Thomas Becket: Warrior, Priest, Rebel by John GuyA revisionist new biography reintroducing readers to one of the most subversive figures in English history—the man who sought to reform a nation, dared to defy his king, and laid down his life to defend his sacred honor
Becket’s life story has been often told but never so incisively reexamined and vividly rendered as it is in John Guy’s hands. The son of middle-class Norman parents, Becket rose against all odds to become the second most powerful man in England. As King Henry II’s chancellor, Becket charmed potentates and popes, tamed overmighty barons, and even personally led knights into battle. After his royal patron elevated him to archbishop of Canterbury in 1162, however, Becket clashed with the King. Forced to choose between fealty to the crown and the values of his faith, he repeatedly challenged Henry’s authority to bring the church to heel. Drawing on the full panoply of medieval sources, Guy sheds new light on the relationship between the two men, separates truth from centuries of mythmaking, and casts doubt on the long-held assumption that the headstrong rivals were once close friends. He also provides the fullest accounting yet for Becket’s seemingly radical transformation from worldly bureaucrat to devout man of God.
Here is a Becket seldom glimpsed in any previous biography, a man of many facets and faces: the skilled warrior as comfortable unhorsing an opponent in single combat as he was negotiating terms of surrender; the canny diplomat “with the appetite of a wolf” who unexpectedly became the spiritual paragon of the English church; and the ascetic rebel who waged a high-stakes contest of wills with one of the most volcanic monarchs of the Middle Ages. Driven into exile, derided by his enemies as an ungrateful upstart, Becket returned to Canterbury in the unlikeliest guise of all: as an avenging angel of God, wielding his power of excommunication like a sword. It is this last apparition, the one for which history remembers him best, that will lead to his martyrdom at the hands of the king’s minions—a grisly episode that Guy recounts in chilling and dramatic detail.
An uncommonly intimate portrait of one of the medieval world’s most magnetic figures, Thomas Becket breathes new life into its subject—cementing for all time his place as an enduring icon of resistance to the abuse of power.
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Becket(11 March 1964)Thomas Becket Murdered(21 December 1119-29 December 1170)
St. Thomas Becket
Thomas was born to Norman parents of the merchant class. He was educated first at the Augustinian Merton Priory, then in a London school, and finally at Paris. Deeply influenced in childhood by a devout mother who died when he was 21, Thomas entered adult life as a city clerk and accountant in the service of the sheriffs. After three years he was introduced by his father to Archbishop Theobald , a former abbot of Bec, of whose household he became a member. His contemporaries described Thomas as a tall and spare figure with dark hair and a pale face that flushed in excitement. His memory was extraordinarily tenacious and, though neither a scholar nor a stylist, he excelled in argument and repartee.
He is venerated as a saint and martyr by both the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. He engaged in conflict with Henry II, King of England , over the rights and privileges of the Church and was murdered by followers of the king in Canterbury Cathedral. The main sources for the life of Becket are a number of biographies written by contemporaries. A few of these documents are by unknown writers, although traditional historiography has given them names. Besides these biographies, there is also the mention of the events of Becket's life in the chroniclers of the time.
Thomas Becket London, December 21, — Canterbury, December 29, was born into a bourgeois family originally from Caen, in Normandy. In fact, during his youth, he took part in numerous jousts and tournaments. At the age of ten, he started studying civil and canon law in the abbey of the monks of Merton, in Surrey. He studied theology in Paris and Bologna. Once he returned to England, Thomas entered the service of the archbishop of Canterbury.
Thomas Becket was the Archbishop of Canterbury who had a troubled relationship with King Henry II of England which ultimately led to him being murdered by knights of the emperor. Here are 10 interesting facts about the life and death of Saint Thomas Becket. Thomas Becket was born in Cheapside, London in or He was born on December 21 , which was the feast day of St Thomas, the Apostle. Thomas was the son of a prosperous merchant Gilbert Becket and his wife Matilda.
British Broadcasting Corporation Home. Thomas Becket was born in around , the son of a prosperous London merchant. He was well educated and quickly became an agent to Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, who sent him on several missions to Rome. Becket's talents were noticed by Henry II, who made him his chancellor and the two became close friends. When Theobald died in , Henry made Becket archbishop. Becket transformed himself from a pleasure-loving courtier into a serious, simply-dressed cleric.