A BECKET 163
Henry II, whose kingdom included Normandy and western France, found in his former Chancellor Thomas a Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, a powerful opponent of royal plans to make the Church subservient to the state. At a Congress in Clarendon the King en- acted a number of decrees under the pretext that he was restoring "age old customs/' In reality they undermined traditional rights and institutions. The first point was that the clergy was to be subject to secular tribunals. Unless the King so permitted, no summons to Rome was to be obeyed and no journey out of England was to be undertaken. The election of bishops was to take place only in the King's Chapel and in accordance with his wishes. Ecclesiastical property was to be subject to the King's right of disposal. Threatened and deceived, the Primate and other bishops assented to these demands after a hard fight. When the Curia then condemned these new decrees the Primate withdrew his assent and escaped the wrath of the King by fleeing to France and to the Pope. Alexander paid no attention to the English demand that he be deposed, but was soon compelled to realize that at the Reichstag of Wiirzburg (1165) , Eng- land and the Emperor (acting under English influence, which em- bittered a great part of Germany) had joined the party of the anti- Pope. Bishops and priests in attendance joined with Barbarossa in swearing that they would sever themselves "forever from the schismatic Roland." The moving spirit in this was Reinald, the Chancellor. Alexander did not tremble at this broadside, for the English Church as a whole was on his side; and the English King, Frederic's new ally, disavowed the oaths sworn by his legates at Wiirzburg.
Meanwhile the Imperial power in Italy had rapidly declined. In the^spring of 1 144 it was opposed by a league between the enslaved cities of the Veronese district and Venice, the city republic which the Emperor had threatened to subjugate. In the autumn of 1 165, Alex- ander returned to Rome; but new problems, above all the death of William of Normandy, to whose throne a boy succeeded, again brought the Emperor to Italy on a mission of destruction. Milan gave him only a sombre welcome; and as soon as he left the disaffection of Lombardy grew stronger. The armies commanded by his faithful generals Christian and Reinald cleared a path to Rome for Frederic. Clad as a pilgrim, Alexander fled to Benevent and could see St. Peter's