A glorious history of the jewel-like city on the Adriatic which for 350 years was the capital of the Western Roman Empire.At the end of the fourth century, as the power of Rome slowly faded and Constantinople was established as the capital of the Roman Empire in the east, a new city was rising in the west. In 402 the western Emperor Honorius settled in what was then a small but well defended provincial city on the Adriatic coast. This town was Ravenna, and it was to be home to the rulers of what remained of the western empire until it fell to the Lombards in 751.Successive emperors filled Ravenna with exceedingly impressive secular and ecclesiastical buildings (many of them still standing) and the imperial court attracted scholars, teachers, lawyers, inventors, craftsmen and spiritual leaders. For over three centuries it (rather than Rome) became the meeting place of Greek, Latin, Christian and barbarian cultures, and played a critical role in the development of a medieval European identity.Yet the city at this remarkable period has never benefited from an authoritative and accessible history. Judith Herrin’s book explains what made Ravenna such a brilliant and vital centre during the fifth to eighth centuries. Readers unfamiliar with the audacious world of Late Antiquity will find the book a compelling introduction to the period, while those who know it will find it brought to life in the history of a single city.