The Borgia family became prominent during the Renaissance in Italy. They were from Valencia, the name coming from the family fief of Borja, then in the kingdom of Aragon, in Spain. The Borgias became prominent in ecclesiastical and political affairs in the 15th and 16th centuries, producing two popes, Alfons de Borja who ruled as Pope Callixtus III during 1455–1458 and Rodrigo Lanzol Borgia, as Pope Alexander VI, during 1492–1503. Especially during the reign of Alexander VI, they were suspected of many crimes, including adultery, simony, theft, bribery and murder (especially murder by arsenic poisoning). Because of their grasping for power, they made enemies of the Medici, the Sforza, and the Dominican friar Savonarola, among others. They were also patrons of the arts who contributed to the Renaissance.
Nobody has ever detailed history's most ruthless rulers and tyrants with as much flair and passion as French writer Alexandre Dumas.