%% Administrivia/ZeroContextExample entries are not allowed on wiki pages. All such entries have been commented out. Add context to the entries before uncommenting them.

%% There is now a page for the European series "Borgia" at Series/Borgia. Please move any tropes on "The Borgias" and its subpages that apply specifically to that series over to the new page.

[[caption-width-right:283:[[Film/HistoryOfTheWorldPartI It's good to be the Pope]].]]

->''"Now we are in the power of a wolf, and if we do not flee, he will inevitably devour us."''
-->-- '''Giovanni de' Medici'''

Having had such a big success with ''Series/TheTudors'', Creator/{{Showtime}} has continued the theme of sexy period drama by turning to another turbulent period of history, and another notorious family. Stage left; enter the Borgias.

The Borgias, or at least this particular branch of the family, have become a byword for corruption and decadence. It doesn't help that the head of the family, Rodrigo, is often believed to have bought, murdered, and blackmailed his way into the papacy. Or that he had a string of mistresses well into his sixties, despite the fact that he was, you know, a cardinal and then Pope. Or that he installed at least one of them in the Vatican itself. Or that he also had at least four acknowledged children, again despite the cardinal and Pope schtick. Or that one of his sons, Cesare, was a MagnificentBastard in every sense of the word. Or that his daughter, Lucrezia, has something of a reputation as a poisoner and a ''femme fatale''. Or that one of her husbands accused her of committing incest with her father and brother. Or that Cesare is rumored to have killed his brother, Giovanni, and either murdered or ordered the murder of his sister's second husband. Or that...

Well, you get the picture. Let's not even start on [[APartyAlsoKnownAsAnOrgy 'The Banquet of the Chestnuts']]. To be fair, the Borgias had many enemies and faced much more scrutiny than was typical of the time due to xenophobia, some of the stuff written about them was quite possibly exaggerated, expanded upon, or possibly even made up, to demonize them. This does not, however, mean that they were nice people. Even by the standards of the time, they weren't. Considering the world they lived in - let's be honest, Rome in the 15th century had corruption up to the ears - they couldn't afford to be.

In other words, sex, plots, betrayal, hypocrisy, the Catholic Church, exaggeration and fabrication of historical facts--the ''perfect'' recipe for a TV show!

All this is portrayed in the series and then some. Creator/JeremyIrons has top billing as [[UsefulNotes/PopeAlexanderVI Pope Alexander VI]], and the series debuted in April 2011. It has garnered some of the highest ratings on Showtime, and was renewed for a second, and then a third season. Shortly before the end of the third season, Showtime announced they were canceling the series. Plans for a TV movie to wrap up the series were shelved due to the expense of the project, with the proposed script being released as an e-book instead.

Not to be confused with a 1980 series, also called ''The Borgias'', which was produced by Creator/TheBBC. That version was one in a series of failures by the BBC to create "the new ''Series/IClaudius''".

Not to be confused either with ''Series/{{Borgia}}'', the European 2011 version produced by Canal+ and created by Tom Fontana from ''Series/{{Oz}}''.

!!This series provides examples of:

* AcquiredPoisonImmunity: In "Day of Ashes" Giuliano della Rovere gives his chosen assassin doses of cantarella poison to give him a limited immunity - the idea being that the assassin will live just long enough to taste the poison and give it to Rodrigo. While it is possible to acquire some sort of immunity against cantarella (an arsenic compound), it would not lead to death as quickly as shown in the series (see PerfectPoison). Most poisons had to be given in high doses to be deadly and would reveal themselves through bitter taste, which the taster was supposed to detect and report.
* AdaptedOut: Leonardo da Vinci doesn't appear in the show at all (though his work is seen and he has something of a WrittenInAbsence), despite having been connected to the Borgias in real life. It's a bizarre omission considering the vast array of other historical figures that were written into the show in [[ArtisticLicenseHistory very different ways from their actual history]].
** Isabella d'Este, wife of Francesco Gonzaga, was one of the most important women of Renaissance and even defined "The First Lady of the world". She was, however, cut out and in her place there is the fictional Bianca Gonzaga. As Leonardo, Isabella was connected to the Borgia: she later became Lucrezia's sister in law, and Lucrezia had a relationship with Isabella's husband.
* AffablyEvil:
** How Creator/JeremyIrons played Rodrigo Borgia, to a tee.
** This impression is only furthered by the fact that he's one of the least ''all-around'' evil people in the show! It's hard to not feel a ''little'' sympathetic toward a character who clearly loves his children this much and who allows the persecuted Spanish Jews safe haven.
** In the second season, he is shown to be genuinely horrified by the poverty in UsefulNotes/{{Rome}}, and is openly furious with the Cardinal responsible for charity for having three palaces while the citizens starve. Generally speaking, Rodrigo is nice to anyone he doesn't ''need'' to be nasty to, and is sincere when he says that he plans to make Rome great again and make sure its common people share the glory. Which doesn't stop him from ruthlessly torturing, murdering, or poisoning people who oppose him. He lives somewhere between AffablyEvil, AntiHero, and AntiVillain.
** It also helps that he's a lot more progressive than many of the 'non evil' characters. Not just in his treatment of Jews (which at least had a self-serving aspect to it), but he also has no qualms appointing Giulia Fornese in charge of his finances and thoroughly stomping down on the opposition to it from his cardinals - or rather, letting her stomp down on it for herself. He also doesn't share many of the toxic attitudes towards women and doesn't think of his daughter or wife or mistresses as being lesser in intellect.
* AmicablyDivorced: Vannozza and Theo are the 15th century version of this; he's retired to a farm paid for by Rodrigo in exchange for allowing Vannozza to do as she pleases. Vannozza and Rodrigo also have this sort of relationship once he becomes Pope.
* AnachronismStew:
** In "The Beautiful Deception" Rodrigo is worried because Lucrezia's refusal to nurse imperils her baby's health. In real life, there were wet nurses available.
** This was actually dealt with in the show. Rodrigo insisted that Lucrezia give the child to a wet nurse because her 'figure needed to be preserved' for future marriage negotiations. Lucrezia defied him and stubbornly continued to nurse her child. When, grief-stricken, she refused to feed, the maid told Rodrigo that the child was refusing to feed from a wet nurse as he had 'gotten too used to his mother's breast.' Thus, it was Lucrezia or starvation. Of course, whether a baby would care where the source of his milk was coming from to that extent, is another matter.
** Also, there's no way the Borgias would have publicly acknowledged any illegitimate child of Lucrezia's. Her main value to the family, politically, was in her marriageability, which would have been seriously damaged by the scandal of a son out of wedlock. Nor would she have had the freedom to choose her second husband as she does in the show; the main object of such marriages was to secure alliances, money and/or other political advantages, with the feelings of the bride ranking very low on the list of priorities.
** The 2011 Canal version - Borgia - dealt with this much more realistically, with Rodrigo confining Lucrezia to her apartments without servants and only her mother to deal with her needs during her pregnancy and then giving the child to rural peasants when it was born and demanding Lucrezia forget it. Of course, she didn't. She made several attempts to retrieve the child until finally Cesare, unable to deal with his sister's misery any longer, stole back the child and made a public announcement that it was his son. The product of a one night stand with a maid who had died in childbirth. He further declared that as his duties precluded his caring for his son, he was giving him to his sister in guardianship. Thus neatly solving the issue.
** Another anachronism, in the first episode, Handel's Coronation anthem, "Zadok the Priest," is played during Rodrigo's coronation as Pope. This Coronation theme, the traditional theme for the crowning of British Monarchs, however, was written in the 1720's, nearly 250 years after the events of the shows.
* AndThereWasMuchRejoicing:
** Subverted when Rodrigo finds out about the death of [[spoiler: [[WorthyOpponent King Charles]]]]. Cardinals Sforza and Piccolomini are in high spirits, but Rodrigo quickly rebukes them and orders them each to recite three dozen rosaries for the soul of the deceased.
** Played with by the death of [[spoiler: Juan]] - while Rodrigo is beside himself with grief, none of his other children are particularly saddened, and even Vannozza says that while she didn't wish for [[spoiler: Juan's]] death, she has wished many times that [[spoiler: he had never been born]].
* AnguishedDeclarationOfLove: [[spoiler: Lucrezia]] gives one to [[spoiler: Cesare]] during a tearful fight.
* AnnoyingYoungerSibling: Juan is this to Cesare. As François Arnaud put it in a recent interview, "Cesare profoundly believes that his brother is an idiot." A belief which is frequently borne out.
* AntiHero: Rodrigo isn't overly malevolent; he rarely gives the order for an assassination, and seems to love his family, placing him somewhere around type IV. Cesare is soundly type IV, but quickly heading toward type V and hitting it officially in "The Confession".
* ArrangedMarriage:
** All of the Borgia children, save Cesare, but poor Lucrezia really gets the worst of it.
** Cesare, too, as he was ordered to marry a French princess to cement negotiations between the Vatican and the French king. Rodrigo wasn't too concerned which princess, just so long as there was one. To be fair, Cesare didn't much care either and he didn't seem too displeased with the one he ended up with.
* ArsonMurderAndAdmiration: Cesare is deeply impressed by how well Giuliano della Rovere has managed to evade the Borgia assassins, kill one of them himself, and nearly had his father deposed. He [[VillainTeamUp offers to team up]], because della Rovere is the one man who can stand up to Rodrigo and keep him in line. della Rovere, unfortunately, declines.
* ArtisticLicenseHistory:
** All over the place. It's to be expected, since the show is produced by the same company that made ''Series/TheTudors,'' which was known for not inviting realism over for tea.
** For one, the Siege of Lucca never happened (RuleOfDrama, of course, but with the city whose walls still exist and are one of the greatest example of urban fortification?).
** The presence of Machiavelli is an example too; the time frame isn't very clear after the 1492 title in the pilot episode, but most of the events depicted took place between 1492 and 1496 in real life. Machiavelli was elected head of the Second Chancery in 1498 and didn't hold any political position in Florence before that. Then again, the show seems to be under the impression that he worked for the Medici, so the year alone isn't the only bit of artistic license (in reality they were his arch enemies who had him imprisoned and tortured-many think he wrote his infamous book ''Literature/ThePrince'' in part as veiled criticism of them).
** Juan Borgia never laid siege to Forli. Cesare did, successfully, and that siege is shown in series finale "The Prince".
** It's safe to say that ''The Borgias''' setting is more like an alternative universe than a historical one.
** The page quote, allegedly attributed to Giovanni di Lorenzo de' Medici and also paraphrased, is in fact a common and incorrect misquotation. What he actually said was;
-->''"Flee, we are in the clutches of the world"''
** Also notable is the manner in which Cesare and Micheletto first meet. In fact, the two were friends from childhood and had attended university together in Pisa. Far from the lowly origins his fictional character is portrayed as having, the historical Miquel de Corella was the bastard son of a nobleman from Valencia.
* AsYouKnow:
** In "The Beautiful Deception", Rodrigo tells Juan that Juan must go back to "our ancestral homeland, Spain". Presumably Juan knows where his family comes from.
** Especially considering how much verbal abuse the entire family has suffered for being Spaniards in Rome.
* AskAStupidQuestion: After Lucrezia and Giulia Farnese's flight, Giovanni Sforza whips Paolo asking him where they're heading. Well, ''genius'', one is the Pope's daughter and the other the Pope's mistress. Maybe, just maybe, they're going to Rome?
* AwesomeMomentOfCrowning:
** When Rodrigo becomes Pope.
** Charles gets one when Rodrigo crowns him King of France and Naples.
* AwfulTruth: As soon as [[spoiler: Cesare]] says that he needs to confess before [[spoiler: telling him who killed Juan]], Rodrigo knows that something terrible is afoot.
* BabiesMakeEverythingBetter: Lucrezia says in "The Prince" that another child is the only thing that would make her happy and implies that she wants [[spoiler: Cesare]] to impregnate her.
* BackToBackBadasses: Juan claims this happened with him and his men during the battle at Forlì, but it was a lie.
* BadassGay: Micheletto is basically in Cesare's employ to torture or assassinate anyone who are an inconvenience to him. He definitely turns this trope UpToEleven.
* TheBaroness: Caterina Sforza, who is implied to be [[TheChessmaster the brains]] behind the entire Sforza family.
* BathSuicide: [[spoiler: Cardinal Versucci]], having successfully disbursed the money and properties he raided from the Vatican treasury, kills himself in this way in "The Banquet of Chestnuts".
* BatmanGambit: Rodrigo sends the French forces to take over their new kingdom of Naples... where TheBlackDeath is waiting.
* BeardOfEvil: Both Ludovico and Giovanni Sforza. Cardinal della Rovere grows one for season 2.
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor:
** Ursula asks Cesare to "liberate" her from her husband... and when he [[MurderTheHypotenuse does]], she suffers a massive FreakOut and becomes a nun.
** At the start of the series' final episode, "The Prince," Lucrezia tells [[spoiler: Cesare]] that she is tired of being pushed away by him. By the end of the episode, [[spoiler: he has murdered her husband against her wishes, and claimed her as his exclusive property]].
* BerserkButton:
** Threaten Lucrezia in front of [[KnightTemplarBigBrother Cesare]], I dare you. For that matter, don't [[EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas call his mom a whore]], either.
** Don't lie to Vannozza, or tell her that the Pope has to be chaste and then turn around and start sleeping with another woman.
** Lucrezia's continuing circus of suitors in season two seems to raise Rodrigo's blood pressure.
* BewareTheNiceOnes:
** Lucrezia, Paolo the stable boy, and Francesca the maid have all suffered at Giovanni Sforza's hands, so they team up to make sure he himself suffers (in this case, a fall that immobilizes him).
** Lucrezia nearly killing [[spoiler: Juan after he murdered Paolo]] definitely counts as this, especially considering it only failed due to dumb luck.
* {{BFG}}: King Charles of France and his cannons. Caterina Sforza inherits them from him later.
* BigBrotherAttraction: Well, Lucrezia and Cesare start out as this.
* TheBigDamnKiss: [[spoiler: Cesare]] gives one to [[spoiler: Lucrezia]] in "Siblings". Though they'd already played with the relationship in previous scenes, the kiss changes everything permanently and leaves both of them very visibly shaken.
* BigScrewedUpFamily: The Borgias would count more if there were more than six of them. The Sforzas definitely do.
* BirthDeathJuxtaposition: In "Nessuno", [[spoiler: scenes of the Black Plague-ravaged corpses of Naples are intercut with Lucrezia giving birth to her son and the entire extended Borgia family - Giulia and Ursula as well - gathered together]].
* BittersweetEnding: For the series as a whole: [[spoiler: The Borgias outgambit all their foes (including Cardinal Della Rovere and The Sforza Family) and stand in the height of the power, rulling Italy unmatched. However, by this point, Cesare [[TheSociopath has lost all traces of humanity he ever had]] and became a power-hungry madman, Lucrezia has been [[BreakTheCutie completely ravaged by misery]] and [[CorruptTheCutie lost her innocence]], Rodrigo's [[AmbitionIsEvil ambition]] caused both [[TheDutifulSon Cesare]] and [[DaddysGirl Lucrezia]] to become stranded from him and Vanozza. The family won politically, but emotionally, they have hit rock bottom permanently.]] Might count as a DownerEnding, depending on the viewer.[[labelnote:*]]It gets worse if you know history: Rodrigo's dream of building a papal dynasty was never accomplished, and three years after the events of the third season, Rodrigo dies poisoned, Cesare is outgambitted by Della Rovere, The Borgia family is stripped of all lands, titles and political power it could ever have by UsefulNotes/PopeJuliusII[=/=]Cardinal Della Rovere, Cesare and Micheletto are both murdered in skirmishes, and Lucrezia dies at childbirth not too long thereafter.[[/labelnote]]
* TheBlackDeath: Ravages Naples in "Nessuno".
%% * BlatantLies: Too many to count.
* BlingOfWar:
** Juan's fancy armor.
** Cesare's getting some similarly fancy armor in season 3.
%% * BlondeBrunetteRedhead: Lucrezia, Vannozza, and Giulia.
* BloodFromTheMouth: "The Moor." Again in Season 2's finale “The Confession” with [[spoiler: Antonello]] and [[spoiler: Rodrigo]].
* BloodIsSquickerInWater: [[spoiler: Micheletto's failed assassination of Cardinal della Rovere in Naples]] results in this, [[spoiler: as he garrotes an unfortunate mook who attacks him after he is recognised by the target.]]
* BloodKnight:
** King Charles, though subverted in that while he enjoys battles and war, he doesn't get involved in the actual fighting and killing. He also does have some feelings of remorse, if not for making war, but for reveling in it.
** Caterina Sforza has shades of this, considering her offer to join Charles in "bathing in the blood of the Borgia Pope".
** Bonus points for the fact that she seemed dead serious, so much so that Charles doesn't look sure if he's repulsed or turned on.
* BondOneLiner: Giuliano della Rovere takes out two highwaymen who threaten him and the nun he is traveling with and says "Forgive me sister, sometimes goodness needs the help of a little badness."
* BookBurning: Book, art, fine clothing, furniture and [[ItMakesSenseInContext taxidermied owl]] burning, as the Bonfire of the Vanities takes place in the episode "The Siege at Forli."
* TheBookCipher: This is how Pascal passes info to his Sforza masters.
* BookEnds:
** Season 2 begins and ends with poisonings.
** Lucrezia's marriage to Giovanni Sforza begins and ends with him being [[HumiliationConga humiliated]] - although the first is only in his head, while the last is a deliberate set-up to vilify and embarrass him as much as possible.
** Season 3 begins and ends with Lucrezia using her knowledge of poisons to help a loved one.
* BreadAndCircuses: Part of the Pope's plan to bring Rome to glory.
%% * BreakTheCutie: Poor, poor Lucrezia.
* BridalCarry:
** Cesare carrying the sleeping Lucrezia to bed on her wedding night.
** He does it again after she faints during the discovery of [[spoiler: Paolo's corpse]].
* BrotherSisterIncest:
** Long contested [[spoiler: and now canon in season 3]].
** Francois Arnaud confirmed in an interview that on an emotional level, Cesare and Lucrezia have been romantically in love with one another from the first episode, even if the relationship is not yet physical.
** [[http://www.tvrage.com/The_Borgias/episodes/1065136935/recap Many]] [[http://www.examiner.com/review/review-the-borgias-the-choice-saves-the-best-for-last viewers]] [[http://heydontjudgeme.com/2012/05/07/the-borgias-205-the-choice/ apparently]] thought that Micheletto's secret hometown lover Augustino was his ''brother'' because of the familiar way Micheletto's mother greeted him when he strolled into her home. This is never stated, however (and they look nothing alike), and are much more likely [[UnluckyChildhoodFriend childhood friends]] or NotBloodSiblings at the most.
* BurnTheWitch: How peasants kill time in Florence in "World of Wonders".
* BusCrash: At the start of "Truth and Lies," we learn that [[spoiler: King Charles]] is dead after [[DroppedABridgeOnHim bumping his head on a doorway]]. TruthInTelevision as well!
* CainAndAbel:
** Cesare and Juan. In the end [[spoiler: utterly played straight, complete with Cesare asking if he's to be his brother's keeper.]]
** Ironically enough, the first attempt on Juan's life comes from ''[[spoiler:Lucrezia]]'', who was turned into a Cain when Juan [[spoiler: murdered Paolo.]]
* CallBack: [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge "I promised my sister your heart on a dinner plate!"]]
** By the end of the second season, it's become one of the show's trademarks. [[spoiler: in 1x06, Cesare says that he was born with the Mark of Cain. In 2x09, he asks if he's to be his brother's keeper... right before killing said brother.]]
* CaptainsLog: During season one, Johannes Burchard narrates many of the happenings on the show through a voice over of his record keeping. He returns in season three to make a record of the Banquet of the Chestnuts.
* CatapultNightmare: Rodrigo in "The Borgias in Love", dreaming of Lucrezia.
* CheeseEatingSurrenderMonkeys: Probably the most spectacularly grisly aversion in recent memory. The French characters in this show are ''defined'' by how pitiless and terrifying they are as opponents in warfare.
* ChekhovsGunman: The naked young lady in Rodrigo's bath in "The Borgia Bull"? We find out three episodes later in "Stray Dogs" she is Duchessa Bianca de Gonzaga of Milan, and allied with the Sforza family.
* ChildrenAreInnocent: Gioffre is completely unaware of what goes around him. Lucrezia too, [[CorruptTheCutie at least at first]].
* ChristianityIsCatholic: TruthInTelevision in Italy both then and now.
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome: Gioffre is nowhere to be seen and isn't even mentioned in season 2 (except for one oblique reference when Lucrezia talks to Cesare about their "brothers"); in season 3, Rodrigo refers to Cesare as "my only son." Unsurprisingly, the same is true of Gioffre's wife Sancia.
* TheClan: 15th-century Italy abounds with them; the city-states are all constantly dealing with FeudingFamilies, and it's this atmosphere into which the Borgias (who are too small a family to count themselves) enter as outsiders. The most prominent family is the Sforzas, of whom we have already met four members ([[TheBaroness Caterina]], [[TheDragon Ascanio]], Ludovico and Giovanni).
* {{Cliffhanger}}: Averted in the first season. The second season featured a classic Cliffhanger.
* CompositeCharacter: Theo is an amalgam of two of Vanozza's four RealLife husbands (none of which were named Theo) while Alfonso seems to combine the historical King Alfonso II of Naples and his two surviving sons [[spoiler: one of whom eventually married Lucrezia]].
* {{Confessional}}: Apparently a place to meet up with your girlfriend, plot with your partners in crime, and occasionally murder someone.
* TheConsigliere: Machiavelli to the Medici. Vannozza to the rest of her family, as well as Giulia.
* ConstantlyCurious: Gioffre's curiosity provides his doting father Rodrigo with an opportunity for an {{Infodump}} in which Rodrigo explains to him (and the viewers) what all the petty kingdoms on the Italian peninsula are, and how they're fitting into the power struggle.
* CorruptChurch:
** However bad Rodrigo may be, imagine how messed up the religious system that allowed him to come to power is.
** Considering the time period and the sort of environment that would lead to the Reformation, this is (for some, sadly) TruthInTelevision.
** Indulgences, the practice that more than any other brought on the Reformation, are instituted by Rodrigo in the third season. If you want absolution you have to pay.
* CorruptTheCutie: Lucrezia is gradually becoming a case of this, after her marriage to Giovanni Sforza. It's not her fault, but with a BigScrewedUpFamily like hers, corruption's kind of unavoidable.
%% * CostumePorn
%% * CountryMatters: "Source of disquiet."
* ColdBloodedTorture:
** Cesare and Micheletto love this. Perhaps a little too much.
** Of course, one could say any amount of love is too much, especially when Micheletto's first two solutions to any problem seem to be either torture or murder.
** Under the reign of the Borgias, the Castel Sant'angelo has been turned into a torture chamber. Cardinal Sforza introduces Cardinal [=DeLuca=] to it in "The Purge".
* CoveredInMud: In "The Moor", assassin Micheletto goes to a sauna and has himself covered in mud as a disguise.
* CuffsOffRubWrists:
** Prince Alfonso of Naples after King Charles has him unshackled in "The Borgia Bull". Things do not go well for him afterwards.
** Caterina Sforza after Cesare uncuffs her in series finale "The Prince".
* CurbStompBattle:
** Theo is on the losing end of one from Juan, who is pissed off that people are gossiping that he's Theo's son instead of Rodrigo's. Vannozza is not pleased and throws him out of her house, and Rodrigo gives him a blistering [[TheReasonYouSuckSpeech Reason You Suck Speech]] before slapping him and ordering him to beg forgiveness from his mother.
** The city state of Lucca receives one from the French armies, who tore down the city fortifications with their cannon and slaughtered the population of the city. After they surrendered.
** The French take out the first line of the Roman Army (who they already outnumber massively) with a single cannon salvo, and the only thing that stops them from completely wiping it out is Lucrezia's intervention.
* CutApart: At the end of the episode 'Siblings' we are led to believe that [[spoiler: Lucrezia is sneaking into her husband, Alfonso's, bedroom, while he is in his bed crying. When she climbs onto the bed and he turns in surprise, we see that she it's actually Cesare, and Alfonso is in another bedroom, alone.]]
* CutShort: The show, when a variety of factors--low ratings, high budget, Neil Jordan's flagging interest--caused it to end after Season 3. The fourth season presumably would have dealt with Rodrigo's death, followed by Della Rovere becoming Pope and destroying Cesare.
%% * DaddysGirl: Lucrezia to Rodrigo.
* DanceOfRomance: In "The Moor," Lucrezia and Djem share a dance that starts out fun and playful, then becomes more and more intense. Also, Lucrezia's dance with Cesare seems to be this as well during the season two finale, which their mother and her fiance seem to notice.
%% * DancesAndBalls
%% * DatingCatwoman: Cesare and Caterina Sforza.
* DeadGuyOnDisplay: Ask King Ferrante of Naples about his "Last Supper".
%% * DeadlyDecadentCourt
* DeadpanSnarker:
** Machiavelli. Rodrigo upon occasion as well, especially in the latter half of the first season.
** Also Cardinal Ascanio Sforza. Most of the time you get the feeling that he's vaguely mocking everything, yet his expression and tone rarely change.
* DeadStarWalking: We hope you didn't come into this show for [[spoiler: Derek Jacobi]].
* DidYouJustHaveSex?: A rather creepy version in which Rodrigo [[spoiler: incorrectly]] judges from Lucrezia's smile and blush that her wedding night was all she had hoped it would be. She did have great sex;[[spoiler: just with her brother rather than her husband.]]
* DirtyCoward: Juan runs away from "The Siege of Forlì" after the Sforza army defeats his.
%% * DomesticAbuser: Giovanni Sforza and Baron Bonadeo.
* DoubleAgent: In the first episodes Micheletto serves Cesare and Giuliano della Rovere simultaneously.
* DowryDilemma: The family needs to arrange a politically favourable marriage for Lucrezia but is lacking the money for a dowry. They engage in political murder-for-hire to raise the money.
* TheDragon: Micheletto to Cesare.
** Cesare and Ascanio Sforza to Rodrigo. Though Ascanio is a DragonWithAnAgenda. And by the end of series 2, Cesare is DragonInChief.
** Machiavelli to the House of Medici.
** Giovanni Sforza might be this to [[TheChessmaster Caterina]], depending on how much she depends on him. Alternatively, he may just be TheBrute.
* DramaticDeadpan: [[ProfessionalKiller Micheletto]] is utterly matter-of-fact when he informs Cesare that he [[spoiler:murdered his own father]], and Cesare's reaction is equally unfazed.
* DuelToTheDeath: Cesare kills his [[spoiler: girlfriend Ursula's husband]] in "The Borgias In Love". He uses this trope to justify the killing, claiming there was no murder.
* DreamSequence: Rodrigo keeps dreaming of Lucrezia after her marriage to Giovanni Sforza.
* DreamingOfThingsToCome: Savonarola, relating the future French invasion.
* TheDutifulSon: Cesare turns reluctantly being this into an art. [[spoiler: Not so much anymore.]]

* EnfantTerrible: Juan thinks that Giovanni is the result of an incestuous union between Cesare and Lucrezia--and will therefore kill them all.
* EqualOpportunityEvil: Rodrigo, in a way. He has no problem with letting innocent Jews banished from Spain emigrate to Rome, something which appalls his fellow Catholics. However, the Jews aren't his {{mooks}}, like the trope usually implies. They're just desperate immigrants. In Season 2, he has no problem giving tasks of great importance to women, and again ignores the complaints about it. In Season 3 he enlists the leader of the Jewish community in Rome as one of his minions.
* EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas:
** Do ''not'' insult Cesare's mother Vannozza by, say, calling her a Spanish whore. It will simply get your throat cut.
** In "The Choice", we meet Micheletto's mother. It's safe to say that she's the one person who can pinch his cheeks and call him a sweet boy.
%% * EverybodyHasLotsOfSex
* EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys: In "Paolo", Cardinal della Rovere gets a monkey to taste his food to make sure it isn't poisoned. The irony of doing exactly what Cesare did in the first episode is not lost on him.
* EyeOpen: Savonarola in "The Borgias in Love".
* EyeScream: Micheletto treats us to some by jamming his thumbs into a guard's eyes, ''underwater'', in Naples ("The Moor").
** One of Cesare's agents, posing as a monk, also gets stabbed in the eye by della Rovere.
* FallingChandelierOfDoom: Lucrezia rigs one to fall on Juan as revenge but the random girl he's having sex with at the time ends up being an unintentional human shield.
* {{Fanservice}}:
** Topless Creator/LotteVerbeek in a lot of episodes.
** Almost-naked David Oakes in "Death on a Pale Horse".
** Shirtless Luke Pasqualino. Twice.
** Tons of topless prostitutes throughout.
* {{Fainting}}: Lucrezia faints during a confrontation in season three where she discovers that all her plotting resulted in the crowning of a king who did not have her or her family's best interests at heart.
* FatalFlaw: Every single Borgia has one: Rodrigo's blind love for his children; Juan's desperate insecurity; Cesare's ambition/obsessiveness/bloodlust... oh, pick one; Lucrezia's ultimate loyalty to the men [[MadLove who]] [[LoveMakesYouEvil worship]] [[DaddysLittleVillain her]] (''Cesare'').
%% * FauxAffablyEvil: Cesare, more and more each episode.
* FemaleGaze: Oh, Cesare. The best example would be his slow-motion shirt-stripping scene in 3x05, done as several women watch giggling. It comes complete with a striptease-esque glance at [[spoiler: his wife]]. It's made pretty clear that he knows his effect on women and the camera pays attention to that.
* FemmeFatale:
** Lucrezia may turn out to be this.
** Caterina Sforza, who has an ''incredibly'' easy time seducing [[spoiler: Cesare]]. Twice.
** The French queen sees Charlotte d'Albret as this, but mostly, she's a perfect match for [[spoiler: her eventual husband]] Cesare.
* FiveBadBand:
** BigBad / EvilGenius: Rodrigo. Vannozza is starting to become another EvilGenius.
** TheDragon: Cesare and Ascanio Sforza.
** TheBrute: Juan and Micheletto (who is also Cesare's {{Dragon}}).
** DarkChick: Lucrezia and Giulia
** Mooks: The papal army.
* FiveBadBand:(Season 2) Cesare seem to build his own little army.
** BigBad: Cesare.
** TheDragon: Micheletto.
** EvilGenius: Machiavelli and Cesare can count as this.
** TheBrute: The other assassins he have recruited in season 2.
* {{Flynning}}: Between the elder Borgia brothers in "The Borgia Bull".
** Possibly justified, in that while they are getting increasingly hostile, they are not really trying to kill each other.
* FollowInMyFootsteps: Cesare wants to be a soldier, but Rodrigo is adamant that his eldest son become a priest like him.
* ForcefulKiss: [[spoiler: Cesare]] gives one to [[spoiler: Lucrezia]] in an attempt to calm her down [[spoiler: after she discovers that she'll have to publicly consummate a marriage she regrets.]]
* ForegoneConclusion:
** For anyone who knows [[Administrivia/SpoilersOff the real history]]. Della Rovere becomes Pope Julius II.
** Amusingly, Giulia Farnese's dopey little brother who can't make sense of the Vatican account books becomes Pope Paul III some thirty years after the timeline of the show.
** Juan dies under mysterious circumstances and his body is found floating in the Tiber.
** Savonarola is burned, after being condemned as heretic.
** Of course, given the liberties the show has been known to take with history, historical facts might not necessarily be Foregone Conclusions.
* {{Foreshadowing}}:
** In "The Poisoned Chalice", Cesare promises Lucrezia the heart of [[spoiler: her "husband" who raped and abused her]] on a dinner plate. By "Day of Ashes", he delivers her [[spoiler: a knife with the blood of husband Giovanni Sforza on it]]. Sans the dinner plate, unfortunately.
*** Although he certainly tried to deliver the heart itself too.
** In "Truth and Lies", Vannozza offhandedly remarks to Rodrigo she'd rather plan a funeral than Lucrezia's betrothal. In "The Confession", she and Cesare are [[spoiler: planning Juan's]], along with Lucrezia's betrothal.
** When Lucrezia astonishes everyone by [[spoiler: immediately accepting the proposal of someone who has just publicly made an {{Adorkable}} fool of himself (because she'd already spent some time with him and knew that he was sweet and harmless)]], Rodrigo happily thinks how remarkable it is that his children can still surprise him. He gets some more surprises, rather nastier ones; firstly, Juan was so hated by everyone that [[spoiler: Rodrigo is the only one to actually mourn his death]], and secondly, [[spoiler: Cesare's ruthlessness has gotten to the point where he can murder his own brother in cold blood.]]
* TheFundamentalist: Savonarola, who not only compares Rome with the Whore of Babylon and accuses Florence of usury, but also condemns wealth, art and comfort.
%% * GeneralFailure: Juan is bad at army stuff.
* GirlOnGirlIsHot: Giulia's strategy to maintain Rodrigo's affections. It worked.
* GoodScarsEvilScars: Just look the assassin in "Lucrezia's Wedding", ''goddamn''.
* GorgeousPeriodDress: It's set in Italy during the Renaissance; elaborate historical clothes are something of a given. Especially for the Pope and, of course, the women.
* GoryDiscretionShot: This show takes an unholy glee in subverting it. The absolute crowner though, must be the demonstration of the French chained cannonballs in "The Art of War", wherein we see soldiers ''bisected''.
* GreyAndGrayMorality: As the show takes place during the power struggles between the rival Italian states and factions of the Renaissance, it fully embraces the moral ambiguity of the period, with few genuine heroes or outright villains. The Borgias don't shy away from using deplorable means to secure their power while continuing to do sympathetic things. Their enemies are not much different, and are defined as villains more for opposing the protagonists of the series than much exceptional vileness compared to the Borgias.
* HairOfGoldHeartOfGold: Lucrezia in season one is the full embodiment of the trope, but less so after [[BreakTheCutie she endured an abusive marriage and became a mother]].
* HeadButtOfLove: Cesare and Lucrezia do this several times.
%% * HeroAntagonist: Giuliano della Rovere.
* HeroicBSOD: [[spoiler:Lucrezia after Paolo's death]].
* HilariousOuttakes: The season 1 blooper reel [[http://youtu.be/jYGH-FEWEp0 has already hit the internet]], and it's hysterical. Watching Creator/JeremyIrons get his dress stepped on and try valiantly (but fail) to keep from dropping a ClusterFBomb in front of a child actor is worth the watch.
* HistoricalBeautyUpdate:
** Apparent, but not to the same degree it was in ''Series/TheTudors''. Except for a few differences in hair color, it's possible to picture that if Renaissance artists painted the actors in costume, they wouldn't look ''too'' dissimilar from their real counterparts, with the notable exception of Rodrigo. Even Creator/JeremyIrons thinks he doesn't look a thing like [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pope_Alexander_Vi.jpg the actual Rodrigo]] and that they probably should have cast someone like James Gandolfini.
** He was rumored by his contemporaries to be one of the most handsome guys around ([[IWasQuiteALooker at least when he was younger]]), much like Cesare later on (minus the syphilis marks). Maybe by the time of the portrait he just didn't care anymore, being pope and all.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Virtually all of the cast. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodrigo_Borgia Rodrigo]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cesare_Borgia Cesare]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucrezia_Borgia Lucrezia]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giovanni_Borgia_(1474) Juan]], and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gioffre_Borgia Gioffre]] Borgia, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vannozza_dei_Cattani Vannozza dei Cattanei]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giulia_Farnese Giulia Farnese]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ascanio_Sforza Ascanio Sforza]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Julius_II Giuliano della Rovere]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludovico_Sforza Ludovico "Il Moro" Sforza]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giovanni_Sforza Giovanni Sforza]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sancha_of_Aragon Sancia of Aragon]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfonso_of_Aragon Prince Alfonso of Naples]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelotto_Corella Michelotto]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niccolò_Machiavelli Niccolò Machiavelli]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_VIII_of_France King Charles VII of France]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girolamo_Savonarola Savonarola]] . . . you get the picture. The only characters that are completely fictional are Ursula Bonadeo (Cesare had ''many'' lovers and killed many people) and Theo (Vannozza had four husbands, none were named Theo or were farmers), as well as servants Maria, Francesca, and Paolo (who is based on a historical servant called Perotto).
* HistoricalInJoke:
** When news of [[spoiler: the death of Prince Alfonso of Naples]] spreads to Rome, Rodrigo laments that he would have been a good match for Lucrezia.
** Cardinal della Rovere names his pet monkey [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Julius_II "Julius"]].
** Lucrezia asking Cesare in "World of Wonders" to "tell me about poison" is this, along with {{foreshadowing}}.
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: In the series Giovanni Sforza is an abusive husband and rapes Lucrezia. In real life Sforza didn't touch Lucrezia for months because she was young and childlike when they married.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard:
** Lucrezia arranges for her DomesticAbuser huntsman husband to have a fall from his horse. When they're setting his broken leg, she tells him to "be brave", thoroughly enjoying the pain he's experiencing for once.
** Charles of France, who wants glory and battle and kills without mercy, is crowned King of Naples by Pope Alexander and sent to his new dominion. [[TheBlackDeath Shame about that plague.]]
** Cardinal Orsini in the first episode.
** Rodrigo, who threatens to support Ludovico Sforza's nephew's claim over Milan if Ludovico cooperates with Cardinal della Rovere. [[WhatAnIdiot While said nephew was prisoner of Ludovico]]. Cut to Ludovico killing the guy and helping della Rovere to prove the point to Rodrigo.
** Cesare, who [[spoiler:murders Giovanni Sforza]], ends up potentially starting a war between [[spoiler:the Sforzas and the Borgias]] and [[spoiler:forcing Lucrezia to marry again]].
%% * HoneyPot: Pascal is one for Micheletto in Season 3.
* HorribleJudgeOfCharacter: Rodrigo suffers a severe case of this post-election.
* HotForPreacher: Ursula. [[spoiler:She ends up entering a nunnery in penance for being accidentally party to said hot preacher's murder of her husband, though.]]
* HumiliationConga: Happens (and deservingly so) to [[spoiler: Giovanni Sforza]] in "Nessuno". The process of [[spoiler: annulling his marriage to Lucrezia]] involves either proving his "potency" in public in front of the entire College of Cardinals (and a ''deeply'' amused Rodrigo) or admitting he's impotent and lying about the consummation of his marriage. He chooses option B and leaves Rome to much mockery from the public, which includes a masked man holding a fruit as a GagPenis, which is then chopped off by another man with a sword.
* HuntingAccident: In "The Wolf and the Lamb", Micheletto offs King Ferdinand of Naples on a hunting expedition, by chucking him into a pool full of hungry lampreys.
%% * TheHyena: Alfonso of Naples.

* IdiotBall: Placing [[RoyalBrat Juan]], a military commander with ''no'' battle experience, at the head of an army cobbled together to face the French (one of the most dominant and ruthless in the world)?! BAD PLAN, [[TooDumbToLive RODRIGO]]. The look on Cesare's face is pretty priceless, as well.
* InadequateInheritor: Basically everyone except [[DotingParent Rodrigo]] considers [[RoyalBrat Juan]] to be this. Although Rodrigo does mention it after Juan [[CurbStompBattle curb-stomps poor Theo]], voicing the popular opinion that Cesare would be better suited to the position and subtly threatening to disinherit Juan if he doesn't apologise and promise to restrain himself in the future.
* IncestSubtext:
** Lucrezia and Cesare. Unsurprisingly, due to the many contemporary allegations.
** Juan speculates about this in "World of Wonders".
** In Season 2 finale "The Confession" Lucrezia asks Cesare a question about marrying her new suitor. Cesare playfully misinterprets it as asking about marrying him, and spins a scenario about moving to some little town and changing their names. Lucrezia corrects him.
* InfantImmortality:
** Subverted with the French invasion of Lucca in "Death on a Pale Horse", where a young girl is skewered by one of the French soldiers.
** And again in "The Choice", when several choirboys are hit by falling masonry after the ceiling of the Lateran basilica caves in.
* InformedAbility: In "The Poisoned Chalice", both Giulia and Lucrezia have their portraits painted by "a new genius" called Pinturicchio. It's blink and you'll miss it, but in "The Moor" we see the portraits he's done on a wall, and they're about as good as the average third grader's.
* InstantSeduction: Gender-flipped--Lucrezia being [[FemmeFatale Lucrezia]]. She manages to get [[spoiler: Cesare]] to go from shocked hesitance to French kissing in about two seconds. [[spoiler: If only the dressmakers hadn't walked in!]]
* InTheBlood:
** Much is made of "Borgia blood", particularly by Giovanni Sforza "forgiving" Lucrezia the sin of her blood and informing her that when France invades Rome, her father, the source of the bad blood, will be deposed and killed.
** After [[spoiler: Paolo's murder]], Lucrezia mentions that he loved her despite her "Borgia blood", and her feelings of guilt suggest that she is starting to believe that her blood might be tainted.
* IronicEcho:
** Savonarola's prophecy in "The Borgias in Love" is echoed in "Death on a Pale Horse", when it finally hits Giuliano della Rovere that Savonarola foresaw the French invasion Giuliano della Rovere himself brought about.
** The reason Giovanni Sforza is such a [[Jerkass]] to [[BreaktheCutie Lucrezia]] is because he regards the events of the wedding party to be "A public [[LargeHam HUMILIATION!]]" His [[HumiliationConga divorce]] ended up teaching the Italian snob the true meaning of "public humiliation".
* {{Irony}}: Juan is one giant walking example. Just to recapitulate: He refuses to marry Sancia because he considers that an illegitimate wife is beneath him, despite being illegitimate himself. He is, in fact, ''terrified'' of the possibility of not being actually Rodrigo's son but of his mother's actual husband and thus legitimate. Confused yet? Then you should know that he has an affair with the same illegitimate woman he refused to marry (who is basically his soul mate), both before and after she is [[BigScrewedUpFamily married to his brother]].
* IsThatWhatTheyreCallingItNow: Rodrigo's politics lesson to Giulia. Her calf is Naples, her knee is Rome, her - er, [[CountryMatters "source of disquiet"]] is France, and he's about to "invade France".
* ItsAlwaysSpring:
** While remaining deliberately vague about the passing of time and moving some events up and down the time table for story-telling purposes, the first season seems to cover the years 1492-1495, but no sign of changing seasons is ever seen.
** Although the climate in Italy is generally divided into two seasons, with mostly persistent weather throughout each of them.
* KickTheDog:
** Poor Theo gets his ass kicked by Juan basically for being a commoner and his mother's actual husband. He believes the local gossip that Theo is his real father, and not Rodrigo.
** Juan has a habit of doing bad things for this reason; his murder [[spoiler: of Paolo for daring to have a relationship with Lucrezia]] is at least a case of this trope, if not a full-blown MoralEventHorizon.
* KnightTemplarBigBrother: Given the intense dynamic already established between the two, it's hard not to think Cesare's being entirely serious when he teIn season two, he follows through on that promise.]]
* KinkMeme:
** [[http://borgiaskink.livejournal.com/778.html Over here.]]
** Comes [[http://borgiaskink.livejournal.com/778.html?thread=37898#t37898 complete with]] a HighSchoolAU.
* KissingCousins: Rodrigo catches Cardinal Sforza with his second cousin, and later, listens to him make a bawdy joke about Caterina. Although, really, there are a ''lot'' of Sforza cousins.
* KnockingOnHeathensDoor: A very dark variant, as the boys who follow Savonarola are not looking to share any good news; they're looking to collect vanities for burning, and will vandalize property in order to get people to comply.
-->'''Machiavelli''': I see God is now reduced to breaking windows.
* KubrickStare: Rodrigo's got the market cornered, though Cesare has apparently inherited it.
* LargeHam:
** Creator/JeremyIrons, not as much as one might expect, though he turns it UpToEleven in "Death on a Pale Horse".
** Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, even more than Rodrigo. He has absolutely NoIndoorVoice.
* LaughablyEvil: Prince Alfonso. Young, spoiled, ruling in his father's stead in Naples, and very funny. [[spoiler: Unfortunately, the French king does not seem to find him amusing enough to forgive him for letting the plague into "his" city.]]
* LiteraryAllusionTitle: Savonarola quotes Revelation 6:8 in "Death on a Pale Horse".
-->''And I looked, and beheld a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death and Hell followed with him.''
** Two other episodes share their titles with works of Creator/NiccoloMachiavelli, appropriately: "The Art of War" and the series finale "The Prince."
* TheLoinsSleepTonight: Played straight with Rodrigo and Giulia in "The Purge"; Rodrigo apparently doesn't have the same problem with Vannozza.
* LooseLips: A worker [[spoiler: discovers that the new cannons are actually made from plaster]] and [[TooDumbToLive has the bright idea]] to announce that he is going to tell all his buddies about it. However, Cesare and Micheletto are standing nearby and the worker has an 'accident' before he can tell anyone what he discovered.
* LoveTriangle: Lucrezia is in the middle of a very interesting one with [[DoggedNiceGuy Alfonso]], the husband she claims to love, and [[spoiler: Cesare, the brother]] she claims to love more.

* TheMafia: {{Showtime}}'s promo team seems fixated on pointing out the ''[[Film/TheGodfather Godfather]]'' parallels. It's certainly not unwarranted - Mario Puzo was, after all, partly inspired by the Borgias when writing the story - but it's not quite as neat as they would have you believe.
* MakingLoveInAllTheWrongPlaces:
** [[spoiler:Micheletto and his lover Augustino]] do it in a ''graveyard.''
** Juan and one of his conquests also find themselves in this position--they're in regular bed, but they're also under a very pointy chandelier, and Lucrezia, having learned that Juan [[spoiler:murdered Paolo]], has set a candle right under the rope holding it aloft. [[spoiler:It falls and kills Juan's bedmate [[DeathBySex while they're in the middle of sex]].]]
** Juan and Sancia on the table in the banquet room where the king of Naples [[MummiesAtTheDinnerTable keeps dead guests]].
* MaleFrontalNudity: Cardinal della Rovere in Naples. Micheletto while lounging around with his lover in "Tears of Blood".
* MamaBear:
** Vanozza says that she would have helped Cesare [[spoiler: murder Giovanni Sforza]] if she'd been there.
** Lucrezia all but begs Cesare to [[spoiler: kill Juan]] when his instability puts her child in danger, and when her new husband's family refuse to let her baby live with her, she [[spoiler: plans to kill him herself until Micheletto offers to do it]].
* ManInTheIronMask: Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, keeps the rightful holder of his dukedom in a tiny, filthy cell set into the floor of his dining room.
* ManOnFire:
** Savonarola - [[spoiler: twice]]
** After Prospero plots to betray Cesare in "The Gunpowder Plot", Cesare lights him on fire.
%% * ManlyGay: Micheletto.
* MaritalRapeLicense: Giovanni Sforza believes in this.
* MasqueradeBall: In Season 2 premiere "The Borgia Bull".
* MasterPoisoner:
** Micheletto. Lucrezia Borgia may become this in the future, depending on how many of the rumors about her the show runs with.
** Averted with the anonymous kitchen hand who botches the poisoning of Djem the Moor.
* MayDecemberRomance: Rodrigo and Giulia Farnese. [[TruthInTelevision In real life]] Rodrigo was somewhere around his sixties and Giulia [[{{Squick}} sixteen]] when they first hooked up. In the series, she is clearly much younger than him, but not that young, since she's old enough to have had a child and act as a mentor to the 14 year old Lucrezia.
* TheMedic: Lucrezia. In season 3, she begins to utilize her newly developed knowledge in poisons in order to save her father [[spoiler: and assist her husband into a painless death.]]
* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: Leaning strongly towards "mundane." We're never explicitly told whether or not TheLanceOfLonginus is a fake, let alone whether or not it has supernatural powers.
* MercyKill: [[spoiler: Alfonso asks Lucrezia to end his life after he's slowly dying from being fatally stabbed by Cesare. She reluctantly complies and is found by Cesare numbly lying on top of Alfonso's body.]]
* MisplacedWildlife: The first episode features a pet [[EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys Capuchin Monkey]] from South America in a prominent way. Notice that the scene takes place within days of Rodrigo's election in August 1492, when Columbus still had to complete his first voyage.
** There's also Caterina Sforza's Harris hawk. Harris hawks are a North American species, and weren't brought to Europe until long after the time period of the series (whatever it is.)
* TheMissusAndTheEx: The final scene of "Nessuno" has aspects of this, with Vannozza and Giulia coming face to face for the first time. However, none of the jealousy-related bits of the trope ever come to pass; in fact, Vannozza and Giulia team up in season two.
* ModestyBedsheet: Of the L-shaped variety for Cesare and Ursula in "The French King". Giulia wears one in [[http://www.daemonstv.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/the-borgias-showtime-poster-550x739.jpg this]] promotional poster.
* MoeGreeneSpecial: Cardinal della Rovere dispatches a spy with a dagger in "Lucrezia's Wedding".
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Cardinal della Rovere's reaction to the French sacking of Lucca.
* NaughtyNuns:
** Gender-flipped with pretty much every male cleric we see except Savonarola. [[spoiler: Ursula, after joining the convent]], is trying ''really'' hard to not become one, despite Cesare making this very difficult for her.
** Played straight in "The Banquet of Chestnuts" when the "nuns" turn out to be hookers.
* NaughtyUnderTheTable: Sancia feels up Juan.
* NecessarilyEvil:
** Cardinal della Rovere struggles with whether or not he can bring himself to be what he sees as this, even asking aloud during confession if one act of evil can be excused if it prevents many greater ones.
** Rodrigo, with his many AffablyEvil PetTheDog moments, and his sincerely held belief that the common people should be able to benefit from his plans to restore Rome, is trying to be this.
** Ascanio Sforza hits this one in S3.
* NeckSnap:
** Micheletto the assassin does this in "The Moor", twice.
** He does this again in "Paolo" to a prostitute who was acting as a spy, though he seemed to strangle her for a bit first.
* {{Nepotism}}: Rodrigo's appointments and politicking in the name of all of his children is seen as this, but the elevation of Cesare to Cardinal is perceived as the most appalling.
* NeverTrustATrailer:
** In one of the promos for the first season, a [[SexSells completely nude]] [[MsFanservice Giulia Farnese]] advises Lucrezia to use her female beauty for gain, reassuring that "it can be deadly"; the two are apparently modeling for Botticelli's ''The Birth of Venus''. This scene does not appear in the actual series, even though Giulia says the exact same words to Lucrezia at some point. Also, if all you knew about the series came from the promo material, you might think Cesare and Lucrezia's relationship is a lot more incestuous than it actually is.
** Nowadays, Cesare and Lucrezia's relationship is [[spoiler: exactly as incestuous as the trailers imply.]]
* NewOldFlame: Vannozza's actual husband, Theo.
* NoIndoorVoice: Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan. Some subtitlers transcribed his dialogue in all caps.
** Savonarola also. His loudness is justified when he actually ''is'' preaching to the public. Less so when Cesare and Machiavelli are two feet in front of him and he still yells at them.
* NoPeriodsPeriod: Averted. Giulia Farnese tells Rodrigo they can't have sex because it's her time of the month. He doesn't care. (And we even see a spot of menstrual blood on her nightie.)
* NunsNRosaries: Ursula feels guilty.
%% * ObliviousYoungerSibling: Gioffre.
* OhCrap: Three in quick succession in "The Art of War":
** Juan's reaction to seeing the French Army. His plan is to flank the French, but it is so huge he cannot see their flank, and his vaunted 'stratagem' is entirely meaningless.
** Lucrezia, as the King of France explains how he will use his cannons.
** Giuliano della Rovere, as Lucrezia convinces King Charles to concentrate on conquering Naples rather than sacking Rome and deposing Pope Alexander.
** In a more humorous use, there's an epic reaction from Rodrigo when he's in the bath with a one night stand and Giulia Farnese arrives.
* OldManMarryingAChild: 14-year-old Lucrezia is forced to marry the much older Giovanni Sforza. Unfortunately, he believes in MaritalRapeLicense.
%% * OminousLatinChanting: Abounds.
* OnlySaneMan: Cardinal della Rovere and Cardinal Ascanio Sforza, and even they have to get their hands dirty to survive.
* OpiumDen: In the second season Juan starts to frequent an opium den in Rome on the advice of his physician to cope with a leg wound and an STD. The drugs only seem to heighten his paranoia and mental breakdown.
* PaperThinDisguise: Vittoria is not particularly convincing as a boy.
* ParentalFavoritism: While Rodrigo is ambitious for all of his children and is doing his best to boost all of them up in the world, he's blinded to Juan's more unsavoury character traits and refuses to allow the far-more capable Cesare to replace him in his career. [[DaddysGirl Lucrezia]], however, is clearly his favorite.
* ParentWithNewParamour: Rodrigo and Giulia, with Cesare left to run interference to keep Vannozza from making scenes.
* APartyAlsoKnownAsAnOrgy: Giulia organizes this for the cardinals in "The Banquet of Chestnuts". The idea is to give Rodrigo blackmail ammo to keep the cardinals loyal.
* PassFail: Rodrigo's enemies believe him and his family to be ''marranos''- that is, Sephardic Jews who converted to Catholicism sometime ago. Giuliano della Rovere, who has no liking for the Borgia family, nevertheless finds this to be an unfair accusation and a grave insult.
* PassiveAggressiveKombat: Machiavelli engages in this with Charles. Piero de Medici has just basically surrendered Florence to the French, against Machiavelli's wishes. When he meets Charles at the gates he politely asks him to not point his lance forward, as this is not how you enter the city of a friend. Charles complies and points it upwards, but then it would not fit beneath the gate, forcing him to point it backwards.
* ThePeepingTom:
** Lucrezia spies on Cesare having sex in the first episode.
** Cesare--along with the creepy king of Naples--is forced to watch Lucrezia have sex with her husband in a public consummation. [[spoiler: It's a lot less innocent this time around.]]
* PerfectPoison: Sometimes played straight, as when Cardinal Orsini is offed or the dose of cantarella in the second-season cliffhanger. Also averted on a couple of occasions when poisonings are botched.
* PetTheDog:
** Even JerkAss Alfonso, who mocks his aged and deaf father, is still [[spoiler: distraught when the old man dies]].
** Lucrezia's husband has one moment where he half-admits that he [[MaritalRapeLicense "perhaps was not kind]]" to Lucrezia, and "forgives [her] the accident of her birth" (ie. being lower-born than him and a Borgia.) While this is a combination of a massive understatement and truly staggering arrogance (in addition to insulting her beloved family), it is an attempt to be nice to her.
* PoisonedChaliceSwitcheroo: [[spoiler: Cardinal Orsini]] tries to poison the Pope during a dinner, but Cesare bribes the assassin to switch their cups.
* PowderTrail: Used in an assassination attempt on Cesare by Caterina Sforza; she knows he will want to investigate her (fake) relic inside a cave, and lays a powder trail to blow him up while he's doing so. He lives though.
* PreMortemOneLiner: In "World of Wonders", Cesare delivers an excellent one to [[spoiler:Juan, before stabbing him and dumping his body in the Tiber]].
-->''Only God forgives. We are Borgias, and we do not forgive.''
* ProducePelting: The final step in Giovanni Sforza's HumiliationConga.
* ProfessionalKiller: Abound in this show, but Micheletto is the most prominent example.
* PutOnABus: Joffre, Sancia, and Johannes Burchard all disappear after the first season. While Sancia and Joffre are never mentioned again, [[TheBusCameBack Burchard returns briefly in season three to narrate an orgy.]]

* RapeAsDrama: Teenage Lucrezia is raped repeatedly after she is married to the sadist Giovanni Sforza. The trauma of the experience apparently morphs her into the scheming and lustful character she has entered the History books as.
* RazorFloss: That Micheletto is a dangerous guy.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Rodrigo gives one to Juan in "The French King", after Juan [[CurbStompBattle curb-stomps]] Theo.
* RefugeInAudacity:
** The only reason Cesare is able to kill [[spoiler: Giovanni Sforza]] is because, even though his enemies knew he was dangerous and ruthless, nobody thought he would be reckless enough to brutally murder a man of that rank on his own turf in broad daylight with no pre-planning.
** Actually, a lot of Borgia successes seem to rely on this. Consequently, a lot of them appear on the series' CrowningMomentOfAwesome page.
* RealityIsUnrealistic: Apparently the producers ''could'' have stuck to a more historically accurate story, but chose not to out of fear that the audience ''wouldn't believe it actually happened'', according to [[http://www.exurbe.com/?p=2176 one analysis]].
%% * ReallyGetsAround: About half the cast.
* ReplacementGoldfish: YMMV, but many fans think that [[TheScrappy Ursula Bonadeo]] was this for Cesare after [[BrotherSisterIncest Lucrezia]] was married off. She's blonde, wears hairnets, and suffers from an abusive husband... Hmmm...
%% * RoyalBrat: Juan.
%% ** Alfonso of Naples, too.
* RoyalWe: Rodrigo adopts this after being elevated to Pope. King Charles of France also uses it.
* SacrificialLion: [[spoiler: Cardinal Orsini]] in "The Poisoned Chalice", [[spoiler: Paolo]] in "Paolo", [[spoiler: Ursula Bonadeo]] in "Stray Dogs", [[spoiler: Giovanni Sforza]] in "The Choice", and [[spoiler: Juan]] in "World of Wonders".
* ScreamingBirth:
** [[spoiler: Lucrezia]] in "Nessuno", though she's a bit better than most, with lots of standard grunting and heavy breathing too.
** Plus, let's be honest--she's a teen mom living in an era when half the women die during/shortly after childbirth. And there isn't any pain medication. She did pretty well, considering.
* SexyPriest: Though Cesare wants desperately to stop being the second part. Rodrigo as well.
* SeparatedByTheWall: The frequent confessional scenes, but particularly Cesare and Ursula.
* ShaggyDogStory: [[spoiler: Both of Della Rovere's season-long plots to remove Rodrigo fail completely at the last moment, not only wasting all the effort he put into them, but actually making things worse, as the French army massacres cities in the first season and Cesare slaughters his allies at the start of the third]].
* ShipTease: Even though WordOfGod has repeatedly said they're not gonna go "there" with Cesare/Lucrezia, [[NeverTrustATrailer the promo material]] and the occasional ambiguous scene or line throw a bone to the (quite sizable) part of the fandom that wouldn't mind. [[spoiler: As of season 3 episode 3, they have now "gone there" very explicitly]].
* SiblingRivalry: Cesare and Juan, ''despise'' one another. The [[MagnificentBastard cunning, intelligent Cesare]] bitterly resents the fact that his father forced him to become a Cardinal while his [[GeneralFailure incompetent]], SpoiledBrat little brother becomes heir to the family estate and gets the command of the papal military forces, a position Cesare himself always wanted. And Juan, fully aware that Cesare would have preferred a secular career, persistently teases his brother, telling him a cleric can't or shouldn't fight.
%% * SinisterMinister: All of them.
* SociopathicHero: He may not completely be there yet, but Cesare is willing to get his hands bloody for love and family--and if history's any indication, he's probably shaping up to be the less honorable sociopath as well.
* SpaceCompression: In the first season, Cesare and Micheletto travel by cart from Pesaro to Rome (a distance of nearly 200 miles) in less than a day.
* SpiritualSuccessor: To ''Series/TheTudors'', though Neil Jordan had been attempting to get the project made as a film long before ''Series/TheTudors'' existed on television. It's an odd case of a preexisting concept being turned into a kind of DolledUpInstallment when it comes to spiritual succession.
* StalkingIsLove:
** Cesare with Ursula, to some degree.
** Cesare is a big fan of this, as he does it in season 3 [[spoiler: with Lucrezia]]. Though not without reason, it doesn't go over well with her.
* StarCrossedLovers: As of season 3, [[spoiler: Cesare and Lucrezia]] are this in the worst possible way.
* StartOfDarkness: Season one is arguably this for Cesare and Lucrezia, though it isn't solidified until season two. [[spoiler: Being raped and Paolo's death were arguably the most defined moments for her. He is noticeably different after killing Giovanni Sforza.]]
* StormingTheCastle: The French armies sack Lucca, throwing fear into the rest of Italy.
* StuffedInTheFridge:
** [[spoiler:Maria, the maid in "The Assassin". Micheletto seduces, then brutally murders her, with her death being the "proof" needed for Micheletto and Cesare to set up della Rovere to be banished from Rome. She basically dies so the audience can see how ruthless Micheletto and Cesare are, and to set up della Rovere's revenge angle.]]
** A male version [[spoiler:with Paolo. His story function was to give Lucrezia the natural-born son she may have had in history and a paramour whom she loved, then die tragically. He's more or less a PuritySue.]]
** And now, [[spoiler: Ursula is dead too. Since she's regarded as TheScrappy by most people, it's unlikely anyone will be too upset by this, even though Cesare all but lampshades the fact that her role was to make him more ruthless; "[her death] has released my heart of all emotions but one: vengeance".]]
* SuicideMission: Young Franciscan Antonello agrees to go on one for Cardinal della Rovere in order to remove “the Borgia Pope” from power. In “The Confession,” he [[CliffHanger seems to]] [[spoiler: succeed]].
* SweetPollyOliver: [[spoiler: Vittoria the artisan's apprentice in S2]]
* SympatheticAdulterer: Lucrezia, and to a lesser extent Giulia and Ursula, are type 1. Lucrezia manages to get a divorce out of type 4. She later graduates to type 5 when she begins an affair with the ''[[UpToEleven younger brother of a man she still has yet to marry]]'' (though this is short-lived, as said affair ends up being what quashes the engagement).
* TakeThatKiss:
** Rodrigo gives two [[CrowningMomentOfFunny hilarious]] ones to Cardinal Orsini and Cardinal della Rovere, two of the cardinals who oppose him.
** Classic example of ThrowItIn; Irons just thought it'd be funny to see the looks on their faces and went for it.
** He also gave one to the Spanish Ambassador in "The Art of War", saying "Judas Iscariot kissed our Savior thus".
%% * TearsOfBlood: In the season 2 finale.
* ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill: Cesare firmly believes in this, especially in regards to his [[spoiler: murder of Giovanni Sforza]]. It's not enough for him to [[spoiler: kill him, but he has to stab him repeatedly and then attempt to cut his heart out of his body. Too bad he gets interrupted before he can find it.]]
* ThisIsMyNameOnForeign: Very mild example--Rodrigo gives his papal name a Latin number when spoken aloud ("Alexander Sextus" instead of "Alexander the Sixth"). Justified by the fact that at this point in history (and indeed until the 1960s), Church business was conducted in Latin.
* TitleDrop: Various episode titles, including Cesare in "Nessuno" (which is [[BilingualBonus Italian]] for "nobody"). Also a ChekhovsGun.
* ToThePain:
** The doctor of Juan while explaining the [[GroinAttack treatment]] for his affliction.
** Cesare and Micheletto employ this; first to the French soldiers in "Stray Dogs", and then to Savonarola in "The Confession".
* TooDumbToLive: In "Nessuno"--''Really,'' French soldiers? You're going to hold Micheletto and Cesare hostage and then ask them about their silently efficient killing methods and then ASK THEM TO SHOW YOU? And you don't think they're going to demonstrate on ''you?'' Good grief.
* TraumaticHaircut: When [[spoiler:Ursula]] enters a convent after her husband's death, her hair is cut off. Notable, though, in that this is by choice, and the trauma in question is what lead to her making this decision rather than the haircut itself.

* UnwantedSpouse:
** Ursula's husband and Giovanni Sforza. Gioffre and Sancia may become this for each other.
** Historically, Gioffre loved Sancia, but Sancia clearly slept around on Gioffre.
* VillainProtagonist:
** The Borgia family may be sympathetic, but straightforwardly heroic they are not.
** It does give us a [[PerspectiveFlip fascinating]] look at a SpannerInTheWorks NonActionGuy [[SternChase Sternly Chased]] hero from the eyes of the MagnificentBastard antagonists (though it's not as though said hero hasn't been [[GreyAndGrayMorality learning the ways of magnificent bastardry himself]]).
* VillainousIncest: Or villainous IncestSubtext. Ironically, where that would normally make Cesare and Lucrezia look more villainous, it instead makes them more sympathetic and tragic.
* VomitIndiscretionShot: When [[spoiler: Rodrigo]] finally awakens in "The Face of Death", it's to throw up the charcoal mixture Lucrezia gave him. All over a nearby cardinal's robes.
%% * VorpalPillow: "The Moor"
* WarIsHell:
** The French troops march into Lucca and kill any man, woman, or child in their way. Charles attempts to justify it to a shocked Giuliano della Rovere by saying "'Tis war, Cardinal, plain and simple".
** Which is more than mildly surprising, given Cardinal della Rovere's historical actions after the time-frame of the series. Perhaps the series intends to show that for him, [[ItGetsEasier it will eventually get easier]].
*** Historically, he was at times something akin to a condottiere even BEFORE the time-frame of the series.
* WeCanRuleTogether: Cesare tries a variation of this with Giuliano della Rovere. Although it's more of a "Dude, help me rein in my dad" kind of deal.
* WideEyedIdealist: Prince Djem really didn't know where he was getting into. Neither, for that matter, did della Rovere when he sought help from the French army or Paolo when he [[spoiler: fell in love with Lucrezia]].
* WithUsOrAgainstUs: Rodrigo actually delivers this line to the Cardinals when demanding Florence to resist against the French army and decides that Savonarola must burn
* WomanScorned: Vannozza, especially in "The Assassin", when she discovers Rodrigo is sleeping with Giulia Farnese.
* WomenAreWiser: Lucrezia, Vannozza, and Giulia delight in outsmarting the powerful men around them in order to help the poor. Though that doesn't stop them from having a bit of fun, either.
* WorthyOpponent:
** By the end of season 1, Cesare seems to think this about della Rovere.
** In season 2, Rodrigo's reaction to the news of [[spoiler: the French King]]'s death shows that he considered him this. It doesn't ''quite'' get into AntagonistInMourning territory, but he's not in the least bit amused by the [[DroppedABridgeOnHim ignominity of his end]], and is not happy that the cardinals find it so funny.
** In season two, Giulia and Vannozza fall into this, with a side of FireForgedFriends.
* WouldHurtAChild:
** The French soldiers.
** Micheletto drowns an altar boy.
* WorstAid: The doctor recommends to Juan two things to help him with his syphilis: ''freaking mercury'' to heal his madness (Hint: It has the precise opposite effect, mercury causes the brain to decay into batshit insanity at ridiculous speed) and then...''opium'' to deal with his pain. He actually made Juan ''worse''. TruthInTelevision all the way.
* YouCantFightFate: [[spoiler: Rodrigo spends all of season two trying to bring his family closer together--and has spent all of the first two seasons sewing the seeds for Juan's military career and Cesare's papal destiny--only to end up hearing, rather callously, that Cesare has murdered Juan and still cares most about abandoning the cardinalate. Oh, and Lucrezia is very, very happy to hear about Juan's death--her shrinking violet act is gone. He can have all the power in the world, but he can't change his kids' natures.]]
* YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness: Accomplices or stooges who take part in a Borgia assassination, if there is no further need of their services. Micheletto takes them out of the picture.