This introductory chapter explores the transformation in Jewish life that failed to occur in late eighteenth-century Rome. The French Revolution and the U.S. Constitution had established that Jews were citizens with full and equal legal rights. But in Rome, the capital of the then Papal State, no such proclamation occurred. Although Rome's Jews possessed rights in civil law, the discrimination determined by canon law was great. Roman Jews were forced to live in the ghetto decreed by Pope Paul IV in 1555, as part of a vigorous conversionary drive. People were taken to an institution known as the House of Converts, where they were held for periods of time, and most eventually converted. However, some did not, most notably Anna del Monte, who not only remained a Jew but also left a diary recounting her thirteen days in the Catecumeni, as Rome's Jews called the place.
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