Ravenna is a city and commune in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. It rose to power in the 1st century BC under the Emperor Augustus. The Roman emperor built a port and naval base at nearby Classe, which is currently undergoing archaeological excavation . Ravenna was the capital city of the Western Roman Empire from 402 AD until 476 AD (V century); the capital of the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy (476-540), and later the seat of Byzantine government in Italy.
A little journey outside Ravenna to the church of Sant' Apollinare in Classe will enable the student to bring his study of early mosaic work and earlier sculpture down to a still later period, as in that church there is the great mosaic erected by Archbishop Reparatus c. 671, the curved throne of St. Damianus (668-705), and the sarcophagi of various archbishops, extending in date to the end of the seventh century, and bearing religious emblems of very considerable importance.
The Basilica of Sant'Apollinare is dedicated to St. Apollinaris, patron saint of Ravenna.