AND AN ORDEAL
The experiences of the Jews in Italy and Spain constitute something of a paradox. Enjoying comparable happy circumstances at first, the communities of these neighboring countries came to quite a different end. In Rome, the center of Catholic unity, Jews were never expelled and in Italy as a whole their situation was felicitous until the end of the Middle Ages, even longer. Across the Pyrenees, caught amid a desperate attempt to enforce Catholic unity, they suffered their bitterest hours and their final and most painful expulsion. To understand this paradox fully is a task as yet unfinished for historians. Pending its completion, the contrast these two histories pose both to one another and, taken together, to the rest of Europe may serve to caution against viewing the medieval scene too simply and against judging heterogeneous situations of the past in the light of doctrinaire principles of the present.
The case of the Roman community was particularly remarkable. Of it, Emmanuel Rodocanachi, a student of the relations of the Jews and the Holy See, writes: "Whereas everywhere else- in Spain, in France, in Germany, and even Arabia and the re