The blow which has fallen upon us is the heaviest we could possibly have sustained, for We loved the Duke of Gandia more than anyone else in the world. We would gladly give seven Tiaras to be able to recall him to life. [x]
R.I.P. Juan Borgia, d. 14 June 1497
promise you will hold me, father ▸ 14th June 1497 ✘ Juan Borgia
14 June 1497 —▶ Death of Juan Borgia,duke of Gandia
A timber merchant who unloaded his wood on an island in the River Tiber, revealed that around two o’clock in the morning, he had seen two men, acting furtively, throw a body into the water.
The searchers dragged the river all night and for half the following day until, at noon, a corpse clad in rich brocade and carrying the insignia of Captain-General of the Church was discovered.
It was Juan. He was brutally hacked about as many as eight times and his throat was cut. His hands were tied together and a stone had been hung about his neck to make sure he sank to the bottom of the river.
Pope Alexander was devastated when he heard how horribly Juan had been killed. It was said that he “let out a great roar like an injured animal when he saw Juan’s bloated, muddied body.”
Alexander shut himself away in the Castel Sant’Angelo and refused to let anyone in for several hours. He neither ate nor drank anything for more than three days. In his overwhelming grief, he imagined that Juan had been killed because of his own sinful excesses.
Juan’s killers were never found, though the murder had all the hallmarks of a contract killing. In addition, though, there was talk that nine years after making it, Cesare Borgia had carried out his threat and killed the brother he so fiercely envied.