Ravenna


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Ravenna

(rävĕn`nä), city (1991 pop. 135,844), capital of Ravenna prov., in Emilia-Romagna, N central Italy, near the Adriatic Sea (with which it is connected by a canal). It is an agricultural market, canal port, and an important industrial center. Manufactures include refined petroleum, petrochemicals, furniture, cement, and processed food. Ravenna rose to importance under the Romans, who made Classis, its port, the station for their fleet in the N Adriatic. In A.D. 402, Honorius made Ravenna the capital of the Western Empire, and it was also the capital (5th–6th cent.) of the Ostrogoth kings Odoacer and Theodoric, who are responsible for some of the city's best buildings. Ravenna was the seat of the exarchs (governors of Byzantine Italy) from the late 6th cent. to 751, when its capture by the Lombards broke Byzantine power in Italy. Pope Stephen II claimed the exarchate and secured the help of Pepin the Short in wresting it from the Lombards. Pepin donated the lands of the exarchate to the pope in 756; this donation, confirmed by Charlemagne in 774, marked the beginning of the temporal power of the popes. The Da Polenta family—known as Dante's hosts—were lords in Ravenna from the 13th to the 15th cent. After a period of Venetian domination, the city returned to papal control in 1509. During the Italian WarsItalian Wars,
1494–1559, series of regional wars brought on by the efforts of the great European powers to control the small independent states of Italy. Renaissance Italy was split into numerous rival states, most of which sought foreign alliances to increase their
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 the French defeated (1512) Spanish and papal forces at Ravenna; the French commander, Gaston de Foix, died in the battle. Ravenna is famous for its colorful mosaics (see mosaicmosaic
, art of arranging colored pieces of marble, glass, tile, wood, or other material to produce a surface ornament. Ancient Mosaics

In Egypt and Mesopotamia, furniture, small architectural features, and jewelry were occasionally adorned with inset bits of
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) of the 5th and 6th cent., which show a strong Middle Eastern influence, and for its Roman and Byzantine buildings. Ornamented with mosaics are the mausoleum of Galla Placidia (5th cent.), the octagonal baptistery (formerly a Roman bath), the 6th-century churches of Sant' Apollinare Nuovo and Sant' Apollinare in Classe, and, richest of all, the Byzantine Church of San Vitale (consecrated 547). Also of note in Ravenna are the tombs of Theodoric and Dante, the Archbishop's Palace (with a museum), and the Academy of Fine Arts. Near the city, along the sea, are pinewoods celebrated since Roman times.

Ravenna

(rĭvăn`ə, rəvĕn`ə), city (1990 pop. 12,069), seat of Portage co., NE Ohio, in a lake and farm area; settled 1799, inc. 1852. Named after the Italian city, Ravenna has diverse light manufactures.

Ravenna

 

a city and port in northern Italy, located 6.5 km from the Adriatic Sea, with which it is connected by a ship canal. Capital of Ravenna Province in the region of Emilia-Ro-magna. Population, 131,900 (1971). Ravenna’s industries include oil refining and the production of chemicals. The city is the site of one of Italy’s largest petrochemical plants, and it has a plant for the manufacture of synthetic rubber. There also are food-processing, textile, footwear, cement, and ceramic enterprises. In addition, musical instruments are manufactured in Ravenna. In 1972 the port’s cargo turnover exceeded 10 million tons. There is a well-developed tourist industry.

The founding of Ravenna has been attributed by various sources to either the Etruscans, Umbrians, or Thessalonians. At the beginning of the fifth century A.D., Ravenna became the residence of Honorius, the emperor of the Western Roman Empire. From this time on it acquired importance as an economic, political, and cultural center. From the late sixth to the middle of the eighth century, Ravenna was the center of the exarchate of Ravenna.

Ravenna is exceptionally rich in Early Christian and Byzantine architectural landmarks and monumental decorative paintings. Examples include the Mausoleum of Empress Galla Placidia (c. 440), the Orthodox Baptistery (mid-fifth century), and the Arian Baptistery (late fifth and early sixth centuries). Mosaics reflecting ancient traditions have been preserved in all three buildings. Also located in Ravenna are the churches of Sant’ Apollinare Nuovo (early sixth century) and San Vitale (526–547), which are both decorated with Byzantine mosaics. The city’s Palace of Theodoric dates from either the early sixth century or the eighth century. Also in Ravenna is Dante’s tomb (marble, 1483, architect and sculptor P. Lombardo), which is contained in a small classical temple (1780, architect K. Mori-gia). Outside the city walls are situated the Mausoleum of Theodoric (c. 520) and the Basilica of Sant’ Apollinare in Classe (consecrated in 549, with mosaics from the sixth, seventh, and ninth [?] centuries).

REFERENCES

Nordström, C. O. Ravenna-studien. Stockholm, 1953.
Bovini, G. Ravenna città d’arte. Ravenna, 1967.
Deichmann, F. W. Ravenna, vol. 1. Wiesbaden, 1969.
Felix Ravenna. Ravenna, 1911—.
During the Italian Wars (1494–1559), a battle took place southeast of Ravenna on Apr. 11, 1512, between 23,000 French troops (including 5,000 or 6,000 lansquenets) led by the talented commander Gaston de Foix and 16,000 troops of the Holy League led by Raimon de Cardona. The French troops included about 5,000 cavalrymen and 50 pieces of artillery, and the troops of the Holy League included about 3,000 cavalrymen and 24 pieces of artillery.
Cardona’s troops, consisting mostly of Spaniards and troops from some Italian states, occupied strong defensive positions and were protected on both flanks by the Ronco River and a swamp. The battle opened with a cannonade, which inflicted considerable losses on the Spanish heavy cavalry. To escape from under fire, the Spanish cavalry attacked. The French cavalry counterattacked, smashing the flanks of the cavalry, and then launched a flank attack on the Spanish infantry, which initially had pressed the French infantry and the lansquenets. The lansquenets counterattacked and utterly routed the Spanish troops. Gaston de Foix was killed toward the end of the battle. Artillery played a major role in the battle.

Ravenna

site of battle between Byzantines and an Italian force under Pope Gregory II. Byzantines were routed (729). [Gk. Hist.: Harbottle Battles, 207]
See: Battle

Ravenna

a city and port in NE Italy, in Emilia-Romagna: capital of the Western Roman Empire from 402 to 476, of the Ostrogoths from 493 to 526, and of the Byzantine exarchate from 584 to 751; famous for its ancient mosaics. Pop.: 134 631 (2001)
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