What We Are Reading Today: Ravenna; Capital of Empire, Crucible of Europe by Judith Herrin

What We Are Reading Today: Ravenna; Capital of Empire, Crucible of Europe by Judith Herrin
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Updated 29 October 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Ravenna; Capital of Empire, Crucible of Europe by Judith Herrin

What We Are Reading Today: Ravenna; Capital of Empire, Crucible of Europe by Judith Herrin

At the end of the fourth century, as the power of Rome faded and Constantinople became the seat of empire, a new capital city was rising in the West. Here, in Ravenna on the coast of Italy, Arian Goths and Catholic Romans competed to produce an unrivaled concentration of buildings and astonishing mosaics. For three centuries, the city attracted scholars, lawyers, craftsmen, and religious luminaries, becoming a true cultural and political capital. Bringing this extraordinary history marvelously to life, Judith Herrin rewrites the history of East and West in the Mediterranean world before the rise of Islam and shows how, thanks to Byzantine influence, Ravenna played a crucial role in the development of medieval Christendom.

Drawing on deep, original research, Herrin tells the personal stories of Ravenna while setting them in a sweeping synthesis of Mediterranean and Christian history. She narrates the lives of the Empress Galla Placidia and the Gothic king Theoderic and describes the achievements of an amazing cosmographer and a doctor who revived Greek medical knowledge in Italy, demolishing the idea that the West just descended into the medieval “Dark Ages.”

Beautifully illustrated and drawing on the latest archaeological findings, this monumental book provides a bold new interpretation of Ravenna’s lasting influence on the culture of Europe and the West.


What We Are Reading Today: Four Kings

What We Are Reading Today: Four Kings
Updated 23 January 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Four Kings

What We Are Reading Today: Four Kings

Author: George Kimball

By the late 1970s, boxing had lapsed into a moribund state and interest in it was on the wane. In 1980, however, the sport was resuscitated by a riveting series of bouts involving an improbably dissimilar quartet: Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran.
These four boxers brought out the best in each other, producing unprecedented multimillion-dollar gates along the way. Each of the nine bouts between the four men was memorable in its own way and at least two of them — Leonard-Hearns I in 1981 and Hagler-Hearns in 1985 — are commonly included on any list of the greatest fights of all time. The controversial outcome of another — the 1987 Leonard-Hagler fight — remains the subject of heated debates amongst fans to this day.
Leonard, Hagler, Hearns and Duran didn’t set out to save boxing from itself in the post-Ali era, but somehow they managed to do so. In Four Kings, award-winning journalist George Kimball documents the remarkable effect they had on the sport and argues that we will never see their likes again.