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An article from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica, now in the public domain.
Any color photos are mine, © William P. Thayer.

p923 Ravenna

Ravenna, a city and archiepiscopal see of Emilia, Italy, capital of the province of Ravenna, standing in a marshy plain 13 ft. above sea-level, 6 m. from the sea and 45 m. by rail east of Bologna. Pop. (1906) 35,543 (town), 67,379 (commune) — a considerable increase, as the population of 1881 was only 34,270 (commune).a The industries are few, the growing of wine, breeding of silkworms, making of agricultural instruments, printing and the manufacture of laces being the chief. The town is connected with the sea by the Corsini Canal, the two small rivers Ronco and Montone no longer serving as means of communication. Ravenna has railway communication with Bologna (via Castel Bolognese), Ferrara and Rimini, and by steam tram with Forlì. At the mouth of the canal is a small harbour.

No other city in the world offers so many and such striking examples of the ecclesiastical architecture of the centuries from the 5th to the 8th. The style is commonly called Byzantine; but some of the most striking features of the churches of Ravenna — the colonnades, the mosaics, perhaps the cupolas — are not so much Byzantine as representative of early Christian art generally. The following are the most important churches of Ravenna, arranged in the order of the dates generally attributed to them: —

Church Builder Date
1 Metropolitan Church, or Ecclesia Ursiana,
and baptistery adjoining
S. Ursus 370‑390 (?)
2 S. Giovanni Evangelista Galla Placidia 425
3 S. Agata Gemellus about 430
4 S. Pier Crisologoº (chapel) S. Peter Chrysologus about 450
5 S. Giovanni Battista Baduarius
"
6 SS. Nazario e Celso Galla Placidia
"
7 S. Pier Maggiore (now S. Francesco) Bishop Neon (?) about 458
8 S. Teodoro (now Santo Spirito) — A Theodoric (?) 493‑526
9 S.Maria in Cosmedinº (Arian baptistery) — A
"
"
10 S. Martino in Coelo Aureo
(now S. Apollinare Nuovo) — A
"
"
11 S. Vitale Julianus Argentarius about 530
12 S. Maria Maggiore Bishop Ecclesius
13 S. Apollinare in Classe Julianus Argentarius about 535
(The churches marked A were originally erected for the Arian worship.)

Almost the only sacred building previous to the 5th century of which we have any record is unfortunately lost. The cathedral of Ravenna, built by S. Ursus in 370‑390, which had a nave and four aisles, was destroyed in 1734‑44, only the (inaccessible) crypt and the round campanile remaining from the earlier structure; there are fragments of reliefs from a pulpit erected by Archbishop Agnellus (556‑569) in the interior. A rare work on the earlier church (Buonamici, La Metropolitana di Ravenna) gives details of its construction. The present cathedral contains several early Christian marble sarcophagi, a silver cross of the 6th century (that of Agnellus), and the so‑called throne of the Archbishop Maximian (546‑552), adorned with reliefs in ivory, which, however, was really brought to Ravenna in 1001 by John the Deacon, who recorded the fact in his Venetian chronicle, as a present from the Doge Pietro Orseolo to the Emperor Otho III.

The period from the transference of the imperial residence to Ravenna to the death of Valentinian III (404‑455) was the first period of great building activity in Ravenna, when the archiepiscopal see of Ravenna attained great importance. It was to it that we owe the erection of the Basilica Petriana at Classe (396‑425), which has entirely disappeared, of the churches of S. Giovanni Evangelista (425), of S. Agata (425‑432), of the chapel of S. Pier Crisologo (433‑449), of the tomb of Galla Placidia (440), the church of S. Pier Maggiore (now S. Francesco) (433‑458), the baptistery of Neon (449‑458), S. Giovanni Battista and S. Croce.

Rivoira, in the book cited below, shows that many of the characteristic architectural details can be traced back to a classical and in particular a Roman origin, and were not derived from the East, e.g. the use of blind arches as an external decoration, and of brick cornices with the points of the bricks projecting like the teeth of a saw, the use of pulvini (cushions) above the capitals of columns and under the spring of an arch, &c. &c., the use of round arches springing direct from these cushions, spherical pendentives, &c.

Of this group of churches, S. Giovanni Evangelista, erected by Galla Placidia in fulfilment of a vow made on her voyage from Constantinople, has been entirely rebuilt, though the columns are ancient (the Corinthian capitals are probably from a classical building), and the crypt may be original. The Gothic portal is fine, and the church contains a mosaic pavement of 1213 with curious representations and some frescoes by Giotto, painted during a visit to Dante between 1317 and 1320. S. Agata was almost entirely rebuilt in 1476‑94. p924The chapel of S. Pier Crisologo in the archiepiscopal palace preserves its original mosaics, and so also does the tomb of Galla Placidia (SS. Nazario e Celso), a small structure in the form of a Latin cross with a dome (in which, as in the baptistery of Neon, the old cathedral, &c., the constructional use of amphorae is noteworthy), with a plain brick exterior, and rich mosaics on a dark blue ground within. The sarcophagus of Galla Placidia has, like the two others that stand here, been despoiled of its contents. The altar, like that at S. Vitale, is made of thin slabs of alabaster, behind which lamps were intended to be placed.

S. Francesco, as it has been called since 1261, when it came into the possession of the Franciscans, has been almost entirely modernized, except for the crypt and campanile (11th century). The baptistery adjacent to the cathedral was, according to Ricci, originally part of the Roman baths, converted to a Christian baptistery by the Archbishop Neon (449‑452), though according to other authorities it is a Christian building dating from before A.D. 396. It is an octagon, with a dome; in the interior are two arcades one above the other. The mosaics of the 5th century, in the dome, are the earliest and perhaps the finest at Ravenna for their splendid decorative effect and rich colouring, and are less stiff and conventional than the later mosaics.

Of S. Giovanni Battista, also erected in this period, hardly anything remains after the restoration of 1683, and S. Croce has been overtaken by a similar fate.

After the death of Valentinian III the activity in building for which Ravenna had been so remarkable suffered a check; but the reign of Theodoric (493‑526) marks another era of magnificence. In the eastern part of the city he built for himself a large palace, which probably occupied about a sixth of the space now enclosed within the city walls, or nearly the whole of the rectangle enclosed by Strada di Porta Alberoni on the south, Strada Nuova di Porta Serrata on the west and the line of the city walls on the north and east. There still remains close to the first-named street and fronting the Corso Garibaldi a high wall built of square Roman bricks, with pillars and arched recesses in the upper portion, which goes by the name of Palazzo di Teodorico. Freeman, on account of the Romanesque character of the architecture, thought it probable that it really belongs to the time of the Lombard kings, and his opinion is shared by Ricci and Rivoira, who consider it to be a guardhouse erected by the exarchs, recent explorations having made it clear that it was an addition to the palace, while mosaic pavements and an atrium once surrounded by arcades really belonging to the latter were found in 1870 behind S. Apollinare Nuovo and in 1908 behind the so‑called Palazzo at a lower level and a different orientation. A mosaic in the church of S. Apollinare Nuovo gives some faint idea of the palace. A more memorable and clearly authentic monument of Theodoric is furnished by his tomb, a massive mausoleum which stands still perfect outside the walls near the north-east corner of the city. It is circular internally and decagonal externally, in two storeys, built of marble blocks, and surmounted by an enormous monolith brought from the quarries of Istria and weighing more than 300 tons. The plan is no doubt derived from that of a Roman tomb. In this mausoleum Theodoric was buried, but his body was cast forth from it, perhaps during the troublous times of the siege of Ravenna by the imperial troops, and the Rotondo (as it is now generally called) was converted into a church dedicated to the Virgin.

S. Apollinare Nuovo, the most important basilica in the town, was built by Theodoric to be the largest of Arian churches and originally called S. Martino in Coelo Aureo (a name which it lost in the 9th century). The exterior is uninteresting, and the church lost both atrium and apse in the 16th century. The interior has twenty-four columns of marble (from Constantinople according to some, from Rome according to others), with almost uniform capitals. The walls of the nave are adorned with mosaics of the 6th century; the scenes from the New Testament above the windows date from the time of Theodoric, while the somewhat stiff processions below, of virgins on one side and of saints on the other, are substitutions of the latter half of the 6th century for representations which probably contained some allusion to Arianism or episodes in the life of Theodoric (so Ricci). The mosaics have been in parts much restored; but the earlier ones still show, like those which preceded them in Ravenna, classical forms, variety of treatment and freedom of colouring, while the processions are monotonous and inferior in execution, intended rather to produce a decorative effect than beauty of form. The pulpit appears to be of Byzantine origin (Rivoira). The campanile (850‑878) is circular, and has perhaps the earliest example of the use of disks of coloured majolica as a decoration. This, like the other campanili of Ravenna, is later than the church to which it belongs. Those of the cathedral of S. Apollinare in Classe, S. Maria Maggiore and S. Agata, also circular, probably belong also to the 9th century, while the two square campanili of S. Giovanni Evangelista and S. Francesco probably belong to the early 11th century. The other churches erected by Theodoric are: S. Teodoro (or S. Spirito), erected by Theodoric for the Arian bishops, but entirely modified: the baptistery of this church (afterwards the oratory of S. Maria in Cosmedin) formed out of the octagonal hall of a Roman bath (?) — unless it is an originally Christian building — with mosaics of the 6th century imitating those of the baptistery of Neon, and freely restored; S. Maria Maggiore, founded by the Archbishop Ecclesius (521‑534), but almost entirely rebuilt; and S. Vittore, which has suffered a similar fate. To the same period probably belong a few columns of the so‑called Basilica of Heracles in the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, with capitals like those of S. Apollinare in Classe.

The impulse given by Theodoric was continued by his successors, and during the regency of Amalasuntha and the reigns of Theodatus and Vitiges (526‑539), S. Vitale and S. Apollinare in Classe were constructed by Julius Argentarius contemporaneously with S. Lorenzo in Milan and the cathedral of Parenzo — also S. Michele in Africisco, nothing of the original structure of which now exists. The former, well restored by Ricci in 1898‑1900 (except for the dome with its baroque frescoes which has not been altered), is a regular octagon, with a vestibule, originally flanked by two towers on the west, a choir added on the east, triangular outside and circular within; it is surrounded within by two galleries interrupted at the presbytery, and supported by eight large pillars, the intervals between which are occupied by open exedrae. The mosaics of the choir (547) are due to Justinian, and, though inferior in style, are remarkable for their splendour of colouring and the gorgeous dresses of the persons represented, and also for their historical interest, especially the scenes representing the emperor and the empress Theodora presenting offerings. The marble screens of the altar are wonderfully finely carved. The marble mosaic pavement (11th century) is very effective. Remains of the original marble wall lining and stucco decoration also exist. The capitals are, in the lower order, the characteristic funnel-shaped rectangular Byzantine capitals, some of them with open work, bearing cushions; this is a type probably derived from the cushion itself, and developed in the East about the second half of the 5th century.

The architecture of S. Vitale (for plan see Architecture, sect. Early Christian), according to Rivoira, was inspired not by Byzantium, where similar churches — S. Sofia and SS. Sergio and Bacco — are slightly later in date, but by the churches of Salonica (A.D. 495), while the plan is derived from a Christian baptistery, or from such a building as the so‑called temple of Minerva Medica at Rome.

S. Apollinare in Classe, erected at the same time outside the walls of Classis, and now standing by itself in the lonely marshes, is the largest basilica existing at Ravenna. It has a nave and aisles with a closed vestibule on the west, and a fine round campanile of the 9th (?) century. The exterior brick walls are divided by shallow arches and pilasters, as in other churches of Ravenna. It has twenty-four columns of Carystian (cipollino) marble, with capitals probably of Byzantine work with swelling p925acanthus leaves, but the rest of the church is due to native architects. The lofty presbytery and the crypt under it belong to the 12th century. The walls of the interior were stripped of their marble panelling by Sigismondo Malatesta in 1449, for the adornment of his church at Rimini. The apse has mosaics of the 6th and 7th centuries. The 18th‑century series of portraits of the archbishops of Ravenna is no doubt copied from an earlier original. There are a number of fine carved sarcophagi in the church (5th to 8th century). The building activity of the Gothic kings was continued by Justinian, to whose time we owe the completion of S. Vitale and S. Apollinare in Classe, and some of the mosaics in S. Apollinareº in Classe, and some of the mosaics in S. Apollinareº Nuovo.

The buildings of a subsequent period are of minor importance, but the basilica of S. Maria in Porto near the ancient harbour (1096 sqq.), a basilica with open roof, with frescoes by masters of the Rimini school, may be noticed. The massive concrete substructures of the campanile are attributed to an old lighthouse. The tomb of Dante, who died at Ravenna in 1321, is close to S. Francesco; it is a square-domed structure, with a relief by Pietro Lombardo (1482) representing the poet, and a sarcophagus below, in an urn within which lie the poet's remains. Close by is a small court with early Christian sarcophagi, containing the remains of the Braccioforte family. The secularized monastery of Classe, in the town, built by the monks of S. Apollinare in Classe in 155 sqq. as a refuge from the malaria, which prevailed at Classe itself, with fine 17th‑century cloisters, contains the important museum, which has Roman and Byzantine antiquities, inscriptions, sculptures, jewelry, &c. — including the possible remains of a suit of gold armour of Theodoric — and a collection of Italian woodcuts; also the library with rare MSS. and incunabula (among the former the best extant MS. of Aristophanes). The Accademia, close by, has a few pictures by local masters, e.g. N. Rondinielli (end of 15th century), of no great importance, and a fine recumbent statue of Guidarello Guidarelli, a condottiero of Ravenna, and a partisan of Caesar Borgia (d. 1501), by Tullio Lombardo (?) or Severo da Ravenna (?).

In the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele are two granite columns erected by the Venetians, in 1483, with statues of SS. Apollinaris and Vitalis. The cloisters of S. Maria di Porto erected in the town in the 16th century (owing to malaria, as in the case of those of Classe), and of S. Vitale, are pleasing 16th‑century structures. The 15th‑century castle in the north-east corner of the town erected by the Venetians is a picturesque brick building. The famous pineto or pinewood of Ravenna, which already existed in Odoacer's time, and has been sung by poets since Dante, lies some 5 m. south of Ravenna.

History. Strabo mentions a tradition that Ravenna was founded by Thessalians, who afterwards, finding themselves pressed by the Etrurians, called in their Umbrian neighbours and eventually departed, leaving the city to their allies. Pliny, on the other hand, calls it Sabine. Throughout the valley of the Po the Gauls took the place of the Etrurians as a conquering power; but Ravenna may possibly have retained its Umbrian character until, about the year 191 B.C., by the conquest of the Boii, the whole of this region passed definitely under the dominion of Rome. Either as a colonia or a municipium, Ravenna remained for more than two centuries an inconsiderable city of Gallia Cisalpina, chiefly noticeable as the place in which Caesar during his ten years' command in Gaul frequently resorted in order to confer with his friends from Rome, and from which he started for his advance into Italy. At length under Augustus it suddenly rose into importance, when that emperor selected it as the station for his fleet on "the upper sea." Two hundred and fifty ships, said Dion (in a lost passage quoted by Jordanes), could ride at anchor in its harbour. At the same time Augustus conducted a branch of the Po (the fossa Augusta) through the city into the sea. It also became important for the export of timber from the Alps. Strabo, writing probably a few years after Ravenna had thus been selected as a naval arsenal, gives us a description of its appearance which certainly corresponds more closely with modern Venice than with modern Ravenna.b "It is the largest of all the cities built in the lagoons, but entirely composed of wooden houses, penetrated in all directions by canals, wherefore bridges and boats are needed for the wayfarer. At the flow of the tide a large part of the sea comes sweeping into it; and thus, while all the muddy deposit of the rivers is swept away, the malaria is at the same time removed, and by this means the city enjoys so good a sanitary reputation that the government has fixed on it as a place for the reception and training of gladiators." On the other hand, good water was proverbially difficult to obtain at Ravenna — dearer than wine, says Martial, who has two epigrams on the subject. Trajan, however, built an aqueduct nearly 20 miles long, which was restored by Theodoric in 503. Of this some traces still exist on the bed of the Ronco above Ravenna. Flies and frogs were also complained of, and Sidonius, writing in the 5th century, complains bitterly of the "feculent gruel" (cloacalis puls) which filled the canals of the city, and gave forth fetid odours when stirred by the poles of the bargemen. The port of Ravenna, situated about 3 miles from the city, was named Classis. A long line of houses called Caesarea connected it with Ravenna, and in process of time there was such a continuous series of buildings that the three towns seemed like one. It was a municipium under the Empire, as the inscriptions show, but it seems to have had magistrates rather suited to a vicus or village, its importance being due entirely to the naval station (cf. the state of things at Mediolanum, Milan). It had large gilds of fabri (smiths and carpenters) and centonarii (firemen).

Of Roman Ravenna nothing remains above ground, though a little has been found by excavation, including a mosaic pavement at Classe, near S. Severo (Ricci, op. cit. p50). Among the tombs many of the poorer under the Empire were simply formed of amphorae, in which the body was placed. A prehistoric station was found in 1894 at S. Zaccaria near Ravenna, belonging to a Terramare (E. Brizio in Notizie degli Scavi, 1896, 85). In A.D. 339 it is spoken of as having previously been the chief town of Picenum, but having recently been assigned to Aemilia. It was connected with Ariminum, 33 miles to the south by the coast road, the Via Popillia, which ran on north to Hatria, and joined the road between Patavium and Altinum at Ad Portum.

The great historical importance of Ravenna begins early in the 5th century, when Honorius, alarmed by the progress of Alaric in the north of Italy, transferred his court hither. From this date (404) to the fall of the Western Empire in 476 Ravenna was the chief residence of the Roman emperors. Here Stilicho was slain; here Honorius and his sister Placidia caressed and quarrelled; here Valentinian III spent the greater part of his life; here Majorian was proclaimed; here in the pinewood outside the city his uncle Paulus received his decisive defeat from Odoacer. Throughout all these changes Ravenna maintained its character as an impregnable "city in the sea," not easily to be attacked even by a naval power on account of the shallowness and devious nature of the channels by which it had to be approached. Odoacer, like the emperors who had gone before him, made Ravenna his chief place of residence, and here he shut himself up when Theodoric the Ostrogoth had invaded Italy and defeated him in two battles. Theodoric's siege of Ravenna lasted for three years (489‑492), and was marked by one bloody encounter in the pinewood on the east of it. The Ostrogoth collected a fleet and established a severe blockade, which at length caused Odoacer to surrender the city. The terms, arranged through the intervention of John, archbishop of Ravenna, were not observed by p926Theodoric, 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 Liutprandº 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), p1 sqq.; G. T. Rivoira, Origini dell' Architettura Lombarda, 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 manoeuvres the two armies drew up face to face on the left bank of the Ronco, 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 flung 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 end, but the remnant of the Spanish infantry retreated in order along the river causeway, keeping the pursuers at bay with their arquebuses. Gaston de Foix, recklessly charging into the midst of them, was killed.

[C. F. A.]


For the Exarchate of Ravenna, see the Encyclopedia's separate article.


Thayer's Notes:

a Pop. (1906): The 2000 census puts the population of the comune of Ravenna at 138,418.

b But see this different translation.


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Page updated: 9 Sep 07