Today in the Middle Ages: April 18, 1480

Lucrezia Borgia, the daughter of a future Pope and his mistress, was born on April 18, 1480.

Lucrezia's terrible reputation as an incestuous daughter and sister and a husband-killer began during her lifetime. However, most historians now believe it to stem from anti-Borgia propaganda that was part of the power struggles of the day. Once the accusations were enshrined in the writings of Machiavelli, they were accepted as fact for centuries. The incest charges are generally considered false, but historians still debate Lucrezia's true character.