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“Mausoleum of Galla Placidia”
“Mausoleum of Galla Placidia”.jpg


According to tradition, this ancient building was made to house the tomb of Galla Placidia, daughter of Emperor Theodosius I (379-395) and sister of his sons Honorius and Arcadius who later became Western and Easter Roman Emperors. After short marriages to the Visigothic king Ataulf (414-16) and the Roman co-emperor Constantius III (417-21), the powerful empress became the virtual ruler of the western world for 12 years (425-37) as regent for her young son Valentinian III.

Galla Placidia died in Rome on November 27, 450, and despite a long tradition to the contrary, it is unlikely she was ever buried in Ravenna. Far more probable that she was buried in the Rotunda of St. Petronilla next to St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The rotunda is known to have been the mausoleum of the family of Theodosius, and Galla herself, just a few months before her death, had the body of Theodosius II shipped from Constantinople to be buried there.

Modern scholarly opinion is that the "Mausoleum of Galla Placidia" was built as an oratory rather than a mausoleum. It was originally connected to the narthex of the adjacent church of Santa Croce, which is known to have been built by Galla Placidia. So she probably commissioned the oratory, and it rightly takes her name, even if she was never buried there.

“Mausoleum of Galla Placidia”.jpg
“Mausoleum of Galla Placidia”.jpg
“Mausoleum of Galla Placidia”.jpg
“Mausoleum of Galla Placidia”.jpg
“Mausoleum of Galla Placidia”.jpg
“Mausoleum of Galla Placidia”.jpg
“Mausoleum of Galla Placidia”.jpg
“Mausoleum of Galla Placidia”.jpg
“Mausoleum of Galla Placidia”.jpg
“Mausoleum of Galla Placidia”.jpg

Solidus of Galla Placidia minted in Ravenna

At the British Museum


Médaillon of Galla Placidia (Clio20)
At Médailles et Antiques, Bibliothèque Nationale de France

From Strafforello (1890) 2.jpg

From Strafforello (1890)

Harald Sund (1913).png

Harald Sund (1913)


“Morning entrance of Byzantine empress to the tomb of her ancestors” by Vasily Sergeyevich Smirnov (1890)

From Hutton (1913).jpg

From Hutton (1913)

Late 19th century (Getty).jpg

Late 19th century (Getty)

From Stobart (1920).jpg

From Stobart (1920)

Ruins of Santa Croce
Ruins of Santa Croce.jpg
Ruins of Santa Croce.jpg
Reconstruction Santa Croce with Mausoleu

Reconstruction of Santa Croce and Mausoleum by Ricci

Plan from Deichmann.jpg

Plan from Deichmann


Ravenna in Late Antiquity by Deborah Mauskopf Deliyannis

Byzantine Architecture by Cyril Mango

Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium edited by Alexander Kazhdan

“Mausoleum of Galla Placidia” Photo Album (Byzantine Legacy Flickr)

Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna (UNESCO)

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