The Historical Figure of Alexander VI was extrapolated from his images in Pinturicchio’s paintings in the Borgia apartment in the Vatican Palace, a portrait in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence and a bust of him from life in the Berlin Museum, and from other sources. As newly crowned Pope, he would show himself clothed very much as you see him here. These vestments would be changed often, as function and office required.
The Papal Tiara, triple crown tiara or triregnum was a primary symbol only of the Pope. Origins of the three crowns vary, but as the Trinity is held as the most significant aspect of the Roman Catholic faith, this could be its meaning. There are others.
Atop the tiara, the orb and cross finial represents God’s rule over the world.
The Papal Ring and Glove
The pectoral cross hangs below the embroidered morse. Crosses from the simplest to the most ornamental were always part of the clerical dress. Just above the morse is a ‘C’-shaped band. This is the top of the amice, a large, plain napkin with a stiffened collar, which is tied around the neck to prevent chaffing by the edge of the cope. This image is missing the stole, which was unfinished when the photography was taken.
In 1493, a dispute between Spain and Portugal arose as to which kingdom owned what part of the Americas then being discovered. It fell to Pope to decide who owned what.
The story is that the pope had a map of the known world laid out in sand on the floor at the Vatican, and with a specially designed silver sword he drew a line down the center, thus separating the new lands of the Spanish and the Portuguese. Later, in 1494 the division was refined and codified in the Treaty of Tordesillas and announced in a papal bull.
From time immemorial, bishops have carried a staff called a crozier, while popes always carried some form of a croix or crucifix. Alexander VI is shown with two styles of crosses. One shows the cross with equal, but very ornamental arms, all set with gold and stones - very popular in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Simple Cross, Uneven Arms