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Primary Sources Of Thomas Becket

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During the Medieval Era, the church and the state were two of the most powerful entities in almost every area of Europe. Because of the power of each, conflicts occurred often between the two entities. The state, in the form of a King in a monarchy for example, might try to influence the appointment of a bishop to the church. Or, the church could contest that someone be tried under canon laws instead of secular laws. A good example of the church and state coming into conflict with each other is the murder of Thomas Becket. Thomas Becket was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral on December 29, 1170 by a group of knights who believed that King Henry II of England had ordered the murder of Becket after a dispute between the two. Immediately after the murder, Becket was canonized and recognized as a martyr to the church and ever since pilgrims have gone to Canterbury Cathedral to honor and remember Becket. There are many primary sources that are available to me as I investigate Thomas Becket. Because of the popularity of Becket at the time of his death, many writers have written biographies about him and many writers have given their account of his death. To read through every account of his life and death would take a great deal of time, and a literacy in Middle English or Latin. Luckily, modern day historian Michael Staunton in his book The Lives of Thomas Becket has written an account of Becket’s life by translating and annotating many of the primary sources. Although it is
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