CHAPTER II. THE ANGEVIN EMPIRE
The political complications with which Henry was surrounded were still further confused by a new question which now arose, and which was to threaten the peace of Europe for eighteen years. On the death of the English Pope, Hadrian IV., on the 1st of September 1159, two rivals, Alexander III. and Victor IV., disputed the see of Rome, and the strife between the Empire and the Papacy, now nearly one hundred years old, broke out afresh on a far greater scale than in the time of Gregory. Frederick Barbarossa asserted the imperial right of judging between the rivals, and declared Victor pope, supported by the princes of the Empire and by the kings of Hungary, Bohemia, and Denmark. Alexander claimed the aid of the French king - the traditional defender of the Church and protector of the Popes; and after the strife had raged for nearly three years, he fled in 1162 to France. In the great schism Henry joined the side of Louis in support of Alexander and of the orthodox cause; the two kings met at Chouzy, near Blois, to do honour to the Pope; they walked on either side of his horse and held his reins. The meeting marked a great triumph for Alexander; the union of the Teutonic nations against the policy of Rome was to be delayed for three centuries and a half. It marked, too, the highest point of Henry's success. He had checked the Emperor's schemes; he had won the gratitude of both Louis and the Pope; he had defeated the plots of the House of Blois, and shown how easily any alliance between France and Champagne might be broken to pieces by his military power and his astute diplomacy. He had rounded off his dominions; he had conquered the county of Cahors; he had recovered the Vexin and the border castles of Freteval and Amboise; the fiefs of William of Boulogne had passed into his hands on William's death; he was master of Nantes and Dol, and lord of Britanny; he had been appointed Protector of Flanders.
At this moment, indeed, Henry stood only second to the Emperor among the princes of Christendom, and his aim seems to have been to rival in some sort the Empire of the West, and to reign as an over-king, with sub-kings of his various provinces, and England as one of them, around him. He was connected with all the great ruling houses. His eldest son was married to the daughter of the King of France; the baby Richard, eighteen months old, was betrothed during the war of Toulouse to a daughter of the King of Aragon. He was himself a distant kinsman of the Emperor. He was head of the house of the Norman kings in Sicily. He was nearest heir of the kings of Jerusalem. Through his wife he was head of the house of Antioch, and claimed to be head of the house of Tripoli. Already in these first years of his reign the glory of the English king had been acknowledged by ambassadors from the Emperor, from the King of Jerusalem, from Norway, from Sweden, from the Moorish kings of Valencia and Murcia, bearing the gifts of an Eastern world - gold, silk, horses, and camels. England was forced out of her old isolation; her interest in the world without was suddenly awakened. English scholars thronged the foreign universities; English chroniclers questioned travellers, scholars, ambassadors, as to what was passing abroad. The influence of English learning and English statecraft made itself felt all over Europe. Never, perhaps, in all the history of England was there a time when Englishmen played so great apart abroad. English statesmen and bishops were set over the conduct of affairs in Provence, in Sicily, in Gascony, in Britanny, in Normandy. English archbishops and bishops and abbots held some of the highest posts in France, in Anjou, in Flanders, in Portugal, in Italy, in Sicily. Henry himself welcomed trained men from Normandy or Sicily or wherever he could find them, to help in his work of administration; but in England foreigners were not greatly welcomed in any place of power, and his court was, with but one or two exceptions, made up of men who, of whatever descent they might be, looked on themselves as Englishmen, and bore the impress of English training. The mass of Englishmen meanwhile looked after their own affairs and cared nothing about foreign wars fought by Brabancon mercenaries, and paid for by foreign gold. But if they had nothing to win from all these wars, they were none the less at last drawn into the political alliances and sympathies of their master. Shut out as she was by her narrow strip of sea from any real concern in the military movements of the continental peoples, England was still dragged by the policy of her Angevin rulers into all the complications of European politics. The friendships and the hatreds of her king settled who were to be the allies and who the foes of England, and practically fixed the course of her foreign policy for seven hundred years. A traditional sympathy lingered on from Henry's days with Germany, Italy, Sicily, and Spain; but the connection with Anjou forced England into a hostility with France which had no real ground in English feeling or English interests; the national hatred took a deeper character when the feudal nobles clung to the support of the French king against the English sovereign and the English people, and "generation handed on to generation an enmity whose origin had long been forgotten." From the disastrous Crusade of 1191, "from the siege of Acre," to use the words of Dr. Stubbs, "and the battle of Arsouf to the siege of Sebastopol and the battles of the Crimea, English and French armies never met again except as enemies."