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Giuliano della Rovere is a central villain in the Canal+ series Borgia. From Albisola in the Republic of Genoa della Rovere was the bitter arch-rival of Rodrigo Borgia and a Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church.
As the series began in 1492 della Rovere and Borgia were two of the most powerful Cardinals in the church. Both men detested the other, and tension built between the two men. The tension became so thick that the two men came to blows in front of the Pope's deathbed after Borgia called della Rovere a "Genoan sodomite."
After the death of Innocent VIII della Rovere and Borgia emerged as the two front runners in the conclave. Due to a promise made to Ascaino Sforza to elevate him to Vice Chancellor Borgia was able to secure a larger number of votes and win the Papacy. It was della Rovere who had to ask his rival if he accepted election, reminding him that he had to say no twice before accepting the third time the question was asked.
Borgia fulfilled his promise to Sforza and made him Vice Chancellor, infuriating della Rovere. Soon della Rovere departed Rome and headed north to meet with King Charles VIII of France in order to get him to invade Italy and depose the Catalan Borgia. Due to his skillful use of diplomacy Borgia was able to out maneuver della Rovere and leave Borgia and Rome alone on his way to Naples.
After 11 years Rodrigo Borgia died. Upon his death della Rovere had to sneak into Rome, disguised as Cardinal Francesco Piccolomini's aide. Realizing that due to Borgia having the support of the Spanish Cardinals that he had no chance of winning the Papacy himself he supported Piccolomini, who was elected a short time later as Pius III. During this time Borgia attempted to make peace with Cesare, and insinuated to Cesare that he was the man's actual father due to an affair he had Vannozza dei Cattanei at about the same time she fell in with Borgia.
In failing health Pius III lasted not even a month as Pope before dying in October 1503. This time Cesare felt that della Rovere was the most compatible with the Borgia family interests, and ordered the Spanish Cardinals to support della Rovere for election. della Rovere was soon elected as Pope, taking the Papal name Julius II.
Julius II soon turned on Cesare Borgia, putting him on trial for treason against the Holy See. Borgia was soon delivered to the inquisition in La Mancha, but escaped from there and headed to Navarre. Cesare apparently died one night after being attacked in the woods. News of Cesare's apparent death brought the Pope a considerable amount of joy. The Pope continued his fighting exploits, using the sword to bring peace to Italy.