The Jews in Rome, Volume 1 (1536-1551)
This volume recreates through a register and apt citation the first thousand acts of an archive known informally as the 'Notai ebrei', a collection of as many as 10,000 such acts drawn by Roman rabbis between 1536 and 1640. The acts in this volume cover the twenty years prior to the establishment of the Roman ghetto by Paul IV in 1555. A lengthy introduction reveals these acts as a mirror of Jewish social and cultural life, including such matters as litigations, broken engagements, adoption, synagogal disputes, as well as rentals contracts, and apprenticeships.
Most noteworthy is the ownership of property by women. This encouraged and reflected the treatment of both men and women as individuals. Indeed, individualism, which also promoted the amalgamation and ethnic levelling of a society that after about 1500 was notably one of immigrants, was this society's most salient characteristic.