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SECCHI, PABLO MARINI:

Italian Christian merchant; lived at Rome in the sixteenth century. He made a wager with a Jew, Samson Ceneda, that Santo Domingo would be conquered. The terms of the wager were that in the event of Ceneda losing he was to give Secchi a pound of his flesh. If Secchi lost, he was to pay the Jew 1,000 scudi. The Jew lost the wager; and Secchi insisted upon the payment of the penalty. The affair came to the ears of Pope Sixtus V., who inflicted a punishment on both parties for having entered upon such a wager. The incident has been treated by Shakespeare in his drama "The Merchant of Venice," in which, however, the characters are inverted. But see Shylock.

Bibliography:
  • Grätz, Gesch. x. 145;
  • Vogelstein and Rieger, Gesch. der Juden in Rom, ii. 177.
S. I. Br.
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