Cancelled The life and times of Cesare Borgia: following in the footsteps of Machiavelli’s Prince

Course content



In this research-based course, participants will learn about the Italian Renaissance through the life and times of Cesare Borgia (the Borgia family), and through the critical role Niccolò Machiavelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Pope Julius II (the Popes) and several other prominent figures played in Borgia’s life at the end of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th century. Focus will be on Cesare Borgia’s position as ‘Cardinal’ and ‘Prince’ framed in the transition of two crucial epochs in Western history, that from the Late Middle Ages towards the Early Modern Period, and the changing political, geographical, religious and cultural factors.

The course also concentrates on the work of the most famous political thinker of the Italian Renaissance: Niccolò Machiavelli. By delving into his dispatches sent from Borgia’s court, the students will achieve thorough understanding of Borgia’s power, personality, and ambition to alter the political and geographical map of the Italian peninsula. Machiavelli’s later writings, (the seventh chapter of the Prince and excerpts from The Discourses) will be evaluated in relation to the envoy’s early assessment of Duke Valentino (Cesare Borgia). Students will also gain deeper insight in the parallels Machiavelli began to draw between Borgia and his own life when he was in exile.

There will be an option for those students who read Italian, Spanish, or French to examine/read authentic material and/or second sources. Moreover, students will have the possibility to hone their non-fiction writing skills through the creation of a portfolio and peer feedback. Feedback on their writing will also be given by the lecturer who is a published author herself.

Lectures will be accompanied by readings of the students.

Kurset udbydes til alle kandidatstuderende på Institut for Engelsk, Germansk og Romansk, samt som KA-tilvalg for studerende fra andre institutter.

Studerende indskrevet på Kandidatuddannelsen i italiensk kan desuden bruge kurset til Frit Emne 1.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
Type of assessment
Portfolio, A joint portfolio uploaded in digital exam: Deadline January 4th 2024
Type of assessment details
Løbende aktiviteter: 3 aktiviteter i alt, som alle skal gennemføres. Hvis underviser ikke ønsker mundtlige oplæg, kan aktivitet 1. udeladesog aktivitet 2. indgå to gange:
1. Mundtligt oplæg (vægtes ¼):
a. Abstract (ca. 1 side med kort beskrivelse af oplæg) afleveres 1 uge før det mundtlige oplæg holdes.
b. 10 minutters mundtligt oplæg med slides eller lignende samt 10 minutter respons fra holdet.
c. 2 siders refleksionspapir (refleksioner over egen indsats og efterfølgende respons fra holdet) afleveres 1 uge efter mundtligt oplæg. (Abstracts, slides, refleksionspapir indgår i portfolioen, i alt 5-7 sider).
2. Kort skriftlig opgave/essay på ca. 5 sider (vægtes ¼): (aftales med underviser, f.eks. forskningsoversigt, annoteret bibliografi, anmeldelse af en bog, interview med forfatter, udarbejdelse af et undervisningsforløb, præsentation af dataindsamling eller en kommenteret oversættelse).
3. Lang afsluttende hjemmeopgave på 10-12 sider (vægtes ½)
Criteria for exam assessment

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 176,75
  • English
  • 204,75


Course number
Programme level
Full Degree Master
Full Degree Master choice

1 semester

See schedule
Study board of English, Germanic and Romance Studies
Contracting department
  • Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator
  • Sophie J V Swerts Knudsen   (6-767a68757776436b7870316e7831676e)
Saved on the 08-06-2023

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