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The Jewish Community of Rome in New York



The Jewish Community of Rome in New York

In collaboration with Centro Primo Levi and Rome Lab Project,  a lecture on The Arch of Titus, the Jews, and the Ceremony of the Adventus. Marina Caffiero will discuss the symbolism of the ceremony of the Papal adventus, its transformation over time and the role of the Jews.

In the Middle Ages, Roman Jews used to exhibit for the new Pope and later present him with a Torah scroll. Through this act they defined themselves as people of the book. With Leone X, in 1513, the ritual of the book ended. The years following are those of the sack of Rome in 1527, the burning of the Talmud in 1553, and the installation of the Ghetto in 1555 Starting in 1590, however, the Universitas Haebreorum, as the Jewish Community was called, was again present in the inaugural horse parade that brought the new Pope across the city from San Peter to San Giovanni in Laterano. The Jews were assigned the Arch of Septimius Severus and decorated it with panels and welcoming inscriptions in Latin and Hebrew.

The ceremony of the papal adventus, which was originally called processio (procession), was the most spectacular among the inaugural rituals for the installation of a newly elected pontiff. It consisted of a thoroughly orchestrated horseback parade (it was in fact also called “cavalcata”). The parade, that flourished in the early modern and modern age, took place after the coronation of a new pope following a precise symbolic order. It led the pope from the St. Peter’s Basilica to take possession of St. John Lateran, which was his diocese and cathedral church. The pontiff, dressed in white and red and mounting on a white horse with red velvet barding, crossed the city of Rome of which he was bishop but also temporal sovereign. Through the ceremony, the pope took possession of the city, through a carefully pre-defined route, called the ”papal route” interspersed with stations where various city guilds paid him tribute.

Marina Caffiero is Full Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Department of History, Cultures, and Religions. Her research interests include: 1) religious and cultural history in Italy and Europe, 16th to 19th centuries (Inquisition and conversions); 2) social history of Jewish and Islamic minorities; 3) gender history and women’s writings in Early Modern Europe.



Before the lecture, screening of Un giorno a Roma, which chronicles a day in the life of the contemporary Jewish community of Rome, which for centuries has lived in limbo between persecution and integration. Produced by Awen Films,  a nonfiction production company based in Brooklyn, NY. The word “awen” means “person” in the Lenape language, and this is also the driving idea behind the group’s mission: to produce and support independent projects that focus on stories of the human condition.




Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Time: From 6:00 pm To 8:00 pm

Organized by : ICI

In collaboration with : Centro Primo Levi

Entrance : Free


Italian Cultural Institute of New York