Ravenna : capital of empire, crucible of Europe / Judith Herrin.

Herrin, Judith, author.
Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, 2020.
xxxvii, 536 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : color illustrations, maps ; 25 cm

Get It


Other Title:
Capital of empire, crucible of Europe
Ravenna (Italy) -- History -- To 1500.
Ravenna (Italy) -- Church history.
Cities and towns -- Italy -- History -- To 1500.
Ravenna (Italy) -- Kings and rulers -- Biography.
Italy -- Ravenna.
"At the end of the fourth century, as the power of Rome faded and Constantinople became the seat of empire, a new capital city was rising in the West. Here, in Ravenna on the coast of Italy, Arian Goths and Catholic Romans competed to produce an unrivaled concentration of buildings and astonishing mosaics. For three centuries, the city attracted scholars, lawyers, craftsmen, and religious luminaries, becoming a true cultural and political capital. Bringing this extraordinary history marvelously to life, Judith Herrin rewrites the history of East and West in the Mediterranean world before the rise of Islam and shows how, thanks to Byzantine influence, Ravenna played a crucial role in the development of medieval Christendom. Drawing on deep, original research, Herrin tells the personal stories of Ravenna while setting them in a sweeping synthesis of Mediterranean and Christian history. She narrates the lives of the Empress Galla Placidia and the Gothic king Theoderic and describes the achievements of an amazing cosmographer and a doctor who revived Greek medical knowledge in Italy, demolishing the idea that the West just descended into the medieval "Dark Ages." Beautifully illustrated and drawing on the latest archaeological findings, this monumental book provides a bold new interpretation of Ravenna's lasting influence on the culture of Europe and the West."
The emergence of Ravenna as the imperial capital of the West
Part One 390-450. Galla Palacidia. Galla Placidia, Theodosian princess
Honorius (395-423) and the development of Ravenna
Galla Placidia at the western court (416-23)
Galla Placidia, builder and empress mother
Part Two 450-93. The rise of the bishops. Valentinian III and Bishop Neon
Sidonius Apollinaris in Ravenna
Romulus Augustulus and King Odoacer
Part Three 493-540. Theoderic the Goth, Arian King of Ravenna. Theoderic the Ostrogoth
Theoderic's kingdom
Theoderic's diplomacy
Theoderic the lawgiver
Amalasuintha and the legacy of Theoderic
Part Four 540-70. Justinian I and the campaigns in North Africa and Italy. Belisarius captures Ravenna
San Vitale, epitome of Early Christendom
Narses and the Pragmatic Sanction
Archbishop Maximian, bulwark of the West
Archbishop Agnellus and the seizure of the Arian churches
Part Five 568-643. King Alboin and the Lombard conquest. Alboin invades
The exarchate of Ravenna
Gregory the Great and the control of Ravenna
Isaac, the Armenian exarch
Agnellus the doctor
Part Six 610-700. The expansion of Islam. The Arab conquests
Constans II in Sicily
The Sixth Oecumenical Council
The Anonumous Cosmographer of Ravenna
Part Seven 685-725. The two reigns of Justinian II. The Council in Trullo
The heroic Archbishop Damianus
The tempestuous life of Archbishop Felix
Part Eight 700-769. Ravenna returns to the margins. Leo III and the defeat of the Arabs
The beginnings of Iconoclasm
Pope Zacharias and the Lombard conquest of Ravenna
Archbishop Sergius takes control
Part Nine 756-813. Charlemagne and Ravenna. The long rule of King Desiderius
Charles in Italy, 774-87
Charles claims the stones of Ravenna
Conclusion: The glittering legacy of Ravenna.
Includes bibliographic references (pages 406-489) and index.
Local notes:
Athenaeum copy: Livezey Fund bookplate.