Xenophanes in the middle of the 6th century had made the first great attack on the crude mythology of early Greece, including in his onslaught the whole anthropomorphic system enshrined in the poems of Homer and Hesiod.
Shared in the devastation of Rome by the Goths under Vitiges in the 6th century and by the Lombards at a later period; and partly through the spoliation of these barbarian invaders, partly through the neglect of those who should have been their guardians, they sank into such a state of decay and pollution that, as the only means of preserving the holy remains they enshrined from further desecration, Pope Paul I., in the latter part of the 8th century, and Pope Paschal, at the beginning of the 9th, entered upon the work of the translation of the relics, which was vigorously carried on by successive pontiffs until the crypts were almost entirely despoiled of their dead.
When the peace of the Church permitted it, they were enshrined in chapels and often in sumptuous basilicas.
The valuable collections of art are enshrined in handsome buildings, mostly in the Maximilian suburb on the north side of the town.
In the cult and ritual of Rome there are enshrined many survivals from a very early form of religious thought prior to the development of the characteristic Roman attitude of mind.
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