This Day in Jewish History |

1668: Pope Puts a Stop to Rome's Sadistic 'Jews Race'

Less motivated by concern for the naked runners, Clement IX felt the contest wasn't 'convenient' enough.

David Green
David B. Green
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David Green
David B. Green

On January 28, 1668, Pope Clement IX declared the discontinuation of the Jews’ Race, held each year in Rome as part of the Carnival celebrations leading up to Lent. The origins of this running competition went back 200 years, and although there is some evidence that initially the Jews had participated in it willingly, just as other social and professional groups ran in races during the eight days of festivities leading up to Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent) – over the years the treatment of the Jews had become increasingly humiliating and sadistic.

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