Exarchate of Ravenna

The Exarchate of Ravenna or of Italy (Latin: Exarchatus Ravennatis) was a lordship of the Byzantine Empire in Italy, from 584 to 751, when the last exarch was put to death by the Lombards.[1] It was one of two exarchates established following the western reconquests under Emperor Justinian to more effectively administrate the territories, along with the Exarchate of Africa.

Exarchate of Ravenna
Exarchatus Ravennatis
Exarchate of the Byzantine Empire




Location of Exarchate of Ravenna
Map of the Exarchate of Ravenna within the Byzantine Empire in 600 AD.
Capital Ravenna
Historical era Early Middle Ages
 •  Lombard invasion of Italy 568
 •  Foundation of Exarchate 584
 •  Fall of Ravenna 751
Today part of  Croatia
 San Marino
  Vatican City


Ravenna became the capital of the Western Roman Empire in 402 under Honorius, due to its fine harbour with access to the Adriatic and its ideal defensive location amidst impassable marshes. The city remained the capital of the Empire until 476, when it became the capital of Odoacer, and then of the Ostrogoths under Theodoric the Great.

It remained the capital of the Ostrogothic Kingdom, but in 540 during the Gothic War (535–554), Ravenna was occupied by the Byzantine general Belisarius. After this reconquest it became the seat of the provincial governor. At that time, the administrative structure of Italy followed, with some modifications, the old system established by Emperor Diocletian, and retained by Odoacer and the Goths.

Lombard invasion and Byzantine reaction

Agilulf's Italy
The Byzantines (orange) and the Lombards (green) in 590.

In 568, the Lombards under King Alboin, together with other Germanic allies, invaded Northern Italy. The area had only a few years ago been completely pacified, and had suffered greatly during the long Gothic War. The local Roman forces were weak, and after taking several towns, in 569 the Lombards conquered Milan. They took Pavia after a three-year siege in 572, and made it their capital.[2] In subsequent years, they took Tuscany. Others, under Faroald and Zotto, penetrated into Central and Southern Italy, where they established the duchies of Spoleto and Benevento.[3] However, after Alboin's murder in 573, the Lombards fragmented into several autonomous duchies (the "Rule of the Dukes").

Emperor Justin II tried to take advantage of this, and in 576 he sent his son-in-law, Baduarius, to Italy. However, he was defeated and killed in battle,[4] and the continuing crises in the Balkans and the East meant that another imperial effort at reconquest was not possible. Because of the Lombard incursions, the Roman possessions had fragmented into several isolated territories, and in 580, Emperor Tiberius II reorganized them into five provinces, now termed in Greek, eparchies: the Annonaria in northern Italy around Ravenna, Calabria, Campania, Emilia and Liguria, and the Urbicaria around the city of Rome (Urbs). Thus by the end of the 6th century the new order of powers had settled into a stable pattern. Ravenna, governed by its exarch, who held civil and military authority in addition to his ecclesiastical office, was confined to the city, its port and environs as far north as the Po, beyond which lay territory of the duke of Venice, nominally in imperial service, and south to the Marecchia River, beyond which lay the Duchy of the Pentapolis on the Adriatic, also under a duke nominally representing the Emperor of the East.[5]


The exarchate was organised into a group of duchies (Rome, Venetia, Calabria, Naples, Perugia, Pentapolis, Lucania, etc.) which were mainly the coastal cities in the Italian peninsula since the Lombards held the advantage in the hinterland.

The civil and military head of these imperial possessions, the exarch himself, was the representative at Ravenna of the emperor in Constantinople. The surrounding territory reached from the River Po, which served as the boundary with Venice in the north, to the Pentapolis at Rimini in the south, the border of the "five cities" in the Marches along the Adriatic coast, and reached even cities not on the coast, such as Forlì. All this territory, which lay on the eastern flank of the Apennines, was under the exarch's direct administration and formed the Exarchate in the strictest sense. Surrounding territories were governed by dukes and magistri militium more or less subject to his authority. From the perspective of Constantinople, the Exarchate consisted of the province of Italy.

The Exarchate of Ravenna was not the sole Byzantine province in Italy. Byzantine Sicily formed a separate government, and Corsica and Sardinia, while they remained Byzantine, belonged to the Exarchate of Africa.

The Lombards had their capital at Pavia and controlled the great valley of the Po. The Lombard wedge in Italy spread to the south, and established duchies at Spoleto and Beneventum; they controlled the interior, while Byzantine governors more or less controlled the coasts.

Piedmont, Lombardy, the interior mainland of Venetia, Tuscany and the interior of Campania belonged to the Lombards, and bit by bit the Imperial representative in Italy lost all genuine power, though in name he controlled areas like Liguria (completely lost in 640 to the Lombards), or Naples and Calabria (being overrun by the Lombard duchy of Benevento). In Rome, the pope was the real master.

At the end, 740, the Exarchate consisted of Istria, Venetia, Ferrara, Ravenna (the exarchate in the limited sense), with the Pentapolis, and Perugia.

These fragments of the province of Italy, as it was when reconquered for Justinian, were almost all lost, either to the Lombards, who finally conquered Ravenna itself in 751, or by the revolt of the pope, who finally separated from the Empire on the issue of the iconoclastic reforms.

The relationship between the Pope in Rome and the Exarch in Ravenna was a dynamic that could hurt or help the empire. The Papacy could be a vehicle for local discontent. The old Roman senatorial aristocracy resented being governed by an Exarch who was considered by many a meddlesome foreigner. Thus the exarch faced threats from without as well as from within, hampering much real progress and development.

In its internal history the exarchate was subject to the splintering influences which were leading to the subdivision of sovereignty and the establishment of feudalism throughout Europe. Step by step, and in spite of the efforts of the emperors at Constantinople, the great imperial officials became local landowners, the lesser owners of land were increasingly kinsmen or at least associates of these officials, and new allegiances intruded on the sphere of imperial administration. Meanwhile, the necessity for providing for the defence of the imperial territories against the Lombards led to the formation of local militias, who at first were attached to the imperial regiments, but gradually became independent, as they were recruited entirely locally. These armed men formed the exercitus romanae militiae, who were the forerunners of the free armed burghers of the Italian cities of the Middle Ages. Other cities of the exarchate were organized on the same model.

End of the Exarchate

During the 6th and 7th centuries, the growing menace of the Lombards and the Franks, as well as the split between Eastern and Western Christendom inspired both by iconoclastic emperors and medieval developments in Latin theology and culminating in the acrimonious rivalry between the Pope of Rome and the Patriarch of Constantinople, made the position of the exarch more and more untenable.

Ravenna remained the seat of the exarch until the revolt of 727 over iconoclasm. Eutychius, the last exarch of Ravenna, was killed by the Lombards in 751. The exarchate was reorganized as the Catepanate of Italy headquartered in Bari which was lost to the Saracens in 847 and only recovered in 871.

When in 756 the Franks drove the Lombards out, Pope Stephen II claimed the exarchate. His ally Pepin the Younger, King of the Franks, donated the conquered lands of the former exarchate to the Papacy in 756; this donation, which was confirmed by his son Charlemagne in 774, marked the beginning of the temporal power of the popes as the Patrimony of Saint Peter. The archbishoprics within the former exarchate, however, had developed traditions of local secular power and independence, which contributed to the fragmenting localization of powers. Three centuries later, that independence would fuel the rise of the independent communes.

So the Exarchate disappeared, and the small remnants of the imperial possessions on the mainland, Naples and Calabria, passed under the authority of the Catapan of Italy, and when Sicily was conquered by the Arabs in the 9th century the remnants were erected into the themes of Calabria and Langobardia. Istria at the head of the Adriatic was attached to Dalmatia.

Exarchs of Ravenna

Note: For some exarchs there exists some uncertainty over their exact tenure dates.


  1. ^ Moffat 2017, p. 55.
  2. ^ Paul the Deacon. "Book 2:ch. 26-27". Historia Langobardorum.
  3. ^ Hodgkin. The Lombard Invasion. Italy and Her Invaders, Vol. 5, Book VI. pp. 71–73.
  4. ^ John of Biclaro. Chronicle.
  5. ^ Hallenbeck. "Pavia and Rome: The Lombard Monarchy and the Papacy in the Eighth Century".


  • Moffat, Ann (2017). "The Orient Express:Abbot John's Rapid trip from Constantinople to Ravenna c. AD 700". In Brown, Amelia Robertson; Neil, Bronwen. Byzantine Culture in Translation. Brill.
  • Borri, Francesco (July–December 2005). "Duces e magistri militum nell'Italia esarcale (VI-VIII secolo)". Estratto da Reti Medievali Rivista (in Italian). Firenze University Press. VI (2). ISSN 1593-2214. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-05-18. Retrieved 2008-05-21.
  • Brown, T. S. (1991). "Byzantine Italy c. 680 - c.876". In Rosamond McKitterick. The New Cambridge Medieval History: II. c. 700 - c. 900. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-36292-X.
  • Diehl, Charles. Etudes sur l'Administration Byzantine dans l'Exarchat de Ravenne (568-751). Research & Source Works Series Byzantine Series No. 39 (in French). New York: Burt Franklin. ISBN 0-8337-0854-4.
  • Hallenbeck, Jan T. (1982). "Pavia and Rome: The Lombard Monarchy and the Papacy in the Eighth Century". Transactions of the American Philosophical Society. 72 (4): 1–186. doi:10.2307/1006429. JSTOR 1006429. (ISBN) 0-87169-724-6.
  • Hartmann, Ludo M. (June 1971). Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der byzantinischen Verwaltung in Italien (540-750). Research & Source Works Series No. 86 (in German). New York: Burt Franklin. ISBN 978-0-8337-1584-5.
  • Hodgkin, Thomas. 553-600 The Lombard Invasion. Italy and Her Invaders, Vol. 5, Book VI (Replica ed.). Boston: Elibron Classics.
  • John of Biclaro. Chronicle.
  • Norwich, John Julius (1982). A History of Venice. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
  • Paul the Deacon. "Book 2:ch. 26-27". Historia Langobardorum (Paul the Deacon's History of the Lombards. trans. from Latin by William Dudley Foulke. University of Pennsylvania.

Aistulf (died 756) was the Duke of Friuli from 744, King of Lombards from 749, and Duke of Spoleto from 751. His father was the Duke Pemmo.After his brother Ratchis became king, Aistulf succeeded him in Friuli. He succeeded him later as king when Ratchis abdicated to a monastery. Aistulf continued the policy of expansion and raids against the papacy and the Eastern Roman exarchate of Ravenna. In 751, he captured Ravenna itself and even threatened Rome, claiming a capitation tax. He also conquered the Istria region from Eastern Roman occupation in the same year.

The popes, thoroughly irritated and alarmed, and despairing of aid from the Roman Emperor, turned to the Carolingian mayors of the palace of Austrasia, the effective rulers of the Frankish kingdom. In 741, Pope Gregory III asked Charles Martel to intervene, but he was too busy elsewhere and declined. In 753, Pope Stephen II visited Charles Martel's son Pepin the Short, who had been proclaimed king of the Franks in 751 with the consent of Pope Zachary. In gratitude for the papal consent to his coronation, Pepin crossed the Alps, defeated Aistulf, and gave to the pope the lands which Aistulf had torn from the ducatus Romanus and the exarchate (Emilia-Romagna and the Pentapolis).

Aistulf died hunting in 756. He was succeeded by Desiderius as king of the Lombards and by Alboin as duke of Spoleto. He had given Friuli to his brother-in-law Anselm, abbot of Nonantula, whose sister Gisaltruda he had married, when he succeeded to the kingship in 749.

Aripert II

Aripert II (also spelled Aribert) was the king of the Lombards from 701 to 712. Duke of Turin and son of King Raginpert, and thus a scion of the Bavarian Dynasty, he was associated with the throne as early as 700. He was removed by Liutpert, who reigned from 700 to 702, with the exception of the year 701, when Raginpert seized the throne. After his father's death, he tried to take the throne, too. He defeated Liutpert and the regent Ansprand's men at Pavia and captured the king, whom he later had strangled in his bath. He seized the capital and forced Ansprand over the Alps. He was firmly in power by 703.

He thence reigned uninterrupted until his death. His reign was a troubled one. In 703, Faroald, duke of Spoleto, attacked the Exarchate of Ravenna, but Aripert refused to assist him, for he wanted good relations with papacy and empire. He tried nevertheless to assert his authority over Spoleto and Benevento in the Mezzogiorno. He nursed friendship with Pope John VI by donating vast tracts of land in the Cottian Alps to the Holy See. This friendship helped him little, for he had many rebellions to deal with and many Slovene raids into Venetia.

In 711, Ansprand, whom he had exiled, returned with a large army from the duke of Bavaria, Theudebert. Many Austrians (the men of Venetia and the east) joined the returning regent and battle was joined by Pavia. Aripert fled to his capital when the tide went against him, but he hoarded the treasures and tried to cross over into Gaul by night. He drowned in the River Ticino and Ansprand was acclaimed sovereign. He was the last Bavarian to wear the Iron Crown.

Battle of Ravenna (729)

The Battle of Ravenna in 729 was fought between the troops of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Exarchate of Ravenna and a force of Italians. This was in response to Emperor Leo III the Isaurian outlawing the veneration of holy icons, which Pope Gregory II was against. After a fierce battle, the Eastern Roman Army was overcome and thousands of Byzantines were killed.

Bishop of Ravenna

This page is a list of Roman Catholic bishops and archbishops of Ravenna and, from 1985, of the Archdiocese of Ravenna-Cervia. The earlier ones were frequently tied to the Exarchate of Ravenna. (The city also became the centre of the Orthodox Church in Italy in 1995.)

Byzantine Italy

Byzantine Italy was those parts of the Italian peninsula under the control of the Byzantine empire after the fall of the Western Roman Empire (476). The last Byzantine outpost in Italy was lost in 1071. Chronologically, it refers to:

Praetorian prefecture of Italy (540/554–584)

Exarchate of Ravenna (584–751)

Theme of Sicily (687–902)

Theme of Longobardia (c. 891 – c. 965)

Catepanate of Italy (965–1071)Several states avoided conquest by the Lombards or Franks and maintained nominal Byzantine allegiance even after the Byzantine presence in Italy came to an end:

Republic of Venice

Duchy of Naples

Duchy of Gaeta

Duchy of Amalfi

Duchy of SorrentoLikewise, the island of Sardinia maintained Byzantine allegiance in this obscure period:

Judgeships of Sardinia

Byzantine Revival architecture

The Byzantine Revival (also referred to as Neo-Byzantine) was an architectural revival movement, most frequently seen in religious, institutional and public buildings. It incorporates elements of the Byzantine style associated with Eastern and Orthodox Christian architecture dating from the 5th through 11th centuries, notably that of Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) and the Exarchate of Ravenna.

Neo-Byzantine architecture emerged in the 1840s in Western Europe and peaked in the last quarter of the 19th century in the Russian Empire, and later Bulgaria. Neo-Byzantine school was active in Yugoslavia between World War I and World War II.

Byzantine–Lombard wars

The Byzantine–Lombard wars were a protracted series of conflicts which occurred from AD 568 to 750 between the Byzantine Empire and a Germanic tribe known as the Lombards. The wars began primarily because of the imperialistic inclinations of the Lombard king Alboin, as he sought to take possession of Northern Italy. The conflicts ended in a Byzantine defeat, as the Lombards were able to secure large parts of Northern Italy at first, eventually conquering the Exarchate of Ravenna in 750.

Duchy of Perugia

The Duchy of Perugia was a duchy (Latin: ducatus) in the Italian part of the Byzantine Empire. Its civil and military administration was overseen by a duke (dux) appointed by and under the authority originally of the Praetorian Prefect of Italy (554–584) and later of the Exarch of Ravenna (584–751). Its chief city and namesake was Perugia (Perusia), located at its centre. It was a band of territory connecting the Duchy of the Pentapolis to its northeast with the Duchy of Rome to its southwest, and separating the duchies of Tuscia (to its northwest) and Spoleto (to its southeast), both parts of the Lombard Kingdom of Italy. It was of great strategic significance to the Byzantines since it provided communication between Rome, the city of the Popes, and Ravenna, the capital of the Exarchate. Since it cut off the Duke of Spoleto from his nominal overlord, the king ruling from Pavia, it also disturbed the Lombard kingdom, which was a constant thorn in the Byzantines' side. This strategic importance meant that many Lombard and Byzantine armies passed through it.

Thomas Noble, an American historian, has surmised that by 739–740, when Pope Gregory III was negotiating with Charles Martel, Duke of the Franks, for assistance against the Lombards, the Pope already envisaged an independent republic of his "peculiar people" (peculiarem populum), meaning the inhabitants of the duchies of Perugia and Rome who, so remote from either Ravenna or the Byzantine capital, Constantinople, depended upon the Pope for defence and for their foreign relations. Hildeprand, the heir to the throne, and Peredeo, Duke of Vincenza, united to take Ravenna, probably in 737–740. According to the contemporary Lombard historian Paul the Deacon, this occurred before "the Romans, swollen with their accustomed pride, assembled on every side under the leadership of Agatho, duke of the Perugians, and came to seize Bononia (Bologna), where Walcari, Peredeo, and Rotcari were then staying in camp, but the latter rushed upon the Romans, made a great slaughter of them and compelled those who were left to seek flight." According to modern historians Georg Waitz, Jan Hallenbeck, and Paolo Delogu, this took place before the ephemeral conquest of Ravenna. The most common interpretation is that Agatho was trying to regain Bologna, which was a part of his duchy until it was conquered by Liutprand around 727–730, and in so doing broke a truce between the Byzantines and Lombards, thus provoking an assault on Ravenna.In 749, the Lombard king Ratchis invaded the duchies of Perugia and Pentapolis, besieging the capital city of the former. Pope Zachary met the king at Perugia and convinced him to lift the siege and abdicate to a monastery. It has been suggested that Ratchis was forced to attack Byzantine Italy by a part of Lombard nationalists, or conversely that he attacked because Zachary had broken the terms of his predecessor's Peace of Terni, a twenty-year truce. In any case, "all Italy was quiet" between Ratchis's accession in 745 and his attack on Perugia in 749, according to Zachary's biographer in the Liber pontificalis.With the collapse of the exarchate and the capture of Ravenna by the Lombards in 751, the duchy of Perugia was left under de facto Papal authority by 752. In a passage of the Ludovicianum that can date no earlier than 774, the cities of the Roman duchy are listed from north to south, with the cities of the duchy of Perugia added to those of Roman Tuscany, indicating that by the time of conquest of the Lombard kingdom by the Franks, Perugia had been incorporated into the Papally-ruled duchy of Rome. In fact, the duchy of Perugia as a distinct political unit cannot be charted later than the 740s.

Duchy of Rome

The Duchy of Rome (Latin: Ducatus Romanus) was a state within the Byzantine Exarchate of Ravenna. Like other Byzantine states in Italy, it was ruled by an imperial functionary with the title dux. The duchy often came into conflict with the Papacy over supremacy within Rome. The duchy was founded by the conquest of Emperor Justinian I in 533 AD. After the founding of the Papal States in 751, the title of Duke of Rome fell into disuse.

Duchy of the Pentapolis

In the Byzantine Empire, the Duchy of the Pentapolis was a duchy (Latin: ducatus), a territory ruled by a duke (dux) appointed by and under the authority of the Praetorian Prefect of Italy (554–584) and then the Exarch of Ravenna (584–751). The Pentapolis (from the Greek term πεντάπολις, "five cities") consisted of the cities of Ancona, Fano, Pesaro, Rimini and Sinigaglia. It lay along the Adriatic coast between the rivers Marecchia and Misco immediately south of the core territory of the exarchate ruled directly by the exarch (the Ravennate), east of the Duchy of Perugia, another Byzantine territory, and north of the Duchy of Spoleto, which was part of the Lombard Kingdom of Italy (founded in 568). The duchy probably extended inland as far as the Apennine Mountains, perhaps beyond, and its southernmost town was Humana (Numera) on the northern bank of the Misco. The capital of the Pentapolis was Rimini and the duke was both the civil and military authority in the duchy.The Pentapolis was one of the more commercially vibrant parts of Italy. The citizens of the Pentapolis tried constantly to reduce the authority of the exarch in the duchy, while Byzantine Italy generally experienced a general decentralisation during the 7th century. In 725, when the Exarch Paul wanted to lead a punitive expedition against the Duchy of Rome, where Pope Gregory II and the citizens had usurped imperial prerogatives and deposed and replaced the reigning duke, he raised troops in the Ravennate and the Pentapolis. The Lombard historian Paul the Deacon says that he had great difficulty in raising the necessary troops and his expedition was ultimately a failure. In 726, the iconoclasm of Emperor Leo III the Isaurian (r. 717–741) first became public, possibly even through an edict against sacred images. The inability of the exarch to impose his authority in Rome and his weakness in the Pentapolis was transformed into impotence when the "armies", that is, the Roman military aristocracies, of the duchies of the Ravennate, the Pentapolis, and Venetia rose in revolt declaring that they would protect the pope from the imperial decree, which Paul had been ordered to enforce throughout Italy (727).In 738, the Lombard king Liutprand marched through the Pentapolis on his way to Spoleto, and during his transit was attacked by a group of "Spoletans" (Lombards from central Italy) and "Romans" (local Pentapolitans). The locals may have been incited to this alliance against Liutprand by the exarch, Eutychius, who may have had a deal with the duke of Spoleto, Transamund II. The Pentapolitans were not traditionally on good terms with either the Byzantines, whom Liutprand fought in 728–729, or the exarch in Ravenna, whom Liutprand also fought frequently, but they were unlikely to regard Lombard incursions in their region as a "liberation". Liutprand attacked Ravenna and Cesena on the via Aemilia in 743, probably with the goal of controlling a passage through Byzantine territory to Spoleto. His successor, Ratchis, attacked several cities in the Pentapolis and Perugia in 749, before retiring to become a monk. By 752, the Pentapolis was conquered by King Aistulf of the Lombards.In 754 Pepin the Short crossed the Alps, defeated Aistulf, and gave to the pope the lands which Aistulf had torn from the ducatus Romanus (Duchy of Rome) and the exarchate (including the Pentapolis).

Frankish Papacy

From 756 to 857, the papacy shifted from the orbit of the Byzantine Empire to that of the kings of the Franks. Pepin the Short (ruled 751–768), Charlemagne (r. 768–814) (co-ruler with his brother Carloman I until 771), and Louis the Pious (r. 814-840) had considerable influence in the selection and administration of popes. The "Donation of Pepin" (756) ratified a new period of papal rule in central Italy, which became known as the Papal States.

This shift was initiated by the Lombards conquering the Exarchate of Ravenna from the Byzantines, strengthened by the Frankish triumph over the Lombards, and ended by the fragmentation of the Frankish Kingdom into West Francia, Middle Francia, and East Francia. Lothair I continued to rule Middle Francia which included much of the Italian peninsula, from 843 to 855.

This period was "a critical time in Rome's transformation from ancient capital to powerful bishopric to new state capital." The period was characterized by "battles between Franks, Lombards and Romans for control of the Italian peninsula and of supreme authority within Christendom."

John of Conza

John of Conza or Compsa (Latin: Ioannes Compsinus/Consinus, fl. ca. 615/618). He was a native of Compsa (modern Conza della Campania). Taking advantage of the turmoil in the Exarchate of Ravenna and the preoccupation of the Byzantine emperor Heraclius with the Persian war in the East, he attacked and captured Naples. His rebellion was put down by the exarch of Ravenna, Eleutherius. Consinus and many of his followers were killed in the process.

Langobardia Minor

Langobardia Minor was the name that, in early Middle Ages, was given to the Lombard dominion in central-southern Italy, corresponding to the duchies of Spoleto and Benevento. After the conquest of the Lombard kingdom by Charlemagne in 774 it remained under Lombard control.

Once in Italy through the Friuli in 568, the Lombards tore from the Byzantines a large part of land south of the Alps, but didn't constitute, at least initially, a uniform and contiguous domain. The submissive lands were grouped, in the terminology of the time, in two important areas: Langobardia Major, from the Alps to today's Tuscany, and Langobardia Minor which included the possessions south of the Byzantine territories (which in that last part of the 6th century stretched from Rome to Ravenna through current Umbria and Marche). The Exarchate of Ravenna was connected to Rome through the "Byzantine corridor", which went through Orvieto, Chiusi and Perugia and separated Langobardia Minor from Major.

While Langobardia Major was fragmented and changing in many duchies and Gastalds, Langobardia Minor maintained for the duration of the Lombard kingdom (568–774) a remarkable institutional stability, remaining divided into the two duchies of Spoleto and Benevento. They were formed immediately after Lombard penetration, in the 570s, and the first dukes were Faroald in Spoleto and Zotto in Benevento. In the beginning they included geographically only the inland areas, leaving the Byzantines control of the coastal areas; only later (particularly during the reign of Agilulf, 591–616) Lombard possessions were extended also to the coasts. So became subject to the two duchies the entire Adriatic coast between Byzantine strongholds of Ancona in the north and Otranto in the south; the Ionian and the Tyrrhenian, however, only partially fell under the authority of the duke of Benevento, which was never able to permanently occupy Naples, the Salento and the tip of Calabria (south of Cosenza and Crotone), and of course, Rome and its suburbs.

Maurikios Chartoularios

Maurikios Chartoularios (Greek: Μαυρίκιος ὀ χαρτουλάριος), Latinized as Mauricius Chartularius (died 643 at Ravenna), was a Byzantine rebel in Italy.

In 638 the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius (r. 610–641) demanded that the newly elected Pope, Severinus sign his assent to the Ecthesis, a document which defined monotheletism as the official imperial form of Christianity. When Severinus refused, Heraclius in turn refused to recognise him as Pope, and sent his chartoularios (secretary) Maurikios to Rome to obtain the Pope’s agreement to the Ecthesis.

After his arrival, Maurikios, with the support of the local Roman militia, occupied the Lateran and plundered the papal palace. The Exarch Isaac also rushed to Rome and seized the Lateran treasure for the emperor, although he and Maurikios retained a significant portion for themselves. As a result, for almost two years Severinus was denied access to his office.

In 643, Maurikios, now the dux of Rome, attempted to repeat his successful action, but this time he was determined to not share any of the plunder with anyone. He revolted against Isaac, and declared Rome’s independence from the Exarchate and from the emperor, Constans II (r. 641–668). In response, Isaac dispatched his magister militum Donus, who crushed the revolt. Maurikios sought sanctuary in the church of Saint Maria ad Praesepe, but he was dragged from the church and sent in chains to Ravenna and beheaded.

Pope Stephen II

Pope Stephen II (Latin: Stephanus II (or III); 714-26 April 757 a Roman aristocrat was Pope from 26 March 752 to his death in 757. He succeeded Pope Zachary following the death of Pope-elect Stephen (sometimes called Stephen II). Stephen II marks the historical delineation between the Byzantine Papacy and the Frankish Papacy.

The safety of Rome was facing invasion by the Kingdom of the Lombards. Pope Stephen II traveled all the way to Paris to seek assistance against the Lombard threat from Pepin the Short. Pepin had been anointed a first time in 751 in Soissons by Boniface, archbishop of Mainz, but named his price. With the Frankish nobles agreeing to campaign in Lombardy, the Pope consecrated Pepin a second time in a lavish ceremony at the Basilica of St Denis in 754, bestowing upon him the additional title of Patricius Romanorum (Latin for "Patrician of the Romans") in the first recorded crowning of a civil ruler by a Pope. Pepin defeated the Lombards – taking control of northern Italy – and made a gift (called the Donation of Pepin) of the properties formerly constituting the Exarchate of Ravenna to the pope, eventually leading to the establishment of the Papal States.


Ravenna (Italian pronunciation: [raˈvenna], also locally [raˈvɛnna] (listen); Romagnol: Ravèna) is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy. It was the capital city of the Western Roman Empire from 402 until that empire collapsed in 476. It then served as the capital of the Ostrogothic Kingdom until it was re-conquered in 540 by the Byzantine Empire. Afterwards, the city formed the centre of the Byzantine Exarchate of Ravenna until the invasion of the Lombards in 751, after which it became the seat of the Kingdom of the Lombards.

Although it is an inland city, Ravenna is connected to the Adriatic Sea by the Candiano Canal. It is known for its well-preserved late Roman and Byzantine architecture, with eight buildings consisting the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna".


Romagna (Romagnol: Rumâgna) is an Italian historical region that approximately corresponds to the south-eastern portion of present-day Emilia-Romagna, North Italy. Traditionally, it is limited by the Apennines to the south-west, the Adriatic to the east, and the rivers Reno and Sillaro to the north and west. The region's major cities include Cesena, Faenza, Forlì, Imola, Ravenna, Rimini and City of San Marino (San Marino is a landlocked state inside the Romagna historical region). The region has been recently formally expanded with the transfer of seven comuni (Casteldelci, Maiolo, Novafeltria, Pennabilli, San Leo, Sant'Agata Feltria, Talamello) from the Marche region, which are a small number of comuni where Romagnolo dialect is spoken.

Secundus of Trent

Secundus of Trent or Secundus of Non authored History of the Acts of the Langobards, up to 612.

Secundus is first mentioned in the letters of Pope Gregory I for January 596, at which time Secundus served archbishop Marinianus of then-Byzantine Ravenna as deacon. In that capacity the Pope wrote to Secundus for diplomatic relations between the Lombard king Agilulf (590–616) and the Exarch.Around 600, Secundus became an abbot and moved to Agilulf's court, where Gregory corresponded with him 603. Secundus was godfather to prince Adaloald around that year.

Tiberius Petasius

Tiberius Petasius was a Byzantine usurper in Italy around 729 and 730.

Nothing is known of his early life, but judging from his Latin name "Petasius" (little felt sun-hat) he was a native of Italy. He claimed imperial power around 729 when large parts of Italy and rest of the empire rebelled against the Iconoclastic policies of Emperor Leo III, who had been excommunicated by Pope Gregory II. He may have been chosen by local Italian assemblies with the intention eventually taking power in Constantinople, but failed uprisings in Greece seem to have disheartened the courage of the Italians with the issue. His power seems to have been centered on the area of Rome, but nothing else is known of his short stay in power. Tiberius Petasius' power came to an end sometime in 730 when he was defeated by Exarch of Ravenna Eutychius with support of Pope Gregory II and killed in Monterano, with his head sent to Leo III as a gift.

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