northern lazio

The second Constantinople

(For @ask-constantinople and anyone else who wants to read it! — The city of Ravenna in early history, in a Hetalia-ish concept… Or at least the view I have given on it for my OC, Guido)

Initially, Ravenna is thought to have been an Etruscan city. The origin of his name isn’t known for sure, but it is believed to come from Rasenna/Rasna, a word used by Etruscans to call themselves. It started out somewhat like Venice, as a bunch of houses over a muddy lake. Its position made it a perfect strategical location. Due to the uncertainty of this period, I made Ravenna lose his memory. So he doesn’t remember his origins or birth. The first thing he can recall is being an unimportant, ignored city even to the growing Roman Republic.

Rome ignored him for lots of time. However, by the end of the Empire, due to that strategical position, he was made capital of the empire. Thus, he “inherited” his curls. By name, he knew the Eastern Roman Empire but had not yet seen his face. Another trait Ravenna inherited from Rome was his eye-colour.

He saw Western Roman Empire die at the hands of Germania. That death and Ostrogoth’s, both having happened just before his eyes, made him insensitive to pain and such.

His importance was again highlighted when he was made the capital city of the Ostrogothic Realm. Under Theodoric the Great, Ravenna was renewed in a Romanly style. The goal was to make it a city worthy of calling itself a Third Rome after Constantinople. (And as it was a good period for him, he still uses a tiny braid in his hair to remember it)

However, the Byzantine campgain in Italy ended up with Byzantine Empire taking Ravenna and killing Ostrogothic Realm. The Exarchate of Ravenna was created with him as the capital, to organize the territories of Northern Italy + Lazio (the South was under the less-known Exarchate of Sicily) and thus, attention again drifted towards him. The city experienced a sort of rebirth and three Byzantine churches (one of them being the only untouched Byzantine building of the world) were built there.

By that time, Ravenna still looked like a child because of his somewhat messy, irregular history in which progress came in strange amounts. He regarded Byzantine Empire as his father, even though he knew he was actually older than him. Byzantine Empire also referred him as his son and regarded him as his second capital, taking him along with him whenever he could.

Ravenna admired Constantinople and visited the city quite a lot before the Great Schism. He ended up copying Constantinopolitan trends, such as short hair, earrings, rings and other kinds of jewels.

However, Byzantine Empire came into a tiny revelation, but way too important to ignore: renovatio imperii and Justinian’s ambitions had emptied the treasury. So the Exarchate of Ravenna, although until Byzantine jurisdiction, was financed and kept by the Papacy. This would become really important centuries later.

When theological disputes grew and tensions between the Western and Eastern churches became unbearable, Ravenna (autocephalous) had to choose a side and ended up picking the Papacy, as when the Lombards invaded Italy and destroyed the Exarchate, and the Papal States were later created, the city remained under Papal authority during most of the time and never returned to Byzantine hands.

Is there anything else you would like to know, dear ask-constantinople?