WI: Cesare Borgia becomes Roman Emperor

Which sounds more likely that the Borgia Roman Empire end up like if it survived?

1. Be a centralized Empire, with the Emperor rule supreme.

2. Becomes a bunch of Duchies, Principalities, and Republics, ruled by a Emperor. So basically like the HRE.
 
Which sounds more likely that the Borgia Roman Empire end up like if it survived?

1. Be a centralized Empire, with the Emperor rule supreme.

2. Becomes a bunch of Duchies, Principalities, and Republics, ruled by a Emperor. So basically like the HRE.

Smarter ruler would start by making themself an Augustus in a literal sense, a permanent pact of Venice, Tuscany, Papal States, Naples/Sicily, Savoy, Genoa, Milan, and other states as needed. Give them significant but not marked internal autonomy while currency, army, navy, standards, and major laws remained at an Imperial level. Slowly restore infrastructure starting with roads and begin slowly centralizing from there while drawing in the Balerics, Crete, Cyprus, Dalmatia, and anything the strictly Italian states had ever laid a claim to in addition to Tunis and Carthage, perhaps adding in Tripolitania, for the sake of prestige. An Ottoman navy will block some of this but Greece coupd be made a fan of Italy (much like the unique bond of Athens and Belgrade) with liberation from Istanbul somehow.
 
Smarter ruler would start by making themself an Augustus in a literal sense, a permanent pact of Venice, Tuscany, Papal States, Naples/Sicily, Savoy, Genoa, Milan, and other states as needed. Give them significant but not marked internal autonomy while currency, army, navy, standards, and major laws remained at an Imperial level. Slowly restore infrastructure starting with roads and begin slowly centralizing from there while drawing in the Balerics, Crete, Cyprus, Dalmatia, and anything the strictly Italian states had ever laid a claim to in addition to Tunis and Carthage, perhaps adding in Tripolitania, for the sake of prestige. An Ottoman navy will block some of this but Greece coupd be made a fan of Italy (much like the unique bond of Athens and Belgrade) with liberation from Istanbul somehow.

Unfortunately, all of the above, or at least most of it, is out of a possibility realm for Caesar Borgia even if we assume a rather optimistic scenario in which he provides an uninterrupted succession of the extremely friendly Popes. Resources of the Papacy had been stretched to the extreme to support even the OTL (re)conquest of few formally Papal States.

Naples is in the French and then Spanish hands. Milan is either French or Spanish or in the hands of a French or Hapsburg puppet. Venice is too powerful to be conquered even by one of the Big Powers. Genoa is under French or Hapsburgs.

Defeat of the Ottomans with a subsequent fall of Istanbul is plain ASB.
 
The obvious answer is it would not by all the reasons you listed and probably few more.

Well, strictly speaking, Maximillian never was physically crowned by the Pope: Julius II just proclaimed him an emperor in 1508. However, Frederic V was and formality does not really matter.

Formality most certainly does matter. The idea that the Papacy can simply re-affirm someone as emperor without any reason of heresy and or infraction, would mean breaching canon law regarding the matter and also de-legitimize said Papacy's still stringent attempt to keep her power regarding some of these issues. Alexander VI in his reign attempted to affirm Papal power over both the city of Rome, the duchies of Spoleto, Latium and the other sectors of the Papal holdings in central Italy. The Pope in that period crossed swords with all the enemies who sought to keep a 'Renaissance Papacy' abound, that is a Pope who was weak temporally and generally unable to enforce the powers at be upon the states both in Italy but also in the wider Ultramontane Europe. Alexander VI, added to this reactionary attempt at Papal empowerment by way of his ambitions for the Borgia clan and possessing a son, Cesar Borgia, who is well known for his ambition. With that said, Cesar Borgia had ambitions to do things that he likely could not achieve, while he was doing his great adventures, it was all under the auspices of Papal solidification; if he begins to claim for himself the Holy Roman Empire, he is no longer an agent of Papal and thus Borgia franchise, but a rebel, a dissident to Papal affirmations and also an enemy of both France and the Empire, for an upstart low family to claim such a lofty title, is an affront.

Alexander VI, the true mastermind behind Cesar Borgia and the Borgia clan success, may have had ambitions to create in parts of the Papal states an existing Borgia powerbase so as to turn the Papacy into a perpetual Borgia controlled entity, but he did not plan to put one of his sons as Emperor of Rome or King of Italy! Machiavelli, I believe, describes this impetus, by way of describing that Alexander VI was the first Pope that ruled the office as a dynastic title that could be inherited by his Borgia kin and the Papal states as a sort of possible Borgia fief. This does not mean that Imperial aspirations were due and even so, I am sure, to Alexander VI, the Papacy was a far greater prize than the title of King of Italy or Emperor of Rome.
 
Formality most certainly does matter. The idea that the Papacy can simply re-affirm someone as emperor without any reason of heresy and or infraction, would mean breaching canon law regarding the matter and also de-legitimize said Papacy's still stringent attempt to keep her power regarding some of these issues. Alexander VI in his reign attempted to affirm Papal power over both the city of Rome, the duchies of Spoleto, Latium and the other sectors of the Papal holdings in central Italy. The Pope in that period crossed swords with all the enemies who sought to keep a 'Renaissance Papacy' abound, that is a Pope who was weak temporally and generally unable to enforce the powers at be upon the states both in Italy but also in the wider Ultramontane Europe. Alexander VI, added to this reactionary attempt at Papal empowerment by way of his ambitions for the Borgia clan and possessing a son, Cesar Borgia, who is well known for his ambition. With that said, Cesar Borgia had ambitions to do things that he likely could not achieve, while he was doing his great adventures, it was all under the auspices of Papal solidification; if he begins to claim for himself the Holy Roman Empire, he is no longer an agent of Papal and thus Borgia franchise, but a rebel, a dissident to Papal affirmations and also an enemy of both France and the Empire, for an upstart low family to claim such a lofty title, is an affront.

Alexander VI, the true mastermind behind Cesar Borgia and the Borgia clan success, may have had ambitions to create in parts of the Papal states an existing Borgia powerbase so as to turn the Papacy into a perpetual Borgia controlled entity, but he did not plan to put one of his sons as Emperor of Rome or King of Italy! Machiavelli, I believe, describes this impetus, by way of describing that Alexander VI was the first Pope that ruled the office as a dynastic title that could be inherited by his Borgia kin and the Papal states as a sort of possible Borgia fief. This does not mean that Imperial aspirations were due and even so, I am sure, to Alexander VI, the Papacy was a far greater prize than the title of King of Italy or Emperor of Rome.

When I was talking about “formality” it was strictly about Max not being physically coronated by a Pope: the Papal declaration was considered enough to confirm his status. Of course, he was properly chosen by the electors so Julius did not overstep the accepted boundaries of the Papal power.

OTOH, if Alexander VI took upon himself a power to declare an emperor on his own whim bypassing the accepted protocol, this would be a gross violation of the fundamental principles on which the HRE was built.

I’m not 100% sure what were the real inspirations of Cesare but formally he was acting as Gonfalonier of the Church returning the Papal lands to their legitimate owner, the Church. He may end up as a secular ruler of these lands but the principle would stay: the ruler (with whatever title) still would be vassal of the Church and in theory the next Pope could take these lands from him. So both for father and son passage of the Papacy to a member of Borgia family or to their close ally was of an extrme importance.

Now, in practical terms, Cesare was most of the time dependent either on French or Spanish military help and, at least until Senigallia, upon shaky loyalty of the Italian condottiery. As I understand he eventually managed to create his own army but scenarios that involve conquest of all Italy would need a seriously different military force. Which means that even the title of the King of Italy would make him a laughingstock because territory he could realistically acquire would represent only a small part of what amounted to historic Kingdom (I intentionally skipping the political implications). Title of an Emperor of no matter what would be simply unrelated to a reality and I don’t think that even Cesare could consider it seriously.

I think that for AVI the ideal long-term scenario would be a combination of a reasonably strong (on a regional level) secular state (Papal vassal) ruled by the Borgias and Borgia-held Papacy: secular state would be able to provide a muscle to guarantee a proper papal succession while the Papacy would be assuring legitimacy of the secular succession and supply the funds needed for an army. Rulers of the secular state could become the hereditary (formally or informally) Gonfalloniers of the Church (thus legitimizing presence their troops in Rome) and its Vicars in the territory of their state. Seemingly stable and self-sustaining schema. Connections by marriage with the Italian rulers would provide an additional backup and a close alliance with one of the Big Powers could help both militarily and in the conclave.

Eventually, the secular state could grow somewhat beyond the Papal territories but extent of such an expansion would be quite limited: the Italian “big” states like Naples, Florence, Venice, Genoa, Milan would be out of reach by various reasons and probably the same would go for some of the smaller ones if they have a strong protection.
 
Whelp, if OTL reformations were bad, with such blatant abuse of power, I could see Holy Roman Empire ends up outright supporting Martin Luther from the start. And France, concerned with how the Italians suddenly turned that insane, decides that Jean Calvin might be a good alternative authority on religion. So in effect, Luther and Calvin would be pretty much met widespread support from their governments (that didn't want to end up being turned into Roman Vassals).

Ironically though, with current Italian Papacy ends up being more blatantly deviated, once Franco-German army break into Roma, they will declare the Borgia-dominated Papacy as being illegal/unlawful Papacy, and THEN will ask the Reformers to reconstitute the Papacy.

Have fun with Pope Jean Calvin, and this turned out to be a prequel of His Dark Materials.

Now thats an interesting question

Would the Holy Roman Emperor support Martin Luther?
Would the Huguenots become influential in France?
Would the Spanish Inquisition start it’s own Papacy in Spain?
 
After Frederick III died in 1493 there technically was no Emperor of the Romans until Pope Julius II issued a declaration which allowed the elected King of the Germans Maximillian the use of the title elected Emperor of the Romans, but that was only in 1508. Furthermore Pope Alexander VI could have argued the title Imperator he bestowed on his son was meant purely in its original antique sense as holder of an Imperium, an honorary title of a successful military commander, which would be fitting since Cesare was both the Gonfalonier and Captain General of the Church.
 
After Frederick III died in 1493 there technically was no Emperor of the Romans until Pope Julius II issued a declaration which allowed the elected King of the Germans Maximillian the use of the title elected Emperor of the Romans, but that was only in 1508. Furthermore Pope Alexander VI could have argued the title Imperator he bestowed on his son was meant purely in its original antique sense as holder of an Imperium, an honorary title of a successful military commander, which would be fitting since Cesare was both the Gonfalonier and Captain General of the Church.

I am not sure that the thought of the time allowed the concept of an empire other than that empire of Rome, which by custom was bestowed to an elected king of Germany.
 
Another thing is colonization. Assuming that this Borgia Roman Empire survives and every country doesn’t hang up on it, where can this Roman Empire expand? In OTL, Tuscany almost colonized modern day French Guiana, so its possible for Italian exploration to happen in the New world.

Either that, or just conquer North Africa, which would lead to an Roman-Ottoman war.
 
Whelp, if OTL reformations were bad, with such blatant abuse of power, I could see Holy Roman Empire ends up outright supporting Martin Luther from the start. And France, concerned with how the Italians suddenly turned that insane, decides that Jean Calvin might be a good alternative authority on religion. So in effect, Luther and Calvin would be pretty much met widespread support from their governments (that didn't want to end up being turned into Roman Vassals).

Ironically though, with current Italian Papacy ends up being more blatantly deviated, once Franco-German army break into Roma, they will declare the Borgia-dominated Papacy as being illegal/unlawful Papacy, and THEN will ask the Reformers to reconstitute the Papacy.

Have fun with Pope Jean Calvin, and this turned out to be a prequel of His Dark Materials.

That’s gives me an idea, if the Borgia Roman Empire survives, and the Roman/Borgia Papacy does some unbelievable, could this create other anti-popes in different areas?

Like for instance, could Charles V elevate on the Prince-Archbishops (Trier, Mainz, Cologne) to becoming a German Papacy, and creating a “Holy Roman Catholicism” or “German Catholicism”?

Or/And maybe, the Spanish Inquisition starts its own Papacy, and creates “Spanish Catholicism”

Or/Maybe the French restarts the Avignon Papacy, or embraces Huguenots.

Pretty much the Catholic world is broken if this Borgia Roman Empire survives

(Side note, I like to joke around, that over time, the Borgia Emperors reinstate Roman Paganism, but that’s just ASB)
 
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Another thing is colonization. Assuming that this Borgia Roman Empire survives and every country doesn’t hang up on it, where can this Roman Empire expand? In OTL, Tuscany almost colonized modern day French Guiana, so its possible for Italian exploration to happen in the New world.

Either that, or just conquer North Africa, which would lead to an Roman-Ottoman war.

Areas of potential colonization had been officially divided by the Pope (Alexander Borgia) between Spain and Portugal so there could be some ideological issue, at least in the short run. BTW, why would this mini-empire (Kingdom, at best, and not a very big or strong one) think about the colonial expansion for the next couple centuries? It would have enough problems with just survival.

It could (as Papacy did in OTL) get engaged into the war against the Ottomans but most probably as a coalition member so the chances &or serious land acquisitions are not too good and maintaining footholds in North Africa proved to be too costly even for Spain. Slave trade is an interesting option but this state does not have a strong merchant class and good ports and has to start with building a navy (where to get the money?). It can end up with some minor colonial holdings which would be lost to the bigger players as soon as th3y got interested.
 
Another thing, if this Roman Empire survives, and Cesare rules as Roman Emperor until, let’s say late 60s, who could secede him?

He had one daughter, with his wife Charlotte of Albret, who OTL became duchess of Valentinois, but no one would accept her as Roman Empress. He did had a bunch other children, but they were all illegitimate.

Could Cesare possibly take another wife, with someone from the Medici or Savoy family?
 
Another thing, if this Roman Empire survives, and Cesare rules as Roman Emperor until, let’s say late 60s, who could secede him?

He had one daughter, with his wife Charlotte of Albret, who OTL became duchess of Valentinois, but no one would accept her as Roman Empress. He did had a bunch other children, but they were all illegitimate.

Could Cesare possibly take another wife, with someone from the Medici or Savoy family?
Well if he survive and stay in power can very well reunite with Charlotte much earlier than OTL and have more children by her
 
Also, how would this affect the arts? Would artists begin to portray Cesare as a symbolic savior, a restorer of Ancient Rome? Or would portray him in a negative light?
 
Honestly I suspect that this POD would lead to a earlier Sack of Rome, through this time with the Pope being executed and with either the king of Franc or the HRE electing a new Pope through a bunch a of terrified captured Cardinals. Or maybe they decides on cooperating in doing this and get some compromise candidate elected.
 
Another thing I want to talk about, is if the line of Popes is different, and are autonomous vassals to the Borgia Roman Emperor, how would this effect stuff like the Reformation, the Wars during that time, and King Henry VIII reign?
 
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