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Ravenna, A Study by Edward Hutton

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heart of Italy along the Via Flaminia which connected them. It cut,
and effectually, the Lombard kingdom in two, and isolated the duchies
of Spoleto and Benevento from the real Lombard power in Cisalpine
Gaul, with its great capital at Pavia; and indestructible as it was,
it absolutely insured the final success of the Catholic Faith, the
Latin nationality, and the imperial power, the three necessities for
the resurrection of Europe.

This achievement was in the first place due to three great
personalities: to Justinian who had succeeded in establishing the
imperial power with its capital at Ravenna, and whose work had such
life in it that, in spite of every adverse circumstance, it was able
to develop and to maintain itself during more than two hundred years
and uphold the imperial idea in Italy until the pope was able to
re-establish the empire in the West as a self-supporting state; to
Gregory the Great in whom we see personified the hope and strength of
the papacy and the Latin idea which it was to uphold and to glorify;
and to Theodelinda, that passionately Catholic Lombard queen, who was
able to lead her Lombards into the fold of the Roman church, and who
in her son Adalwald by her second husband Agilulf, whom she had raised
to the throne, presented the Lombard kingdom with its first Catholic
king, and had thus done her part to secure the future.

Of these three powers those of Ravenna and Rome were, of course, by
far the more important; for indeed the conversion of the Lombards was,
rightly understood, but a part of the work of Gregory. Yet though both
were working for the same end they did not always propose to march by
the same road. In 592, for instance, the pope, seeing Naples the
capital of the little isolated duchy upon his southern flank very hard
pressed, proposed at all costs to relieve it; but the exarch Romanus,
perhaps seeing further, was not to be moved to the assistance of the
peasants of Campania from the all-important business of the defence of
central Italy and the Flaminian Way, the line of communication between
Ravenna and Rome. He proposed to let Naples look after itself and at
all costs to hold Perugia. Gregory, however, who claimed in an
indignant letter of this date (592) to be "far superior in place and
dignity" to the exarch, proceeded to save Naples by making a sort of
peace with the Lombard duchy of Spoleto. It is possible that this
peace saw the Lombard established in Perugia, which was the Roman key,
till now always in Roman hands, of the great line of communication
between Rome and Ravenna. However that may be, Gregory's peace not
only aroused great anger in Constantinople, but brought Romanus
quickly south with an army to re-occupy Perugia, Orte, Todi, Ameria,
and various other cities of Umbria. But Romanus had been right. His
movement southward alarmed Agilulf, who immediately left Pavia, and
crossing the Apennines, we may suppose,[1] as Totila had done,
threatened Rome itself. Then, however, he had to face something more
formidable than an imperial army. Upon the steps of S. Peter's church
stood the Vicegerent of God, great S. Gregory, who alone turned him
back and saved the city.

[Footnote 1: All that Paulus Diaconus, _Hist. Lang_. lib. iv. cap. 8,
says is: "Hac etiam tempestate Romanus Patricius et Exarchus Ravennae
Romam properavit. Qui dum Ravennam revertitur retenuit civitates, quae
a Langobardis tenebantur, quarum ista sunt nomma: Sutrium, Polimartium
Hortas, Tuder, Ameria, Perusia, Luceolis et alias quasdam civitates.
Quod factum cum regi Agilulfo nunciatum esset statim Ticino egressus
cum valido exercitu civitatem Perusium petiit ..."]

The truth of all this would appear to be that Gregory was really
working for peace. The Lombards were in a fair way to becoming
Catholic, and as such they were no longer really dangerous to Italy.
The real danger was, as the pope saw, the prolongation of a useless
war. Two years later, in 595, we find Gregory writing to the
"assessor" of the exarch enjoining peace. "Know then that Agilulf,
king of the Lombards, is not unwilling to make a general peace, if my
lord the patrician is of the same mood.... How necessary such a peace
is to all of us you know well. Act therefore with your usual wisdom,
that the most excellent exarch may be induced to come in to this
proposal without delay, and may not prove himself to be the one
obstacle to a peace so expedient for the state. If he will not
consent, Agilulf again promises to make a separate peace with us; but
we know that in that case several islands and other places will
necessarily be lost. Let the exarch then consider these points, and
hasten to make peace, that we may at least have a little interval in
which we may enjoy a moderate amount of rest, and with the Lord's help
may recruit the strength of the republic for future resistance."[1]

[Footnote 1: Gregory, _Ep_. v. 36 (34), trs. Hodgkin, _op. cit_. v. p.

It is obvious from this letter that the pope and the emperor no longer
understood one another, and it is not surprising that the one thought
the other a fool and told him so. Doubtless the emperor recalled the
long and finally successful war against the Ostrogoths, in which
Belisarius had always refused, not only terms of peace other than
unconditional surrender, but even to treat. That policy had been, at
least from the point of view of Constantinople, successful. From the
point of view of the papacy and of Italy, it had had a more doubtful
result, but the fact that the Ostrogoths were Arians had satisfied
perhaps both, and certainly the papacy, that a truce could not be
thought of.

From the imperial point of view things remained much the same in the
Lombard war as they had been in the war with the Ostrogoths. From the
papal and Italian point of view they were very different. To begin
with, the Lombards were fast accepting the Catholic Faith, and then if
Italy had suffered in the Ostrogothic wars, which were everywhere
eagerly contested by Constantinople, what was she suffering now when
the greater part of the country was open to a continual and an almost
unopposed attack? "You think me a fool," the pope wrote to the
emperor. In Ravenna the papal envoy was lampooned and laughed at. Then
in the end of 596 the exarch Romanus died.

Romanus was succeeded by Callinicus (Gallicinus) in whom the pope
found a more congenial and perhaps a more reasonable spirit. By 598 an
armistice had been officially concluded between the imperialists and
the Lombards, and at length in 599, after some foolish delays in which
it would appear that the pope was not without blame, a peace was
concluded. Gregory, however, for all his reluctance at the last, had
won his way. Henceforth it would be impossible to regard the Lombards
as mere invaders after the pattern of their predecessors, Visigoths,
Vandals, Huns, and Ostrogoths. They were, or would shortly be, a
Catholic people; they held a very great part of Italy; they had
entered into a treaty with the emperor not as _foederati_ but as
equals and conquerors. Gregory the Great had permanently established
the barbarians in Italy, and in his act, the act be it remembered of
the apostle of the English, of the apostle of the Lombards, we seem to
see the shadowy power that had been Leo's by the Mincio suddenly
appear, a new glory in the world. The new power in the West, the
papacy, which thus shines forth really for the first time in the acts
of Gregory, unlike the empire, whether Roman or Byzantine, will know
no frontiers, but will go into all the world and compel men to come in
as its divine commission ordained.

In Italy from the time of the peace with the Lombards (599) onwards
what we see is the decline of the imperial power of Constantinople and
the rise of the papacy. And this was brought about not only by the
circumstances in which Italy and the West found themselves, but also
by the character of the imperial government.

When Justin II. disappeared in 578, and made way for Tiberius II., he
was already a madman, and though Tiberius was renowned for his
virtues, he reigned but four years, and in 582 Maurice the Cappadocian
sat upon the throne of Justinian and ruled for twenty years not
unwisely, but, so far as Italy was concerned, without success. It was
he who was at last brought to make peace with the Lombards and thus
for the first time to acknowledge a barbarian state independent of the
empire in Italy. He and his children were all murdered in 602 by
Phocas, a centurion, whose shame and crimes and cruelties doubtless
did much to weaken the moral power of the empire face to face with the

The peace of 599, the usurpation of Phocas in 602, and the death of
Gregory the Great in 604, close a great period and stamp the seventh
century in its very beginning with a new character.

That character is in a sense almost wholly disastrous. Those vague and
gloomy years, of which we know so little, are almost unrelieved in
their hopeless confusion. It is true that Italy had found a champion
in the papacy which would one day restore the empire in the West, as
Justinian himself had not been able to do; it is true that already
Arianism was defeated if not stamped out. But it is in the seventh
century that Mahometanism, the greater successor of the Arian heresy,
first appears; and it is in the seventh century that it first becomes
certain that East and West are philosophically and politically
different and irreconcilable. The whole period is full of disasters,
and is as we may think the darkest hour before the dawn.

As I have said, the history of those disastrous years is everywhere in
the West vague and confused, and this is not least so in Italy and

Ravenna as always remains the citadel of the imperialists in Italy and
the West, and as such we must regard her, passing in review as well as
we may those miserable years in which she played so great and so
difficult a part.

When the Emperor Maurice was assassinated with his family in the year
602, Callinicus was, as we have seen, exarch in Ravenna, but with the
usurpation of Phocas that Smaragdus who had already been exarch and
had been recalled, perhaps for his too great violence, in 589, was
again appointed. He seems to have ruled from 602 to 611. In the last
year of the government of Callinicus an attempt had been made by the
exarch to force the Lombards to renew the two years' peace established
in 599, and on better terms, by the seizure of a daughter of
Agilulf's, then in Parma, with her husband. They were carried off to
Ravenna. But the imperialists got nothing by their treachery. Agilulf
at once moved against Padua and took it and rased it to the ground. In
the following year Monselice also fell to his arms, and though after
the murder of the emperor Maurice in 602 the exarch Callinicus, the
author of the abduction, fell, and Smaragdus was appointed by Phocas,
the hostages were not returned, and in July 603, Agilulf, after a
campaign of less than three months, had possessed himself of Cremona,
Mantua, and Vulturina, and probably of most of those places which the
imperialists had re-occupied in Cisalpine Gaul in 590. Smaragdus was
forced to make peace and to give up his hostages. The peace he made,
which left Agilulf in possession of all the cities he had taken, was
to endure for eighteen months, but it seems to have been renewed from
year to year, and when in 610 Phocas was assassinated and with the
accession of Heraclius (610-641) Smaragdus was again recalled and
Joannes appointed to Ravenna, the same policy seems to have been

Joannes Lemigius Thrax, as Rubeus, the sixteenth-century historian of
Ravenna, calls him, ruled in Ravenna from 611 to 615, and in the
latter year was assassinated there apparently in the midst of a
popular rising, though what this really was we do not know. His
successor, the eunuch Eleutherius (616-620), seems to have found the
now fragmentary imperial state in Italy in utter confusion, and indeed
on the verge of dissolution. Naples had been usurped by a certain
Joannes of Compsa, perhaps "a wealthy Samnite landowner," who
proclaimed himself lord there, and it is obvious that even in Ravenna
there was grave discontent. Eleutherius soon disposed of the usurper
of Naples, but only to find himself faced by a renewal of the Lombard
war, which he seems to have prevented by consenting to pay the yearly
tribute which perhaps Gregory the Great had promised when he made a
separate peace with the Lombard in 593, when Rome was practically in
the hands of the barbarian. It was obvious that the imperial cause was
failing. That the exarch thought so is obvious from the fact that in
619 he actually assumed the diadem and proclaimed himself emperor in
Ravenna, and set out with an army along the Flaminian Way for Rome to
get himself crowned by the pope Boniface V. But the eunuch was before
his time; moreover, he was a defeated and not a victorious general. At
Luceoli upon the Flaminian Way, not far from Gualdo Tadino where
Narses had broken Totila, in that glorious place his own soldiers slew
him and sent his head to Heraclius.

Of his immediate successor we know nothing--not even his name,[1] but
in or about 625 Isaac the Armenian was appointed and he ruled, as his
epitaph tells us, for eighteen years (625-644). Isaac's rule was not
fortunate for the imperialists. He is probably to be acquitted of the
murder of Taso, Lombard duke of Tuscia, but it is certain that
Rothari, the Lombard king in his time, "took all the cities of the
Romans which are situated on the sea-coast from Luna in Tuscany to the
boundary of the Franks; also he took and destroyed Opitergium, a city
between Treviso and Friuli, and with the Romans of Ravenna he fought
at the river of Aemilia which is called Scultenna (Panaro). In this
fight 8000 fell on the Roman side, the rest fleeing away."[2]

[Footnote 1: Mr. Hodgkin (_op. cit_. vi. 157) suggests that the
predecessor of Isaac was that Euselnus who, as ambassador for
Constantinople, persuaded, or is said to have persuaded, Adalwald,
King of the Lombards since the death of his father, Agilulf (615), to
slay all his chief men and nobles, and to hand over the Lombard
kingdom to the empire; but was poisoned, it is suggested, by Isaac in
Ravenna, whither he had fled when he had killed twelve among them.
Ariwald succeeded him (625).]

[Footnote 2: Paulus Diaconus, cf. Hodgkin, vi. 168.]


Nor was this all. It is in Isaac's time that the growing jealousy of
the empire in regard to the papacy for the first time breaks into
flame. Isaac, who as exarch had the right to "approve" the election of
the pope, on the accession of Severinus (638) sent Maurice his
_chartularius_ to Rome as his ambassador. This Maurice it seems was
eager against the papal power, and finding an opportunity in Rome
suddenly seized the Lateran and its wealth at the head of "the Roman
army," and wrote to Isaac that he might come and enjoy the spoil. The
exarch presently arrived in Rome, resided in the Lateran during eight
days, banished the cardinals, and proceeded to steal everything he
could lay his hands on in the name of the emperor, to whom he sent a
part of the booty. A little later Maurice attempted to repeat his
rape, but doubtless hoping to enrich himself he began by repudiating
Isaac, who then dealt with him, had him brought northward, and
beheaded at a place called Ficulae, twelve miles from Ravenna; but
before he could decide what punishment to mete out to Maurice's
accomplices the exarch himself died, "smitten," as it was said, "by
God," and the exarchate was filled apparently by Theodore Calliopas

Theodore Calliopas was twice exarch. Of his first administration we
know nothing at all; but in 646 he was succeeded by Plato (646-649),
whose name we learn from a letter of the emperor Constans II. to his
successor Olympius (649-652), who had been imperial chamberlain in
Constantinople. Theodore Calliopas was then again appointed and ruled
in Ravenna for eleven years (653-664).

We have seen the empire and the papacy politically at enmity and
certainly bent on attaining different political ends in Italy and the
West, and this is emphasised by the economic condition of Italy which
the empire taxed heavily. Philosophically Constantinople had never
perhaps been very eagerly Catholic--or must one say papal? But now at
this dangerous moment a doctrine definitely heretical was to be
officially adopted there and supported by emperor and patriarch with
insistance and perhaps enthusiasm. Heraclius, the grandfather of
Constans II., had asserted the Monothelete heresy which maintained
that although Christ had two distinct natures yet He had but one
_Will_--his human will being merged in the divine. The patriarch of
Constantinople, always jealous of the popes, eagerly upheld this
doctrine which the papacy continually and consistently denounced. Now
Constans II. cared for none of these things. He refused to allow that
either pope or patriarch was right, but as though he had been living
in the sixteenth instead of the seventh century gravely announced that
"the sacred Scriptures, the works of the Fathers, the Decrees of the
five General Councils are enough for us;" and asked: "Why should men
seek to go beyond these?" Roundly he refused to allow the question to
be either supported or attacked.

Now the whole of the West was very heartily with the pope in
sentiment; but save for the bishops of Italy he stood alone against
the great patriarchates of the East. Nevertheless, he refused to be
silent and to obey the emperor. Therefore Olympius, Constans'
chamberlain in 649, came to Italy as exarch with orders to arrest the
pope and bring him to Constantinople: this it seemed to him a prudent
thing to do; he was to judge for himself. Olympius decided it was not
a prudent thing to do. He found the Italian bishops and the people
eagerly Catholic. There is a story that he attempted instead to take
the pope's life as he said Mass, but this is probably untrue, for we
find pope and exarch presently excellent friends. He went on into
Sicily to meet the first invasion of the Saracens in that island, and
died there of the pestilence.

Theodore Calliopas was appointed exarch for the second time as his
successor in 652. He had either less sagacity or less scruple than his
predecessor, for in the following year he appeared with an army in
Rome. He found the pope ill and in bed before the high altar of S.
John Lateran. He surrounded the church and entered it with his men,
who were guilty of violence and desecration. But the pope, to save
bloodshed, surrendered himself to the exarch, shouting as he emerged
from the church, "Anathema to all who say that Martin has changed a
jot or tittle of the Faith Anathema to all who do not remain in his
orthodox Faith even to the death." Through the tumultuous and weeping
city the pope passed to the palace of the exarch upon the Palatine
Hill. He entered it a prisoner and was presently smuggled away on
board ship to Constantinople, where he was examined and condemned to
death, insulted in the Hippodrome, and his sentence commuted to
imprisonment and exile to Cherson, where he died in 655.

The controversy slumbered. Before long, surely to the amazement of the
West, the emperor landed in Italy at Tarentum with the object of
finally dealing with the Lombards, for Rothari was dead. It is said he
asked some hermit there in the south: "Shall I vanquish and hold down
the nation of the Lombards which now dwelleth in Italy?" The answer
was as follows, and, rightly understood, contained at least the
fundamental part of the truth: "The nation of the Lombards," said the
hermit after a night of prayer, "cannot be overcome because a pious
queen coming from a foreign land has built a church in honour of S.
John Baptist who therefore pleads without ceasing for that people. But
a time will come when that sanctuary will be held in contempt, and
then the nation shall perish."[1]

[Footnote 1: Diaconus. v. 6; cf. Hodgkin, _op. cit_. vi. 272. Paulus
adds that the prophecy was fulfilled when adulterous and vile priests
were ordained in the church at Monza and the Lombards fell before

That prophecy contained the fundamental truth that since the Lombards
were Catholic it was not possible to turn them out of Italy. But
Constans heeded it not. He marched on, besieged Beneventum, was not
successful, and went on to Rome, and himself spoiled the City. From
Rome he returned southward to Naples and Sicily, where in 668 he died.

All that time Gregory was exarch. He had succeeded Theodore Calliopas
in 664, and he ruled till 677. We know little of him save that he
appears to have attempted to confirm Maurus, archbishop of Ravenna, in
his "independence" of the Papal See.[1] This Maurus was undoubtedly a
schismatic and Agnellus tells us that he had many troubles with the
Holy See and many altercations. Indeed the position of the archbishop
of Ravenna can never have been a very enviable one and especially at
this time when the breach between pope and emperor, papacy and empire,
was continually widening. Always the archbishop of Ravenna, as the
bishop of the imperial citadel in Italy, must have been tempted to
follow the emperor rather than the pope, and more especially since,
personally, he might expect to gain both in power and wealth that way.

[Footnote 1: That was the "Privilegium," whatever it was worth and
whatever exactly it meant, conferred by Constans II. Constantine
Pogonatus, the successor of Constans, is still to be seen in S.
Apollinare in Classe the "Privilegium" in his hands in mosaic. See
_infra_, p. 208.]

The exarch Gregory was succeeded apparently by a certain Theodore
whose contemporary archbishop in Ravenna was also a Theodore. He ruled
it seems for ten years, 677-687, and built near his palace an oratory,
or a monastery, not far from the church of S. Martin (S. Apollinare
Nuovo), and was, according to Agnellus, a pious man, presenting three
golden chalices to the church in Ravenna and composing the differences
of his namesake the archbishop and his clergy.

Theodore in his turn was succeeded by Joannes Platyn (687-701). Two
years before his appointment in 685 Justinian II. (685-695) had
succeeded to the imperial throne, and in that same year pope Benedict
II. died. John V. succeeded him and reigned for a few months, when
there followed two disputed elections, those of Conon and of Sergius.
In the latter Joannes Platyn the exarch played a miserable and
disastrous part. For he suddenly appeared in Rome as the partisan of
Paschal, the rival of Sergius, who had obtained his support by a
promise of one hundred pounds of gold if he would help him to the
papal throne. On his advent in Rome, however, the exarch found that he
must abandon Paschal and consent to the election of Sergius, in which
all concurred. He refused, however, to abandon his bribe which he now
demanded of the new pope. Sergius replied that he had never promised
anything to the exarch and that he could not pay the sum demanded. And
he brought forth in the sight of the people the holy vessels of S.
Peter, saying these were all he had. As the pope doubtless intended,
the Romans were enraged against the exarch, the money was scraped
together, and the holy vessels rescued.

In all this we see the growing distrust and hatred of Constantinople,
which the taxation had first aroused on the part of the Italian people
and their champion the papacy. These feelings were to be crystallised
by the extraordinary and tactless council that the emperor convened in
691, in which the empire attempted to avenge the defeat it had
sustained at the hands of the papacy in regard to the Monothelete
heresy. The council, which was mainly concerned with discipline,
altogether disregarded Western custom and the See of Rome, and
especially asserted that "the patriarchal throne of Constantinople
should enjoy the same privileges as that of Old Rome, and in all
ecclesiastical matters should be entitled to the same pre-eminence and
should count as second after it." The pope promptly forbade the
publication of the decrees of this council which he had refused to
sign. Then the emperor sent a truculent soldier, one Zacharias, to
Rome with orders to seize Sergius and bring him to Constantinople as
Martin had been arrested and dragged away. It only needed this to make
the whole situation clear once and for all.

For it was not only the people of Rome who rose to prevent this
outrageous act. When Zacharias landed in Ravenna, the citadel of the
empire in Italy, the "army of Ravenna," no longer perhaps Byzantine
mercenaries, but Italians, mutinied and determined to march to Rome to
defend the pope. As they marched down the Flaminian Way, the soldiers
of the Pentapolis joined them, a Holy War, a revolution, declared
itself, and for this end: "We will not suffer the Pontiff of the
Apostolic See to be carried to Constantinople." This curious mob of
soldiers, gathering force and recruits as it marched with songs and
shouting down the Way, hurled itself against the walls of the Eternal
City, battered down the gate of S. Peter which Zacharias, afraid and
in tears, had ordered to be closed, and demanded to see the pope who
was believed to have been spirited away in the night on board a
Byzantine ship like his predecessor Martin. Zacharias took refuge
under the pope's bed, and Sergius showed himself upon the balcony of
the Lateran and was received with the wildest enthusiasm.

In that revolution was destroyed all hope of the Byzantine empire in
Italy. A new vision had suddenly appeared to those whom we may call,
and rightly now, the Italian people. The long resurrection of the
West, the greatest miracle of the papacy, was upon that day secured
for the future. And henceforth the mere appearance of the exarch in
Rome was regarded as an insult and a declaration of war.

In the year 695 Justinian II. was deposed and mutilated by Leontius,
but he was to appear again as emperor ten years later when Sergius was
dead and John VII. sat on the throne of Peter. Pope John reigned but
for three years, in which he was successfully bullied by Justinian. He
was then succeeded by Sisinnius, who reigned for a few months, and
then by Constantine who ruled for seven years (708-715). The
archbishops of Ravenna had certainly not dared openly to side with the
imperial party and the exarch during the revolution, but, with the
restoration of Justinian, archbishop Felix (708-724) felt himself
strong enough to oppose the pope when he categorically required of him
an oath "to do nothing contrary to the unity of the Church and the
safety of the empire." He had, however, chosen a bad time to set
himself against his superior, who in the minds of all was the champion
of Italy.

Justinian II. had by no means forgotten the injuries he had received
at the hands of the Ravennati: "_ad Ravennam_," says Agnellus, "_corda
revolvens retorsit, et per noctem plurima volvens, infra se taliter
agens; heu quid agam et contra Ravennam quae exordia sumam_?" "What
can I do against Ravenna?" What he did was this. Theodore the
patrician, one of his generals, was despatched with a fleet to Ravenna
by way of Sicily. He proceeded up the Adriatic and when far off he saw
the great imperial city, he first, according to Agnellus, lamented its
fate, "for she shall be levelled with the ground which lifted her head
to the clouds;" and then having landed and been greeted with due
ceremony, set his camp on the banks of the Po a few hundred yards
outside the city walls. There he invited all the chief men of the
Ravennati to a banquet in the open air. As two by two they entered his
tent to be presented to their host they were bound and gagged and put
aboard ship. Thus all the nobles and Felix the archbishop were taken
and the soldiers of Theodore entered Ravenna and burned their houses
to the ground.

Theodore took his captives to Constantinople where they were all slain
save Felix, who, however, was blinded. Later he returned to Ravenna,
was reconciled with the Holy See, and died archbishop in 725.

It would appear that all this happened when Theophylact (702-709) was
exarch, though Theodore the patrician may have superseded him for a
moment on his arrival. The exarch in 710 was Joannes Rizocopus, and in
that year pope Constantine visited Constantinople with the future pope
Gregory II. in his train. They met in Rome, the pope about to set
sail, the exarch on his way to Ravenna, where he was apparently
assassinated in a popular tumult, "the just reward of his wickedness."
The people of Ravenna then elected a certain Giorgius as their
captain, and all the neighbouring cities, Cervia, Forli, Forlimpopoli,
and others, placed themselves under his government and turned upon the
imperial troops. We know very little of this revolution, what directly
was the cause of it, or how it was suppressed; but it is clear that
the exarchate, if it did not actually perish, was from this time forth
for all intents and purposes dead. Three more exarchs were to reign in
Ravenna, but not to govern. In 713, Scholasticus was appointed and
remained till 726. He was followed by Paulus (726-727) who attempted
to arrest Leo III., was prevented by the joint action of the Romans
and the Lombards, and met his death at the hands of the people of
Ravenna; and by Eutychius (727-752) who it seems saw the fall of
Ravenna before the assault of the Lombard Aistulf. He was the last
representative of the Byzantine empire to govern in Ravenna or in

But the fall of the imperial power in Italy was not the work of the
Romans or of the Lombards. It fell because it had ceased to be

We have seen the invasions of the Visigoths and the Huns fade away
into nothing; we have seen the greater attempt of the Ostrogoths to
found a kingdom in Italy brought to nought. One and all they failed
for this fundamental reason, that they were not Catholic. The future
belonged to Catholicism, and since it is only what is in the mind and
the soul that is of any profound and lasting effect, to be Arian, to
be heretic, was to fail. The great attempt, the noble attempt of
Justinian to refound the empire in the West, to gather Italy
especially once more into a universal government, succeeded, in so far
as it did succeed, because the circumstances of the time in Italy
forced it to be a pre-eminently Catholic movement. When that movement
ceased to be Catholic it failed.

Let us be sure of this, for our whole understanding of the Dark Age
depends upon it. Justinian's success in Italy was a Catholic success.
What had always differentiated the imperialists from the barbarians
since the fall of the old empire was their Catholicism. Justinian, a
great Catholic emperor, perhaps the greatest, faced and outfaced the
Arian Goths. He succeeded because his cause was the Catholic cause.
But when his successors had to meet the Lombards they soon found that,
for all they could do, they had no success. The Lombards, never very
eagerly Arian, were open to conversion, slowly they became Catholic,
and from the day they became Catholic there was no longer any hope of
turning them out of Italy. It is only what is in the mind that is of
any fundamental account. Face to face with such a thing as religion,
race is as a tale that is told. But though all hope of turning the
Lombards out of Italy ceased with their conversion, and the plan of
Justinian, with nothing as it were to kick against, was thus rendered
a thousand times more difficult, it did not become utterly hopeless
and impossible till the empire, the East, that is, Constantinople,
fell into heresy and ceased itself to be Catholic. It was the gradual
failure of Constantinople in Catholicism that disclosed the pope to
the Italians as their champion. It was this failure that raised up
even in the imperial citadel, even in Ravenna, men and armies
passionately antagonistic to the emperor, passionately papal too.
During a hundred years this movement grew till, in the eight century,
the _coup de grace_, as we might say, was given to the Justinian plan
by the Iconoclastic heresy.

The Iconoclastic decrees of the emperor Leo are said to have appeared
in Italy in the year 726. Leo was an adventurer from the mountains of
Isauria. He was, so Gibbon tells us, "ignorant of sacred and profane
letters; but his education, his reason, perhaps his intercourse with
the Jews and the Arabs, had inspired the martial peasant with an
hatred of images." It was his design to pronounce the condemnation of
images as an article of faith by the authority of a general council.
This, however, he was not able to do, for he was at once met and his
iconoclasm pronounced heretical by the greatest of all opponents, the
pope--Gregory II.

Gregory had been elected to the papacy in 715 upon the death of
Constantine. He was a man of great strength of purpose and nobility of
character. Upon the Lombard throne sat Liutprand whose boast it was
that "his nation was Catholic and beloved of God," and who
acknowledged the pope as "the head of all the churches and priests of
God through the world." These three men were the great protagonists
who decided the fate of the empire in Italy.

The Lombards though they were thus Catholic had certainly not ceased
to make war upon the empire. In this ceaseless quarrel, for instance,
they had, perhaps about 720, possessed themselves of Classis, the
seaport of Ravenna, and not long after of the fortress of Narni upon
the Flaminian Way, and a little later, about 752, Liutprand himself
laid siege to Ravenna, apparently without much result, though Classis
seems to have suffered pillage. But if Ravenna did not then fall it
was because the emperor's Iconoclastic decrees had not then reached
Italy. They appear to have arrived in the following year and
immediately the whole peninsula was aflame. "No image of any saint,
martyr, or angel shall be retained in the churches," said Leo, "for
all such things are accursed." The pope was told to acquiesce or to
prepare to endure degradation and exile. Then, says Gibbon, surely
here an unbiassed authority, "without depending on prayers or
miracles, Gregory II. boldly armed against the public enemy and his
pastoral letters admonished the Italians of their danger and their
duty. At this signal Ravenna, Venice, and the cities of the Exarchate
and Pentapolis adhered to the cause of religion; their military force
by sea and land consisted for the most part of the natives; and the
spirit of patriotism and zeal was transfused into the mercenary
strangers. The Italians swore to live and die in the defence of the
pope and the holy images; the Roman people were devoted to their
Father and even the Lombards were ambitious to share the merit and
advantage of this holy war. The most treasonable act, but the most
obvious revenge, was the destruction of the statues of Leo himself;
the most effectual and most pleasing measure of rebellion was the
withholding of the tribute of Italy and depriving him of a power which
he had recently abused by the imposition of a new duty."

The life of the pope was attempted by the imperial officials and the
exarch appears to have been privy to the plot. The Romans rose and
prevented the murder by slaying two of the conspirators, and when the
exarch attempted to arrest the pope the very Lombards "flocked from
all quarters" to defend him. In Ravenna itself there was revolution;
Paulus the exarch was slain it seems in 727, and Ravenna apparently
swore allegiance to the Holy See. Leo sent a fleet and an army to
chastise her; "after suffering," says Gibbon, "from the wind and wave
much loss and delay, the Greeks made their descent in the
neighbourhood of Ravenna; they threatened to depopulate the guilty
capital and to imitate, perhaps to surpass, the example of Justinian
II. who had chastised a former rebellion by the choice and execution
of fifty of the principal inhabitants. The women and clergy in
sackcloth and ashes lay prostrate in prayer; the men were in arms for
the defence of their country; the common danger had united the
factions, and the event of a battle was preferred to the slow miseries
of a siege. In a hard-fought day, as the two armies alternately
yielded and advanced, a phantom was seen, a voice was heard, and
Ravenna was victorious by the assurance of victory. The strangers
retreated to their ships, but the populous sea-coast poured forth a
multitude of boats; the waters of the Po were so deeply infected with
blood that during six years the public prejudice abstained from the
fish of the river; and the institution of an annual feast perpetuated
the worship of images and the abhorrence of the Greek tyrant."

So Gibbon, following Agnellus whose account is obscure and perhaps
altogether untrustworthy. What is certain is that Liutprand was
advancing against the empire in war; that he took Bologna and without
difficulty made himself master of the whole of the Pentapolis.

Yet the emperor took no heed. The eunuch Eutychius was appointed as
exarch. He appeared in Naples and sent orders to Rome to have the pope
murdered; but again the Roman people saved their champion and swore to
him a new allegiance. Then Eutychius turned to the Lombards.

He attempted to bribe both Liutprand and the dukes. At first he was
unsuccessful, but presently they began to listen to him. Liutprand
certainly hoped to make himself king of Italy, and it may be that it
was this which Eutychius offered him under the emperor. Moreover, he
was jealous, and not without cause, of the dukes of Spoleto and
Benevento, who had rallied to the pope, and was anxious to have them
under his feet. This, too, he may have hoped to attain as King of
Italy and the emperor's representative in Italy.

When the pope saw Liutprand march southward with the exarch he must
have known that the whole of the future depended upon the outcome of
this act. Liutprand presently encamped with his army in the plain of
Nero between the Vatican and Monte Mario. There the pope met him and,
even as Leo the Great had done upon the banks of the Mincio, and as
Gregory the Great had done upon the steps of S. Peter's, overawed the
barbarian. Liutprand laid his crown and his sword at the pope's feet
and begged, not only for his own forgiveness, but for that of the
exarch his ally. The moment of enormous danger passed, the pope
received both his enemies; but from that moment it was evident that
the Lombards were not to be trusted and must one day feel the weight
of the papal arm.

Gregory died in February 731, and was succeeded by Gregory III. who
continued his predecessor's Italian policy. The great and terrible
danger which had suddenly threatened the whole of papal policy when
Liutprand and the exarch approached one another seems to have haunted
the third Gregory. His obvious defence was to support the dukes
against Liutprand, and this he did. Liutprand marched down against him
and seized several towns in the duchy of Rome. It is now that the
future begins to declare itself. The pope in his peril, a peril that
would presently increase, made an appeal to the great Christian
champion, Charles Martel; he appealed to the Franks; in the event, as
we know, it was the Franks who saved the situation. In 740, however,
Charles Martel refused to interfere; he was the kinsman of Liutprand
and his son was a guest at the court of Pavia; that son was to be king
Pepin the Deliverer--the father of Charlemagne, the first emperor of
the restored West.

That appeal for help was in all probability not made only on account
of the threat of Liutprand against Rome. It was obvious and more and
more obvious that the imperial power in Italy was about to dissolve.
What was to take its place? The papacy? Yes, but the state of Italy,
the hostility of Liutprand, the whole attitude and condition of the
Lombards, forced upon the papacy the necessity of finding a champion,
a soldier and an army. That champion Gregory hoped to find in Charles
Martel; his successors found him in Charles's son Pepin and in

I say the appeal of the pope for help was not made only on account of
the Lombard threat against Rome. It was the sudden dissolution of the
imperial power that called it forth. In or about 737, the city of
Ravenna, as we may believe, was besieged and taken by Liutprand and
for some three years remained in his hands, till at the united prayers
of exarch and pope the Venetians fitted out a fleet and recaptured it
for the empire as we may think in 740.[1]

[Footnote 1: I follow Hodgkin, vi. p. 482 _et seq_., and Appendix F.
Cf. also for discussion as to the date, Pinton in _Archivio Veneto_
(1889), pp. 368-384, and Monticolo in _Archivio della R. S. Romana di
St. Pat_. (1892), pp. 321-365.]

We know nothing of that siege and capture and practically nothing of
the splendid victory of the Venetians. But the tremendous significance
of the fall of Ravenna, which had been the impregnable seat of the
empire in Italy since Belisarius entered it in 540, must not escape
us. Rightly understood it made necessary all that followed.

At this dramatic moment the Emperor Leo died, to be followed in 741 by
Pope Gregory and Charles Martel. Gregory was succeeded by Pope
Zacharias, who in the year of his election met Liutprand at Narni and
obtained from him the restoration of the four frontier towns he had
taken two years before. But though Rome was thus secured Ravenna was
in worse danger than ever, for Liutprand now renewed his attack upon
it and it was only the intervention of the pope in person at Pavia
that saved the city. Zacharias set forth along the Flaminian Way; at
Aquila perhaps near Rimini the exarch met him, and he entered Ravenna
in triumph, the whole city coming out to meet him. In spite of the
opposition of Liutprand he made his way to Pavia, and was successful
in persuading him to give up his attempt to take the once impregnable
city and to restore much he had captured. Liutprand was an old man;
perhaps he was not hard to persuade, for he was on the eve of his
death, which came to him in 744. His successor Hildeprand reigned for
six months and was deposed. Ratchis became king, a pious man who made
truce with the pope, and in 749 abdicated and entered a monastery.
Aistulf was chosen king, and at once turned his thoughts to Ravenna.
The crisis so long foreseen, so often prevented by the papacy, came at
last with great suddenness. In 751 Ravenna fell and the Byzantine
empire in Italy thereby came to an end.

We know nothing of this tremendous affair; we do not know whether the
great imperial city, full of all the strange wonder of Byzantium, and
heavy with the destiny of Europe, was taken suddenly by assault or
after a long siege. We know only that it fell, and that Aistulf was
master there in the year of our Lord 751.

A sort of silence followed that fall. In 752 Pope Zacharias died. His
successor was never consecrated, but died within three days of his
election and made way for Pope Stephen. In the confusion of all things
it is said that a party in Rome urged Aistulf to usurp the empire.
This was enough; it might have been, and perhaps was, expected. The
pope had his answer ready. The heir of the empire in Italy was not the
Lombard but the Holy See. Aistulf threatened to invade Roman
territory, and, indeed, occupied Ceccano in the duchy of Rome. Again
the pope had his answer. That answer was the appeal to Pepin and his
Franks. The papacy had found a champion.




The appeal of Stephen, which was to have for its result the
resurrection of the empire in the West and the establishment of the
papacy as a temporal power and sovereignty, was made in a letter now
lost to us, which a pilgrim on his way back to France from Rome
carried to Pepin the king of the Franks. In reply to it, the abbot of
Jumieges appeared in Rome as Pepin's ambassador to invite the pope
himself to cross the Alps.

Meantime two events occurred, which cannot but have hardened the
resolve of the pope to find a champion. These events were the
occupation of Ceccano in the duchy of Rome by Aistulf and the appeal
of the emperor to the pope that he should go to Pavia and attempt to
persuade the Lombard king to give up Ravenna and the cities he had
lately taken. The appeal of the emperor must have assured the pope, if
indeed he had any doubt about it, that the emperor, so far as Italy
was concerned, was helpless; while the occupation of Ceccano made it
doubly obvious that the Lombard intended, now that the empire was
helpless, to be absolute master throughout the peninsula.

[Illustration: Colour Plate S. GlOVANNI EVANGELISTA]

Stephen considered what course he should pursue, received two other
Prankish envoys in Rome, consented to go to Pavia on behalf of the
emperor, and determined at the same time to visit Pepin in the north.
He set out for Pavia upon October 13, 753, leaving Rome with a vast
concourse of people, which accompanied him some distance along the
Way, out of the Flaminian Gate. His mission on behalf of the empire
was naturally entirely fruitless, and early in November the pope left
Pavia with the hardly won consent of Aistulf to cross the Alps by the
Great S. Bernard--a difficult and dangerous business at that time of
year--and to meet the Frankish king at S. Maurice in the valley of the
Rhone. In the latter he was disappointed. Pepin had been called away
to deal with an incursion of the Saxons, and now awaited his amazing
visitor at Ponthion in Champagne, but he sent his son Charles,
destined to be the first emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, a hundred
miles down the long roads to meet the pope, and it was in the company
of this youthful hero that upon the Feast of the Epiphany 754 Stephen
entered Ponthion at last, and was greeted by Pepin, who cast himself
upon the ground before him and walked as his lackey beside him as he

The result of their interview is given in the _Liber Pontificalis_:
"The most blessed pope tearfully besought the said most Christian king
that by means of a treaty of peace (? with him the pope) he would
dispose of the cause of the blessed Peter and the republic of the
Romans, who by an oath there and then (de praesenti) satisfied the
most blessed pope that he would obey all his commands and admonitions
with all his strength and that it pleased him to restore by every
means the exarchate of Ravenna and the rights and territories of the

[Footnote 1: As this is very important I give the original Latin
"Ibidem beatissmus Papa praefatum Christianissimum regem
lacrimabiliter deprecatus est ut per pacis foedera causam beati Petri
et reipublicarae Romanorum disponeret. Qui de praesenti jurejurando
eundem beatissimum Papam satisfecit omnibus ejus mandatis et
ammonitionibus sese totis nisibus obedire, et ut illi placitum fuerit
Exarchatum Ravennae et reipublicae jura seu loca reddere modis

That winter the pope spent at S. Denis, where he solemnly crowned
Pepin and his queen, and Charles and Carloman their children,
pronouncing an anathema upon all or any who should ever attempt to
elect a king not of their house. Upon Pepin too he conferred the title
of patrician. Can it be that by this he intended the king of the
Franks to be his executor in the exarchate as the exarch had been the
executor of the emperor?[1] We do not know; but a little later a
document was drawn up in which Pepin declared and enumerated the
territories he was ready to secure for the pope. This document, the
Donation of Pepin, would seem to have confirmed in detail and in
writing the oath he had sworn to the pope at Ponthion. Unhappily the
document has disappeared, and we can only judge of its contents by
what actually happened.

[Footnote 1: The title patrician was not exclusively borne by the
exarch, the Dux Romae, for instance, bore that title in 743.]

The adventure into Italy to which the pope had persuaded Pepin was not
universally popular with the Frankish nobles. We find Pepin attempting
to gain his end by negotiation with Aistulf, but all to no purpose,
and probably in March 755 the Franks set out with the pope at their
head to march into Italy to curb and chastise the Lombard.

The great army of Pepin crossed the Alps by the Mont Cenis, and in
what was little more than a skirmish upon the northern side of the
pass defeated the Lombard army and proceeded to invest Pavia and
ravish the country round about. Aistulf, who was rather an impetuous
than a great soldier, had soon had enough and was ready to entertain
proposals for peace. A treaty was made in which he agreed "to restore"
Ravenna and divers other cities, and to attempt nothing in the future
against Rome and the Holy See. This having been decided, the pope took
leave of Pepin, who returned to France, and went on his way to Rome.

The pope had won and had really established the Holy See as the heir
of the empire; but Aistulf was by no means done with. He forgot alike
his treaty and his promises. "Ever since the day when we parted," the
pope writes to Pepin and the young kings, his sons Charles and
Carloman, "he has striven to put upon us such afflictions and on the
Holy Church of God such insults as the tongue of man cannot
declare.... You have made peace too easily, you have taken no
sufficient security for the fulfilment of the promises you have made
to S. Peter, which you yourselves guaranteed by writing under your
hand and seal...."

But the Franks were deaf. An expedition to crush the Lombards was a
laborious and an expensive business, and Pepin had much to occupy him
at home.

In January 756, however, Aistulf, mad from the start, laid siege to
Rome, and for three months laid waste the farms of the Campagna, S.
Peter's patrimony. Narni was taken and indeed all seemed as hopeless
as ever. Then the pope took up his pen and as the successor of the
Prince of the Apostles wrote a letter as from S. Peter himself and
sent it to the three kings, Pepin, Charles, and Carloman, to the
bishops, abbots, priests and monks, the dukes, counts, armies, and
people of Francia. Gibbon thus summarises this extraordinary and
dramatic epistle: "The apostle assures his adoptive sons the king, the
clergy, and the nobles of France that dead in the flesh, he is still
alive in the spirit; that they now hear and must obey the voice of the
founder and guardian of the Roman Church; that the Virgin, the angels,
the saints, and the martyrs, and all the host of heaven unanimously
urge the request, and will confess the obligation; that riches,
victory, and paradise will crown their pious enterprise; and that
eternal damnation will be the penalty of their neglect, if they suffer
his tomb, his temple, and his people to fall into the hands of the
perfidious Lombards."

Pepin could not be deaf to such an appeal. He again crossed the Mont
Cenis, and again the Lombards were as chaff before him. On his march
to Pavia he was met by two envoys from Constantinople who had
ill-treated, detained, and outstripped the papal ambassador. They
besought Pepin to restore Ravenna and the exarchate to the empire, but
he denied them and declared roundly that "on no account whatsoever
should those cities be alienated from the power of the blessed Peter
and the jurisdiction of the Roman Church and the Apostolic See,
affirming too with an oath that for no man's favour had he given
himself once again to this conflict, but only for love of S. Peter and
for the pardon of his sins; asserting, also, that no abundance of
treasure would bribe him to take away what he had once offered for S.
Peter's acceptance."[1]

[Footnote 1: Cf. Hodgkin, _op, cit_. vii. p. 217.]

Pepin marched on; Pavia was besieged, Aistulf was beaten to the dust.
A treaty was drawn up in which the Lombard gave to "S. Peter, the Holy
Roman Church, and all the popes of the Apostolic See forever" the
Exarchate, the Pentapolis, and Comacchio. An officer was commissioned
to receive the submission of every city, and their keys and the deed
of Pepin's donation were placed upon the tomb of S. Peter in Rome. The
papal state was founded; where the empire had ruled so long there
appeared the heir of the empire, the papacy "sitting crowned upon the
grave thereof."

The cities that with their _contadi_ and dependencies thus formed the
temporal dominion of the pope were, according to the papal biographer,
twenty-three in number; Ravenna first and foremost, then Rimini,
Pesaro, Fano, Sinigaglia (but not Ancona) that had formed the old
Pentapolis. To them was added La Cattolica. The whole of the inland
Pentapolis--though Fossombrone is not mentioned--Urbino, Jesi, Cagli,
Gubbio--passed to the pope as well as the following places: Cesena and
the Mons Lucatium, Forlimpopoli, Forli, Castro, Caro, S. Leo, Arcevia,
Serra dei Conti, the Republic of S. Marino, Sarsina, and Cantiano
together with Comacchio and Narni. A few months after all this was
accomplished, in December 756, Aistulf, "that follower of the devil,"
as the pope called him, died.

Every state that is nearing dissolution is the prey of civil discord.
So it was with the Lombards. Ratchis, who had more than seven years
before become a monk, claimed the throne; so did Desiderius, "mildest
of men." Pope Stephen supported the latter on condition that Ancona,
that last city of the Pentapolis, Osimo which dominated it, and Umana,
together with Faenza, Imola, and Ferrara, were "restored" to the
papacy. Desiderius agreed and became king, but failed, as the Lombards
always failed, to keep his promise, for though he handed over Faenza,
Bagnacavallo, and Gavello, he withheld Imola, Bologna, Ancona, Osimo,
and Umana; this was in 757, the year of Stephen's death.

In the same year Pope Paul I. seems to have visited the chief city of
his new state, Ravenna, mainly perhaps on ecclesiastical business, for
the archbishop Sergius was by no means a loyal subject and had only
been brought to heel when nothing but submission was left open to him.
He had then, according to Agnellus, promised to deliver to the pope
all the "gold, silver, vessels of price, hoards of money," and so
forth stored up in Ravenna. Agnellus tells a long and incoherent tale
of the way the pope obtained this treasure and of certain plots to
murder him therefor. All that seems fairly certain is that in the
first year of his reign pope Paul I. visited Ravenna. Indeed the chief
difficulty of the papacy at this time must have been the occupation of
the state it had won so consummately. How were the popes to make good
their somewhat shadowy hold upon Ravenna, and the Pentapolis, and
those other strongholds in central Italy and Aemilia?

That they were not to hold them easily was soon evident. The empire
was plotting to win Pepin to its side, and when that failed again,
rumours of an imperial invasion reached Rome. Politically all
relations ceased between Constantinople and Rome about this time; for
though the pope in reality had long ceased to be a subject of the
emperor, when he had possessed himself of the exarchate even theory
had to give way to fact. Nor was the papacy more fortunate in its
relations with Desiderius. The pope's object was doubtless to keep the
Lombard kingdom weak, if not to destroy it. The first step to that end
was obviously to encourage the achievement of a real independence by
the duchies of Spoleto and Benevento, which, again, bordering as they
did upon the duchy of Rome, would be easier to deal with if they stood
alone. There can be little doubt that the pope fostered the sleepless
disaffection of the dukes, but when their revolt matured Desiderius
was able to crush it, laying waste the Pentapolis on his way. He was
then wise enough to visit Rome and to arrange a peace which was only
once broken during pope Paul's pontificate: in 761 when Desiderius
attacked Sinigaglia.

It was easier, however, for the pope to arrange successfully a foreign
policy than to administer his new state. No machinery existed for the
secular government by the Holy See of a country so considerable; nor
was this easy to invent. The pope was forced to fall back upon his
representative in Ravenna, namely, the archbishop. Now the archbishops
of Ravenna had always been lacking in loyalty. Ravenna and the
exarchate were governed in the name of the pope by the archbishop,
assisted by three tribunes who were elected by the people. This
government was never very successful, for at every opportunity, and
especially after the resurrection of the empire in the West, the
archbishops were eager to consider themselves as feudatories of the
empire. This was natural and it may be worth while briefly to inquire

Because Ravenna had for so long, ever since the year 404, been the
seat of the empire in Italy, the bishops of that city had acquired
extraordinary privileges and even a unique position among the bishops
of the West. As early as the time of Galla Placidia, the bishop of
Ravenna had obtained from the Augusta the title and rights of
metropolitan of the fourteen cities of Aemilia and Flaminia. It is
true that the bishop continued to be confirmed and consecrated by the
pope--S. Peter Chrysologus was so confirmed and consecrated--but the
presence of the imperial court and later of the exarch encouraged in
the minds of the bishops a sense of their unique importance and a
certain spirit of independence in regard to Rome. Of course the Holy
See was not prepared to cede any of its rights; but the spirit of
disloyalty remained, and presently the bishop of Ravenna at the time
of his consecration was forced to sign a declaration of loyalty, in
which was set forth his chief duties and a definition of his rights.

After the Byzantine conquest the church of Ravenna, which the empire
regarded as a bulwark against the papal claims, received important
privileges and its importance in the ecclesiastical hierarchy was
greatly increased. Like the bishop of Rome, the bishop of Ravenna had
a special envoy at Constantinople and was represented, again like
Rome, in a special manner in the councils of the Orient. In religions
ceremonies the bishops of Ravenna took a place immediately behind the
pope, and in ecclesiastical assemblies they sat at the right hand of
the pontiff. There can be little doubt indeed of the Erastianism of
Justinian nor of his encouragement of the bishop of Ravenna.

The declaration that the bishops were forced to sign upon their
consecration by the pope by no means settled matters. In 648 this
declaration itself was in dispute as to its interpretation, for
Constans II. had conferred upon the See of Ravenna the privilege of
autonomy, and at this time the bishop did not go to Rome for
consecration. The Iconoclastic heresy of Constantinople, however,
indirectly brought about peace between the pope and his suffragan, for
Ravenna was in this whole heartedly Roman.

It was then, by means of an instrument still very uncertain, that the
papacy was forced to govern its new state, and in these circumstances,
friendly relationship with Constantinople daily becoming more
impossible, it is not surprising that we see the pope making an
attempt to come to some sort of permanent reconciliation with
Desiderius; and indeed when pope Paul died in 767 undoubtedly a peace
had been arranged.

All might have been well if pope Paul's successor had been regularly
chosen; but a layman Constantine was elected by a rabble at the
instigation of his brother Toto of Nepi. Christopher and his son
Sergius, who held two of the greatest offices in the papal chancery,
decided to call in the aid of the duke of Spoleto to attack
Constantine, Rome was entered, and in the appalling confusion the
Lombards elected a certain priest named Philip to be pope. Christopher
appeared, Philip was turned out, and Stephen III., a Sicilian, was
regularly chosen. That was in 768, and in the same year king Pepin
died and was succeeded by his two sons, Charles to whom apparently
fell Austrasia and Neustria, and Carloman who took Burgundy, Provence,
and Swabia.

The death of Pepin left the papacy without a champion. Nor was this
all, as soon appeared. Charles and Carloman began to quarrel and to
effect their reconciliation, or to avert its consequences, Bertrada,
their mother, counselled and succeeded in forcing upon them a
friendship and an alliance with the Lombards which meant the complete
abandonment of Italy upon the part of the Franks. This alliance was to
be secured by a double marriage. Charles was to marry Desiderata, the
daughter of the Lombard king, while Gisila, Bertrada's daughter, was
to marry Desiderius' heir. It is obvious that S. Peter was in peril,
nor was pope Stephen slow to denounce the whole arrangement. His
remonstrance, however, was ineffectual and there remained to him but
one thing to do: to arrange himself with the now uncurbed Lombard
king. This was exceedingly difficult, because his own election had
been achieved only by the humiliation of the Lombards. However, he
managed it at the price of civil war. Desiderius and his army entered
Rome at the behest of the pope, who celebrated Mass before the king in
S. Peter's. The Franks were checkmated.

It was not long before Charles saw that he had been outwitted. An
immediate change of his policy was necessary. In 771 it came with the
repudiation of Desiderata, who was sent back to her father's court at
Pavia. Henceforth Charles and Desiderius were implacable enemies. And
now everything went in favour of the papal policy, just as before
everything had seemed to cross it. Carloman, who had not quarrelled
with Desiderius, and might have opposed Charles and changed all the
future, suddenly died in December of the year of the quarrel. Charles
became thus sole king of the Frankish nation. When pope Stephen came
to die in February 772 he must have laid him down with a quiet mind.

In Stephen's stead there was elected as pope a pure Roman, born in the
Via Lata of the nobility of the City; he took the famous name of
Hadrian I. Desiderius, who had watched with a growing anxiety the
amazing policy of Stephen, now turned to his successor, and both
demanded and begged a renewal of friendship. Hadrian answered his
ambassador at last with the mere truth. "How can I trust your king
when I recall what my predecessor Lord Stephen of pious memory told me
in confidence of his perfidy? He told me that he had lied to him in
everything as to the rights of Holy Church, though he swore upon the
body of the Blessed Peter.... Look you, such is the honour of king
Desiderius and the measure of the confidence I may repose in him."

Desiderius' answer was not to the point. He seized the cities of
Faenza, Ferrara, and Comacchio and ravaged the territory about
Ravenna, burned the farms and carried off the cattle. Then he fell
upon the Pentapolis, seized Sinigaglia, Jesi, Urbino, Gubbio, S. Leo,
and other "Roman" cities, and indeed possessed himself of everything
save only Ravenna and Rimini, and proceeded upon a raid into the duchy
of Rome.

The answer of the pope was mild but firm: mild, for the hour was not
yet come; firm, for it would strike ere long. "Tell your king," said
he, "that I swear in the presence of God that if he choose to restore
those cities which in my time he has taken from S. Peter, I will
hasten into his presence wherever he may appoint a meeting place, at
Pavia, Ravenna, Perugia, or here in Rome, that we may confer
together.... But if he does not restore what he has taken away he
shall never see my face."

The hour was not come. Charles was busy with the Saxon hordes upon the
north and east of his kingdom. It was not till the beginning of
January 773 that the pope sent his messenger Peter to summon him to
his aid. Meanwhile, Desiderius marched on Rome. But even without
Charles the pope was not defenceless. The Vicegerent of God who had
without a soldier turned back Attila on the Mincio and had thrust back
Liutprand from Rome was not to be at the mercy of such a king as
Desiderius. At Viterbo his messengers, the three bishops of Albano,
Palestrina, and Tivoli, met the Lombard king and gave him the pope's
last word: "Anathema." Desiderius shrank back. In that moment as it
seems the ambassadors of Charles arrived in Rome, satisfied themselves
of the justice of the papal summons, and carried back to the great
Frank the prayer of the pope that he would "redeem the Church of God."
In the late summer of that year the Frankish host was assembled at
Geneva and was already beginning to cross the mountains in two mighty
commands by the Great S. Bernard and the Mont Cenis; in October the
siege of Pavia was begun.

That siege endured for more than eight months. Meanwhile Charles had
made himself master of Verona and of many of the cities of the plain.
The men of Spoleto hastened to "commend" themselves to the pope and
the citizens of Fermo, Osimo, and Ancona, and of Citta di Castello, we
read, followed their example, and for the feast of Easter 774, Charles
appeared in Rome, and was greeted and embraced by the pope at S.
Peter's. On Easter Day Charles heard Mass in S. Maria Maggiore, on
Easter Monday in S. Peter's, on Easter Tuesday in S. Paul's. On the
Wednesday in that Easter week, according to Hadrian's biographer, he
made that great Donation to the papacy which confirmed and extended
and secured the gift of Pepin his father. The duchies of Spoleto and
Benevento, and much else, were added to the exarchate "as it was of
old" and given to the pope. Then in June Pavia, the Lombard capital,
fell and Desiderius and his wife were sent by Charles as prisoners to
a convent in Picardy where it is said they ended their lives.


The Donation of Pepin, confirmed, renewed, and enlarged by Charles,
may, of course, be understood in various ways; at any rate it has been
so understood; but it is certain that the pope saw in it both the
fulfilment of his hopes and the final establishment of the papal
monarchy. Yet while he utterly refused, and rightly, to admit the
claim of Charles--not yet emperor--to interfere in the election of the
archbishop of Ravenna, the head of his new dominion, he graciously
permitted the king to take away certain mosaics from the old imperial
city to adorn his palace at Aix; and that in the following letter,
which Dr. Hodgkin translates: "We have received your bright and
honeysweet letters brought us by Duke Arwin. In these you expressed
your desire that we should grant you the mosaics and marbles of the
palace in the city of Ravenna, as well as other specimens to be found
both in the pavement and on the walls. We willingly grant your request
because by your royal struggles the Church of your patron S. Peter
daily enjoys many benefits, for which great will be your reward in
heaven...." On no theory yet put forward can the pope be considered as
the subject of the king of the Franks. That he had been and was to be
the subject of the emperor can be defended, but when has S. Peter been
the creature of a king?

It was not Hadrian as we know but Leo who was destined to crown what
pope Stephen had begun, and to re-establish the empire in the West,
and as he thought to create for S. Peter not an occasional but a
permanent champion.

Twenty-five years after that great Easter in Rome, pope Leo, who
succeeded Hadrian, whose long pontificate lasted for twenty-three
years, was attacked in the streets of Rome and thrown to the ground in
the Corso by two nephews of Hadrian's. Exactly what was the nature of
their quarrel with Leo we do not know, but they managed to imprison
the pope, who presently escaped and, assisted by Winichis, duke of
Spoleto, made his way to the court of Charles. During the summer of
799 the pope remained in France, and probably in October returned to
Rome with a Frankish guard of honour. In the following autumn Charles
set out on his fourth journey to Rome. It was now that he visited
Ravenna, as he had already done in 787, and remained for seven days.
On the 24th November he arrived in Rome. A month later upon Christmas
Day the great king, attended by his nobles, amid a vast multitude,
went to S. Peter's to hear Mass. It was there in the midst of that
great basilica, before the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles, that
upon the birthday of Christ the empire re-arose; the pope placed upon
the head of Charlemagne the golden diadem and the Roman people cried
aloud, "_Carolo Piissimo Augusta Deo, Coronato Magno a Pacifico
Imperatori Vita et Victoria_," Three times that great acclamation
echoed over the tomb of the Fisherman. Once more there was an emperor
in the West, a champion of the Faith and defender of the Holy See.

It has been asserted, and is still I believe maintained, that that
coronation was a surprise to Charles. But such things do not come
unforeseen, nor was Charlemagne the man to permit or to tolerate so
amazing an astonishment. All Rome knew what was about to be
accomplished and had gathered in the ancient basilica to await it and
complete it.

Such a question, however, concerns us but little. For us it remains to
note that with the re-creation of the empire, and the appearance of
the Holy See as a great temporal sovereignty in Italy, the historical
importance of Ravenna comes to an end. We have seen that in the autumn
of the most famous year save that of the birth of Our Lord,
Charlemagne had visited Ravenna and had spent seven days in the city.
Once more he was to visit it, and that upon his return journey
northward in May 801. From this time Ravenna ceases to be of any
significance in the history of Europe. The pass it held was no longer
of importance, for the barbarian invasions were at an end, and a new
road into Italy over the Apennines was coming into use, the Via
Francigena, the way of the Franks. As the port upon the sea which was
the fault between East and West it, too, ceased to exist; for East and
West were no longer of any real importance the one to the other, and
already the alteration of the coast line, which was one day to leave
the old seaport some miles from the shore, had begun.

The history of Ravenna, her importance in the history of Europe and
Italy, thus comes to an end with the appearance of Charlemagne and the
resurrection of the West. The ancient and beautiful city which had
played so great a part in the fortunes of the empire, which had, as it
were, twice been its birthplace and twice its tomb, herself passes
into oblivion when that empire, Holy now and Roman still, rises again
and in the West with the crowning of Charlemagne in S. Peter's Church
upon Christmas Day in the year of Our Lord 800. With her subsequent
story, interesting to us mainly in two of its episodes--the apparition
of Dante and the incident of 1512--I shall deal when I come to
consider the Mediaeval and Renaissance city.

But in fact we always think of Ravenna as a city of the Dark Age, and
in that we are right. She is a tomb, the tomb of the old empire, and
like the sepulchre outside the gates of Jerusalem, that was Arimathean
Joseph's, she held during an appalling interval of terror and doubt
the most precious thing in the world, to be herself utterly forgotten
in the morning of the resurrection. And surely to one who had
approached her in the dawn, while it was yet dark, of the ninth
century, of mediaeval Europe that is, her words would have been those
of the angels so long ago: _Non est hic; sed surrexit_. While to us
to-day she would say: _Venite et videte locum ubi positus erat




Ravenna, as we see her to-day, is like no other city in Italy. As in
her geography and in her history, so in her aspect, she is a place
apart, a place very distinctive and special, and with a physiognomy
and appearance all her own. What we see in her is still really the
city of Honorius, of Galla Placidia, of Theodoric, of Belisarius and
Narses, of the exarchate, in a word, of the mighty revolution in which
Europe, all we mean by Europe, so nearly foundered, and which here
alone is still splendidly visible to us in the great Roman and
Byzantine works of that time.

For the age, the Dark Age, of her glory is illumined by no other city
in Italy or indeed in the world. She was the splendour of that age, a
lonely splendour. And because, when that age came to an end, she was
practically abandoned--abandoned, that is, by the great world--just as
about the same time she was abandoned by the sea, much of her ancient
beauty has remained to her through all the centuries since, even down
to our own day, when, lovelier than ever in her lonely marsh, she is a
place so lugubrious, so infinitely still and sad, full of the autumn
wind and the rumours of silence of the tomb, of the most reverent of
all tombs--the tomb of the empire.

We shall not find in Ravenna anything at all, any building, that is,
or work of art, of classical antiquity; all she was, all she did, all
she possessed in the great years of the empire has perished. Nor shall
we find much that may have been hers in the smaller life that came to
her in the beginning of the Middle Age, or that was hers in the time
of the Renaissance; the memory and the dust of Dante, a few churches,
a few frescoes, a few pictures, a few palaces; nothing beside. For all
these we must go to Pompeii and to Rome, or to Florence, Siena,
Assisi, and Venice; in Ravenna we shall find something more rare, but
not these. She remains a city of the Dark Age, of the fifth, sixth,
seventh, and eighth centuries, and she is full of the churches, the
tombs, and the art of that time, early Christian and Byzantine things
that we shall not find elsewhere, or, at any rate, not in the same
abundance, perfection, and beauty.

And yet though so much remains, her story since the time of
Charlemagne might seem to be little else but a long catalogue of
pillage and destruction. Charlemagne himself began this cruel work
when he carried off the mosaics and the marbles, the ornaments of the
imperial palace, to adorn Aix-la-Chapelle, and since his day not a
century has passed without adding to this vandalism; the worst
offenders being the fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth,
eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, which by rebuilding, by frank
pillage, by mere destruction, by earthquakes, by contempt, and worst
of all by restoration have utterly destroyed much that should have
remained for ever, and have altogether spoilt and transformed most of
that which, almost by chance it might seem, remains.

And so it comes to pass that the oldest buildings remaining to us
to-day in Ravenna are to be found in the baptistery, the cathedral,
the arcivescovado, and the mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the oldest
complete building being the last. Let us then first consider these.

The first bishop, the "Apostle" of Ravenna, according to Agnellus, was
S. Apollinaris, a Syrian of Antioch, the friend and disciple of S.
Peter, who, as we know, had been bishop of Antioch for seven years
before he went to Rome. Apollinaris followed S. Peter to the Eternal
City and was appointed by him bishop of Ravenna, whither he came to
establish the church. There might seem to be some doubt as to his
martyrdom; but, according to Agnellus, he was succeeded by his
disciple S. Aderitus, and he in his turn by S. Eleucadius, a
theologian, who is said to have written commentaries upon the books of
the Old and New Testaments, and to have been followed as bishop by S.
Martianus, a noble whom S. Apollinaris had ordained deacon. There
follows in the _Liber Pontificalis_ of Agnellus a list of twelve
bishops, S. Calocerus, S. Proculus, S. Probus, S. Datus, S. Liberius,
S. Agapetus, S. Marcellinus, S. Severus (c. 344), S. Liberius II., S.
Probus II., S. Florentius, and S. Liberius III., who occupy the see
before we come to S. Ursus, who "first began to build a Temple to God,
so that the Christians previously scattered about in huts should be
collected into one sheepfold."[1] S. Ursus, according to Dr.
Holder-Egger, ruled in Ravenna from 370 to 396, and his church was
dedicated in 385; but a later authority[2] would seem to place his
pontificate later, and to argue that it immediately preceded that of
S. Peter Chrysologus, who, the same authority asserts, was elected in
429. All agree that S. Ursus reigned for twenty-six years, and
therefore, if he immediately preceded S. Peter Chrysologus, he was
elected not in 370, but in 403; that is to say, in or about the same
time as Honorius took up his residence in Ravenna.

[Footnote 1: "Iste piimus hic initiavit Templum construere Dei, ut
plebes Christianorum quae in singulis tuguriis vagabant in unum ovile
piissimus collegeret Pastor ... Igitur aedificavit iste Beatissimus
Praesul infra hanc Civitatem Ravennam Sanctam Ecclesiam Catholicam,
quo omnes assidue concurremus, quam de suo nomine Ursianam nominavit
... "]

[Footnote 2: A Testi Rasponi, _Note Marginali al Liber Pontificalis di
Agnello Ravennate_ in _Atti e Memorie della R. Dep. di St. Pat. per la
Romagna_, iii. 27 (Bologna, 1909-10).]

However that may be, we must attribute the foundation of a new
cathedral church in Ravenna to S. Ursus, for till this day it bears
his name, Ecclesia Ursiana, though it appears to have been dedicated
in honour of the Resurrection (Anastasis.)

[Illustration: THE CATHEDRAL (_Basilica Ursiana_)]

Agnellus gives us a fairly full account of this church, which
consisted of five naves divided and upheld by four rows of
fifty-six[1] columns of precious marble from the temple of Jupiter.
That the church was approached by steps we learn from Agnellus in his
life of S. Exuperantius, for he there tells us that Felix the
patrician was killed "on the steps of the Ecclesia Ursiana." Both the
vault and the walls were adorned with mosaics,[2] which Agnellus
describes and which would seem to have covered then or later the whole
of the interior; the wall on the women's side of the church being
decorated with a figure of S. Anastasia, while over all was a dome
"adorned with various coloured tiles representing different figures."
When Agnellus wrote (ninth century) this great church was of course
standing, but doubtless it had been added to and adorned from century
to century, and it is impossible to learn from his description, or
indeed any other that we have, what was due therein to S. Ursus and
what to his successors. One of the most splendid ornaments the church
possessed would seem to have been a ciborium of silver, borne by
columns which stood over the high altar also of silver. This is said
by Agnellus to have been placed there by the bishop S. Victor, who
seems to have ruled in Ravenna from about 537 to 544. It is said to
have cost, with the consent of Justinian, the whole revenue of Italy
for a year and to have weighed some one hundred and twenty pounds. The
whole stood in the midst of a circular choir of marble, itself covered
with silver it might seem, if we may believe a chronicler of Vicenza
of the fifteenth century, quoted by Zirardini,[3] who says: "In the
great church of Ravenna all the choir, the altar, and the great
tabernacle over the altar are of silver." Before the altar was the
_Schola Caniorum_.

[Footnote 1: Fabri, however, in his _Sacre Memorie_, says there were
forty-nine columns.]

[Footnote 2: Agnellus gives the names of the mosaicists Euserius or
Cuserius, Paulus, Agatho, Satius, and Stephanus.]

[Footnote 3: Zirardini, _De Antiquis Sacris Ravennae Aedificiis_.]

Agnellus tells us further in his life of S. Felix (_c_. 693) that that
bishop built a _Salutatorium_ (? Sacristy), "whence the bishop and his
assistants proceeded at the Introit of the Mass into the presence of
the people." But the Epigram which Agnellus quotes from this building
would seem to suggest that the _salutatorium_ was rather then rebuilt
than added for the first time to the church.

The magnificent basilica, one of the most splendid in Italy, was
sacked by the French in April 1512, but, as Dr. Corrado Ricci says, it
was not they who destroyed the church itself, but the _accademici_ of
the eighteenth century, who, instead of conserving the glorious
building, then some thirteen hundred years old, began in 1733 to pull
it down, to break up the beautiful capitals and columns of precious
marbles, and to make out of the fragments the pavement of the new
church we still see, begun in 1734 by Gian Francesco Buonamici da
Rimini. Only the apse with its beautiful great mosaic remained for a
few years till at last it too was destroyed.

Thus the church we have in place of the old Basilica Ursiana is a
building of the eighteenth century, and all that we care for in it is
the fragments that are to be found there of its glorious predecessor.

These are few in number and of little account. Supporting the central
arch of the portico are two marble columns which belonged to the old
basilica, and by the main door are two others of granite which came
perhaps from the old nave.

Entering the church we find ourselves in a cruciform building
consisting of three naves, divided by twenty-four columns of marble,
transept, and apse, with a dome over the crossing. In the second
chapel on the right is an ancient marble sarcophagus said to be that
of S. Exuperantius, bishop of Ravenna about 470. The magnificent tomb
carved in high relief did not, however, belong to the old cathedral,
but was brought here when the church of S. Agnese was destroyed. In
the south transept is the chapel of the Madonna del Sudore, where on
either side are two other sarcophagi of marble adorned with figures
and symbols. That on the right is said to be the tomb of S.
Barbatianus, confessor of Galla Placidia, and was originally in the
church of S. Lorenzo in Caesarea, whence it was brought to the
cathedral in the thirteenth century by the archbishop Bonifazio de'
Fieschi, whom Dante found in Purgatory among the gluttons:

che pasturo col rocco molte genti..."

He brought the sarcophagus to the cathedral for his own tomb and there
I suppose he was buried. The sarcophagus upon the left was likewise
used in 1321 as a tomb for himself by the archbishop, Rainaldo
Concoreggio. This, too, is sculptured with a bas-relief of Christ, a
nimbus round His head, a book in His hand, seated on a throne set on a
rock, out of which four rivers flow. With outstretched hand He gives a
crown to S. Paul, while S. Peter bearing a cross holds a crown, just
received, in his hand. The sculpture on the sarcophagus of S.
Barbatianus is ruder.

The high altar is of course modern, but within it is an ancient marble
sarcophagus of the sixth century, in which it is said the dust of nine
bishops of about that time lies.

But one noble thing remains here among all the modern trash to remind
us of all we have lost: the glorious processional cross of silver
called of S. Agnello. Yet even this, noble as it is, does not come to
us from Roman or Byzantine times it seems, but is rather a work of the
eleventh century.

In the midst of this great cross, upon one side, is the Blessed Virgin
praying, and upon the other Christ rising from the tomb. Upon the arms
of the cross, and the uprights, are forty medallions of saints, of
which three would seem to be archbishops. I say this beautiful and
precious thing comes to us from the eleventh century; but it has been
very much restored at various times and is now largely a work of the
sixteenth century. Dr. Ricci tells us that on the side where we see
the Madonna only the five medallions on the lower upright and the two
last of the upper are original; while upon that of the Risen Christ,
only the five medallions on the lower upright are untouched, all the
rest is restoration.

Beneath the eighteenth-century apse of the cathedral is the ancient
crypt, no longer to be seen; it does not, according to Dr. Ricci, date
earlier than the ninth century nor do any of the other crypts in the

In the left aisle a few fragments from the old church remain
recognisable. They are the marble slabs of an _ambo_ erected by S.
Agnellus, archbishop of Ravenna in the middle of the sixth century.
There we read: _Servus Christi Agnellus Episcopus hunc pyrgum fecit_.
Among these are some earlier panels of the fifth century. In the
treasury, again, we find two other panels from the _ambo_ of S.
Agnellus, and a strange calendar carved upon a slab of marble to
enable one to find the feast of Easter in any year from 532 to 626;
this is certainly of the sixth century.

A certain number of Mediaeval and Renaissance things are also to be
seen in the church. Here in the treasury we have a cross of silver
gilt, with reliefs of the Crucifixion, God the Father, the Blessed
Virgin, S. John Baptist, and S. Mary Magdalen, dating from the middle
of the fourteenth century (1366). Over the entrance to the sacristy is
a fresco by Guido Reni of Elijah the prophet fed by an angel. Within,
is a good picture by Marco Palmezzano: a Pieta with S. John Baptist;
while the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament is decorated by him and his

It is obvious, then, that very little remains to us of the original
Basilica Ursiana; nor can we reckon among that little the beautiful
round and isolated campanile. This is not older than the ninth
century, and has been much tampered with, especially in the sixteenth
century, after an earthquake, and in the seventeenth century after
both earthquake and fire. Indeed, the upper storey dates entirely from

As it is with the cathedral, so it is with the _Arcivescovado_. Of the
old palace of the Bishops of Ravenna only a few walls, a tower, and a
wonderful little chapel remain. What we see now is work of the
sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries after a restoration at the end
of the nineteenth. The old vast palace which has been destroyed was
the work of many archbishops, achieved during many centuries. It
consisted of a series of buildings grouped about the palace which the
archbishop S. Peter Chrysologus built in the fifth century, and its
most magnificent part was due to S. Maximian, archbishop of Ravenna in
the time of Justinian. All their work, which we would so gladly see,
is gone except the little chapel of S. Peter Chrysologus, which he
built and signed in one of the arches in the fifth century.[1]

[Footnote 1: According to Rasponi the chapel was dedicated originally
to S. Andrea and is to be identified with the Monasterium di S.
Andrea, which was not built by S. Peter Chrysologus (429-_c_. 449),
but by Peter II. (494-_c_. 519). Cf. Rasponi, _Note Marginali al Liber
Pontificalis di Agnello Ravennate_ (Atti e Memorie della R. Dep. di
Stor. Pat. per la Romagna, iii. 27), Bologna, 1909-1910.]

Of this great man Agnellus records: "He was beautiful in appearance,
lovely in aspect; before him there was no bishop like him in wisdom,
nor any other after him." He was a native of Imola, then called Forum
Cornelii, and was ordained deacon by the bishop of that city, one
Cornelius, of whom he always speaks with affection and gratitude. When
the bishop of Ravenna died, it is said the clergy of the cathedral,
then just built or building, with the people, chose a successor, and
besought the bishop of Imola to go to Rome to obtain the confirmation
of the pope. Cornelius took with him his deacon Peter, and the pope,
who had been commanded so to do by the Prince of the Apostles in a
dream, refused to ratify the election already made, but proposed Peter
the deacon as the bishop chosen by S. Peter himself. Peter was there
and then consecrated bishop, was conducted to Ravenna, and received
with acclamation. He is said to have found a certain amount of
paganism still remaining in his diocese, and to have completely
extirpated it. He often preached before the Augusta Galla Placidia and
her son Valentinian III., and he was perhaps the first archbishop of
the see, Ravenna till his time having been suffragan to Milan. He
seems to have died about 450 in Imola. Among his many buildings, which
included the monastery of S. Andrea at Classis, is the little chapel
now dedicated in his honour in the _Arcivescovado_ of Ravenna. It is
perhaps the only one of his works which remains. The little square
chamber, out of which the sanctuary opens, is upheld by four arches,
which are covered, as is the vaulting, with most precious mosaics,
still of the fifth century, though they have been and are still being
much restored. On the angles of the vaulting, on a gold ground, we see
four glorious white angels holding aloft in their upraised hands the
symbol of Our Lord. Between them are the mighty signs of the Four
Evangelists, the angel, the lion, the ox, and the eagle. In the key,
as it were, of the arches east and west is a medallion of Our Lord,
and three by three under the arch on either side the eleven Apostles
and S. Paul, who takes the place of Judas instead of Matthias. In the
key of the arches north and south is a medallion of the symbol of
Christ, and three by three under the arch on either side six saints,
the men to the right SS. Damian, Fabian, Sebastian, Chrysanthus,
Chrysologus, and Cassianus; the women to the left SS. Cecilia,
Eugenia, Eufemia, Felicitas, Perpetua, and Daria. Here the SS. Fabian,
Sebastian, and Damian, Dr. Ricci tells us, are altogether
restorations. For the rest, these mosaics have suffered much, both
from restoration, properly so called, and from painting.

The pavement is old and beautiful, as I think are the walls, but the
frescoes, once by Luca Longhi, are most unworthy and out of place. The
recess which now contains the altar might seem not to have made a part
of the original chapel or oratory; it appears it was only in the
eighteenth century that the two were thrown into one. At that time the
mosaics of the Blessed Virgin and of S. Apollinaris and S. Vitalis
were brought here from the old cathedral.

Just outside this wonderful little chapel in the _Arcivescovado_ there
is an apartment devoted to Roman and other remains found from time to
time in Ravenna: a torso of a statue, a work of Roman antiquity,
should be noted, as should certain fragments of a frieze, also an
antique Roman work. Here, too, is preserved the splendid cope of S.
Giovanni Angeloptes who was archbishop from 477 to 494[1] when he

[Footnote 1: Cf. A. Testi Rasponi, _op. cit. supra_.]

In another apartment of the _Arcivescovado_ is preserved a relic of
another great archbishop of Ravenna: the ivory throne of S.
Maximianus. This is a magnificent work of the early part of the sixth
century, and is one of the most splendid works known to us of its
kind. It was made for the cathedral of Ravenna, but in or about the
year 1001 it was carried off by the Venetians and given by doge Pietro
Orseolo II. to the emperor Otto III., who left it to the church of
Ravenna on his death. It is entirely formed of ivory leaves, most of
them carved sumptuously in relief. In front we see the monogram of
_Maximianus Episcopus_ and under it are carvings of S. John Baptist
between the Four Evangelists; all these between elaborately carved
decorative panels. About the throne to right and left is the story of
Joseph in ten panels, and upon the back in the seven panels that
remain[2] the miracles of Our Lord. Altogether it is a work of the
most lovely kind, and certainly Byzantine.

[Footnote 2: Four of those missing, Dr. Ricci tells us, have of late
years been discovered, one in the Naples Museum (1893), one in the
collection of Count Stroganoff (1903), one at Pesaro (1894), and
another in the Archaeological Museum at Milan (1905).]

We shall come upon S. Maximianus again in S. Vitale, where something
must be said of him. He lies, as has already been noted, in one of the
great sarcophagi in the second chapel on the right in the cathedral.

From the _Arcivescovado_ we pass to what is now the most remarkable
building of the group--the Baptistery.

Dr. Ricci tells us that it was originally one of the halls of the
baths that were near the present cathedral. But it was converted into
a baptistery and ornamented with mosaics by the archbishop Neon of
Ravenna (_c_. 449-459) as its inscriptions tell us and is signed with
his monogram. The original floor is three metres below that we see,
and a second floor about a metre and a half above the original floor
has been discovered; this it would seem is that made by Neon, while a
third remains about half a metre under the pavement we use, and upon
this are set the eight columns, with their capitals, two of them
Byzantine and the rest Roman, which uphold the arches of the upper
arcade upon which is set the great drum of the dome. The plan is a
simple octagon, bare brick without, covered with a "tent" roof of
amphorae under the tiles; but within, everywhere encrusted with
glorious marbles and mosaics.

It is to the mosaic of the cupola that we instinctively turn first,
for it is, perhaps, the finest left to us in Ravenna. It is divided
into three parts. In the midst is the Baptism of Our Lord on a gold
ground. Christ stands up to His waist in the clear waters of the
Jordan, the god of which river waits upon Him. S. John high up on the
bank, his staff, topped with a cross, in his hand, pours the water
from a shell upon Our Lord's head while the Dove, an almost heraldic
figure, is seen above About this circular mosaic is set a greater
circle in which we see, upon a blue ground, the twelve Apostles in
procession, each bearing his crown. Nothing left to us of that age is
finer or more gravely splendid than these mosaics, they seem to be the
highest expression of a great art which has known how to reject the
brutal realism of an earlier time and to seize perfectly the secret of
decoration. Nothing of the kind more masterly remains to us in Europe.

Beneath these two circles another is set in which are eight panels,
each of three parts, where are represented eight temples, four of them
with thrones signed with the Cross, and four of them with altars upon
which the book of the Gospel is open.


The whole cupola is borne by the upper arcade, where we see sixteen
figures of the Prophets in stucco. The upper arcade is in its turn
borne by the lower, which is everywhere encrusted with mosaics,
restorations of our own time. The walls are panelled with various
marbles. In the midst of the building is a huge octagonal font with
its _ambo_, and in one of the wall niches is an ancient altar, and in
another a vase of marble.

The effect of all this splendour is even to-day very lovely and
glorious; what it might have been if it had been properly cared for
instead of "restored" we can only guess. Unhappily the "restoration"
has been very radical. Even in the central Baptism, the head and
shoulders and right arm of the figure of the Saviour, the head and
shoulders and right arm, the right leg and foot of the Baptist and the
cross in his his left hand have been destroyed and the whole dimmed
and even spoiled. Such as it is, however, where shall we find its
equal or anything to compare with it?

From the cathedral group we now turn to the other churches which were
built in the time of the old empire in Ravenna for the most part, in
the days, that is, of Galla Placidia and her son Valentinian III.

Among these is the church of S. Agata (entrance Via Mazzini 46), which
though entirely rebuilt, with its campanile, in the later part of the
fifteenth century is since the "restoration" of 1893 interesting, if
at all, because the church dates originally from the fifth century. It
would seem indeed that it was founded in the time of the Augusta, and
to this the walls of part of the nave bear witness, but it was
continued later perhaps by the archbishop Exuperantius (_c_. 470)
whose monogram appears upon the second column to the left in the nave,
and finally completed or in part rebuilt in the sixth century. In the
fifteenth century (1476-94), the church was largely rebuilt again, but
its tribune with its great mosaic remained till 1688 when it fell. In
the sixth century it would seem to have had an atrium or narthex. Its
main interest for us to-day lies in the beauty of its columns of bigio
antico, cipollino, porphyry, granite, and other marbles belonging to
the original church, with their Roman and Byzantine capitals. Also to
the right of the nave we see a curious _ambone_ hollowed out of a
fragment of a gigantic column of Greek marble. The altar, too, is
formed from an ancient sarcophagus which is said to hold the dust of
the two archbishops, Sergius, with whom the pope had so much trouble,
and Agnellus. According to Agnellus the chronicler there was a
portrait of the archbishop S. John Angeloptes in the apse, but this
like the great mosaic of the tribune is gone. It was here, however,
that S. John got that strange surname of his--Angeloptes. He and his
predecessor S. Peter Chrysologus with S. Maximian and Sergius were the
great archbishops of this great see. We hear that the emperor
Valentinian III., according to Agnellus--but we should place the
bishopric of S. John Angeloptes 477-494--"was so much affected by the
preaching of this holy man that he took off his imperial crown and
humbly on his knees begged his blessing.... Not long after he gave him
fourteen cities with their churches to be governed by him
_Archieratica potestate_. And even to this day (ninth century), these
fourteen cities with their bishops are subject to the church of
Ravenna.[1] This bishop first received from the emperor a _Pallium_ of
white wool, just such as it is the custom for the pope to wear over
the _Duplum_; and he and his successors have used such a vestment even
to the present day."

[Footnote 1: The Archbishop of Ravenna at the present day has seven
suffragans, Bertinoro, Cervia, Cesena, Comacchio, Forli, Rimini,
Sarsina. It is hard to decide whether this man or Peter Chrysologus
was the first archbishop of Ravenna.]

This passage of Agnellus is important, but does not seem, on
examination, to have any real bearing upon the question of the
dependence of the See of Ravenna upon Rome. The Pallium was originally
an imperial gift to the popes, probably in the fourth century. And the
fact that it is the emperor and not the pope who bestowes it upon the
archbishop of Ravenna in the fifth century, if it be true, can have no
meaning at all in the question of papal supremacy.

Agnellus, whom I have quoted, goes on to tell us of that miracle which
gave S. John, archbishop of Ravenna, his surname of Angeloptes or
Angel-seer. "When the said John," he tells us, "was singing Mass in
the Basilica of S. Agata and had accomplished all things according to
the pontifical rite, after the reading of the Gospel, after the
Protestation (? the Credo), the catechumens to whom it was given to
see saw marvellous things. For when that most blessed man began the
Canon, and made the sign of the Cross over the sacrifice, suddenly an
angel from heaven came and stood on the other side of the altar in
sight of the bishop. And when after finishing the consecration he had
received the Body of the Lord, the assisting deacon who wished to
fulfil his ministry could not see the chalice which he had to hand to
him. Suddenly he was moved aside by the angel who offered the holy
chalice to the bishop in his place. Then all the priests and people
began to shake and to tremble beholding the holy chalice self-moved,
inclined to the bishop's mouth, and again lifted into the air, and
laid upon the holy altar. A strange thrill passed through the waiting
multitude. Some said: 'The deacon is unworthy;' others affirmed, 'Not
so, but it is a heavenly visitation.' And so long did the angel stand
by the holy man until all the solemnities of the Mass were ended."

Soon after this strange miracle S. John Angeloptes died and was buried
in the basilica of S. Agata behind the altar in the place where he saw
the angel standing.

Nothing seems to remain of his tomb or his grave; but the church is
full of curious fragments, broken pillars, bits of mosaic, ancient
marble panels, beautifully carved, and more than one old sarcophagus.
Somewhere there no doubt the dust of S. John Angeloptes awaits the

From S. Agata we pass to S. Francesco. This church was founded by S.
Peter Chrysologus (429-_c_. 449) and was completed by S. Peter
Chrysologus' successor, the archbishop S. Neon (_c_. 459). Its first
title would seem to have been that of S. Peter Major; we hear, too,
that it was called SS. Peter and Paul, and Agnellus in his life of S.
Neon calls the church Basilica Apostolorum. The region of the city in
which it stands would seem to have borne also the name _Regio Aposto
lorum_, though whether it got the name from the church or the church
from it is impossible to decide.[1]

[Footnote 1: The Franciscans conventuals would seem to have possessed
the church from 1261 to 1810.]

Unhappily the church has been entirely rebuilt in the eighteenth
century, and our interest in it is confined for the most part to the
tower, the crypt, the twenty-two columns of Greek marble which uphold
the nave, two of which are signed 'P. E.' and four others 'E. V. G.,'
and the tombs. The tall square tower dates, perhaps, from the tenth
century, the crypt from the ninth, but the columns are of the fifth
century. Perhaps the oldest thing in the church is the sarcophagus on
the right of the main door which has on its front Pagan sculptures and
on its sides Christian. Close to the holy water stoup is a very lovely
sarcophagus of the fourth century with reliefs of Our Lord and eight
Apostles. The ribs of the cover have as finials the heads of lions;
altogether this is a very splendid and noble tomb. In the last chapel
upon the right we find the great sarcophagus, still used as an altar,
of S. Liberius, bishop of Ravenna (_c_. 375), "a great man, a
never-failing fountain of charity; who brought much honour to the
church," according to Agnellus. The sarcophagus dates from the end of
the fourth century and is sculptured in high relief.

I shall return to S. Francesco when I consider Mediaeval Ravenna.[2]
At present I would direct the reader's attention to S. Giovanni

[Footnote 2: See _infra_, p. 245 _et seq_.]

This church was originally founded by Galla Placidia herself, in
fulfilment of a vow made by her to S. John Evangelist, when, on her
way from Constantinople to Ravenna, she was in danger of shipwreck.[3]
Agnellus tells us that of old the church bore an inscription to this
effect, and he gives it to us: _Sancto ac Beatissimo Apostolo Johanni
Evangelistae Galla Placidia Augusta cum filio suo Placidio
Valentiniano Augusta et filia sua Justa Grata Honoria Augusta,
Liberationis penculum marts votum solmentes_. The mosaic of the apse
of old represented the incident. Unhappily the church was almost
entirely rebuilt in 1747, only the tower of the eleventh century and
the portico of the fourteenth being left as they had been. The
beautiful fourteenth-century door, however, bears above it a relief of
that time in which we see Our Lord, S. John Evangelist, Valentinian
III., Galla Placidia with her soldiers and her confessor, S.
Barbatian, with priests. Below this on either side of the arch of the
doorway is a representation of the Annunciation and within the arch
itself a relief which recounts the miracle which attended the
consecration of the church. For the church of S. Giovanni Evangelista
was not only founded in recompense for a miracle, but a miracle
attended its consecration. It seems that when the church was to be
consecrated no relic of S. John Evangelist was to be had. Therefore
the Augusta and her confessor gave themselves a whole night to prayer,
and suddenly there appeared to them S. John himself, vested like a
bishop with a thurible in his hand, with which he incensed the church.
Then when he came to the altar to incense it, and they would have
venerated him, he suddenly vanished, only leaving in the hand of the
Augusta one of his shoes. This legend, which is represented in relief
in the fourteenth-century doorway of S. Giovanni Evangelista, is also
the subject of a picture by Rondinelli of Ravenna in the Brera at

[Footnote 3: See _supra_, p. 41.]

The church has, as I have said, been ruined by the rebuilding of 1747;
but there still remain the twenty-four columns of bigio antico with
their Roman capitals, which upheld the old basilica, and in the crypt
is the ancient high altar of the fifth century. Something, too, of the
old church would seem to remain in the much repaired walls of the apse


The frescoes by Giotto, sadly repainted, in the fourth chapel on the
left, must be noted. They represent the four Evangelists with their
symbols over them, and the four Latin fathers of the Church, S.
Jerome, S. Ambrose, S. Austin, and S. Gregory. Certain fragments of a
thirteenth-century mosaic pavement are to be seen in the chapel of S.
Bartholomew, which is itself perhaps the oldest part of the church.

We turn now to the church of S. Giovanni Battista which was founded by
a certain Baduarius, according to Agnellus, and consecrated by S.
Peter Chrysologus. It is possible that Baduarius was the mere builder,
and that he built by order of Galla Placidia. Nothing, however, is
left of the old church, which was entirely rebuilt in 1683, except the
apse as it is seen from the outside, the round campanile in its first
story and the beautiful columns sixteen in number, four of bigio
antico, two of pavonazzetto, one of cipollino, and the rest of greco
venato, according to Dr. Ricci.

* * * * *

There remains to be considered what is, when all is said, I suppose
the noblest monument of the fifth century left to us in Italy or in
Europe--the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia.

Agnellus tells us that the Augusta built close to her palace a great
church in the shape of a Latin cross. This she dedicated in honour of
the Holy Cross which it will be remembered her predecessor S. Helena
had discovered in Jerusalem. Of this church, though it has long since
disappeared--the "western" part of it having been destroyed in 1602
and what remained restored out of all recognition in 1716--we know a
good deal. According to Agnellus it was covered with most precious
stones (? marbles) and apparently with mosaics and was full of
splendid ornaments. It had, too, a great narthex, and at the end of
this Galla Placidia presently built a cruciform oratory for her own
mausoleum, where she was to lie between her brother Honorius and her
son Valentinian.

[Illustration: Colour Plate THE MAUSOLEUM OF GALLA PLACIDIA]

The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia is the oldest complete building left
to us in Ravenna, for it dates from well within the first half of the
fifth century, whereas the baptistery, altered and transformed as it
was by S. Neon, is as we see it a work of the first years of the
second half of that century. Simple as it is, without, a cruciform
building of plain brick, within it is so sumptuously and splendidly
adorned that not an inch anywhere remains that is not encrusted with
mosaic or precious marbles. These mosaics were, before their radical
"restoration," perhaps finer and more classical than those of the
baptistery. It might seem, indeed, that they were perhaps the finest
and subtlest work done in the Roman realistic tradition, nor was there
perhaps anywhere to be found so noble a representation of the Good
Shepherd as that which adorned this great monument. It is, however,
impossible to speak with any confidence of what we see there now, for
all has been restored again and again, and is now little better than a
_rifacimento_ of our own time, a copy, faithful perhaps, but still a
copy, of the work of the fifth century.

Nevertheless, the impression of the whole is very splendid and solemn.
The roofs and dome are covered with mosaics of a wonderful and
indescribable night blue, powdered with stars. In the cupola is a
cross and at the four angles are set the symbols of the four
Evangelists, glorious heraldic figures.

Above the door we see Christ the Good Shepherd, youthful, classic in
form and repose, very noble and Roman, seated on a rock in a broken
hilly landscape, a cross in His left hand, caressing His sheep with
His right. This figure even after "restoration" gives us more than a
glimpse of what it once was. Nowhere had Christian art produced so
majestic a representation of its Lord; nor had the subject of the Good
Shepherd been anywhere more splendidly treated than here.

Over the great sarcophagus, opposite the entrance, we see a very
different scene. Here is no longer a youthful Christ, with the hair
and the noble aspect of Apollo, but a bearded and majestic figure in
the fullness of manhood, His eyes full of anger, His draperies flying
about Him, moving swiftly, the cross on His shoulders, in His left
hand an heretical, probably Arian, book which he is about to cast into
the furnace in the midst. Upon the extreme left is a case or cupboard
in which we see the books of the four Gospels. In the other lunettes
we see very gorgeous decorative work of arabesques and stags at a
fountain and two doves drinking from a vase. Above in the spandrils of
the arches are figures of apostles or saints. Nothing in the world is
more solemnly gorgeous in effect than this beautiful rich interior.
The pavement is composed of fragments of the same precious marbles as
those which line the lower parts of the walls.

Under the mosaic of the burning of the heretical books we see the
mighty sarcophagus of plain Greek marble which once held the body of
the Augusta. This, of old, was richly adorned with carved marbles and
perhaps with silver or mosaic; and we know that in the fourteenth
century certainly it was possible to see within the figure of a woman
richly dressed seated in a chair of cedar and this was believed to be
the mummy of the Augusta Galla Placidia. However, we hear nothing of
it before the fourteenth century, and Dr. Ricci suggests that it may
have been an imposture of about that time. It is possible, but perhaps
unlikely, for the Augusta was not a saint, and what reason could men
have in the thirteenth century, when the very meaning of the empire
was about to be forgotten, for such an imposture? However this may be,
the figure remained there seated in its chair during the fourteenth,
fifteenth, and the greater part of the sixteenth centuries. And
indeed, it might have been there still but that in 1577 some children,
curious about it and anxious to see a thing so wonderful, thrust a
lighted taper into the tomb through one of the holes in the marble,
when mummy, vestments, chair and all were consumed, and in a moment
nothing remained but a handful of dust.

The sarcophagi under the arches on either side, according to various
authorities, hold the dust of the emperor Honorius, the brother of the
Augusta, and of Constantius her husband, or of the emperor Valentinian
III. her son. It is impossible to decide at this late day exactly who
does and who does not lie in these great Christian tombs.

The Mausoleum of the Augusta was long known, though not from its
origin, as the sanctuary of SS. Nazaro e Celso. When it was so
dedicated I am ignorant, but it was not in the time of the Augusta.
Then, in the fifteenth century, when so much was remembered and so
much more was forgotten, it bore the title of SS. Gervasio e Protasio,
and this name remained to it till the seventeenth century, when the
old title was revived. To-day although it retains its name of SS.
Nazaro and Celso, it is more rightly and universally known as the
Mausoleum of Galla Placidia.




It was, as we have seen, upon March 5, 493, that Theodoric, king of
the Ostrogoths, entered Ravenna as the representative of the emperor
at Constantinople. One of his first acts seems to have been the
erection of a palace designed for his habitation and that of his
successors. Why this should have been so we do not know. It might seem
more reasonable to find the Gothic king taking possession of the
imperial palace, close to which the Augusta Galla Placidia had erected
the church of S. Croce and her tomb. Perhaps this had been destroyed
in the revolution or series of revolutions in which the empire in the
West had fallen, perhaps it had been ruined in the Gothic siege which
endured for some three years. Whatever had befallen it, it was not
occupied, restored, or rebuilt by Theodoric. He chose a situation upon
the other side of the city and there he built a new palace and beside
it a great Arian church, for both he and his Goths were of that sect.
We call the church to-day S. Apollinare Nuovo.

The palace, of which nothing actually remains to us, though certain
additions made to it during the exarchate are still standing, was,
according to the various chroniclers whose works remain to us,
surrounded by porticoes, such as Theodoric built in many places, and
was carved with precious marbles and mosaics. It was of considerable
size, set in the midst of a park or gardens. Something of what it was
we may gather from the mosaics of S. Apollinare Nuovo in which it is
conventionally represented. It came to owe much to Amalasuntha who
lived there during her brief reign, and more to the exarchs who made
it their official residence.

In 751 when Ravenna fell into the hands of the Lombards Aistulf
established himself there, but it might seem that the place had
suffered grievously in the wars, and it was probably little more than
a mighty ruin when, in 784, Charlemagne obtained permission from the
pope to strip it of its marbles and its ornaments and to carry them
off to Aix-la-Chapelle. Among these was an equestrian statue in gilded
bronze, according to Agnellus a portrait of the great Gothic king, but
as Dr Ricci suggests a statue of the Emperor Zeno. This too in the
time of Leo III. Charlemagne carried away. According to the same
authority the back of the palace was not then very far from the sea,
and this was so even in 1098. Nothing I think can give us a better
idea of the change that has come over the _contado_ of Ravenna than an
examination of its situation to-day, more than four miles from the sea

The only memorial we have left to us _in situ_ of that palace of the
Gothic king is a half-ruined building, really a mere facade with
round-arched blind arcades and a central niche in the upper story, a
colonnade in two stories, and the bases of two round towers with a
vast debris of ruined foundations, walls, and brickwork, scarcely
anything of which, in so far as it may be said to be still standing,
would seem to have been a part of the palace Theodoric built. Indeed
the ruined facade would seem to belong to a guard house built in the
time of the exarchs in the seventh or eighth century. If we seek then
for some memory of Theodoric in this place we shall be disappointed.

Far otherwise is it with the great church, the noblest in Ravenna, of
S. Apollinare Nuovo. This was built about the same time as the palace,
in the first twenty years of the sixth century, as the Arian cathedral
by the Gothic king. It was the chief temple in Ravenna of that heresy,
and it remained in Arian hands till with the re-establishment of the
imperial power in Italy it was consecrated, in 560, for Catholic use
by the archbishop S. Agnellus. It consists of a basilica divided into
three naves by twenty-four columns of Greek marble with
Romano-Byzantine capitals. Of old it had an atrium, but this was
removed in the sixteenth century, as was the ancient apse in the
eighteenth. The original apse, however, was ruined in an earthquake,
as Agnellus tells in his life of S. Agnellus, in the sixth century,
and of the atrium only a single column remains _in situ_ before the
church. The campanile, a noble great round tower, dates from the ninth
century for the most part, its base is, however, new. The portico
before the church is a work of the sixteenth century, as is the
facade, which nevertheless contains certain ancient marbles, among
which are two inscribed stones, one of the fourth century and the
other of the eleventh.

When Theodoric built this great and glorious church he dedicated it to
Jesus Christ. It seems to have been dedicated in honour of S. Martin
in 560 by the archbishop S. Agnellus who consecrated it for Catholic
worship, and finally in the middle of the ninth century to have been

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