"Mosaic Mania" Ravenna by Mundus

Ravenna Travel Guide: 347 reviews and 1,029 photos

Ravenna is an ancient city which 1,500 years ago was capital three times: of the western Roman Empire, of Theodoric King of the Goths, of the Byzantine Empire in Europe.

There are many legends concerning the origin of Ravenna but very little certainty: Dionigi D'Alicarnasso mentioned that the city was founded seven generations before the Trojan Wars while according to Strabo it was founded by the Thessalonians and Pliny called it the city of the Sabines.
In historical times the city was occupied by the Etruscans and this can be deduced from the fact that the suffix '- enna' in the name Ravenna seems typically Etruscan.
The exact time when the Romans took possession of Ravenna is not known but it is certain that the first Roman fleet known to have been present in Ravenna was that of Metellus, legate of Silla, who landed there in 82 BC, perhaps during the period when Roman citizenship was conferred on it.
The city was chosen by Caesar as his general headquarters during the negotiations with the senate which possibly lead to work being done on the port for military purposes.

Due to its unusual strategic position there was a period of great importance for the artistic and political history of Ravenna at the beginning of the 5th century. Honorius, who had been forced to abandon Milan by the Visigoth invasion (490-493) chose Ravenna as the new capital of the Western Roman Empire.
The city took on the splendid sumptuous appearance of an imperial residence. Magnificent civil and religious buildings covered with mosaics arose, such as the great Basilica of Ursus with its five naves and the adjoining Baptistery, the Church of Santa Croce and the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the Church of St. John the Evangelist and the church dedicated to the Apostles, now known as S. Francesco.

The many religious buildings decorated with mosaics have been declared patrimony of humanity by UNESCO.

  • Intro Updated Sep 25, 2003
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  • magdaki's Profile Photo
    Oct 13, 2003 at 5:03 AM

    hi! You definately have done your homework on the Ravenna Mosaics! I've never been to Ravenna, but these mosaics are a reason i would like to go there some time. Thanks for the accurate descriptions!

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