Thomas Becket

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University of California Press, 1990 - Biography & Autobiography - 334 pages
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On 29 December 1170, Thomas Archbishop of Canterbury was brutally murdered in his cathedral by four knights from the household of his former friend and patron, King Henry II. The horror that the killing inspired and the miraculous cures performed at Thomas's tomb transfigured him into one of the most popular saints in Western Christendom, and Canterbury became one of the greatest pilgrim shrines in the West.

Yet these were unexpected results. Thomas's extraordinary career had been, and remains, controversial. The transformation of a handsome, attractive, and worldly courtier into a zealous prelate, a bitter exile and finally a martyr was for many hard to understand. In this brilliant new biography, based on the original sources and informed by the most recent scholarship, Frank Barlow reconstructs Thomas's physical environment and entourage at various stages of his career, exploring the nuances and irregularities in the story that have been ignored in other studies.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
background and youth 11201143
10
Thelower rungs of the ladders 11431154
24
Royal chancellor 11551162
41
Archbishop of Canterbury 1162
64
the first year 11621163
74
The quarrel with the king 11631164
88
Thomas on the defensive November i 164April 1166
117
Thomas on the attack April i 166May 1167
143
The path of truth and justice 11671169
167
The road to glory 1170
198
The end of the road
225
From death unto life
251
NOTES AND REFERENCES
276
INDEX
322
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About the author (1990)

Frank Barlow is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Exeter. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Society of Literature.

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