At that time the Lombards also being zealous for the worship of images, and pretending to favor the cause of the Pope, invaded the cities of the Exarchate: and at length, viz. A.C. 752, took Ravenna, and put an end to the Exarchate. And this was the first of the three kingdoms which fell before the little horn.
In the year 751 Pope Zechary deposed Childeric, a slothful and useless King of France, and the last of the race of Merovaeus; and absolving his subjects from their oath of allegiance, gave the kingdom to Pipin the major of the Palace; and thereby made a new and potent friend. His successor Pope Stephen III, knowing better how to deal with the Greek Emperor than with the Lombards, went the next year to the King of the Lombards, to persuade him to return the Exarchate to the Emperor. But this not succeeding, he went into France, and persuaded Pipin to take the Exarchate and Pentapolis from the Lombards, and give it to St. Peter.
Accordingly Pipin A.C. 754 came with an army into Italy, and made Aistulphus King of the Lombards promise the surrender: but the next year Aistulphus, on the contrary, to revenge himself on the Pope, besieged the city of Rome. Whereupon the Pope sent letters to Pipin, wherein he told him that if he came not speedily against the Lombards, pro data sibi potentia, alienandum fore a regno Dei & vita aeterna, he should be excommunicated. Pipin therefore, fearing a revolt of his subjects, and being indebted to the Church of Rome, came speedily with an army into Italy, raised the siege, besieged the Lombards in Pavia, and forced them to surrender the Exarchate and region of Pentapolis to the Pope for a perpetual possession. Thus the Pope became Lord of Ravenna, and the Exarchate, some few cities excepted; and the keys were sent to Rome, and laid upon the confession of St. Peter, that is, upon his tomb at the high Altar, in signum veri perpetuique dominii, sed pietate Regis gratuita, as the inscription of a coin of Pipin hath it. This was in the year of Christ 755.