Roman Emperor Octavianus Augustus built a military harbor in Classe, near to Ravenna, to defend the Adriatic and eastern seas of the empire. DATE
Commissioned by Arian Bishop Ursus, dedicated to St Apollinaris, the basilica was constructed around 532 on the site of his martyrdom. In 540 the Arian Goths were ousted from Ravenna by Emperor Justinian of the Eastern Roman Empire and the church consecrated by Catholic Bishop Maximian in 549.
St Apollinare, the first Bishop and Patron Saint of Ravenna converted the city to Christianity in the 2nd century, suffered persecution and the rack to be buried alive around 170 AD under Emperor Vespasian.
The mosaics of the arch of the apse are from 7th and 9th centuries. The apse mosaic is mid 6th century illustrating the Transfiguration of Christ. He is represented by a central jeweled cross the sky, his face in the center; Moses and Elijah speak to Him from the clouds, three disciples are lambs on the hillside, and the Hand of God points down from Heaven. St Apollinaris at the foot of the mount, arms raised, prays with his flock of Christian lambs.