Ravenna

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Ravenna [ra'ven:a] About this sound listen is a city and comune in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. The city is inland, but is connected to the Adriatic Sea by a canal. Ravenna was the capital city of the Western Roman Empire from 402 until 476. It was later the capital of the Kingdom of the Ostrogoths and the Exarchate of Ravenna until 751. From that year until the invasion of Franks, it was the seat of the king of the Lombards and equalled to Pavia by Aistulf. It is presently the capital of the Province of Ravenna. At 652.89 km² (252.08 sq mi), Ravenna is the second-largest comune in land area in Italy, although it is only a little more than half the size of the largest, Rome.

Contents

History

The origin of the name Ravenna is unclear, although it is believed the name is Etruscan[1]. Some have speculated that "ravenna" is related to "Rasenna" (later "Rasna"), the term that the Etruscans used for themselves, but there is no agreement on this point.[citation needed]

Ancient era

The origins of Ravenna are uncertain. The first settlement is variously attributed to (and then has seen the copresence of) the Thessalians, the Etruscans and the Umbrians, afterwards its territory was settled also by the Senones, especially the southern countryside of the city (that wasn't part of the lagoon), the Ager Decimanus. Ravenna consisted of houses built on piles on a series of small islands in a marshy lagoon - a situation similar to Venice several centuries later. The Romans ignored it during their conquest of the Po River Delta, but later accepted it into the Roman Republic as a federated town in 89 BC. In 49 BC, it was the location where Julius Caesar gathered his forces before crossing the Rubicon. Later, after his battle against Mark Antony in 31 BC, Emperor Augustus founded the military harbor of Classe.[2] This harbor, protected at first by its own walls, was an important station of the Roman Imperial Fleet. Nowadays the city is landlocked, but Ravenna remained an important seaport on the Adriatic until the early Middle Ages. During the German campaigns, Thusnelda, widow of Arminius, and Marbod, King of the Marcomanni, were confined at Ravenna.

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