Thematic Divisions in Book 4
1. Lanfranc2. Gregory VII3. William the Conqueror4. William Rufus5. Henry I6. Stephen and Henry II7. Frederick Barbarossa8. Thomas Becket9. Becket's letters10. Becket's martyrdom and miracles11. Events of 1172-7812. Waldensians13. Other incidents of Henry II's reign14. First year of Richard I's reign15. Strife at Canterbury16. Richard I and Third Crusade17. William Longchamp18. King John19. Henry III's early reign20. Innocent III and mendicant orders21. Papal oppression of the English Church22. Albigensian Crusade23. Hubert de Burgh24. Gregory IX25. Schism between Greek and Latin Church26. Papal exactions from England27. Louis IX on Crusade28. Frederick II29. Opponents of Papacy30. Robert Grosseteste31. Aphorisms of Robert Grosseteste32. Persecution of Jews33. Papal oppression and Alexander IV34. Conflicts in universities and mendicant orders35. Henry III and the barons36. Battle of Lewes37. Battle of Evesham38. End of baronial war39. Ecclesiastical matters and Edward prince of Wales goes on crusade40. Foreign events in Henry III's reign41. First seven years of Edward I's reign42. War with Scotland43. Philip IV and Boniface VIII44. Events of 1305-745. Cassiodorous's letter46. Pierre de Cugniere47. Death of Edward I48. Piers Gaveston49. The Despensers and the death of Edward II50. John XXIII and Clement VI51. Rebellion in Bury St. Edmunds52. Edward III and Scotland53. Edward III and Philip VI54. Edward III and Archbishop Stratford55. Events of 1341-556. Outbreak of the Hundred Years War57. Anti-papal writers58. Quarrel among mendicants and universities59. Table of the Archbishops of Canterbury
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231 [230]

K. Henry .2. Fredericus Empererour. Tho. Becket.

Pope Alexander treading on the necke of Fridericke the Emperor.
woodcut [View a larger version]
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This significant moment of papal humiliation, already valued as a precedent in the time of Henry VIII, featured in a woodcut in Robert Barnes, Bapsttrew Hadriani iiii und Alexanders iii gegen keyser Friderischen Barbarossa geübt, which Foxe's illustrator clearly borrowed from. This is among the images in the Acts and Monuments that show borrowings from German sources. As with the Canossa illustration, this image had to be pasted in and folded into the 1563 edition, since there was not enough room on the page to include a woodcut of this size. This illustration appears to have wielded some considerable influence, well into the seventeenth century, inspiring further visual representations of anti-papal sentiment. In the Pope-Burning procession in London in 1680, for example, one float carried figures depicting a seated pope holding the papal keys in one hand, with his foot on the neck of a monarch lying prostrate at his feet. This is unmistakably a conflation of two woodcut pictures from the Acts and Monuments: this,of Pope Alexander III treading on the neck of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, and that depicting the Pope seated on the papal throne holding the keys aloft while the monarch humbly kisses his foot. (See below 'Proud primacy of popes', no. 4 (B), p. 928). CUL copy: The curtains in the background are in a particularly bright green. The cardinal is dressed in bright orange, with some detail in red. The archbishop behind him is in papal white with a yellow pallium, which is tinted (possibly as shading) in purple. His mitre is in yellow with purple details. Frederick wears purple, with pink sleeve / gown with brown fur edging. The pope is in a white simar, with a pallium, which is the same as that worn by the archbishop, although the pope's has green edging also. Note that his gauntlets are bright orange and red, with yellow details and his papal slippers are yellow with red crosses. His papal tiara is in yellow, with purple velvet. The ferula in his hand is in yellow, with a white napkin. WREN copy: Coloured similarly to the CUL copy but in this one the footwear worn by the pope is a reddish-orange with yellow crosses (essentially the reverse the CUL copy).

Now for as much, as our english pope holy martir called Thomas Becket, happened also in þe same time of this pope Alexander: Let vs somewhat also storye of him so far as the matter shall seeme worthy of knowlege and to stand with truth. 

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Thomas Becket

The Foxe Project was not able to complete the commentary on this section of text by the date by which this online edition was compiled (23 September 2008) because it was awaiting the delivery of research materials from the British Library. This commentary will become available in due course from the 'Late Additions and Corrections' page of the edition.

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To the end, that the truth therof being sifted from all flattery and lyes of such popish writers as painte out hys story: men may the better iudge both of him what he was, and also of his cause.

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¶ The lyfe and history of Thomas Becket Archbishop of Caunterbury.

MarginaliaTho. Becket Archb. of Cant.IF the cause make a Martyr (as is said) I see not why we should esteme Thomas Becket to dye a martir, MarginaliaBecket no martyr.more then any other whom the princes sword doth here temporally punish for their temporall desertes. To dye for the church, I graunt is a glorious matter. But þt church, (as it is a spirituall and not a temporall church) so it standeth vpon causes spirituall, and vpon an heauenly foundation: as vpon fayth, religion, true doctrine, sincere discipline, obedience to gods cōmaundements, &c. And not vpō things perteinyng to this world as possessions, liberties, exemptions pruileges, dignities, patrimonies and superiorities. If these be geuen to the church, I pray God, churchmen may vse them well: but if they be not geuen, the church can not clayme them: or if they be taken away, that standeth in the princes power. To contend with Princes for the same, it is no matter (in my mynde) material, to make a Martyr, but rather a rebellion agaynst them, to whom we owe subiection. Therfore, as I suppose Thomas Becket to be far frō the cause and title of a Martyr (neither can be excused, from a playne rebell agaynst his prince) so yet would I haue wished agayne, the law rather publikly to haue found out hys fault: then the swordes of men (not biddē nor sent) to haue smitten him, hauyng no speciall commaundement, neither of the prince, nor of the law, so to do. For though the indignatiō of the prince (as the wyse prince sayth) is death: yet it is not for euery priuate person straight wayes to reuēge the secret indignation of hys prince, except he be publikely authorised therunto. And this had bene (as I suppose) the better way, the lawes first to haue executed their iustice vpon hym. Certes, it had bene the safest way for the kyng, as it proued after: who had iust matter inough, if he had prosecuted his cause agaynst hym. And also therby, hys death had bene without all suspicion of martyrdome, neyther had there followed this shrinyng and saintyng of hym, as there did. Albeit, the secret prouidence of God (which gouerneth all thinges) dyd see this way percase to be most best, and most necessary for those dayes. And doubtles (to say here what I thinke, and yet to speake nothing against charitie) if the Emperours had done the lyke to the Popes contending against them what time they toke them prisoners: that is, if they had vsed the law of the sword agaynst them, and chopped of the heds of one or two, according to their traiterous rebellion: they had broken the necke of much disturbaunce, which long tyme after did trouble the church. But for lacke of that, because Emperors hauing þe sword, and the truth on their side, would not vse their sword: but standyng in awe of the Popes vayne curse, and reuerencyng hys seat for S. Peters sake: durst not lay hand vpon hym, though he were neuer so abhominable and traiterous a malefactour. The popes perceauyng that, toke so much vpon them (not as the scripture woulde geue) but as much as the supersticious feare of Emperours and kynges would suffer them to take: which was so much, that it past all order, rule, and measure. And all because the superior powers (either would not, or durst not) practise the autoritie geuen to them of the Lord, vpon their inferiours, but suffred them to be their maisters.

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But as touchyng Thomas Becket, what so euer is to be thought of them that dyd the acte: the example therof yet bringeth this profite with it, to teach all Romish Prelates not to be so stubberne (in such matters not pertayning to them) agaynst their Prince, vnto whom God hath subiected them.

MarginaliaHerbertus de boseham.
Ioan. Charnot.
Alanus Abbot of Teuchsburye.
Gulielmus Cantuariensis.
Tho. Becket described.
Now to the story, which if it be true that is set forth in Quadrilogo, by those foure who toke vpon them to expresse the lyfe and processe of Thomas Becket: it appeareth by all coniectures, that he was a man of a stoute nature, seuere, & inflexible. What perswasion or opinion he had once conceiued: from that he would in no wyse be remoued, or very hardly. Threatnings and flatterings, were to him both one. In this poynt singular, followyng no mans counsayle so much as hys owne. Great helpes of nature were in hym (if he could haue vsed them well) rather then of learnyng. Albeit, somewhat skilful he was of the ciuil law, which he studied at Bonomy. In memory excellently good, and also wel broken in courtly and in worldly matters. Besides this, he was of a chaste and a straite lyfe, if the histories be true. Although in the first part of his lyfe (beyng yet Archdeacon of Canterbury and after Lord Chauncelor) he was very ciuill, courtlike, pleasant, geuen much both to huntyng and haukyng, accordyng to the gise of the court. And highly fauoured he was of his prince, who not only had thus promoted hym: but also had committed hys sonne and heire to hys institution and gouernance. But in this his first be-

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gin-
S.ij.
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