Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > Constructing Campanilismo: The Sacred Topography of Ravenna in the Middle Ages

This dissertation examines the 856 CE relocation of the relics of Ravenna's patron saint, Apollinaris, to the church of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo. Previously, Sant'Apollinare Nuovo was the palatine church reserved for the secular elite, but I argue its reinvention as a place of cultic worship in the ninth-century was a deliberate calculation by the archbishops of Ravenna, who were driven by ideological motives relating to the current political situation of the Mediterranean world--specifically the rise of a sovereign Papal State in Italy. Scholarship on the medieval topography of Ravenna, its art, and its monuments has traditionally produced monographic studies that focused on teleological questions of iconography, style, influence, and production history, but there has yet to be an attempt to synthesize material in order to understand how each of these monuments functioned together within the urban fabric of the city. My dissertation contributes to this extant literature through a reassessment of the church of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo and its relationship to its surrounding built environment by considering novel approaches to medieval urbanism, space, place, and sacrality. I argue that the re-invention of this site as a cultic center was an integral part in a larger campaign of social and political propagation by the archbishops of Ravenna to produce feelings of local civic pride--campanilismo--through a carefully orchestrated manipulation of art, architecture, liturgy, and ritual.