Written by CNN
In a closed door meeting on the evening of April 4th, 1454, the much maligned House of Borgia met to discuss how to move forward in the face of a public relations scandal involving rumors of money laundering and murder within the Pope’s inner circle. The Borgia, closely allied with the papacy, feel as though they have lost influence in the city of Rome as a result of the scandal, and that they need to regain the trust and loyalty of the public.
At the end of the meeting, the Borgias were still undecided whether they should “fight fire with fire”, as one outspoken House member put it, or garner public support through positive propaganda and public works.
The Borgia family is constrained by their public alignment with the papacy. All House members have sworn allegiance to the Pope, and with public favor towards the family fading, the members were reticent to also fall out of favor with Pope Nicholas V. The Pope’s support is vital to the continued financial fortunes of the Borgia family, and their continued favor with the Pope can only help their rumored desire for a family member to succeed Nicholas V.
The meeting procedures were further complicated by a surprise announcement - a bank statement showing the Pope withdrawing money from his Medici bank account and transferring it to his nephew, who has been implicated in the murder scandal, has been leaked. The statement has not yet dispersed publicly, but it is only a matter of time before the transfer is the talk of Rome and what was previously only rumor is publicly confirmed.
To counter the growing public discontent, some Borgias favored the release of their own propaganda, indicating that the citizens of Rome need only a quick reminder of how benevolent the Borgias have been. Others want to back this up with new projects featuring the Borgia coat of arms and further emphasize their power and influence. Such projects would include road building and other civil improvements in the name of the House of Borgia.
Others believe the best recourse is to start rumors slandering the Medici. While such actions may not directly improve relations with the citizenry, this could hurt the Medici’s credibility and distract the public from their qualms with the Borgia.
The impact these discussions and the new bank statement will have on the Borgia’s next action is unclear, but it will no doubt influence their next moves both against the Medici and toward the papacy.
Updates to follow.