Theodoric, who, ten days after his entry into-the city, slew his rival at a banquet in the palace of the Laurel Grove (March 15, 493). Ravenna was Theodoric's chief place of residence, and his reign (493–526) may be considered the time of its greatest splendour.
Nine years after the death of Theodoric Justinian sent an army to destroy the Gothic monarchy and restore Italy to the empire. Long after the Goths had lost Rome they still clung to Ravenna, till at length, weary of the feebleness of their own king, Vitiges, and struck with admiration of their heroic conqueror, they offered to transfer their allegiance to Belisarius on condition of his assuming the diadem of the Western Empire. Belisarius dallied with the proposal until he had obtained an entrance within the walls of the capital, and proclaimed his inviolable fidelity to Justinian. Thus in the year 539 was Ravenna re-united to the Roman empire. Its connexion with that empire—or, in other words, its dependence upon Constantinople—lasted for more than 200 years, during which period, under the rule of Narses and his successors the exarchs, Ravenna was the seat of Byzantine dominion in Italy. In 728 the Lombard king Luitprand took and destroyed the suburb Classis; about 752 the city itself fell into the hands of his successor Aistulf, from whom a few years after it was wrested by Pippin, king of the Franks. By this time the alteration of the coast-line and the filling up of the lagoons had probably commenced, and no historical importance attaches to its subsequent fortunes. It formed part of the Frankish king's donation to the pope in the middle of the 8th century, though the archbishops, as a fact, retained almost independent power. It was an independent republic, generally taking the Guelph side in the 13th century, subject to rulers of the house of Polentani in the 14th, Venetian in the 15th (1441), and papal again in the 16th,—Pope Julius II. having succeeded in wresting it from the hands of the Venetians. St Romuald and St Peter Damian were both natives of Ravenna. From this time (1509) down to our own days, except for the interruptions caused by the wars of the French Revolution, Ravenna continued subject to the papal see and was governed by a cardinal legate. In 1849 Garibaldi's wife Anita, who had accompanied him on his retreat from Rome, succumbed to fatigue in the marshes near Ravenna. In 1859 it was one of the first cities to give its vote in favour of Italian unity, and it has since then formed a part of the kingdom of Italy.
Charles the Great carried off the brazen statue of Theodoric and the marble columns of his palace to his own palace at Aix-la-Chapelle. More than five centuries later (1320) Dante became the guest of Guido Novello di Polenta, lord of Ravenna, and here he died on the 14th September of the following year. The marble urn containing the body of the poet still rests at Ravenna, where what Byron calls “ a little cupola more neat than solemn ” has been erected over it. In 1512 (see below) the French army under Gaston de Foix fought a fierce battle with the Spanish, Venetian, and papal troops on the banks of the Ronco about two miles from Ravenna. The French were victorious, but Gaston fell in the act of pursuing the enemy. His death is commemorated by the Colonna dei Francesi erected on the spot where he fell. Lord Byron resided at Ravenna for eighteen months in 1820–21, attracted by the charms of the Countess Guiccioli.
Authorities.-The most important authority for the history of Ravenna is Bishop Agnellus, who wrote, about 840, the Liber Pontificalis Ecclesiae Ravennatis. The best edition is that by Holder-Egger in the Monumenta Germaniae Historica (1878). See also E. Bormann, in Corpus Inscript. Latin. xi. (Berlin, 1888), p. 1 sqq.; G. T. Rivoira, Origini dell' Architettura Lombardo, I. (Rome, 1901); C. Ricci, Ravenna (Bergamo, 1902). To the careful restorations of the last named the buildings of Ravenna owe much. (T. H.; T. As.)
Battle of 1512.—This battle, one of the principal events of the long Italian wars of Charles VIII., Louis XII., and Francis I. of France, is, like Marignano, interesting in a tactical sense, from the fact that the feudalism of the past and the expert soldiership of the future were strangely mingled. It arose out of the attempt of the Spanish and Italian forces to relieve Ravenna, besieged by Gaston de Foix, duke of Nemours. The most celebrated captains of these wars were present on either side—under Gaston de Foix were Bayard, Yves d'Allègre, La Palisse; and under Cardona the Spanish Viceroy of Naples, Pedro Navarro the great engineer, and Pescara the originator of the Spanish tactical system. After some preliminary manœuvres the two armies drew up face to face on the left bank of the Roneo, the Spanish left and the French right resting on this river. The Spaniards were entrenched, with their heavy artillery distributed along the front, but, thanks to Navarro, they had a more mobile artillery in the shape of 200 arquebuses à croc mounted in groups upon carts, after the German fashion, and this was held ready to move wherever its services might be needed. The left wing was composed of the papal contingent, 6000 infantry and 800 gendarmes under Fabrizio Colonna; the centre, of half the Spanish contingent, 4000 infantry and 600 lancers under the viceroy; the right, of 1000 light horse under Pescara. Behind the centre was the rest of the Spanish contingent, 600 lancers and 4000 infantry. On the other side the right wing was commanded by the duke of Ferrara, who had like Navarro organized a mobile field artillery (the artillery material of this prince was thought to be the best conditioned in Europe). It consisted besides of 800 French gendarmes under Louis de Brézé and 5000 German landsknechts under Jakob Empser. In the centre were 8000 French infantry (the ancestors of the later Picardie and Piedmont regiments) under the seigneur de Molart, and 5000 Italian infantry. On the left were the light horse. A reserve of 600 gendarmes under La Palisse was behind the centre. The battle opened with a prolonged cannonade from the Spanish lines. For three hours the professional regiments of all sorts in the French lines rivalled one another in enduring the fire unmoved, the forerunners of the military systems of to-day, landsknechts, Picardie and Piedmont, showing the feudal gendarmerie that they too were men of honour. There was no lying down. The captains placed themselves in the front, and in the centre 38 out of 40 of them were struck down. Molart and Empser, drinking each other's health in the midst of the cannonade, were killed by the same shot. Sheltered behind the entrenchments, the Spaniards scarcely suffered, for they were lithe active troops accustomed to lie down and spring up from the ground. But after three hours, Pescara's light horse having meantime been driven in by the superior light horse of the enemy, the artillery-loving duke of Ferrara conceived the brilliant plan of taking his mobile field-guns to the extreme right of the enemy. This he did, and so came in sight of the prone masses of the Spaniards. Disciplined troops as they were, they resisted the temptation to escape Ferrara's fire by breaking out to the front; but the whole Spanish line was enfiladed, and on the left of it the papal troops, who were by no means of the same quality, filled up the ditch in front of their breastworks and charged forward, followed by all the gendarmerie. Once in the plain they were charged by the French gendarmes under Gaston himself, as well as by the landsknechts, and driven back. The advantage of position being thus lost, the Spanish infantry rose and fiung itself on the attackers; the landsknechts and the French bands were disordered by the fury of the counterstroke, being unaccustomed to deal with the swift, leaping, and crouching attack of swordsmen with bucklers. But La Palisse's reserve wheeled in upon the rear of the Spaniards, and they retreated to the entrenchments as fast as they had advanced. The papal infantry, the gendarmes, and the light horse had already vanished from the field in disorder; but the Spanish regulars were of different mettle, and it was only after a long struggle that the landsknechts and the French bands broke into the entrenchments. A captain of landsknechts, Fabian by name, holding his long pike crosswise, brought it down with all his force upon the opposing spears, and at the cost of his life made a narrow gap through which the French broke into the mass of the enemy. Still the conflict continued, but at last La Palisse, with all the gendarmerie still in hand, rode completely round the entrenchments and charged the Spaniards' rear again. This was the