A DECADE OF NEGOTIATIONS
1276-1285: Conspicuous State, France; Conspicuous Rival, England.
IN THE DECADE from 1276 to 85, France has to be classed as the dominant political force on the European scene. This position had only recently been achieved, due in part to the personality and actions of Louis IX, the saintly king of France who ruled from 1226 to 1270. External circumstances also played their part. The Holy Roman Empire had been torn to pieces in the struggle of the Hohenstaufens with the papacy. Italy was divided into several segments unable to compete with the developing national monarchs. The Spanish states were just beginning to assert themselves on the European scene. Constantinople had been conquered by the crusaders early in the century and even after it again achieved independence, it would not be classed as a great power. Moreover, Louis also benefitted from the schemes of his brother, Charles of Anjou, who was expanding his power into Italy and the eastern Empire. In effect no European state was able to match the growing might of France. England had been weakened by the internal discontent during the reign of King John and by the minority and difficulties of Henry III. England was still the hereditary enemy, and by the end of the decade under study had once again become the most conspicuous rival. The rivalry between England and France was caused mainly by the English claims to various territories on the continent over which the king of France claimed overlordship. The rival claims made peace difficult between the two, and their relationships ranged from hot to cold wars with intermittent thaws. England and France went to war several times in the thirteenth century, and