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Lectures: Ravenna and the Fall of the Roman Empire
October 1 @ 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Michael Starks, author of Understanding Ravenna
Susan Loewe Memorial Lecture
Ravenna has eight World Heritages sites – churches, baptisteries, chapels and monuments dating from the fifth and sixth centuries AD, which are renowned especially for exquisite mosaics portraying biblical scenes and figures. They were designed, constructed and decorated over decades during the era of the fall of the western Roman empire against a tide of invasion, regime change, conflict and a destructive Italian civil war.
How did Ravenna achieve such architectural and artistic glory in this era? In his book Understanding Ravenna Michael Starks recounts the city’s unique experience as the capital both of the late western Roman empire and of its successor Gothic kingdoms. He shows the central role played by its bishops as the early Christian church detached itself from the crumbling imperial government. He brings out the important cultural contribution of the kingdom of Italy headed by Theodoric the Ostrogoth and strong links between Ravenna and the emerging Byzantine empire of the eastern emperor Justinian.
Michael Starks is a writer and a keen traveller with a special interest in the history of the countries around the Mediterranean. A history graduate from Cambridge and a former BBC producer and manager, he is the author of The Traveller’s History of the Hundred Years War in France and, most recently, of Understanding Ravenna. Now resident in Oxford, he is a member of the senior Common Room of Lady Margaret Hall.
- October 1
- 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm