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The series follows the rise of the Borgia family to the pinnacle of the Roman Catholic Church and their struggles to maintain their grip on power. The beginning of the first season depicts the election of Rodrigo Borgia to the papacy through simony and bribery with the help of his son, Cesare. The triumph in the papal conclave of Borgia, who becomes Pope Alexander VI, enrages his rivals in the College of Cardinals, some of whom decide to plot against him. With the help of his family, Rodrigo takes on his enemies while striking alliances with other European powers to strengthen his position. Meanwhile, Rodrigo's great rival, Cardinal Della Rovere, travels across Italy and France to seek allies to depose the pope. He manages to persuade King Charles of France to assist him in removing Pope Alexander in exchange for supporting the King's claim to the throne of Naples, an ally of the Borgias through marriage. Season one culminates with Charles and his army, accompanied by Della Rovere, marching to Rome and finally coming to a head with the Borgias.