Ravenna Capital of Empire, Crucible of Europe
At the end of the fourth century, as the power of Rome faded and Constantinople became the seat of empire, a new capital city was rising in the West. Here, in Ravenna on the coast of Italy, Arian Goths and Catholic Romans competed to produce an unrivaled concentration of buildings and astonishing mosaics. For three centuries, the city attracted scholars, lawyers, craftsmen, and religious luminaries, becoming a true cultural and political capital. Bringing this extraordinary history marvelously to life, Judith Herrin rewrites the history of East and West in the Mediterranean world before the rise of Islam and shows how, thanks to Byzantine influence, Ravenna played a crucial role in the development of medieval Christendom.
Judith Herrin won the Heineken Prize for History (the ‘Dutch Nobel Prize’) in 2016 for her pioneering work on the early Medieval Mediterranean world, especially the role of Byzantium, the influence of Islam and the significance of women. She is the author of Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire, The Formation of Christendom, A Medieval Miscellany and Women in Purple. Herrin worked in Birmingham, Paris, Munich, Istanbul and Princeton before becoming Professor of Late Antique and Byzantine Studies at King’s College London until 2008, where she is now the Constantine Leventis Visiting Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Classics. She has excavated in Greece, Cyprus and Turkey, and served for thirty years on the editorial board of Past and Present.