PositiveWall Street Journal...a sweeping and engrossing history of Ravenna from the moment Honorius took up residence there, through the thriving period of Gothic rule ... Ravenna offers an accessible narrative that brings to life the men and women who created the city during this period and who fashioned its hybrid Christian culture of Latin, Greek and Gothic elements. The narrative is periodically elevated by discussions of the city’s most famous attractions and its glorious churches, brilliantly illustrated in the book’s 62 color plates. It is also enlivened by recurring digressions on daily life in the city at each phase in its history, insofar as that is revealed by documentary papyri containing wills, donations and contracts that fortuitously survive. These local perspectives are complemented by a global outlook: Ms. Herrin’s argument is that Ravenna passed its unique hybrid culture on to the imperial centers all around it, to Rome, Constantinople, and later to Aachen, the capital of Charlemagne in the north. This made the city the \'crucible of Europe.\'