The Borgias

Nessuno (Nobody) - S1-E9

Question: Why does Giovanni Sforza not prove he is not impotent? Was he in fact not able to perform in front of others or find the woman undesirable? I know historically he agreed to the annulment; but why? Was this scene historically accurate?

Bishop73

Chosen answer: The Borgias arranged Lucrezia's marriage to Giovanni Sforza for their own political gain. When Giovanni was no longer considered useful to them politically, they sought to end the marriage. Eventually, Giovanni reluctantly agreed to admit to impotence in exchange for keeping Lucrezia's dowry, which normally would have reverted back to the family in the event of an annulment. Divorce was rare at that time, and being unable to consummate a marriage was one grounds for an annulment. In the series, when the Borgias convene the College of Cardinals to have Giovanni prove his potency by performing with two overweight and unattractive prostitutes, he refuses because he is humiliated. The historical facts are mostly accurate, though the part about the prostitutes is probably fiction.

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