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The Shroud of Sforza

imageI’ve never watched the television series, The Borgias. Actually, I never heard of it until today. But it turns out the shroud, or at least a copy of the shroud, plays a role in one of the episodes, Tears of Blood

The series on the Showtime channel, now wrapping up season 3, is a drama series about the fictional Borgia dynasty in early 16th century in Italy (about the time of Machiavelli).

As Les Chappell writes in the AV Club blog:

In the course of these reviews, I’ve talked many times about the use of spectacle on The Borgias, as both the show and the world within the show rely on it to a considerable degree. From a production standpoint, some of the show’s finest moments have been its depictions of grand events, from Alexander’s coronation as pope to any number of weddings to the Bonfire of the Vanities to the burning of Friar Savonarola. . . .

You get the idea. But how about this:

Caterina, however, is greeted with a far different spectacle: the body of her son Benito. And for all her bold talk about bearing ten more sons in “The Siege Of Forli” she’s consumed with sorrow at this loss, and fear for what [Pope] Alexander [VI] will do to her with the funds the Jubilee is raising. She decides to deploy her own relic, a duplicate of the Shroud of Turin, displayed in the catacombs of Sforza-controlled territory and stemming the flow of pilgrims to Rome. The move works to keep the coffers of Rome light—particularly with the aid of a contraption to simulate bleeding tears on the Shroud in front of the first group—and then works to draw papal attention as Cesare and Micheletto investigate, only to be nearly blown to bits by a gunpowder trap.

It aired on June 2 and I missed it. Ah, shucks!

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