The first urban settlement which was later to become the city of Ravenna rose on a group of small islands, lapped by the sea, surrounded by marshes and to the northeast and to the south connected to a string of sand dunes.
With the passing of the centuries the continuous formation of alluvial deposit brought down by various branches of the River Po produced a new arc of dunes which marked the outer limit of the beach.
There are many legends concerning the origin of Ravenna but very little certainty: Dionigi D'Alicarnasso mentioned that the city was founded seven generations before the Trojan Wars while according to Strabo it was founded by the Thessalonians and Pliny called it the city of the Sabines.
In historical times the city was occupied by the Etruscans and this can be deduced from the fact that the suffix '- enna' in the name Ravenna seems typically Etruscan.
Another proof of the presence of this civilisation is the discovery in Ravenna of some objects clearly of Etruscan manufacture such as the votive bronzes and a statuette of a warrior dating perhaps from the end of the 6th century BC bearing an Etruscan inscription and now kept in the Antiquities Museum in Leida, Holland.
Historiography insists on the presence of Umbrians who in historical times pushed as far as the River Po.
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