His coffers depleted by his expensive rise to power, Rodrigo seeks funds through a profitable marriage for Lucrezia that will ally with him Milan, and charges a fee for safe haven in the Holy City to Jews displaced by the Spanish Inquisition; the Borgias host a charming Turkish prince; Micheletto is ordered to rid his patrons of the ongoing threat posed by Della Rovere.
Cardinal Giuliano Della Rovere arrives in Naples and is given an audience with King Ferrante and Prince Alfonso. When the Pope learns of his arrival in Naples, he asks his son Cesare if he knows of someone who could kill the Cardinal. Della Rovere and Alfonso discuss deposing the Pope, with Della Rovere offering to recognize the independence of Naples (from the claims of Spain and France), should he be elected Pope when Alexander is deposed. Alfonso is not convinced, as he believes Naples is already a proven free kingdom. He takes Della Rovere to a dining room, where King Ferrante had his enemies stuffed and put on display, as a warning to anyone who would cross him.
Meanwhile in Rome, the Pope discusses the Vatican's financial woes with his sons Cesare and Juan. He suggests taking in the marranos, which have recently been exiled from Spain by Queen Isabella, at a high price. While emptying Della Rovere's estate, Cesare meets with Micheletto and tells him to travel to Naples to assassinate the Cardinal. When Micheletto arrives in Naples, he hides in the dining room among King Ferrante's stuffed enemies until night falls, but before reaching Della Rovere's room, he sees two guards posted outside and retreats. Reforming his plan, he attempts to kill Della Rovere at a sulphur bath, but is discovered by the Cardinal, recognizing Micheletto's badly scarred back. In Rome, the Pope introduces his 13 new Cardinals in a ceremony at the Vatican. Micheletto barely escapes the baths, and Della Rovere is expelled from Naples by Alfonso.The Pope consults Giulia Farnese and Cesare on a request from the Sultan of Constantinople to house his half brother, Prince Djem, for 40,000 ducats a year. In dire need of finances, they decide to accept Djem, even though he is a Muslim. When Djem arrives, he instantly develops a friendship with Lucrezia and Juan, whom he calls his "Christian brother". While Juan and Lucrezia entertain Djem, the Pope and Cesare begin the search for a husband for Lucrezia. While they have received offers from all over Christendom, the Pope and Cesare agree that to sustain the papacy, her husband must be Italian. While watching Djem and Juan practice swordplay, the Pope reveals to Cesare that the Sultan offered him 400,000 ducats if Djem were to die while in their care. The Pope meets with representatives for several suitors of Lucrezia, but during the meetings, he sees Lucrezia dancing with Djem. He decides that she will be married to Giovanni Sforza, to secure a union with Milan, and to ensure that Della Rovere is turned away from Milan on his road to France.
Juan comes to Cesare, in search of Micheletto's services. Cesare quickly deduces that the Pope intends to kill Djem and use the money from the Sultan to pay Lucrezia's dowry. He refuses Juan's request, knowing that Lucrezia loves Djem and would miss him at her wedding. Juan, now unable to use Micheletto, plots with a cook to poison Djem's tea with cantarella. During a small gathering the following day, Djem drinks the poisoned tea, and quickly falls ill, but does not die as Juan expected. After consulting Micheletto, who tells them Djem will be in agony for weeks, Cesare makes Juan finish what he started. Juan enters Djem's room and smothers him with a pillow.
Jeremy Irons as Rodrigo Borgia
François Arnaud as Cesare Borgia
Holliday Grainger as Lucrezia Borgia
Joanne Whalley as Vanozza Cattaneo
Lotte Verbeek as Giulia Farnese
David Oakes as Juan Borgia
Sean Harris as Micheletto Corella
Simon McBurney as Johannes Burchart
Colm Feore as Giuliano Della Rovere
Peter Sullivan as Cardinal Ascanio Sforza
Gina McKee as Catherina Sforza
Augustus Prew as Prince Alfonso of Naples
Joseph Kelly as King Ferrante of Naples
Elyes Gabel as Prince Djem
Jalaal Hartley as Pinturicchio
Ferenc Lengyel as Masseur
Levente Törköly as Turkish Ambassador
Peter Mark as Djem's Servant
Alexis Latham as Neapolitan Courtier
Seymour Matthews as Sigimondo D'Este
László Konter as Cardinal Colonna
Antal Ádám as Arrogant Young Nephew
György Gál as Elderly Nobleman
Levente Tasner as Goofy Noble Grandson
Robert Demeger as Venetian Ambassador
Isaac O'Sullivan as Venetian Prince Regent
Patrick Osborne as Domenico the Kitchen Hand
- Goof: According to Ottoman tradition , the harem or Sergalio was ran by the Valide Sultan , the mother of sultan. Most of the slave women in the harem never even met the sultan. Traditionally the Kadins, or wive were limited to four although they were not legally married to the sultan. Favourites and hasekis did not have a limited number. However beating a wife or female slave is not acceptable in Islamic Law ,contrary to what Djem suggests.
- Djem's brother Bayezid II welcomed many Spanish Jews into his state after their expulsion from Spain. They were granted Ottoman citizenship and settled in Ottoman lands. Djem would have been more shocked at the presence of Jewish refugees in Christian lands considering their historical differences .
- Goof: Lucrezia, while being fitted for her betrothal dress suggests that a wedding gown ought to be white. However, white did not become a popular option for wedding dresses until 1840, after the marriage of Queen Victoria.
- Goof: In the 1490s the Ottoman Empire had just come out of a long, fruitless war against Egypt for control of Syria and eastern Anatolia. It wouldn't control anything near Persia until the Battle of Chaldiran in 1514.
- Goof: Djem claims to have hunted white tigers in Persia on a regular basis. White tigers, however, are unknown in the wild and all existing individuals in captivity are descended from a single male born in India in the 1940s (the character then claims to have also hunted unicorns, though, which might indicate that he was bluffing the entire time).
- In reality, Prince Djem was put under custody of the Papacy in 1489, 3 years before the election of Alexander VI. Prince Djem was in his thirties when Rodrigo Borgia became Pope, and died two years after Lucrezia's wedding while fighting for the French.