Nowadays the city is landlocked, but Ravenna remained an important seaport on the Adriatic until the early Middle Ages. In his capacity as a soldier suddenly pitted against Anthemius, since he had switched sides to join with … The celebrated mosaics in the church’s presbytery are strongly influenced by similar work at Constantinople. Afterwards, there was still one Roman emperor, Zeno, who lived in Constantinople. In 1512, following the Battle of Ravenna, the city was seized by the French but was soon recaptured. note [Zosimus, New History 5.27.1-2 .] At the beginning of the fifth century, Ravenna was the capital of the Western Roman Empire of the Goth Theodoric. Ravenna was a Roman city that rose to prominence is the fifth to the eighth centuries, when it was the western capital of the Roman Empire and of the Byzantine Empire in Europe. The city was damaged in a tremendous flood in May 1636. The first time it became capital of the Western Roman Empire in the 5thcentury AD, then under the reign of Theodoric, king of the Goths, and lastly of the Byzantine Empire in Europe, up until the 8th century AD. The Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe, begun in 535 and consecrated in 549, has a distinctive round campanile (870–878) that is the earliest example in Italy of the decorative use of majolica. Sometimes called the city of mosaics, Ravenna is known for its spectacular early Christian mosaics, dating from the fifth and sixth centuries, that decorate the walls of its churches and monuments.Ravenna was the western capital of the Roman Empire and of the Byzantine Empire in Europe from early fifth to the eighth centuries and the mosaic art shows a Byzantine influence. Although it is an inland city, Ravenna is connected to the Adriatic Sea by the Candiano … It came under Roman control in 191 bc and soon became important because it possessed one of the few good port sites on the northeastern coast of Italy. These are. By 470, Odoacer had become an officer in what remained of the Roman Army. This octagonal church, built of marble and capped by a lofty terra-cotta dome, is one of the finest examples of Byzantine architecture and decoration in western Europe. Nepos fled to Dalmatia, where his uncle had ruled a semi-autonomous state in the 460s. The Church of San Vitale, the masterpiece of Byzantine art in Ravenna, was completed during the reign of the emperor Justinian. In 1441 Venice was able to establish direct rule over Ravenna, but in 1509 the city was returned to the Papal States. With the fall of the Western Empire in 476, it became the capital of the first barbarian ruler of Italy, Odoacer (reigned 476–493), who in turn surrendered it to the Ostrogothic king Theuderic (reigned 493–526) in 493. One of the most illustrious residents of Ravenna at this time was the exiled poet Dante. A riveting history of the city that led the West out of the ruins of the Roman Empire. In 1198 Ravenna led a league of Romagna cities against the Emperor, and the Pope was able to subdue it. Theodoric took Ravenna in 493, supposedly slew Odoacer with his own hands, and Ravenna became the capital of the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy. The church was begun by Bishop Ecclesius under the Ostrogothic queen Amalasuntha (d. 535) and was consecrated in 547. Odoacer became the first barbarian king of the western empire. At that time it was home to 50,000 people. The Church of Santa Maria in Porto Fuori, built after 1069, was, until its destruction in World War II, the only important surviving building of the later European Middle Ages in Ravenna. Theodoric died in 526 and was succeeded by his young grandson Athalaric under the authority of his daughter Amalasunta, but by 535 both were dead and Theodoric's line was represented only by Amalasuntha's daughter Matasuntha. From the era of Venetian dominion there remain various palaces and a fortress, the Rocca Brancaleona. Ravenna became the capital of the Western Roman Empire in 402 when the Emperor Honorius moved the imperial capital to escape Alaric and his Visigoths. The Battle of Ravenna, capital of the Western Roman Empire, between the Heruli under their King Odoacer and the remnants of the Western Roman Army in Roman Italy occurred in early September 476. [5], The origin of the name Ravenna is unclear. The team's colors are white and blue. The Fall of Rome/Fall of the Roman Empire marked a pivotal point in human history and ended Roman power in the west 1,000 years after the city’s foundation. It was at this time that the Ravenna Cosmography was written. ... (From the Ashes of the Roman Empire): The following resources relate to the end of the Roman Empire and the Fall of Rome. In ad 402 the danger of barbarian invasions compelled the Western Roman emperor Honorius to move his court from Rome to Ravenna. Later Octavian, after his battle against Mark Antony in 31 BC, founded the military harbor of Classis. Ravenna greatly prospered under Roman rule. The Lombards, under King Liutprand, occupied Ravenna in 712, but were forced to return it to the Byzantines. As the capital of the Exarchate of Ravenna, the city was the administrative centre of Byzantine government in Italy. Judith Herrin’s recent book contains a sweeping and engrossing history of Ravenna from the moment Honorius took up residence there, through the thriving period of Gothic rule (493-540), and culminating in the two centuries (540-751) when the city was a western outpost of the eastern Roman empire. [11] However, in 751 the Lombard king, Aistulf, succeeded in conquering Ravenna, thus ending Byzantine rule in northern Italy. It was, to allude to a collection of Ms. Herrin’s previous studies, simultaneously both metropolis and margin. The Roman emperor Augustus built the port of Classis, about 3 miles (5 km) from the city, and by the 1st century bc Ravenna had become the base for Rome’s naval fleet in the Adriatic Sea. Odoacer ruled as King of Italy for 13 years, but in 489 the Eastern Emperor Zeno sent the Ostrogoth King Theodoric the Great to re-take the Italian peninsula. Ravenna originated around 500 BC as part of the lagoon territory washed by the sea and the sweet water of the Po Delta. But a new book hopes to … When Ravenna Was the ‘Capital of Empire’ 30 August 2020 The last capital of the Western Roman Empire and home to eight UNESCO Heritage sites, Ravenna is seldomly uttered in the same breath as so many other illustrious cities in Italy. Freeways crossing Ravenna include: A14-bis from the hub of Bologna; on the north–south axis of EU routes E45 (from Rome) and E55 (SS-309 "Romea" from Venice); and on the regional Ferrara-Rimini axis of SS-16 (partially called "Adriatica"). 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. Ravenna was the capital city of the Western Roman Empire from 402 until 476. ", This page was last edited on 7 January 2021, at 06:44. Emperor Trajan built a 70 km (43.50 mi) long aqueduct at the beginning of the 2nd century. Ravenna, a jewel in the midst of a marsh, was a place of paradox. This church contains magnificent mosaics depicting the teachings, miracles, Passion, and Resurrection of Christ; these are among the oldest such representations in existence and are of considerable scholarly interest. The historical Italian football of the city is Ravenna F.C. The nearest commercial airports are those of Forlì, Rimini and Bologna. Ravenna came under Roman influence during the construction of the Via Emilia in the 2 nd century BC. The story is not, she emphasises, one of decline, but of rebirth, for Ravenna established what … After the Venetian withdrawal, Ravenna was again ruled by legates of the Pope as part of the Papal States. During the fourth century c.e., the Roman Empire came constantly under the assault of barbarian tribes. This article is about the city in Italy. At that time, the construction of imperial churches and palaces started. Theuderic made Ravenna the capital of the Ostrogothic kingdom, but in 540 Ravenna was occupied by the great Byzantine general Belisarius and was subsequently made an imperial exarchate. The Roman emperor Justinian I and his empress-wife Theodora sought to restore the Roman empire to its old glory and maintain Ravenna as the ‘fulcrum of energies’ that connected Goths, Ostrogoths, Franks and Romans to the Byzantine peoples, and the Roman popes in Rome to the Roman emperors in Constantinople. The last of the Da Polenta, Ostasio III, was ousted by the Republic of Venice in February 1441, and the city was annexed to the Venetian territories in the Treaty of Cremona. Michelangelo Antonioni filmed his 1964 movie Red Desert (Deserto Rosso) within the industrialised areas of the Pialassa valley within the city limits. Ravenna railway station has direct Trenitalia service to Bologna, Ferrara, Lecce, Milan, Parma, Rimini, and Verona. [10] The transfer was made partly for defensive purposes: Ravenna was surrounded by swamps and marshes, and was perceived to be easily defensible (although in fact the city fell to opposing forces numerous times in its history); it is also likely that the move to Ravenna was due to the city's port and good sea-borne connections to the Eastern Roman Empire. In relation to the snatching of a lady "near Ravenna" and then the, Ravenna is one of three-similarly named contenders for the birth of the third and final, Ravenna is the location where Lionel, the protagonist of, During his travels, German poet and philosopher, Cameron, Averil. This church also has impressive capitals in its nave and a fine apse mosaic depicting the Transfiguration of Christ. Following the conquests of Belisarius for Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century, Ravenna became the seat of the Byzantine governor of Italy, the Exarch, and was known as the Exarchate of Ravenna. The city is on a low-lying plain near the confluence of the Ronco and Montone rivers, 6 miles (10 km) inland from the Adriatic Sea, with which it is connected by a canal. The church also has finely executed mosaics depicting processions of male and female saints. Ravenna consisted of houses built on piles on a series of small islands in a marshy lagoon – a situation similar to Venice several centuries later. Ravenna was henceforth the capital of the Western Roman Empire until its dissolution in 476. The emperor whom Odoacer deposed had lived in Ravenna, Italy. The Romans ignored it during their conquest of the Po River Delta, but later accepted it into the Roman Republic as a federated town in 89 BC. Currently it plays in Italy's Serie D after promotion from Eccellenza Emilia-Romagna Girone B in the 2013–14 season. [7] The first settlement is variously attributed to (and then has seen the copresence of) the Thessalians, the Etruscans and the Umbrians. The book itself is a 400 page monster that gives a comprehensive overview of the city from its designation as Western imperial capital around 403 AD by Roman Emperor Emperor Honorius, to its capture by the Lombards in 751 and a Nothing remains of the ancient Roman structures in Ravenna or of its harbour at Classis. In 1512, during the Holy League wars, Ravenna was sacked by the French following the Battle of Ravenna. After a short period under an Imperial vicar, Ravenna was returned to the Papal States in 1248 and again to the Traversari until, in 1275, the Da Polenta established their long-lasting seigniory. In ancient times the Adriatic lay nearer Ravenna, which rested on coastal lagoons that later silted up. The origins of Ravenna are uncertain. It was later the capital of the Kingdom of the Ostrogoths and the Exarchate of Ravenna until 751. After the war of 1218 the Traversari family was able to impose its rule in the city, which lasted until 1240. Afterwards its territory was settled also by the Senones, especially the southern countryside of the city (that wasn't part of the lagoon), the Ager Decimanus. Ravenna [ra'ven:a] is a city and comune in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. As the capital city of the Western Roman Empire for 250 years and a major port of entry for the Eastern (Byzantine) Empire, Ravenna reflects in its art and architecture a fusion of Roman architectural forms with Byzantine mosaics and other decoration. The city annually hosts the Ravenna Festival, one of Italy's prominent classical music gatherings. Ravenna's Orthodox bishops carried out notable building projects, of which the sole surviving one is the Capella Arcivescovile. In 535 his general Belisarius invaded Italy and in 540 conquered Ravenna. For other uses, see, Dante's tomb exterior and interior, built in 1780, Generally speaking, adjectival "Ravenna" and "Ravennate" are more common for most adjectival uses—the, Deborah M. 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A.P.D. Ravenna is a small Italian city with glorious golden mosaics, and the full colour pictures really help this book. The Battle of Ravenna took place on the 2 September 476 and was a minor confrontation between the Heruli under their King Odoacer and the remnants of the Western Roman Army in Italy.. Herulians were foederati of the Western Roman Empire; they were mercenary troops of the Roman Army of Italy. By 27 BC, Emperor Caesar Augustus had established a permanent port in Ravenna as a base for the fleet. It was initially populated by Umbri, Etruscans and Gauls. An interesting book written about the history of Ravenna during it's centuries of political importance from the fifth to the ninth centuries AD. The earliest inhabitants of Ravenna were probably Italic peoples who moved southward from Aquileia about 1400 bc. Pop. In ancient times the Adriatic lay nearer Ravenna, which rested on … Ravenna is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. The oldest church in Ravenna, the cathedral, was originally built in 370–390 but was destroyed in 1733 and immediately rebuilt. Adjoining the cathedral is an octagonal baptistery containing fine Byzantine mosaics from the 5th century. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership, This article was most recently revised and updated by,, CRW Flags - Flag of Ravenna (Emilia-Romagna, Italy), Ravenna - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). Ravenna then gradually came under the direct authority of the Popes, although this was contested by the archbishops at various times. Currently it plays in the third league of Italian football, commonly known as "Serie C". During the reign of Theodosius II, Ravenna and Christianity flourished. The Church of St. John the Evangelist (San Giovanni Evangelista) was almost totally destroyed in World War II and has since been heavily restored. The fame of Ravenna rests instead on the quality and quantity of its 5th–8th-century Christian monuments. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Mausoleum of Theuderic, c. 520, at Ravenna, Italy. Here, in Ravenna on the coast of Italy, Arian Goths and Catholic Romans competed to produce an unrivaled concentration of buildings and astonishing mosaics. Thereafter it was subject to papal rule with only minor interruptions. The northern Italian city of Ravenna, situated on the Adriatic coast, south of Venice, is famous for both its late Roman architecture and its masterpieces of mosaic art, derived from its time as the capital of the Western Roman Empire (c.402-76), and later as an imperial Exarchate of the Byzantine Empire … Omissions? Steadily Ravenna, which was surrounded by swamps and marshes, prospered and rose in importance, and a Roman fleet was based at the city. [9] In AD 402, Emperor Honorius transferred the capital of the Western Roman Empire from Milan to Ravenna. In 49 BC, it was where Julius Caesar gathered his forces before crossing the Rubicon. Ravenna is now an agricultural and industrial city. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Casalborsetti, Lido di Savio, Lido di Classe, Lido di Dante, Lido Adriano, Marina di Ravenna, Punta Marina Terme, Porto Corsini, Porto Fuori, The "so-called Palace of Theodoric", in fact the entrance to the former church of. Some have speculated that "Ravenna" is related to "Rasenna" (or "Rasna"), the term that the Etruscans used for themselves, but there is no agreement on this point. The city is inland, but is connected to the Adriatic Sea by a canal. Ravenna was also selected because its harbor was convenient for communication and trade with Constantinople. Ravenna has an important commercial and tourist port. Both Odoacer and Theodoric and their followers were Arian Christians, but co-existed peacefully with the Latins, who were largely Catholic Orthodox. After the conquest of Italy was completed in 554, Ravenna became the seat of Byzantine government in Italy. The Roman Empire had been in relative decline since the beginning of the barbarian invasions and Rome , the symbolical heart and largest city of the Western Empire, was sacked in 410 by the Visigoths and … Over the next 300 years, a network of canals diverted nearby rivers and drained nearby swamps, thus reducing the possibility of flooding and creating a large belt of agricultural land around the city. [12] The town suffered very little damage. It was returned to the Papal States in 1814. It is known for its well-preserved late Roman and Byzantine architecture, with eight buildings comprising the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna". King Pepin of the Franks attacked the Lombards under orders of Pope Stephen II. It then served as the capital of the Ostrogothic Kingdom until it was re-conquered in 540 by the Byzantine Empire. Although it is an inland city, Ravenna is connected to the Adriatic Sea by the Candiano Canal. In the early 7th century the area administered included a diagonal strip of territory extending from the area north of Ravenna to south of Rome, the southern extremities of the peninsula, and various coastal enclaves. A short-lived bid for independence on Ravenna’s part in the mid-12th century was followed in the 14th and early 15th centuries by the rule of the da Polenta family, a noble house of the Romagna region. In 519, when a mob had burned down the synagogues of Ravenna, Theodoric ordered the town to rebuild them at its own expense. One of the earliest of Ravenna’s extant monuments is the mausoleum of Galla Placidia, built in the 5th century ad by Galla Placidia, the sister of the emperor Honorius. "The Magnavacca (canal) at Ravenna in great trouble, Canals by fifteen shut up at Fornase", in reference to fifteen French saboteurs. [citation needed][6]. It was the capital city of the Western Roman Empire from 402 until the empire collapsed in 476. After many vicissitudes, Galla Placidia returned to Ravenna with her son, Emperor Valentinian III, due to the support of her nephew Theodosius II. After losing the Battle of Verona, Odoacer retreated to Ravenna, where he withstood a siege of three years by Theodoric, until the taking of Rimini deprived Ravenna of supplies. The exarchate was broken up by revolts and invasions after 726. Pope Adrian I authorized Charlemagne to take away anything from Ravenna that he liked, and an unknown quantity of Roman columns, mosaics, statues, and other portable items were taken north to enrich his capital of Aachen. As such, Ravenna was embellished with magnificent monuments. Of the monuments dating from the rule of the Arian Ostrogothic king Theuderic (d. 526), the most impressive is his mausoleum. The Roman empire had collapsed in 476 but, wonderfully, a part of it survived and flourished — the eastern half, with its great capital at Constantinople and the Italic outpost of Ravenna as its gateway into northern Adriatic coastlands and beyond into present-day Sicily. The Church of St. Francis (San Francesco) has a small annex containing the tomb of the Italian poet Dante Alighieri. [8] This harbor, protected at first by its own walls, was an important station of the Roman Imperial Fleet. Although Jordanes writes of Odoacer as invading Italy "as leader of the Sciri, the Heruli and allies of various races", modern writers describe him as being part of the Roman military establishment, based on John of Antioch's statement that Odoacer was on the side of Ricimer at the beginning of his battle with the emperor Anthemiusin 472. Surviving monuments include the Basilica of San Vitale and the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe, as well as the partially surviving San Michele in Africisco. Ravenna was important in history as the capital of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century ad and later (6th–8th century) of Ostrogothic and Byzantine Italy. The Unesco recognizes them as a World Heritage Sites for the decoration of the … The entire upper surface of the mausoleum’s interior is covered with mosaics on a blue ground. Eight early Christian monuments of Ravenna are inscribed on the World Heritage List. During that period of wealth and prestige, several c… The late 5th century saw the dissolution of Roman authority in the west, and the last person to hold the title of emperor in the West was deposed in 476 by the general Odoacer. Shortly after, the Migration Period, involving large invasions by Germanic peoples and by the Huns of Attila, led to the decline of the Western Roman Empire. Ravenna was ruled by Venice until 1509, when the area was invaded in the course of the Italian Wars. Various Ostrogothic military leaders took the Kingdom of Italy, but none were as successful as Theodoric had been. The imperial capital was moved from Rome to Milan and finally to Ravenna by Emperor Honorius—the ruler of the western half of the empire—in 402 c.e. But with the fall of Rome essentially, Constantinople was the only surviving remnant of that Roman empire. Theodoric allowed Roman citizens within his kingdom to be subject to Roman law and the Roman judicial system. Ravenna enjoyed a period of peace, during which time the Christian religion was favoured by the imperial court, and the city gained some of its most famous monuments, including the Orthodox Baptistery, the misnamed Mausoleum of Galla Placidia (she was not actually buried there), and San Giovanni Evangelista. Now, although the empire may have fallen in the west, consider that it continued to exist in the east, since Constantine’s move and creation of the city Constantinople, which became the new capitol of the entirety of the Roman empire.