of the Italian Renaissance: 247)

2) Giacomo Feo (1471-1495) 
Lover in 1489.

"Following the assassination in 1488 of Caterina Sforza's first husband, Count Girolamo Riario, lord of Imola and Forlì, she appointed Giacomo Feo, a handsome stable groom in her household, to be the castellan of the fortress Ravaldino in Forlì. Feo and Sforza became lovers and they married in secret so she could avoid the possibility of losing custody of her children and the regency." (Wikipedia)

"After the tragic death of her first husband Girolamo Riario, the young and handsome stable boy Giacomo Feo, brother of the castellan of Forlì, had become a lover of the widow Caterina. Between 1489 and 1490 the countess and her beautiful Giacomo had a son whom they called Bernardino. They married later in secret in order not to unleash the wrath of her family, in particular of her uncle Ludovico il Moro, but also of the Riario." (Caterina Sforza)

Giacomo's character & murder.
"This princess is described to us as a magnificent woman, endowed with nature's most prodigal gifts; tall, strong, of a good presence, and with a clear superb complexion; in speech eager, impulsive, her voice ringing out for the most part like a trumpet call, but capable of alluring softness. The Giacomo Feo of Savona, mentioned in the last letter, was the brother of her faithful castellan, and became her husband or lover. He was a man of great power and violence, 'threatening constantly to sell his soul to the devil, and (a more serious matter) the State to the Turks, and Catarina was subjugated by him.' 'Feo became an odious tyrant; denunciations, persecutions, tortures are his wedding gifts.' As was to be expected, Feo fell by the hand of the assassin. He was stabbed to the heart one day, under the very eyes of his sovereign, as they were returning together from the chase. Directly she saw that he was past all hope, she lost not an instant, by mounting her horse at once, she rode at the head of her guards to the quarter inhabited by the murderers, and there she caused to be massacred without distinction every living creature, even the women and children. Such was the savage vengeance of Catarina Sforza." (The Most Illustrious Ladies of the Italian Renaissance: 247) 

" . . . Caterina had acted against Tommaso Feo in concert with her new lover, Tommaso's brother Giacomo. Caterina appointed Giaccomo Feo as the new castellan of Ravaldina. . . But Caterina's relationship with Giacomo scandalized her contemporaries. He was despised for his arrogance and hated for his influence over Caterina. . . Giacomo was brutally assassinated in August of 1495, however, and Caterina's own sons, Ottaviano and Cesare, were among the conspirators. Caterina then revealed that Giacomo had been more than her lover; she had been secretly married to him. Her vengeance against those responsible for Giacomo's death was swift and brutal. Through all the conflict and its aftermath, Caterina survived in power." (Jansen, 2004, p. 45

"She was also, apparently, a tigress in love. Falling for Giacomo Feo, a glorified stable boy, she had him knighted, secretly married him and bore his child. By her passion, she ignored signs of growing unrest among her people --- and the jealousy of her oldest son. When Feo was murdered, the sight of his mutilated corpse drove Caterina to systematic vengeance: 38 people were killed, and many others were tortured, exiled or imprisoned in a ruthless, coldblooded rampage." (NYT

3) Giovanni de' Medici
"The illegitimate daughter of Galeazzo Maria Sforza and Lucrezia Landiano, Caterina Sforza was married at age fifteen to the twenty-year-old Girolamo Riario, a nephew of Pope Sixtus IV. As part of the marriage settlement, the pope gave the young couple the cities of Forli and Imola... The Orsi family laid siege to these two cities in 1488 and murdered Girolamo and captured Caterina and her six children. Caterina escaped and recaptured the fortress that overlooked Forli. From this vantage point, she threatened to raze the city with her cannon, and the Orsis fled. In 1490 Caterina secretly married Giacomo Feo, who was murdered by assassins on a Forli street in 1495. In 1496 Caterina was again secretly married, this time to Giovanni de' Medici, with whom she had one child, also called Giovanni (later Giovanni delle Bande Nere) Giovanni died in 1598....." (Patrick, 2007, p. 1428) [Ref1:CLIO]

Duchesa d'Amalfi.
Italian aristocrat

Daughter ofEnrico d'Aragona (d.1478), Marchese of Gerace, 1473, illegitimate son of Ferrante I of Naples & Giovanna Caracciolo and his wife Polissena Ventimiglia.

Wife of:
1. Alfonso I Piccolomini2nd Duca d'Amalfi (1468-1498), mar 1490
2. Antonio Beccadelli di Bologna (1475-1513), her household steward, mar 1498?

"She was an Italian aristocrat, regent of the Duchy of Amalfi during the minority of her son from 1498 until 1510. Her tragic life inspired several works of literature. Giovanna d’Aragona’s life was destined for tragedy, with death following her even from early in her life. Her father, Enrico d’Aragona Marquis of Gerace, was poisoned by mushrooms when she was just a year old. She had two brothers, Cardinal Luigi d’Aragona and Carlo, Marquis of Gerace, and two sisters, Caterina and Ippolita. At the age of twelve, Giovanna was married to Alfonso Piccolomini, who became Duke of Amalfi in 1493. He was killed in 1498, stabbed in a fight with the Count of Celano. Five months later his son, also called Alfonso, was born and immediately invested with the Duchy of Amalfi as his father’s only heir. 

Her lover was:
Her steward

"Following the death of her husband, Giovanna fell madly in love with Antonio Beccadelli of Bologna, her estate steward. He was of a lower status than the Duchess and she knew her family would disapprove of the pairing. They married in secret and had two children, events they managed to conceal from Giovanna's brothers for several years. Fearing the wrath of her family and with suspicions mounting around her third pregnancy, Giovanna left Amalfi in November 1510 and travelled to Ancona to meet Antonio and their two children." (Royal Shakespeare Company)

"Giovanna D’Aragona was the daughter of a powerful nobleman, the Marquis of Gerace.  She was married off at the age of twelve to strengthen Gerace’s political alliance with Alfonso, Duke of Amalfi.  When Alfonso died five years later, Giovanna ruled Amalfi in his place.  During this time, she fell in love with the master of her household, Antonio Bologna.  Despite the difference in their positions in society, they secretly married and had three children, keeping their relationship private as only Giovanna’s maidservants had witnessed their wedding.  Discretion was important, because Giovanna feared her powerful brothers Ludovico, the Cardinal of Santa Maria and Carlo d’Aragona, who had succeeded her father as Marquis of Gerace, would not approve of the match." (Alexander+Roberts)
Isabella de' Medici
Duchess of Bracciano
Duchesa di Bracciano.

Daughter of: Cosimo I de' Medici of Tuscany & Eleonora di Toledo.
Paolo Giordano I Orsini
Duke of Bracciano
Wife of: Paolo Giordano I Orsini, Duca di Bracciano (1541-1585) mar 1558, son of Girolamo Orsini & Francesca Sforza.

"The fairest and brightest of all the Medici was Donna Isabella. . . She was of rare beauty and of charming manners, learned and witty---a true virago. She spoke several languages, and was a good musician. Such a woman was the charm of the court of Florence, and, without love on her part, she was married to a man who was held to be one of the great matches of Italy. This was Paolo Giordano Orsini, Duke of Bracciano. His Grace was gigantic and corpulent; so unwieldy of figure that he could hardly find a horse to carry him, and so obese that he was excused his genuflexions when in the presence of the Pope. He was lethargic, diseased, and debauched, and had no sympathy for the bright, in unloving, wife to whom he was married in 1553. He was very little in Florence, and Isabella was placed under the guardianship of the Duke's kinsman, Troilo Orsini. Isabella was a Medici, and was tainted with the morals of court of Florence. She fell into sweet sin, much as Francesca da Rimini had done, with Troilo. Her husband returned to Florence, invited his wife to his villa of Cerreto Guidi, and there, in 1576, strangled the peerless duchess with his own hands. . . ." (Eclectic Magazine: Foreign Literature, Vol 53; Vol 116: 769)

"I am not made of ice".
" . . . It is claimed nonetheless that she had several friends, one of whom was Troilo Orsini, a cousin of her husband, from whom she had a son and a daughter who were sent to the foundlings' hospital. The grand duke was informed of several of her gallant intrigues, he told her his feeling about them, she answered that she was not made of ice. He ordered a lord from the House of Gonzaga, named Pietro, to leave in three days from his states, which he did. Troilo Orsini, who knew that the princess had some intimacy with a page of the grand duke, named Lelio Torelli, from the town of Fermo, had him murdered out of jealousy. We assuredly see that this lady was not made of ice." (Journey to Italy: 637)

Affair's effects on the family.
"The scandal she caused gave rise to the posting of several lampoons and pasquinades, both against her and against Eleanor of Toledo, wife of Pietro de' Medici. All these rumours displeased Cardinal Ferdinando de' Medici and Francesco, the eldest. They asked Paolo Orsini about everything that was happening, at least roughly speaking, and proposed that he get rid of her. The princess saw the storm brewing against her; she wrote to Catherine, Queen of France, to be granted asylum at her side. The queen granted what she asked for and had ordered her to be welcomed into Marseilles and escorted to Paris. But this plan was not carried out. Paolo Giordano of the Orsini went to Florence and, pulling an Italian trick, dissimulated his resentment towards his wife and feigned wanting to go out hunting; he suggested [this] to her, sent her dogs, the day was set. At last, they set off for Cerreto Guidi, a house fit for this diversion. It is a park about three and a half leagues around, enclosed within walls. This was the 11th of July 1576. There was a retinue of some ladies and women bound to that princess. She asked one of them who had her trust, upon their arrival at the meeting place, if she ought to go and sleep with her husband; the former answered: 'Do what you please, but he is your husband.' She resolved to do so, in spite of her foreboding. He acted coquettishly in order to better cloak his perfidy. The hour lay down to having arrived, they got into bed. A little afterwards, he set to caressing her. He had brought a confidant to help him; he instantly put a cord around her neck, then, giving the signal, they strangled her -- but with difficulty, for strength and youth allowed her to resist for a long time. She was given a funeral worthy of her rank. When she was brought to Florence, everyone muttered and accused the father, her brother Francesco, Cosimo's eldest, and Cardinal Ferdinando, Duke Cosimo's second son, of having, perhaps themselves, allowed disorder to such excess, for she also attended debauched carousings with her brothers, going about, running around at night, dressed as a man, and for having allowed her to live so long far from her husband. Such was was the end of the daughters of this prince, who, like the bloodline, had been a series of scoundrels. . . ." (Journey to Italy: 637)

Affair's end & aftermath.
"Another famous case, that became the basis for John Wester's play of 1612, The White Devil, and other later dramas, was the murder of Isabella de' Medici by her husband, Paolo Giordano Orsini di Bracciano in 1576. Her liaison with another Orsini, Troilo, had gone on for a decame. Rather than live on her husband's estates, she stayed in Florence at the court of her father, Duke Cosimo I, and her father's love protected her during his lifetime; he had tried to put a stop to the affair by sending her lover away on diplomatic missions. It was the anger of her brothers, Duke Ferdinando and Cardinal francesco, at the scandal she caused that seems to have finally prompted Paolo Giordano to strangle his wife. This took place in a Medici villa, and her brothers colluded in the official explanation of her death as the result of an epileptic seizure. Their honour, as mush as Paolo Giordano's, was vindicated by her death." (Barons and Castellans: The Military Nobility of Renaissance Italy: 71)

The death of Isabella.
" . . . This princess [Isabella de' Medici], who was the sister of Duke Francesco, and the wife of Paolo Giordano Orsini, lived in open immorality, which gave great scandal to her brother, Cardinal Fernando. He strongly urged upon the duke the need of interference on the matter, and persuaded him at length to send for Orsini, who had taken up his residence in Rome. A secret consultation was held between the husband and brother of Isabella, in which her fate appears to have been sealed, for the last words spoken by Francesco were overheard. 'When you have assured yourself of the shameful truth, bear ever in mind that you are a Christian and a 'gentiluomo'.' He also placed at the disposal of Orsini a villa which had been a favourite resort of Lorenzo the Magnificent, outside the Porta Romana, and now called Poggio Imperiale. Isabella must have been surprised to find her husband so attentive and affectionate, for he had brought her a present of a couple of greyhounds, and also invited her to a great supper at the villa; but she was thither without apparent misgiving, although it was afterwards remembered that she had seemed sand and restless that evening. The next day it was announced in Florence that the great lady had died suddenly in the night of apoplexy, but the chroniclers of the day had little doubt that the unfortunate Isabella was strangled by her husband. It is a significant fact, that after this occurrence, Orsini was more friendly than ever with the Medici brothers, and Francesco, miser as he was, paid most of his brother-in-law's debts." (The Most Illustrious Ladies of the Italian Renaissance: 215)

"Poor Isabella de' Medici, daughter of Cosimo I, met a very messy end. Trapped in a loveless marriage to Paolo Giordano Orsini, who humiliated her with his mistress Vittoria, Isabella made the mistake of taking a lover. When her violent husband found out, he garroted her at the dinner table -- whilst pretending to kiss her -- and promptly married his mistress." (Medieval Murder on PBS)
Troilo Orsini

Her lover was:
Troilo Orsini di Monterotondo.
Lover in 1564-1576.

"One of the first things that many noticed about Troilo was his good looks. If Paolo's prodigious size was remarkable enough to be commented upon by his contemporaries, than Troilo's 'great beauty' also drew the attention of ambassadors. 'He was a man who was elegant in all his endeavours, extremely handsome, a great entertainer, a true courtier, the friend of all the ladies and gentlemen' was a contemporary summary of Troilo' Although produced in the seventeenth century, some time after his death, a painting made at the French court by Anastagio Fontebuoni, depicting Troilo meeting Catherine de' Medici, gives some indication of how those in Troilo's world saw him. The courtly Troilo doffs his feathered had and makes a deep bow to the French queen mother. His dark hair is curly and lustrous, his pointed beard neat and trim, his features refined, elegant and sensitive. He appears every inch the perfect cavaliere, cavalier, as any higher ranking soldier of his time was known. . . ." (Murder of a Medici Princess: 166)

"Isabella's suspicious death in July 1576 at the age of thirty-four took place during a visit to the new Medici villa at Cerreto Guidi... Her twelve-year-long liaison with Paolo's cousin, Troilo Orsini di Monterotondo, had finally become too public a scandal for the Medici and Orsini to support. The couple was deeply in love... Both Isabella and Troilo paid for their indiscretion with their lives. A year after her murder in 1576, Troilo was murdered by Francesco's henchmen in Paris, where he had been sheltered by Queen Catherine de' Medici. . . ." (Medici Women: 148)

Paolo's lover was:
File:Vittoria Accoramboni by Scipione Pulzone.jpg
Vittoria Accoramboni

Wife of: Francesco Peretti (d.1581)

" . . . The same week as Eleonora's death, the Medici suffered another family tragedy when Isabella, Cosimo I's daughter, was murdered by her husband, the Curzolaris veteran Paolo Giordano Orsini, who suspected her of adultery. Orsini Accoramboni. . . ." (Campponi, 2007: 317)

"In 1583 Paolo Giordano fell in love with Vittoria Accoramboni, wife of Francesco Mignucci, nephew of Cardinal Felice Peretti. One night Francesco Mignucci received a request for help from one of his brothers-in-law and accompanied by a servant he left home: he was caught in an ambush near Monte Cavallo and killed. A few days after the funeral, Vittoria Accoramboni and her mother left Rome and went to live with Paolo Giordano Orsini in Bracciano. All evidence, including the confession of one of the hired assassins, indicated Paolo Giordano to be the commissioner of the killing, but Pope Gregory XIII (1572-85) did not dare to prosecute an Orsini, although he annulled two secret marriages between Paolo and Vittoria. At the death of the pope in April 1585 Paolo Giordano Orsini decided that he could marry Vittoria: the wedding took place the same day the cardinals elected the new pope: their choice fell on Cardinal Felice Peretti who became Pope Sixtus V." (

Accoramboni, the 'white witch' of Webster. She was born, in 1557, in Gubbio, of poor but noble parents, and was married to Francesco Perretti, nephew of Perretti of Montalto, afterwards Sixtus the Fifth. When she became the mistress and desired to become the wife of Bracciano, her husband was assassinated, and Vittoria was tried for the murder. The Duke, however, boldly acknowledged the deed and no unpleasant consequences followed. He married Vittoria, and left a will in which he bequeathed to her the bulk of his enormous property, and then the fair wife poisoned him. His kinsman, Lodovico Orsini, indignant at the will, and detesting Vittoria, sent forty bravi to her house in Padua,and they murdered both the guilty widow and her brother Faminio. The bodies were publicly exposed, and the beauty of Vittoria stirred pity and excited admiration. Lodovico stood a siege, until Padua brought artillery to play upon his house. He was arrested, interrogated by the court of Padua, and was strangled in prison. So ended that tragedy." (The Nineteenth Century, Vol. 29: 573)
Lucrezia Borgia
Duchess of Ferrara

Lucrezia Borgia (1480-1519)
Duchessa di Ferrara
Duchessa di Bisceglie
Principessa di Salerno
Governatrice di Salerno
Signora di Pesaro e Gradara
Contessa di Catignola

Giovanni Sforza of Pesaro
Wife of:
1. Giovanni Sforza di Pesaro (1466-1510), mar 1493, ann 1497, Signore di Pesaro e Gradara, 1483-1510
File:Lucrezia Borgia, Rodrigo and Alfonso of Aragon.jpg
Lucrezia Borgia &
Alfonso of Aragon
2. Alfonso de Aragon (1481-1500), mar 1498
Alfonso I of Ferrara
3. Alfonso I d'Este di Ferrara (1476-1534), mar 1502.

Lucrezia's tarnished reputation.
"Alfonso I’s second wife, Lucrezia Borgia, came to him possessing an already scandalous reputation. She had been twice married: once divorced and once widowed. It was rumored that during the annulment proceedings ending her first marriage, Lucrezia had been involved in an illicit affair. Though she had been sheltered away in a convent by her father, Pope Alexander VI, she had still managed to carry out an extramarital affair with her father’s servant, Pedro Calderon (also known as Perotto), and had born him a bastard child. It had been Perotto, not Lucrezia, who suffered for entering into such a relationship with the pope’s daughter. His dead body was discovered floating in the Tiber River and it was rumored he had been murdered by Lucrezia’s brother, Cesare. It had taken much persuasion from both the pope and the King of France to convince Ercole I to marry his son and heir to Lucrezia. Legend has it that Ercole was so determined to convince Lucrezia of the severity of what would happen to her if she was unfaithful to Alfonso that, upon her arrival in Ferrara, Ercole, giving her a tour of her new home, blatantly pointed out to her the spot where Parisina and Ugo Aldobrandino had been executed. Even so, it was whispered that Lucrezia did perhaps carry on romances with other men when she was married to Alfonso. She and the poet Pietro Bembo wrote numerous love letters to each other, though there is no proof they were ever able to consummate their flirtation. Bembo, overcome by the risks involved in such an affair, eventually abandoned Ferrara for Venice. Lucrezia was also rumored to have had an affair with her brother-in-law, Francesco Gonzaga, the Marquis of Mantua, Isabella d’Este’s husband. Just as with Bembo, they exchanged numerous love letters. Though Lucrezia was never caught in the act and executed, the Ferrarese courtier and poet, Ercole Strozzi, was murdered, it was implied, by the order of Alfonso I for facilitating Lucrezia’s affair with Francesco. In the end Lucrezia died of complications in childbirth." (Ladies, Concubines and Pseudo-wives: 136-137)

Her lovers were:
File:Francesco II Gonzaga.jpg
Francesco II of Mantua
Lover in 1503-1519?

"Yet as her romance with Bembo was on the wane, Lucrezia had embarked on another very different and more long-lasting relationship. She had first met Francesco Gonzaga when, as the hero of the battle of Fornovo, he had passed through Rome in March 1496 and called upon her and Cesare when she was still -- just -- Countess of Pesaro. Born in 1466 in Mantua, the son of Federico I, the third Marquis of Mantua, and Margherita of Wittelsbach, he had succeeded his father aged not quite eighteen and married Isabella d'Este, aged sixteen, in 1490. He was not handsome: the bust by Gian Cristoforo Romano in the Palazzo Ducale at Mantua shows a man of exuberant carnality, with overblown, sensual lips, protuberant eyes and thick, wiry hair. Although he protected and helped Andrea Mantegna, whose greatest paintings were executed for the Gonzaga family, he was no intellectual. His overwhelming passion, apart from sex, was his stable of horses which was famous throughout Europe and won every race in Italy. Like most aristocrats of his time his chief preoccupations beyond the practice of arms and political survival were horses, hunting dogs and falcons. Beyond his undoubted military skills and extreme untrustworthiness, Francesco's sexual overdrive was his most significant characteristic. Until at least 1497 he had openly kept a mistress, Teodora Suardi, by whom he had three illegitimate children, often accompanying her in public to the mortification of Isabella. His sexual interests were certainly not confined either to his wife or his mistress -- young girls, who could be married to complaisant husbands, and young boys were equally desirable. . . ." (Lucrezia Borgia: Life, Love and Death in Renaissance Italy)

2) Pedro Calderon (d.1498)
Lover in 1497?-1498
Chamberlain of Pope Alexander VI

"Within months of the divorce Lucrezia was involved in further sexual scandal. On 14 February 1498, the body  of Pedro Calderon, known as Perotto, a handsome young Spaniard who served in the Pope's chamber, was discovered in the Tiber. According to Burchard who in his position as papal master of ceremonies was well up in palace gossip, on the night of the 9th Perotto 'fell, not of his own will, into the Tiber. . . of which there is much said in the city'. And according to Marin Sanudo, the drowned body of Pantasilea, one of Lucrezia's women, was found with him. It seems likely that Cesare had them both killed for reasons intimately connected with Lucrezia, who was almost certainly having an affair with Perotto. Knowledge of this affair may well have been a reason for her seclusion in San Sisto at a time when her divorce from Sforza was being planned by Alexander and Cesare in June the previous year. Shortly before the discovery of Perotto's body in February 1498, Cristoforo Poggio, agent of the Bentivoglio family in Bologna, reported that Perotto had vanished mysteriously and was thought to be in prison 'for having got His Holiness's daughter, Lucrezia, with child'. In March 1498, a report by the Ferrarese envoy to Duke Ercole alleged that Lucrezia had given birth to a child. Since at that very moment negotiations for a second marriage for Lucrezia were going in, Cesare had every reason to remove any evidence of misconduct on his sister's part by avenging himself on Perotto. Nothing and no one would be allowed to come in the way of his plans for Lucrezia which were so closely allied with his won." (Lucrezia Borgia: Life, Love and Death in Renaissance Italy)

"Cesare and Rodrigo then chose 17-year-old Alfonso of Aragon, the Duke of Bisceglie and son of the late king of Naples, as Lucrezia's next husband; Rodrigo sent his trusted Spanish chamberlain Pedro Caldes to carry out the marriage negotiations. But by the time her first marriage was officially annulled on December 27, 1497, Lucrezia was six months pregnant. This created more grist for the Italian rumor mill. Some speculated that Pedro Caldes was the child's father, others pointed to Rodrigo or Cesare. As a result of this scandal, Pedro was stabbed to death and thrown into the Tiber River along with one of Lucrezia's maids. Three months later, she gave birth to her son Giovanni, who was later legitimized by Rodrigo. Some scholars believe that Giovanni was actually a brother of Lucrezia's, although his parentage will probably never be known." (Your Dictionary)

"While Lucrezia awaited the annulment of her marriage [to Giovanni Sforza], she may have begun an affair with her father's messenger, Pedro Calderon known as Perotto. Pedro, like Rodrigo Borgia, was from Spain and a favorite of the Pope. However, he was later found murdered, his body floating in the River Tiber. Was he killed because he dared to not only love Lucrezia, but to father a child with her? All that is known is that the child was named Giovanni. Some suspected that the child was fathered by her brother, others by her father. Adding to the confusion in 1501, a papal bull was issued recognizing him as the Pope's son! The second bull was kept secret for a number of years and (when) it was finally revealed, it stated that the child was Cesare's!. . . . " (Lucrezia Borgia, Passionate Poisoner or Virtuous Victim)

" . . . Giovanni, the 'Infante Romano,' may actually have been the illegitimate son of Lucrezia Borgia and her lover Perotto . . . Certainly Lucrezia treated Giovanni like a son, and after she married Duke Alfonso I, Lucrezia took Giovanni to Ferrara, the dukedom of her husband." (Williams: 60)

"It became widely whispered that while Lucrezia was in the convent she became pregnant by Perotto Calderon, a young chamberlain and a messenger of her father. Pedro was a young, handsome Spaniard, and a favorite of the pope. Cesare became furious when he found out Lucrezia was pregnant. He made a thrust at Perotto with drawn sword, and stabbed him as he knelt before the papal throne, that splashed blood on Pope Alexander. About the time Lucrezia was supposed to he given birth to a baby, Perotto was thrown into prison. A few days later his body was found floating in the Tiber along with Lucrezia's chambermaid, who, it was believed, had known Lucrezia and Perottos' (sic) intercourse and supported it." (Dillon, 2004, pp. 142-143)

"While the papal feud was heating up, Lucrezia retired to a nearby convent. She continued communication with her father through his servant by the name of Perotto. Perotto and Lucrezia had committed adultery while in the convent, but this was not discovered until six months later when Lucrezia was to stand before the papal court to prove she was a virgin. Her father's fight against her marriage to Giovanni was that it was never consummated, which would aid the way to annulment. At the time, Lucrezia was pregnant with Perotto's child, yet her brother, Cesare, still declared her a virgin. However, behind the backs of the court, Cesare fumed with rage for he had discovered the opposite: that Lucrezia was not a virgin. He attacked Perotto with a sword and though Perotto was wounded, the servant lived. Cesare had him thrown in prison and a few days later it was reported that Perotto had fallen into the Tiber River. In reality, Perotto had been drowned alongside a maid who was said to have known of Perotto and Lucrezia's love and supported it. Their bodies were found six days later." (Women of Royalty). [Ref1] [Ref2]

3) Pietro Bembo (1470-1547)
Italian scholar, poet, literary theorist & cardinal

". . . While she please her had four children by him, she carried on a romance with the poet Pietro Bembo. Whether it was a physical affair or a platonic romance is not clear, but it temporarily aroused the suspicions of her husband. After Bembo left Ferrara for Venice, his letters to Lucrezia became more formal, and, by 1505, the association was over. Curiously, her relationship with Bembo conferred upon her an artistic sensibility that increased her reputation in Ferrara." (Lucrezia, 1480-1519)

A pawn in her family's ambitions of greed and power.
"Lucrezia was very much an object of political advantage to the Borgia family. . . In arranging marriage alliances between Lucrezia and other important families, the Borgias could gain themselves some powerful allies. Lucrezia's father Rodrigo, and later her brother Cesare, were responsible for pushing Lucrezia into a number of unhappy betrothals and unhappier marriages. At first Rodrigo was vying for support during his Papal campaign, and later he and Cesare sought together to strengthen Borgia family connections. . . . " (The Renaissance Life of Lucrezia Borgia)

Two fiances and three husbands.
". . . By the time Lucrezia was 13 years old she was married, with two unsuccessful betrothals behind her. In her lifetime she was married three times. . . . 

Fiance #1.
". . . Her first fiance was a Spanish nobleman by the name of Don Cherubino de Centelles, a friend of the Borgia family with 25 years to Lucrezia's 10. Sources suggest that at this tender age Lucrezia lost her virginity to Centelles at 'one of the many erotic exhibitions (Wykes) Rodrigo arranged at this court - a dismally young age, especially unfortunate as the betrothal was short lived. . . . 

Fiance #2.
". . . The second suitor was the count of Aversa, Don Gaspero di Procida, 'not a mere Spanish nobleman but a Spanish grandee (Wykes), who would link the Borgia family to the Kings of Aragon. . . (A)nd a few months and 3000 ducats later this second engagement was broken. . . . 

Husband #1.
". . . Lucrezia . . . was presented with a suitor more beneficial to Rodrigo's politics - Giovanni Sforza, a member of one of the most powerful families in Italy. Lucrezia married him on the 12th of June 1493. . . (B)ut the alliance soon outlived its usefulness and divorce proceedings began. The divorce was humiliating for Sforza as it was on the grounds that the marriage was unconsummated after three years and that Lucrezia was still a virign -- at the time Lucrezia was 6 months pregnant with the bastard child of her lover, Pierre Calderon. . . . 

Husband #2.
". . . Lucrezia was married again not long after the divorce to Alfonso of Aragon, but Alfonso was murdered in his room 18 months after the pair married: it is widely known that Cesare Borgia was responsible. . . . 

Husband #3.
" . . . To strengthen the alliance with France, Alfonso had to be removed and Lucrezia married into the French nobility (consequently Lucrezia married Alfonso d'Este, some time later, and maintained a long standing, if not rapturously happy, marriage. . . . " (The Renaissance Life of Lucrezia Borgia)

References for Lucrezia Borgia
Marie-Jeanne-Baptiste de Savoie

Wife of Carlo Emanuele of Savoy.

"Her personal attractions were doubtless very great. In earlier years the Marquise de Villars, wife of the French ambassador, who was far from being amicably disposed to either the Duke or Madame Royale, wrote to M. de Pomponne, 'This small and disunited Court is governed by a very beautiful and charming Sovereign'; and again on another occasion Madame de Villars said: 'Madame Royale is a most attractive person both in looks and manner.' Probably these flattering remarks from the Ambassadress were written previous to th e dispute between the two ladies, which resulted in the Ambassador's recall to Paris. . . ." (The Romance of Savoy: Victor Amadeus II and his Stuart Bride: 127)

Her lovers were:
1) Carlo Francesco di Valperga, Conte di Masino (1657?-1715)
Lover in 1681.

"On assuming power in 1684, Victor Amadeus banished his mother's reputed lover, the conte di Masino, to his estates and subsequently exiled him to Milan for life. . . ." ((Victor Amadeus II: Absolutism in the Savoyard State, 1676-1730:246)

" . . . In 1680, Masino was roughly twenty-three, Maria Giovanna Battista thirty-six. His rise to favour coincided with a change in the staff of government. Masino was a nephew of Carlo Emanuele Filiberto di Simiane, marchese di Pianezza, who replaced the M=marquis de Saint-Maurice as first minister. Madama Reale, thus, changed lovers and ministers, replacing the father and son by an uncle and nephew. The Simiane family was closely attached to the House of Savoy, and it was thus clear that Maria Giovanna Battita was choosing both her lovers and her ministers from a very tight, inter-related group of families." (Queenship in Europe, 1660-1815: The Role of the Consort: 34)

2) Charles-Christian de Chabot, Comte de Saint-Maurice 1656-1712)
Lover in 1677-1681.

" . . . In 1677 she nominated Francois-Thomas de Chabod, marquis de Saint-Maurice, as her leading minister, a move which signalled a form of tacit acknowledgement of his 21-year-old son, Charles-Christian, comte de Saint-Maurice, as her lover. Madama Reale was thirty-three. This relationship lasted only some four years, and with the disgrace of the entire Saint-Maurice family, Charles-Christian was distanced from Court on a number of diplomatic missions of courtesy. With this cooling of relations, both politically and emotionally, a new favourite had emerged: Carlo Francesco di Valperga, conte di Masino (: 33-34)

". . . As her chief advisers she chose . . . the marquis de Saint-Maurice, until recently ambassador to France, and an intimate of many of the powerful figures at Versailles. Most observers connected the choice of Saint-Maurice to the special favours the regent accorded his son, rumoured to be her lover. His ascendancy was to last four years, until the younger Saint-Maurice was displaced by a new favourite, the conte di Masino, while his father was succeeded by a new chief minister, the marchese di Pianezza, Masino's uncle. . . ." (Victor Amadeus II: Absolutism in the Savoyard State, 1676-1730: 79)
Marguerite-Louise d'Orleans
Grand Duchess of Tuscany
Grand Duchess of Tuscany.

Daughter of: Gaston de FranceDuc 'Orleans & Marguerite de Lorraine.

Wife of: Cosimo III de' MediciGrand Duca di Toscana.

Her lovers were:

2) Comte de Lovigny
Marie-Adelaide de Savoie

Daughter of: Vittorio Amedeo II de Savoia & Anne-Marie d'Orleans.

Wife of: Louis de France, Dauphin, Duc de Bourgogne. mar 1697

Her lovers were:

1) Louis-Armand de BrichanteauMarquis de Nangis (1682-1742)

Son of: Louis-Fauste de Brichanteau, Marquis de Nangis & Marie-Henriette d'Aloigny

Husband of: Marie-Marguerite Fortin de La Hoguette, daughter of Charles Fortin, Marquis de La Hoguette mar 1705.

"One of the most fascinating cavaliers of the Court at this time was the Marquis de Nangis, who, though only about the same age as the Duc de Bourgogne, was already a past-master in the art of gallantry. His popularity with the ladies was immense. To an agreeable, if not strikingly handsome face, a fine figure, and charming manners, he joined a reputation for great personal courage, which he had gained during the campaigns of 1701 and 1702, and 'a discretion which was beyond his years, and did not belong to his time.'" (A Rose of Savoy: 307)

"The Marquis of Nangis, born the same year as Bourgogne, had 'a pleasant enough countenance' and carried himself well, but physically he was nothing out of the ordinary. It was his special gift of intimacy which appealed' he was said to have learned the knack of pleasing the ladies from his mother and grandmother, famous intriguers both, and 'past mistresses' in the arts of love. As it happened, Nangis had a mistress of his own, the Marquise de La Vrilliere, but he certainly seems to have found time to enjoy a delightful flirtation with Adelaide, especially when he returned to court from campaigning as a wounded man, a subject therefore for both pity and admiration." (Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King: 274)

"...A Nangis, who was more plausibly reported to have been the lover of the duchesse de Bourgogne (hence of a woman in line to become queen of France), served heroically in his youth, though he would live to become a lackluster marshal of France. In his prime, however, his amorous exploits were rivaled only by his exploits on the field of battle...." (Ladurie & Fitou, 2001, p. 48)(Maugras, 1895, p. 107)

"The Dauphine never cared for the Duc de Richelieu, although he boasted of the contrary, and was sent to the Bastille for it. She was a coquette, and chatted with all the young men: but if she loved any of them it was Nangis, who commanded the King's regiment. She had commanded him to pretend to be in love with little La Vrilliere, who, though not so pretty nor with so good a presence as the Dauphine, had a better figure and was a great coquette... The Duke of Burgundy never imagined that his wife thought of Nangis, although it was visible to all the world besides that she did. As he was very much attached to Nangis, he believed firmly that his wife only behaved civilly to him on his account; and he was besides convinced that his favourite had at the same time an affair of gallantry with Madame la Vrilliere." (Duchesse d'Orleans, 2004, p. 104)

2) Duc de Fronssac.

3) Marquis de Maulevrier.

"The Marquis de Maulevrier was a much more dangerous prospect: coarser than the easygoing Nangis but also cleverer. Ten years older than Adelaide, a nephew of Colbert, he was married to one of the daughters of Tesse, the former ambassador to Savoy. Maulevrier seems to have been stung to envy by Nangis's ease of access to the Duchess, and contrived to 'lose' his voice, thus enabling him to whisper sweet but hoarse nothings in Adelaide's ear. It all ended in tragedy: Maulevrier, an unbalanced character, became violently jealous of Nangis, whom he abused. Angered by rejection, he threatened to tell everything to the King and Madame de Maintenon. In the end he committed suicide at Easter 1706." (Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King: 274)

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