Fontanini considers the emperors as no more than the advocates of the church (advocatus et defensor S. R. E. See Ducange, Gloss Lat. tom. i. p. 297.). His antagonist Muratori reduces the popes to be no more than the exarchs of the emperor. In the more equitable view of Mosheim (Institut. Hist. Eccles. p. 264, 265), they held Rome under the empire as the most honorable species of fief or benefice — premuntur nocte caliginosa!