There were genuine reasons of state behind most of these engagements, aside from Henry's personal glory and that which he wished to bestow on his countrymen through victory. The early wars with the French were conducted, in part, as an effort to keep the power of the French king at bay. Alongside Charles V's great, inherited empire, France was the major power in Europe, and its aggressive behavior toward the Italian states showed what an acquisitive appetite such power fostered. France's threats to the Papacy were also looked upon with great disquiet in Henry's England. Henry joined the Holy League and fought expressly in defense of the Holy See in Rome with singular zeal. He was urged along in this zeal by the tremendous influence of Cardinal Wolsey, who sought to please the Vatican and position himself, unrealistically, as a potential candidate for the papal tiara. Henry's posture in foreign relations shifted dramatically after the break with Rome, and
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