The praetorian prefect was a high office in the Roman Empire. Originating as the commander of the Praetorian Guard, the office acquired extensive legal and administrative functions, with its holders becoming the Emperor's chief aides. Under Constantine I, the office was much reduced in power and transformed into a purely civilian administrative post, while under his successors, territorially-defined praetorian prefectures emerged as the highest-level administrative division of the Empire; the prefects again functioned as the chief ministers of the state, with many laws addressed to them by name. In this role, praetorian prefects continued to be appointed by the Eastern Roman Empire until the reign of Heraclius in the 7th century AD, when wide-ranging reforms reduced their power and converted them to a mere overseers of provincial administration; the last traces of the prefecture disappeared in the Byzantine Empire by the 840s. The term praefectus praetorio was abbreviated in inscriptions as'PR PR' or'PPO'.
Under the empire the praetorians or imperial guards were commanded by one, two, or three praefects, who were chosen by the emperor from among the equites and held office at his pleasure. From the time of Alexander Severus the post was open to senators and if an equestrian was appointed he was at the same time raised to the senate. Down to the time of Constantine, who deprived the office of its military character, the prefecture of the guards was held by tried soldiers by men who had fought their way up from the ranks. In course of time the command seems to have been enlarged so as to include all the troops in Italy except the corps commanded by the city praefect; the special position of the praetorians made them a power in their own right in the Roman state, their prefect, the praefectus praetorio, soon became one of the more powerful men in this society. The emperors tried to flatter and control the praetorians, but they staged many coups d'état and contributed to a rapid rate of turnover in the imperial succession.
The praetorians thus came to destabilize the Roman state, contrary to their purpose. The praetorian prefect became a major administrative figure in the empire, when the post combined in one individual the duties of an imperial chief of staff with direct command over the guard also. Diocletian reduced the power of these prefects as part of his sweeping reform of the empire's administrative and military structures. In addition to his military functions, the praetorian prefect came to acquire jurisdiction over criminal affairs, which he exercised not as the delegate but as the representative of the emperor. By the time of Diocletian he had become a kind of grand-vizier as the emperor's vice-regent and'prime minister.' Constantine removed active military command in 312. The prefect remained as chief quarter-master general responsible for the logistical supply of the army; the prefect was the chief financial officer. His office drew up the state liturgical obligations laid on the richer inhabitants of the Empire.
He ceased to be head of administration which had to be shared with the master of the offices attached to the palace. Constantine in 331 confirmed that from the sentence of the praetorian praefect there should be no appeal. A similar jurisdiction in civil cases was acquired by him not than the time of Septimius Severus. Hence a knowledge of law became a qualification for the post, which under Marcus Aurelius and Commodus, but from the time of Severus, was held by the first jurists of the age, under Justinianus, John the Cappadocian, while the military qualification fell more and more into the background; the tetrarchy reform of Diocletian multiplied the office: there was a praetorian prefect as chief of staff —rather than commander of the guard—for each of the two Augusti, but not for the two Caesars. Each praetorian prefect oversaw one of the four quarters created by Diocletian, which became regional praetorian prefectures for the young sons of Constantine ca 330 A. D. From 395 there two imperial courts, at Rome and Constantinople, but the four prefectures remained as the highest level of administrative division, in charge of several dioceses, each of, headed by a Vicarius.
Under Constantine I, the institution of the magister militum deprived the praetorian prefecture altogether of its military character but left it the highest civil office of the empire. The office was among the many maintained after the Western Roman Empire had succumbed to the Germanic invasion in Italy, notably at the royal court of the Ostrogothic king Theoderic the Great, who as a nominal subject of Constantinople retained the Roman-era administration intact; the following is a list of all known prefects of the Praetorian Guard, from the establishment of the post in 2 BC by Augustus until the abolishment of the Guard in 314. The list is presumed to be incomplete due to the lack of sources documenting the exact number of persons who held the post, what their names were and what the length of their tenure was; the Praetorians were sometimes commanded by a single prefect, as was the case with for example Sejanus or Burrus, but more the emperor appointed two commanders, who shared joint leadership.
Overlapping terms on the list indicate dual command. For praetorian prefects after the reformation of the office by emperor Constantine I, see: Praetorian prefecture of Italy Praetorian prefecture of Gaul Praetorian prefecture of the East Praetorian prefecture of Illyricum Bingham, Sandra J. [1
Western Roman Empire
In historiography, the Western Roman Empire refers to the western provinces of the Roman Empire at any time during which they were administered by a separate independent Imperial court. The terms Western Roman Empire and Eastern Roman Empire are modern descriptions that describe political entities that were de facto independent; the Western Roman Empire collapsed in 476, the Western imperial court was formally dissolved in 480. The Eastern imperial court survived until 1453. Though the Empire had seen periods with more than one Emperor ruling jointly before, the view that it was impossible for a single emperor to govern the entire Empire was institutionalised to reforms to Roman law by emperor Diocletian following the disastrous civil wars and disintegrations of the Crisis of the Third Century, he introduced the system of the tetrarchy in 286, with two separate senior emperors titled Augustus, one in the East and one in the West, each with an appointed Caesar. Though the tetrarchic system would collapse in a matter of years, the East–West administrative division would endure in one form or another over the coming centuries.
As such, the Western Roman Empire would exist intermittently in several periods between the 3rd and 5th centuries. Some emperors, such as Constantine I and Theodosius I, governed as the sole Augustus across the Roman Empire. On the death of Theodosius I in 395, he divided the empire between his two sons, with Honorius as his successor in the West, governing from Mediolanum, Arcadius as his successor in the East, governing from Constantinople. In 476, after the Battle of Ravenna, the Roman Army in the West suffered defeat at the hands of Odoacer and his Germanic foederati. Odoacer became the first King of Italy. In 480, following the assassination of the previous Western emperor Julius Nepos, the Eastern emperor Zeno dissolved the Western court and proclaimed himself the sole emperor of the Roman Empire; the date of 476 was popularized by the 18th century British historian Edward Gibbon as a demarcating event for the end of the Western Empire and is sometimes used to mark the transition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages.
Odoacer's Italy, other barbarian kingdoms, would maintain a pretence of Roman continuity through the continued use of the old Roman administrative systems and nominal subservience to the Eastern Roman court. In the 6th century, emperor Justinian I re-imposed direct Imperial rule on large parts of the former Western Roman Empire, including the prosperous regions of North Africa, the ancient Roman heartland of Italy and parts of Hispania. Political instability in the Eastern heartlands, combined with foreign invasions and religious differences, made efforts to retain control of these territories difficult and they were lost for good. Though the Eastern Empire retained territories in the south of Italy until the eleventh century, the influence that the Empire had over Western Europe had diminished significantly; the papal coronation of the Frankish King Charlemagne as Roman Emperor in 800 marked a new imperial line that would evolve into the Holy Roman Empire, which presented a revival of the Imperial title in Western Europe but was in no meaningful sense an extension of Roman traditions or institutions.
The Great Schism of 1054 between the churches of Rome and Constantinople further diminished any authority the Emperor in Constantinople could hope to exert in the west. As the Roman Republic expanded, it reached a point where the central government in Rome could not rule the distant provinces. Communications and transportation were problematic given the vast extent of the Empire. News of invasion, natural disasters, or epidemic outbreak was carried by ship or mounted postal service requiring much time to reach Rome and for Rome's orders to be returned and acted upon. Therefore, provincial governors had de facto autonomy in the name of the Roman Republic. Governors had several duties, including the command of armies, handling the taxes of the province and serving as the province's chief judges. Prior to the establishment of the Empire, the territories of the Roman Republic had been divided in 43 BC among the members of the Second Triumvirate: Mark Antony and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. Antony received the provinces in the East: Achaea and Epirus, Bithynia and Asia, Syria and Cyrenaica.
These lands had been conquered by Alexander the Great. The whole region the major cities, had been assimilated into Greek culture, Greek serving as the lingua franca. Octavian obtained the Roman provinces of the West: Italia, Gallia Belgica, Hispania; these lands included Greek and Carthaginian colonies in the coastal areas, though Celtic tribes such as Gauls and Celtiberians were culturally dominant. Lepidus received the minor province of Africa. Octavian soon took Africa while adding Sicilia to his holdings. Upon the defeat of Mark Antony, a victorious Octavian controlled a united Roman Em
Political mutilation in Byzantine culture
Mutilation in the Byzantine Empire was a common method of punishment for criminals of the era but it had a role in the empire's political life. Some disfigurements practised bore a secondary practical rationale as well. By blinding a rival, one would not only restrict their mobility but make it impossible for them to lead an army into battle an important part of taking control of the empire. Castration was used to eliminate potential opponents. In the Byzantine Empire, for a man to be castrated meant that he was no longer a man—half-dead, "life, half death". Castration eliminated any chance of heirs being born to threaten either the emperor or the emperor's children's place at the throne. Other mutilations were the amputating of limbs; the mutilation of political rivals by the emperor was deemed an effective way of side-lining from the line of succession a person, seen as a threat. Castrated men were not seen as a threat, as no matter how much power they gained they could never take the throne, numerous eunuchs were entrusted with high and confidential offices in the Byzantine court and administration.
In Byzantine culture, the emperor was a reflection of heavenly authority. Since God was perfect, the emperor had to be unblemished. An exception was Justinian II, who had his nose cut off when he was overthrown in 695 but was able to become emperor again, in 705. Blinding as a punishment for political rivals and a recognized penalty for treachery was established in 705, although Emperor Phocas used it earlier during his rule as well, becoming common practice from Heraclius onwards. Castration as a punishment for political rivals did not come into use until much becoming popular in the 10th and 11th centuries. An example is that of Basil Lekapenos, the illegitimate son of Emperor Romanos I Lekapenos, castrated when young, he gained enough power to become parakoimomenos and effective prime minister for three successive emperors, but could not assume the throne himself. The last to use this method voluntarily was Michael VIII Palaiologos, although some of his successors were forced to use it again by the Ottoman Sultans
Augustus was an ancient Roman title given as both name and title to Gaius Octavius, Rome's first Emperor. On his death, it became an official title of his successor, was so used by Roman emperors thereafter; the feminine form Augusta was used for other females of the Imperial family. The masculine and feminine forms originated in the time of the Roman Republic, in connection with things considered divine or sacred in traditional Roman religion, their use as titles for major and minor Roman deities of the Empire associated the Imperial system and Imperial family with traditional Roman virtues and the divine will, may be considered a feature of the Roman Imperial cult. In Rome's Greek-speaking provinces, "Augustus" was translated as sebastos, or Hellenised as Augoustos. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Augustus was sometimes used as a name for men of aristocratic birth in the lands of the Holy Roman Empire, it remains a given name for males. Some thirty years before its first association with Caesar's heir, Augustus was an obscure honorific with religious associations.
One early context, associates it with provincial Lares. In Latin poetry and prose, it signifies the "elevation" or "augmentation" of what is sacred or religious; some Roman sources connected it to augury, Rome was said to have been founded with the "august augury" of Romulus. The first true Roman Emperor known as "Augustus" was Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, he was the adopted son and heir of Julius Caesar, murdered for his seeming aspiration to divine monarchy subsequently and deified. Octavian studiously avoided any association with Caesar's claims, other than acknowledging his position and duties as Divi filius, "son of the deified one", his position was unique and extraordinary. He had ended Rome's prolonged and bloody civil war with his victory at Actium, established a lasting peace, he was self-evidently favored by the gods. As princeps senatus he presided at senatorial meetings, he was chief priest of Roman state religion. He held consular imperium, with authority equal to the official chief executive, he was supreme commander of all Roman legions, held tribunicia potestas.
As a tribune, his person was inviolable and he had the right to veto any act or proposal by any magistrate within Rome. He was renamed Augustus by the Roman Senate on January 16, 27 BC – or the Senate ratified his own careful choice. So his official renaming in a form vaguely associated with a traditionally Republican religiosity, but unprecedented as a cognomen, may have served to show that he owed his position to the approval of Rome and its gods, his own unique, elevated, "godlike" nature and talents, his full and official title was Imperator Caesar Divi Filius Augustus. Augustus' religious reforms extended or affirmed augusti as a near ubiquitous title or honour for various minor local deities, including the Lares Augusti of local communities, obscure provincial deities such as the North African Marazgu Augustus; this extension of an Imperial honorific to major and minor deities of Rome and her provinces is considered a ground-level feature of Imperial cult, which continued until the official replacement of Rome's traditional religions by Christianity.
The title or name of Augustus was adopted by his successors, who held the name during their own lifetimes by virtue of their status and powers. This included the Christian emperors. Most emperors used imperator but others could and did bear the same title and functions. "Caesar" was used as a title, but was the name of a clan within the Julian line. Augusta was the female equivalent of Augustus, had similar origins as an obscure descriptor with vaguely religious overtones, it was bestowed on some women of the Imperial dynasties, as an indicator of worldly power and influence and a status near to divinity. There was no qualification with higher prestige; the title or honorific was shared by state goddesses associated with the Imperial regime's generosity and provision, such as Ceres, Bona Dea, Juno and Ops, by local or minor goddesses around the empire. Other personifications perceived as female and given the title Augusta include Pax and Victoria; the first woman to receive the honorific Augusta was Livia Drusilla, by the last will of her husband Augustus.
From his death she was known as Julia Augusta, until her own death in AD 29. Under Tetrarchy, the empire was divided into Western halves; each was ruled by a senior emperor, with the rank of augustus, a junior emperor, who ranked below him as a caesar. The Imperial titles of imperator and augustus were rendered in Greek as autokratōr, augoustos; the Greek titles were used in the Byzantine Empire until its extinction in 1453, although "sebastos" lost its imperial exclusivity and autokratōr became the exclusive title of the Byzantine Emperor. The last Roman Emperor to rule in the West, Romulus Augustus became known as Augustulus, due to the unimportance of his reign. Charlemagne used the title serenissimus augustus as a prefix to his titles His successors limited themselves to imperator augustus, in order to avoid conflict with the Byzantine emperors. Beginning with Otto III, the Holy Roman Emperors used Romanorum Imperator Augustus; the form
The Roman army was the terrestrial armed forces deployed by the Romans throughout the duration of Ancient Rome, from the Roman Kingdom to the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, its medieval continuation the Eastern Roman Empire. It is thus a term that may span 2,206 years, during which the Roman armed forces underwent numerous permutations in composition, organisation and tactics, while conserving a core of lasting traditions.. The Early Roman army was the armed force of the Roman Kingdom and of the early Republic. During this period, when warfare chiefly consisted of small-scale plundering raids, it has been suggested that the army followed Etruscan or Greek models of organisation and equipment; the early Roman army was based on an annual levy. The infantry ranks were filled with the lower classes while the cavalry were left to the patricians, because the wealthier could afford horses. Moreover, the commanding authority during the regal period was the high king; until the establishment of the Republic and the office of consul, the king assumed the role of commander-in-chief.
However, from about 508 BC Rome no longer had a king. The commanding position of the army was given to the consuls, "who were charged both singly and jointly to take care to preserve the Republic from danger"; the term legion is derived from the Latin word legio. At first there were only four legions; these legions were numbered "I" to "IIII", with the fourth being written as such and not "IV". The first legion was seen as the most prestigious; the bulk of the army was made up of citizens. These citizens could not choose the legion. Any man "from ages 16–46 were selected by ballot" and assigned to a legion; until the Roman military disaster of 390 BC at the Battle of the Allia, Rome's army was organised to the Greek phalanx. This was due to Greek influence in Italy "by way of their colonies". Patricia Southern quotes ancient historians Livy and Dionysius in saying that the "phalanx consisted of 3,000 infantry and 300 cavalry"; each man had to provide his equipment in battle. Politically they shared the same ranking system in the Comitia Centuriata.
The Roman army of the mid-Republic was known as the "manipular army" or the "Polybian army" after the Greek historian Polybius, who provides the most detailed extant description of this phase. The Roman army started to have a full-time strength of 150,000 at all times and 3/4 of the rest were levied. During this period, the Romans, while maintaining the levy system, adopted the Samnite manipular organisation for their legions and bound all the other peninsular Italian states into a permanent military alliance; the latter were required to supply the same number of troops to joint forces as the Romans to serve under Roman command. Legions in this phase were always accompanied on campaign by the same number of allied alae, units of the same size as legions. After the 2nd Punic War, the Romans acquired an overseas empire, which necessitated standing forces to fight lengthy wars of conquest and to garrison the newly gained provinces, thus the army's character mutated from a temporary force based on short-term conscription to a standing army in which the conscripts were supplemented by a large number of volunteers willing to serve for much longer than the legal six-year limit.
These volunteers were from the poorest social class, who did not have plots to tend at home and were attracted by the modest military pay and the prospect of a share of war booty. The minimum property requirement for service in the legions, suspended during the 2nd Punic War, was ignored from 201 BC onward in order to recruit sufficient volunteers. Between 150-100 BC, the manipular structure was phased out, the much larger cohort became the main tactical unit. In addition, from the 2nd Punic War onward, Roman armies were always accompanied by units of non-Italian mercenaries, such as Numidian light cavalry, Cretan archers, Balearic slingers, who provided specialist functions that Roman armies had lacked; the Roman army of the late Republic marks the continued transition between the conscription-based citizen-levy of the mid-Republic and the volunteer, professional standing forces of the imperial era. The main literary sources for the army's organisation and tactics in this phase are the works of Julius Caesar, the most notable of a series of warlords who contested for power in this period.
As a result of the Social War, all Italians were granted Roman citizenship, the old allied alae were abolished and their members integrated into the legions. Regular annual conscription remained in force and continued to provide the core of legionary recruitment, but an ever-increasing proportion of recruits were volunteers, who signed up for 16-year terms as opposed to the maximum 6 years for conscripts; the loss of ala cavalry reduced Roman/Italian cavalry by 75%, legions became dependent on allied native horse for cavalry cover. This period saw the large-scale expansion of native forces employed to complement the legions, made up of numeri recruited from tribes within Rome's overseas empire and neighbouring allied tribes. Large numbers of heavy infantry and cavalry were recruited in Spain and Thrace, archers in Thrace and Syria. However, these native units were not integrated with the legions, but retained th
Thessaloniki familiarly known as Thessalonica, Salonica or Salonika, is the second-largest city in Greece, with over 1 million inhabitants in its metropolitan area, the capital of Greek Macedonia, the administrative region of Central Macedonia and the Decentralized Administration of Macedonia and Thrace. Its nickname is η Συμπρωτεύουσα "the co-capital", a reference to its historical status as the Συμβασιλεύουσα or "co-reigning" city of the Eastern Roman Empire, alongside Constantinople. Thessaloniki is located at the northwest corner of the Aegean Sea, it is bounded on the west by the delta of the Axios/Vardar. The municipality of Thessaloniki, the historical center, had a population of 325,182 in 2011, while the Thessaloniki Urban Area had a population of 824,676 and the Thessaloniki Metropolitan Area had 1,030,338 inhabitants in 2011, it is Greece's second major economic, industrial and political centre. The city is renowned for its festivals and vibrant cultural life in general, is considered to be Greece's cultural capital.
Events such as the Thessaloniki International Fair and the Thessaloniki International Film Festival are held annually, while the city hosts the largest bi-annual meeting of the Greek diaspora. Thessaloniki was the 2014 European Youth Capital; the city of Thessaloniki was founded in 315 BC by Cassander of Macedon. An important metropolis by the Roman period, Thessaloniki was the second largest and wealthiest city of the Byzantine Empire, it was conquered by the Ottomans in 1430, passed from the Ottoman Empire to Greece on 8 November 1912. It is home to numerous notable Byzantine monuments, including the Paleochristian and Byzantine monuments of Thessaloniki, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as several Roman and Sephardic Jewish structures; the city's main university, Aristotle University, is the largest in Greece and the Balkans. Thessaloniki is a popular tourist destination in Greece. In 2013, National Geographic Magazine included Thessaloniki in its top tourist destinations worldwide, while in 2014 Financial Times FDI magazine declared Thessaloniki as the best mid-sized European city of the future for human capital and lifestyle.
Among street photographers, the center of Thessaloniki is considered the most popular destination for street photography in Greece. The original name of the city was Θεσσαλονίκη Thessaloníkē, it was named after princess Thessalonike of Macedon, the half sister of Alexander the Great, whose name means "Thessalian victory", from Θεσσαλός'Thessalos', Νίκη'victory', honoring the Macedonian victory at the Battle of Crocus Field. Minor variants are found, including Θετταλονίκη Thettaloníkē, Θεσσαλονίκεια Thessaloníkeia, Θεσσαλονείκη Thessaloneíkē, Θεσσαλονικέων Thessalonikéōn; the name Σαλονίκη Saloníki is first attested in Greek in the Chronicle of the Morea, is common in folk songs, but it must have originated earlier, as al-Idrisi called it Salunik in the 12th century. It is the basis for the city's name in other languages: Солѹнь in Old Church Slavonic, סלוניקה in Ladino, Selânik سلانیك in Ottoman Turkish and Selanik in modern Turkish, Salonicco in Italian, Solun or Солун in the local and neighboring South Slavic languages, Салоники in Russian, Sãrunã in Aromanian, Salonica or Salonika in English.
Thessaloniki was revived as the city's official name in 1912, when it joined the Kingdom of Greece during the Balkan Wars. In local speech, the city's name is pronounced with a dark and deep L characteristic of Modern Macedonian accent; the name is abbreviated as Θεσ/νίκη. The city was founded around 315 BC by the King Cassander of Macedon, on or near the site of the ancient town of Therma and 26 other local villages, he named it after his wife Thessalonike, a half-sister of Alexander the Great and princess of Macedonia as daughter of Philip II. Under the kingdom of Macedonia the city retained its own autonomy and parliament and evolved to become the most important city in Macedonia. After the fall of the Kingdom of Macedonia in 168 BC, in 148 BC Thessalonica was made the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia. Thessalonica became a free city of the Roman Republic under Mark Antony in 41 BC, it grew to be an important trade-hub located on the Via Egnatia, the road connecting Dyrrhachium with Byzantium, which facilitated trade between Thessaloniki and great centers of commerce such as Rome and Byzantium.
Thessaloniki lay at the southern end of the main north-south route through the Balkans along the valleys of the Morava and Axios river valleys, thereby linking the Balkans with the rest of Greece. The city became the capital of one of the four Roman districts of Macedonia, it became the capital of all the Greek provinces of the Roman Empire because of the city's importance in the Balkan peninsula. At the time of the Roman Empire, about 50 A. D. Thessaloniki was one of the early centers of Christianity. Paul wrote two letters to the new church at Thessaloniki, preserved in the Biblical canon as First and Second Thessalonians; some scholars hold that the First Epistle to the Thessalonians is the first written book of the New Testament. In 306 AD, Thessaloniki acquired a patron saint, St. Demetrius, a Christian whom Galerius is said to have put to death. Most scholars
Ravenna is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy. It was the capital city of the Western Roman Empire from 402 until that empire collapsed in 476, it served as the capital of the Ostrogothic Kingdom until it was re-conquered in 540 by the Byzantine Empire. Afterwards, the city formed the centre of the Byzantine Exarchate of Ravenna until the invasion of the Lombards in 751, after which it became the seat of the Kingdom of the Lombards. Although it is an inland city, Ravenna is connected to the Adriatic Sea by the Candiano Canal, it is known for its well-preserved late Roman and Byzantine architecture, with eight buildings comprising the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna". The origin of the name Ravenna is unclear; some have speculated that "ravenna" is related to "Rasenna", the term that the Etruscans used for themselves, but there is no agreement on this point. The origins of Ravenna are uncertain; the first settlement is variously attributed to the Etruscans and the Umbrians.
Afterwards its territory was settled by the Senones the southern countryside of the city, the Ager Decimanus. Ravenna consisted of houses built on piles on a series of small islands in a marshy lagoon – a situation similar to Venice several centuries later; the Romans ignored it during their conquest of the Po River Delta, but accepted it into the Roman Republic as a federated town in 89 BC. In 49 BC, it was the location. After his battle against Mark Antony in 31 BC, Emperor Augustus founded the military harbor of Classe; this harbor, protected at first by its own walls, was an important station of the Roman Imperial Fleet. Nowadays the city is landlocked, but Ravenna remained an important seaport on the Adriatic until the early Middle Ages. During the German campaigns, widow of Arminius, Marbod, King of the Marcomanni, were confined at Ravenna. Ravenna prospered under Roman rule. Emperor Trajan built a 70 km long aqueduct at the beginning of the 2nd century. During the Marcomannic Wars, Germanic settlers in Ravenna revolted and managed to seize possession of the city.
For this reason, Marcus Aurelius decided not only against bringing more barbarians into Italy, but banished those, brought there. In AD 402, Emperor Honorius transferred the capital of the Western Roman Empire from Milan to Ravenna. At that time it was home to 50,000 people; the transfer was made for defensive purposes: Ravenna was surrounded by swamps and marshes, was perceived to be defensible. However, in 409, King Alaric I of the Visigoths bypassed Ravenna, went on to sack Rome in 410 and to take Galla Placidia, daughter of Emperor Theodosius I, hostage. After many vicissitudes, Galla Placidia returned to Ravenna with her son, Emperor Valentinian III, due to the support of her nephew Theodosius II. Ravenna enjoyed a period of peace, during which time the Christian religion was favoured by the imperial court, the city gained some of its most famous monuments, including the Orthodox Baptistery, the misnamed Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, San Giovanni Evangelista; the late 5th century saw the dissolution of Roman authority in the west, the last person to hold the title of emperor in the West was deposed in 476 by the general Odoacer.
Odoacer ruled as King of Italy for 13 years, but in 489 the Eastern Emperor Zeno sent the Ostrogoth King Theoderic the Great to re-take the Italian peninsula. After losing the Battle of Verona, Odoacer retreated to Ravenna, where he withstood a siege of three years by Theoderic, until the taking of Rimini deprived Ravenna of supplies. Theoderic took Ravenna in 493 slew Odoacer with his own hands, Ravenna became the capital of the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy. Theoderic, following his imperial predecessors built many splendid buildings in and around Ravenna, including his palace church Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, an Arian cathedral and Baptistery, his own Mausoleum just outside the walls. Both Odoacer and Theoderic and their followers were Arian Christians, but co-existed peacefully with the Latins, who were Catholic Orthodox. Ravenna's Orthodox bishops carried out notable building projects, of which the sole surviving one is the Capella Arcivescovile. Theoderic allowed Roman citizens within his kingdom to be subject to Roman law and the Roman judicial system.
The Goths, lived under their own laws and customs. In 519, when a mob had burned down the synagogues of Ravenna, Theoderic ordered the town to rebuild them at its own expense. Theoderic died in 526 and was succeeded by his young grandson Athalaric under the authority of his daughter Amalasunta, but by 535 both were dead and Theoderic's line was represented only by Amalasuntha's daughter Matasuntha. Various Ostrogothic military leaders took the Kingdom of Italy, but none were as successful as Theoderic had been. Meanwhile, the orthodox Christian Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, opposed both Ostrogoth rule and the Arian variety of Christianity. In 535 his general Belisarius in 540 conquered Ravenna. After the conquest of Italy was completed in 554, Ravenna became the seat of Byzantine government in Italy. From 540 to 600, Ravenna'