In the early 16th century, it was said that under Pope Alexander VI (Borgia), Rome belonged to the goddess Venus, under Julius II (della Rovere), to the god Mars, and under Leo X (Medici), to Minerva. Alexander was a sensual voluptuary; Julius exhausted and demoralized Italy by wars, and under Leo, men of genius flocked to Rome in an extraordinary concentration of talent. These popes were also men of cruelty, avarice, injustice and duplicity. Yet, as during the time of Emperor Augustus and his successors, who prided themselves on similar character traits, the popes initiated an urban renewal the likes of which had rarely been seen, with Rome assuming the magnificence it hadn’t boasted since the days of the Caesars. Along the way, many a Nero, a Caligula and a Commodus also sat on the papal throne. But above all, Sex, War and Splendor were the Holy Trinity of Rome eternal.