History of Ravenna
On the Adriatic coast sixty miles south of Venice, Ravenna played an important role, through mosaic art, in the celebration of early Christianity.
Roman Emperor Augustus (r. 27 BC-14 AD) established a nearby navy base, founding the port of Classe. Silting rendered the port unusable by the 5th C; presently Ravenna, a few miles from the sea, is surrounded by marshland.
St Apollinare, the first Bishop and Patron Saint of Ravenna converted the city to Christianity in the 2nd C, was persecuted and martyred around 170 AD under Emperor Vespasian.
In 402 AD Emperor Honorius moved the capital of the Western Roman Empire from Mediolanum (Milan) to Ravenna.
Conquered in 476 AD by Hungarian Ostrogoths, converted Arian Christians, Ravenna prospered, particularly under the rule of Theodoric the Great (493 AD-526 AD).
General Belisarius, for Emperor Justinian of the Eastern Roman Empire, overthrew the Goths in 540 AD and Ravenna become a showpiece of Byzantine art and culture for more than 200 years.
In 752 AD Germanic Lombards invaded and the decline began.