These fragments of the "province of Italy," as it was when reconquered by Justinian, were almost all lost either to the Lombards, who finally conquered Ravenna itself about 750, or by the revolt of the pope, who separated from the empire on account of the iconoclastic reforms. The intervention of Pippin the Carolingian, who was called in by the popes to protect them against the Lombards and the Eastern emperors alike, made a revival of the exarchate impossible.
In October 1530 he broke into the church of Neuchatel with an iconoclastic mob, thus planting the Reformation in that city.
This is only one of many cases where the investigations of the archaeologist have proved not iconoclastic but reconstructive, tending to restore confidence in classical traditions which the scientific historians of the age of Niebuhr and George Cornewall Lewis regarded with scepticism.
Mayer, on the other hand, denies that the Constitutum can have been forged before the news of the iconoclastic decrees of the council of Constantinople of 754 had reached Rome.
The victory of Christianity - iconoclastic in its primitive spirit - was but a single chapter in the story of decline.