Penguin Book


Judith Herrin

In 402 AD, after Alaric the Goth and his forces broke through the Alpine frontiers of Italy, the young Emperor Honorius made the momentous decision to move the capital of the western Roman Empire to a small city in the Po estuary - Ravenna. Until it fell to the Lombards in 751, it was from Ravenna that what remained of the western Empire was administered. In Ravenna Catholic Romans and Arian Goths competed to produce an unrivalled concentration of beautiful buildings and dazzling mosaics, many of which still astonish visitors today. In this authoritative and accessible book, Judith Herrin tells the stories of many of Ravenna's leading personalities, but also shows how it became the meeting place of Greek, Latin, Christian and barbarian cultures, and the pivot between East and West. From its perspective she is able to give a fresh account of the waning of Rome, the Gothic and Lombard invasions, the rise of Islam and the devastating divisions within Christianity. She shows how, thanks to Byzantine influence, Ravenna played a crucial role in the shaping of what she terms 'Early Christendom'. She argues that this was not, as it is often perceived, simply a period in which an old civilisation dissolved, but one of great creativity and new beginnings.

Judith Herrin is the author of the celebrated book BYZANTIUM: THE SURPRISING LIFE OF A MEDIEVAL EMPIRE and previously of The Formation of Christendom (on the Mediterranean world from the mid-sixth to the mid-ninth century A.D.) and other much admired histories. She worked in Birmingham, Paris, Munich, Istanbul and Princeton before becoming Professor of Late Antique and Byzantine Studies at King's College London, a position from which she retired in 2010. She has excavated in Greece, Cyprus and Turkey, and is Chairman of the editorial board of Past and Present, the UK's leading scholarly history journal.

Publication date
  • History
Format TPS
234 x 153mm
Judith Herrin
Audio (Unabridged)
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