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Capital of Empire, Crucible of Europe

Judith Herrin

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Princeton University Press img Link Publisher

Sachbuch / Mittelalter


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. 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.



Charles Martel, Paganism, Praetorian prefect, Ancient Rome, Magister militum, Pope, Alboin, The Persians, Byzantium, Catholic Church, Jordanes, Dalmatia, Grand duchy, Clerical Discipline, Napoleonic Wars, Pulcheria, Mosaic, Catholicism, Constantinople, Arius, Odoacer, Revolutions of 1848, Teutonic Order, Late Antiquity, Justinian II, Christianity, Fall of the Western Roman Empire, Barbarian, Basilica, Crisis of the Third Century, Donation of Constantine, Po Valley, Burgundians, George Sand, Julian (emperor), Saint Peter, Lombards, Northern Italy, Diocletian, Helena (empress), The Goths, Aachen Cathedral, Lateran Palace, New Laws, Valens, Military campaign, Congress of Vienna, Thessaloniki, Iconoclasm, Belisarius, Constantius II, Napoleon, Huns, Maximian, Arminius, Exarch, Lithuania, Pope Stephen II, Battle of Vienna, Arianism, Courtier, Edict, Western Christianity, Arcadius, Western Roman Empire, Christian Identity, Nicene Creed, North Africa, Triumphal Procession, Honorius (emperor), Battle of Leipzig, Sirmium, Canon law, Roman Britain, Pragmatic sanction, Visigoths, Ottoman Empire, Adam Mickiewicz, Cassiodorus, Tetrarchy, Via Flaminia, World War I, Archbishop, John III Sobieski, Trajan, Procession, The Battle of the Milvian Bridge (Giulio Romano), Holy Roman Empire, Great Church, Culture of Greece, Imperial Government, Galla Placidia, Scriptorium, The Other Hand, Christian burial, Christendom, Edict of Milan, Pope Gregory I, Roman Empire, Stilicho