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mvdenk t1_je5lbso wrote

It was, next to the other given reasons, also done semi-intionally targeted against the "heathen pagan religions of old". In the past, there were many Christian and Muslim groups actively despising or destroying pagan monuments (even still in the modern era, see the Taliban for example).


rocima t1_je7b9dj wrote

Or sometimes the opposite. I've written a longer comment in this thread mentioning that as Pagan temples fell into disuse in Ancient Rome as the empire rapidly Christianised, the authorities kept promulgating laws every twenty or thirty years against despoiling the old, pagan buildings (apparently they were good tourist attractions!). However, making new laws means that the old laws weren't working. And this was mainly that the older structures were too convenient as quarries of ready dressed material to reuse in new buildings - churches especially, but also houses, palaces, fountains - you name it. Especially as the older Roman infrastructure & huge slave numbers were declining rapidly.

Only the sanctity of a few holy sites saved them - for a time: the Pantheon became a church (but was still stripped of its Roman bronze doors in the 17th century) and the Colosseum (a martyrs' shrine) survived pretty well till the 16th century when the Pope no less gave his nephew permission to demolish a large part of it to build a suitably enormous palace.