Cesare Borgia (1475 – 1507) was an Italian condottiero (military leader), nobleman, and politician. He was an illegitimate son of Rodrigo Borgia and a nemesis of the Assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze. Like his father, he was a member of the Templar Order. Eventually, he became Captain General of the Papal armies, though he secretly plotted against his father to take over Rome, and all of Italy afterward.
Prior to his father's death, he claimed the rank of Grand Master of the Italian Templars, usurping the title completely after murdering his father. Despite his loyalty to the Templars, they were a secondary concern when compared to his own desire to control and exploit the powers of the Apple.
At age 18, Cesare became a Cardinal, while his older brother Juan - who was also Rodrigo's favorite - became Captain General. Unsatisfied with his life as a clergyman and jealous of his brother's position and power, he arranged to meet Juan at Tiber Island, where he convinced Juan to spend the night with the courtesan Fiora Cavazza, who later killed him under Cesare's orders.
He then took his place as Captain General, thereby becoming one of the most powerful men in Italy. Once he had become Captain General of the Papal armies, Cesare surrounded himself with cruel and effective men; Ramiro d'Orco, Oliverotto da Fermo, and Vitellozzo Vitelli, all of whom he had killed at a later date.
Becoming a Templar leader
In 1496, when his father waged war with the Orsini Family to seize their territory north of Rome, Cesare joined the battle. Among the enemy's ranks was Bartolomeo d'Alviano, in secret an Assassin. When Bartolomeo's resources were down to three fortresses, Cesare cut off his supplies. Just when victory seemed within reach, Carlo Orsini arrived with his army and reinforced Bartolomeo, even wounding Cesare in the face.
In 1498, the Assassin Perotto Calderon and Cesare's sister Lucrezia had formed an intimate relationship, which led to Lucrezia becoming pregnant. However, Cesare had Perotto imprisoned for becoming close to his sister and took the child away from them. Perotto managed to escape and took his son with him, but as he fled, the members of his Brotherhood executed him for having broken the tenets of their Creed. Cesare somehow managed to once again take the child and decided to raise him as his own, naming the child Giovanni Borgia.
Prior to 1499, Cesare started planning a way to create his own anti Assassin group. Cesare sent a group of orphans to the Vallombrosa Abbey and tricked veteran Assassin Raphael Sánchez into training them as Assassins for at least five years. Cesare then appointed his ally Sirus Favero as the leader of the newly form group, which he called "the Crows".
Siege of Monteriggioni
In January 1500, Cesare led an assault on Monteriggioni, the headquarters of the Assassins in Italy, in order to eliminate the Auditore family, who were the leaders of the Assassins. Besieging the city, Cesare's forces overwhelmed the fortress defenders and captured the Apple, Caterina Sforza, and Mario Auditore, the current leader of the Italian Assassins.
The beaten Assassin walked through the gates of Monteriggioni before collapsing onto the ground, followed by Cesare and his allies; including his sister, Lucrezia, Micheletto Corella, Baron Octavian de Valois, and Juan Borgia.
Cesare sheathed his sword and spoke out to Ezio himself, who had seen the Borgia's entrance and was running across the rooftops to aid Mario. The Borgia Captain General spoke of how the Pope had told him of the Assassins and Apple. He then turned and grabbed the Baron de Valois' firearm from him, a pistol that Ezio's good friend, Leonardo da Vinci, had been forced to fashion for them.
Cesare stated that there had been too much bloodshed on both sides, and that a "cleansing was in order". Raising the pistol into the air, Cesare "invited" Ezio to come and face him in Rome, and killed Mario with a shot from the firearm.
Ezio was then shot down and wounded by a team of arquebusiers. Cesare immediately had Mario decapitated, his severed head placed on a pike. During Ezio's escape, Cesare showed Mario's head to him, exclaiming that he would kill him next. With Monteriggioni in ruins, Cesare and his victorious army returned to Rome with their prize.
Campaigning in Italy
Enjoying decisive support by the Pope and the King of France, who had named him Duke of Valentinois, Cesare started to carve out a state of his own in central Italy by systematically deposing the local lords, who nominally were rebellious Papal vicars. He ousted his former brother-in-law Giovanni Sforza from Pesaro and Pandolfo Malatesta from Rimini; Faenza surrendered and Cesare later had its captive young prince Astorre III Manfredi drowned in the Tiber. He became Duke of Romagna and was hired by Florence to vanquish Iacopo IV Appiani and conquer Piombino. Finally, in 1502, he expelled Guidobaldo da Montefeltro from Urbino and Giulio Cesare da Varano from Camerino. He later had the latter killed along his three sons by Micheletto Corella.
- Oliverotto: "I never wished you any harm, Cesare. It was entirely Vitellozzo's plan!"
- Cesare: "Ha! Your sacrifice will prove invaluable to me."
- ―Oliverotto pleading to Cesare before being killed by Micheletto, 1500.
Following the Siege of Monteriggioni, Cesare commanded Ramiro d'Orco, Vitellozzo Vitelli and Oliverotto da Fermo to lead his armies into Romagna and claim it for their Borgia master. However, all three generals eventually rebelled against Cesare, to which he responded by butchering Ramiro.
His death panicked both Oliverotto and Vitellozzo, forcing them both to re-enter Cesare's service, after he accepted their every demand to return without consequences for the rebellion. However, with Romagna his, Cesare no longer required their service. Months later, Cesare threw a "dinner" in Vitellozzo and Oliverotto's honor.
Once both generals arrived at the location Cesare given, he spoke out to them, thanking them for handing Romagna to him, but claimed it was time to shed his "bloody gloves".
As several Papal Guards arrived at Cesare's side, they both realized that they had entered an ambush, thus they both charged into a fray immediately. Though outnumbered, both Oliverotto and Vitellozzo overpowered them. Cesare then armed himself with a crossbow, and as a surviving Papal Guard wounded Vitellozzo, Cesare fired the bolt at Oliverotto's chest.
Several hours later, both Vitellozzo and Oliverotto regained consciousness, recovering from their wounds. As they woke up, they realized that they were chained back-to-back. In front of them Cesare stood, aside Micheletto Corella. Though Oliverotto blamed Vitellozzo for the conspiracy against him, Cesare ultimately ordered Micheletto to strangle both Viellozzo and Oliverotto back-to-back, claiming their "sacrifice" was invaluable to him.
War in Rome
By 1500, Cesare had Rome under his iron fist as the commander of the Papal army, though he and his father occasionally disagreed on his choices. He used Borgia towers and their captains to keep control over the five districts of Rome, as he was often away for extended periods of time to oversee the advancement of his army, in a bid to unite all of Italy under his rule.
During Ezio's infiltration of the Castel Sant'Angelo in late June 1501, Cesare was seen at the stables conversing with his three generals about their plans, where he told them to play along with his father's "tired old men's club", but to remember who they really served.
Subsequently, he shared a romantic moment with his sister. Cesare asked if their father had considered the funds requested by his banker, though she claimed he was away from the Castel and may need convincing. Cesare then left the Castel for Romagna to continue his campaign.
In 1502, Cesare continued to make use of Leonardo da Vinci's intellect, forcing him to design several war machines for his army. However, all of Leonardo's creations were eventually stolen and destroyed by Ezio Auditore, in secret, at Leonardo's own request.
Around that time, Cesare invited his presumed ally, Fiora Cavazza, to dinner in order to interrogate her about the recent deaths of some of his agents, mainly Il Lupo and Baltasar de Silva. However, Fiora denied to have any knowledge regarding their deaths. The same night, Cesare's presumed son Giovanni discovered Fiora trying to steal Cesare's Apple of Eden, and Cesare was alerted by the clamor, thus discovering Fiora, who had been frozen by its power. Cesare advanced on the immobilized Fiora, calmly telling Giovanni that he would hurt her.
In 1503, Cesare attended Juan Borgia's pagan party, where he gave a brief speech on a soon to be united Italy. After Cesare commanded the party to begin, Rodrigo reminded him that they had not agreed to conquer Italy. However, Cesare stated that he was now in control, although not officially, and simply told his father to enjoy himself.
Later that year, Cesare had his close friend, Francesco Troche, executed by Micheletto Corella, for telling his brother of Cesare's intentions for Romagna. Cesare then ordered Micheletto to assassinate the actor Pietro Rossi, Lucrezia's secret lover.
In August of 1503, due to the interference of the Roman Assassins, Cesare's army and funds had significantly diminished. Enraged, Cesare confronted Rodrigo, demanding to know what had happened. There, Cesare and Rodrigo argued over the former's insatiable lust for power. Rodrigo commented that he had given Cesare all he had, yet his son was never satisfied.
Cesare demanded that his father give him the Apple of Eden, but Rodrigo refused. At this point, Lucrezia barged in, crying out to her brother that their father was attempting to poison him with the bowl of apples he had left out.
An outraged Cesare responded by charging Rodrigo and shoving the poisoned apple down his throat, suffocating him. Cesare then demanded the Apple's whereabouts from Lucrezia, who confessed under much pressure. However, Ezio beat Cesare to St. Peter's Basilica, the Apple's location, and retrieved the Piece of Eden before him.
Cesare's rule spiraled downward from there. Cesare had consumed enough of the poison to leave him weak for months; while he recovered, the Assassins used the Apple to dwindle his remaining forces, while the cardinals of the Curia refused to support the Templar, branding the Borgia's money "tainted".
Cesare sent Micheletto to retrieve his armies from the northern battlefield in order to reclaim Rome, however, he was confronted by the highest-ranking Assassins as he awaited his return. As the last of his followers fell, Fabio Orsini arrived with the Papal Guard and a warrant for Cesare's arrest by the order of Pope Julius II. Cesare was taken away, imprisoned, and later exiled to Spain.
From Rome to Spain
Subsequently following his arrest, Cesare was imprisoned in the Castel Sant'Angelo. However, he was able to escape the prison and flee. Somehow, Cesare managed to go to Firenze in order to execute a weaponsmith called Demetrio, who had refused to continue creating Corvix Blades for the Crows and was plotting to kill Cesare after the latter cut his tongue, however, an Assassin saved Demetrio before he could be executed. Though Cesare was later recaptured, Pope Julius II concluded that Cesare needed to be transferred to a more secure prison, and had the Templar moved to the Castillo de la Mota, Aragon, in Spain. Though Ezio had intended to kill Cesare despite his imprisonment, he was unaware of where Cesare had been transferred. He, Machiavelli, and Leonardo began tracking him down, while Micheletto, who had evaded imprisonment and remained loyal to Cesare, planned for his master's escape.
In 1506, Micheletto bribed a prison guard at the Castillo. Having had rope smuggled in for him, Cesare climbed down from his window and snuck past the main gate in his stolen guard uniform. Meeting with Micheletto, he was informed that Ezio was currently tracking him, though he said nothing on the matter. Micheletto then told his master that he had made arrangements in Valencia. With this, Cesare made his escape, and rode to Valencia with Micheletto.
Attack on Valencia
- Cesare: "You got me out of La Mota, sure, and you up my hopes. But now look where you have got me!"
- Micheletto: "Master, all my men are dead. I have done what I could."
- Cesare: "And failed!"
- —Cesare before bursting into a tirade about Micheletto and killing him, Valencia, 1506.[src]
Following his escape, Cesare began to rebuild his forces in Valencia, with men volunteering to enter his service and setting up a large military encampment. Whilst Cesare was raising a small army, he spent most of his time coordinating battle tactics at the Lone Wolf Inn. Ezio and Machiavelli soon discovered this, however, and were able to destroy the encampment and twelve ships with Leonardo's hand-held bombs.
Later, they spied on him from the roof of the Lone Wolf. Cesare blamed Micheletto for the Assassins' attack, and insulted him as a dog, remarking that he should find somewhere to die. During his tirade against Micheletto, Cesare claimed that he would cross the borders and join his brother-in-law, King John III of Navarre to seek his aid.
Though Micheletto begged Cesare, and reminded him of his loyal service, Cesare continued to insult him. However, this rebounded on Cesare, as Micheletto, realizing how little his service meant to his ungrateful master, attempted to murder Cesare by strangling him. However, Cesare was able to shove Micheletto away and shoot him in the head, killing him. Ezio and Machiavelli, who had watched the scene unfold, made a noise from above. Cesare, who heard this, fired his rifle and wounded Machiavelli.
Siege of Viana and death
In March of 1507, Cesare tried to regain his lost honor by commandeering John III's vast army during the Siege of Viana, after which, should he be victorious, he would regain the support of the French. However, unbeknownst to him, Ezio caught wind of Cesare's involvement in the battle and set out for Viana.
During the siege, Ezio located and charged Cesare on the battlefield, though Cesare held him back just long enough to dodge his Hidden Blade and flee, screaming at his men to kill the Assassin as he retreated. Ezio's pursuit was delayed by several cannonball impacts that stunned him, and incapacitated the other soldiers in the area.
Ezio soon caught up to him on the outskirts of the castle walls, where Cesare had his soldiers kill a civilian woman, who was crying for him to help her son, who had been injured. Ezio eventually faced Cesare on the walls of Viana Castle and fought against him, with Cesare wielding a sword and a pistol.
Though Cesare attacked with speed and skill, while also periodically calling reinforcing troops, Ezio nevertheless defeated him, eventually pinning him to the ground. When Cesare vowed not to die at the hands of man, Ezio declared that he would leave Cesare "in the hands of Fate", and threw him off of the castle wall to his death.
Personality and characteristics
Cesare was born into the Templar Order and, like many of his siblings, was raised by his father as his personal weapon. However, Cesare was a charismatic, cruel, aggressive, and ambitious man. He was utterly ruthless in that he would do anything—including having his own family and friends murdered - to obtain power.
Cesare maintained an incestuous relationship with his sister, Lucrezia Borgia, and promised her that she would be his queen when he ruled Italy. As such, he frequently descended into jealous rage due to her many dalliances with other men – those of which she would normally woo in order to spite her unfaithful brother.
However, in his attempts to discover the location of the Apple, Cesare physically assaulted her, answering her tearful question if he had ever loved her by saying, "You are my sister, nothing more." Despite this, Cesare maintained contact with Lucrezia until death, promising her that he would return to power.
Cesare also developed a god-complex personality, believing that he would not be bound nor killed by a normal man. He also believed that he was more powerful than the Pope himself, seemingly unaware that his father's status as Pope was the only reason he had any power in the first place. He maintained this belief throughout his life, even in his final moments, despite being aware that his death was imminent. 
Equipment and Skills
- Ezio: "Is that admiration I hear in your voice?"
- Machiavelli: "He knows how to exercise his will. A rare virtue in the world today."
- ―Ezio and Mchiavelli, discussing Cesare's leadership abilities, 1500.[src]
Cesare, as Captain General of the Papal armies, was a capable leader, and gained many victories. Cesare was a skilled swordsman, killing several Vianese soldiers with ease, and capable of fighting on even ground with Ezio Auditore in a sword-fight that nearly ended in a stalemate, in spite of being afflicted with the "New Disease". Cesare was also a competent bullfighter, being able to kill a bull without the need of aid from his assistants.
Cesare was a skilled manipulator, amassing many followers under his campaigns. While some followers merely used Cesare to further their own personal gains, Cesare himself was manipulating them, with plans to dispose his followers should they either betray him or outlive his usefulness. Even his once manipulative and powerful father became nothing more than a figurehead in Cesare's quest for power. Machiavelli himself admitted respect for Cesare's skill in consolidating his power. Ezio also was well aware of what Cesare was capable of, that as long as he lives, whether he be imprisoned or removed from power, he would always remain a threat.
Cesare was armed with a Schiavona while in Rome, though chose to wield a Common Sword during the Siege of Viana. Cesare also wielded a wheelock pistol as well as a dagger. He was also skilled in wielding a crossbow as well.
- Appearance and behavior
- In the novelization of Brotherhood, Cesare's face had been apparently deformed by the "New Disease", and he had resorted to wearing a mask. However, in the game, he is never seen with either said deformity or mask.
- Historically, Cesare was infected by the recent outbreak of syphilis and resorted to wearing a mask in public.
- According to the Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood novel, Cesare excelled at bullfighting. Machiavelli believed he showed such an interest in the sport due to its origins in Spain, and his aggressive nature.
- Cesare Borgia was married to Charlotte d'Albret, who bore him a daughter named Louise. This is never mentioned in the game, although Ezio visits her in the novelization. He actually died while fighting for her brother, John d'Albret of Navarre.
- Despite being shown to be adept with a crossbow in both Assassin's Creed: Project Legacy and Assassin's Creed: Ascendance, Cesare never wields the weapon in Brotherhood.
- Since Cesare is immune to executions or counters, and would even harm Ezio on the Assassin's attempts to counter-kill him, Cesare could only be killed by whittling down his defense through attacking repeatedly or by being shot by Ezio's Hidden Gun.
- Mobile game
- In the non-canonical mobile adaptation of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Cesare Borgia attacks Monteriggioni, kills Mario Auditore, and steals the Apple of Eden in 1486, the year the entire game, along with the mobile prequel is set. Unlike the canonical game, Cesare Borgia is not confronted by the Assassins at the Piazza del Popolo in 1503 after losing the Apple only to be arrested by Fabio Orsini, nor is he killed by Ezio Auditore in personal combat years later in 1507 at the Siege of Viana. Instead, he is confronted by Ezio Auditore in 1486 at the Roman Colosseum after the assassination of all his allies but still with the Apple in hand, which he uses in his duel with Ezio. The fight is separated into two stages:
- In the first stage, Cesare, augmented by the Apple, performs several techniques, some lightning-themed.
- He charges his sword in an upward swing followed by two more rapid slashes, all while emitting lightning bolts in an expanding radius around him.
- He charges at Ezio with an augmented burst of speed.
- He fires his pistol.
- Once he has nearly lost half his health, he holds out the Apple to blast Ezio away with an explosion of lightning around him.
- From then on, he adds an additional combat maneuver to his arsenal: that of throwing cross-shaped energy grenades that detonate in electric shockwaves upon impact.
- Eventually over-exhaustion from the Apple of Eden sets in, giving Ezio the opportunity to trounce him before stabbing him through the gut with his sword. The critically injured Cesare does not succumb to this wound, and fueled by the Apple, is able to not only partially recover, but flee to upper stages of the stadium where Ezio catches up to him for a resumption of their duel. At this point, Cesare outright absorbs the Apple of Eden, which transforms him into a powered-up state with an orange aura. In this state he is capable of the following feats, which he employs in his fight in addition to those he performed in the previous stage:
- He hovers off the ground, with a pool of lightning beneath him.
- He charges a ball of lightning in his hand, which he then thrusts at Ezio by charging at him with augmented speed.
- He slashes with his lightning-empowered sword, only unlike his initial combo, this focuses the lightning bolt outward in a focused direction: towards Ezio.
- By slamming the ground, he summons a trap of dark lightning from underneath Ezio, which, after shocking him with electric tendrils, crucifies him in a cross entirely composed of electricity.
- All of these attacks are unblockable to Ezio, who is forced to evade them all. Cesare is also invulnerable to damage in his state. Only after casting his lightning crucifixion technique does he become weakened enough to be injured—which Ezio exploits after breaking free of the trap through force of will alone.
- The pattern repeats until Cesare is at last mortally wounded; Ezio then finishes him by first kicking his face, then grabbing him by his neck with one hand, choking him, whereby he proceeds to use his other hand to stab him three times and slash him two times with his Hidden Blade. After seizing the Apple of Eden, Ezio immediately uses it to unleash a pillar of lightning around him that blasts Cesare away. As Cesare is blown away, Ezio utilizes his Apple-augmented speed to rapidly dash behind him and kick him back, then dash forward to intercept him once more and slam his body into the ground. From there, he executes his archenemy with one final thrust of his sword down into his head. Unlike the main game, Ezio in the mobile version is expressly motivated to kill Cesare and his allies only out of vengeance for Mario's death.
- In the first stage, Cesare, augmented by the Apple, performs several techniques, some lightning-themed.
- His given name is the Italian variation of the name Caesar.
- Historically, it is said that Niccolò Machiavelli greatly admired Cesare. However, in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, while Machiavelli respects his ability to enforce his will, he also seeks to eliminate Cesare and his family members alongside Ezio. Despite this, he does write a book based partially on Cesare's political life.
- Cesare has been compared to other Roman Templar rulers. Giovanni Borgia relived the memories of Marcus Junius Brutus through the Bleeding Effect and mistook Cesare for Julius Caesar, attempting to kill Cesare with a knife. Ezio Auditore compared Cesare to Caligula, due to the similarities in their arrogant, narcissistic personalities.
- Historically, Cesare was killed by an ambush of four Vianan Knights during the Siege of Viana where they stripped him of his luxurious garments and jewels including his mask that he covered in his face when he contracted syphilis and the knights only left him a red tile to cover up his gentiles.
- When replaying the memory in Viana, after the cutscene in which Ezio drops Cesare from the castle walls, his body can be seen when looking down from the battlements before the memory fades out.
- When talking to Shaun in the Sanctuary, he mentions that Cesare sent the Pope a letter about the night of his wedding with his French wife, and that he had "done the deed eight times".
- In the novelization, Cesare's personal crest was described as "two red bulls quartered with fleur-de-lis", the coat of arms of Duke of Valentinois. In the game however, he wasn't given a personal crest.
- Cesare is mentioned in Assassin's Creed: Revelations during "The Prince's Banquet", where Ezio disguises himself as a minstrel and sings about Cesare's death.
- There is an action figure of Cesare available, supplied by the UK branch of the Amazon retailer.
- Cesare is represented in two mnemonic sets in Assassin's Creed: Project Legacy: the "Borgia Family" set, and the "Shroud of Turin" set.
- Cesare can be seen very briefly in the introduction to Assassin's Creed III, holding the Apple of Eden.
- Assassin's Creed: Ascendance (first appearance)
- Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
- Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood novel
- Assassin's Creed: Revelations (mentioned only)
- Assassin's Creed: Project Legacy
- Assassin's Creed: Recollection
- Assassin's Creed: Memories
- Assassin's Creed: Identity (mentioned in Database entry only)
- Assassin's Creed: The Official Collection
- ↑ Twitter - @acinitiates: "#ADayInHistory Captain General of the Papal Armies. Templar. Grand Master. Cesare was born on this day in 1475"
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood novel
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 Assassin's Creed: Ascendance
- ↑ Assassin's Creed II
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Assassin's Creed: Project Legacy
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Assassin's Creed: Identity
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Project Legacy - Rome: Chapter 3 - Francesco Vecellio