Ravenna

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A riveting history of the city that led the West out of the ruins of the Roman Empire

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. From the Empress Galla Placidia and Theoderic the Gothic king, who both experienced being taken as hostages, to the amazing cosmographer of Ravenna and the doctor who strengthened expert Greek medical knowledge in Italy, Herrin demolishes 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.

ISBN: 
9780691153438
Author: 
Binding: 
Hardcover
Publication Date: 
June 16, 2020