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. English ecclesiastical affairs 1330-6458. Anti-papal writers59. Quarrel among mendicants and universities60. Table of the Archbishops of Canterbury
Critical Apparatus for this Page
View an Image of this PageCommentary on the TextCommentary on the Woodcuts
Names and Places on this Page
228 [205]

K. Henry. 2. Fredericus the Emperour. The life and historie of Thomas Becket described.

Pope Alexander treading on the necke of Fredericke the Emperour.
woodcut [View a larger version]
Commentary on the Woodcuts  *  Close
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).

restore agayne to the Church of Rome, all that he had taken away before. And thus the Emperour obtayning agayne hys sonne, departed.

Here, as I note in diuers writers, a great diuersitie and varietie touching the order of this matter (of whome some say that the Emperour campt in Palestina before he came to Venice, some say after) MarginaliaVolateran taken with a cōtradictionso I meruell to see in Volaterane (so great a fauourer of the pope) such a contradiction who in his 22. book saith: þt Otto (the Emperours sonne) was taken in this conflict, which was the cause of þe peace betweene his father aad the pope: And in his 23. booke agayne saith, that the Emperour himselfe was taken prisoner in the same battayle: & so (afterward peace conclnded) tooke his iorney to Asia & Palestina: This P. in the time of his papacie (whiche continued 21. yeares) kept sundry councels both at Turo & at MarginaliaConcilium Lateranense.Lateran, where he confirmed the wicked proceedings of Hildebrand, and other his predecessors. MarginaliaThe clergie bounde to the vowe of chastitie.As to binde all orders of the clergy to the vowe of chastitie, which were not greatly to be reprehended if they would define chastitie aright. MarginaliaPapistes erre not so much in promising chastitie, as in defining chastitie. For who so liueth not a chaste lyfe (sayth he) is no fit person to be a minister. But herein lyeth an error full of much blindnes: and also peril, to thinke that matrimony immaculate (as S. Paul calleth it) is not chastitie, but onely a single life, that they esteeme to be a chaste life.

[Back to Top]

Now forasmuch as our english pope holy martyr, called Thomas Becket, happened also in the same tyme of this pope Alexander, let vs somewhat also story of him so far as the matter shall seeme worthy of knowledge and to stand with truth. 

Commentary  *  Close
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.

[Back to Top]
To the end that the truth thereof being sifted from all flattery and lyes of such popishe writers as paynt out his story: men may the better iudge both of hym what he was, and also of hys cause.

[Back to Top]
The life and history of Thomas Becket Archbishop of Canterbury.

MarginaliaTho. Becket Archb. at Cant.IF the cause make a Martyr (as is sayd) I see not why we should esteeme Tho. Becket to dye a martyr, more then any other whome the Princes sword doth here temporally punish for their temporall desertes. MarginaliaBecket no martyr. To dye for the Church, I graunt is a glorious matter. But the Church, (as it is a spirituall and not a temporal Church) so it standeth vpon causes spirituall, and vpon an heauenly foundation, as vpon fayth, religion, true doctrine, sincere discipline, obedience to Gods cōmandements. And not vpō things pertaining to this world, as possessions, liberties, exemptions, priuileges, dignities, patrimonies, and superiorities. If these be geuen to the Churche, I pray God churchmen may vse them wel, but if they be not geuen, thechurch cannot clayme thē: or if they be takē away, that stādeth in the princes power. To contend wt Princes for the same, it is no matter (in my minde) materiall, to make a martyr, but rather a rebellion agaynst them, to whom we owe subiection. Therfore as I suppose Tho. Becket to be far frō the cause and title of a Martyr (neyther can he be excused, from a playne rebell against his prince) so yet would I haue wished agayne, the lawe rather publikely to haue found out his fault: then the swords of men (not biddē nor sent) to haue smitten him, hauing no speciall commandement, neyther of the prince nor of the lawe so to doe. For though the indignation of the Prince (as the wise Prince sayth) is death: yet it is not for euery priuate persō straghtwayes to reuenge the secret indignation of his Prince, except he be publikely authorised thereunto. And thus had bene (as I suppose) the better way, the lawes first to haue executed their iustice vpon him. Certes, it had bene the safest way for the king, as it proued after: who had iust matter inough, if he had prosecuted his cause agaynst him. And also thereby, hys death had bene without all suspicion of martirdome, neyther had their followed this shrining and sainting of him as there did. Albeit, the secret prouidence of God (whiche gouerneth all thinges) did see this way percase to be best, and most necessary for those dayes. And doubtles (to say here what I thinke, and yet to speak nothing agayne charitie) if the Emperours had done the like to the Popes, contending agaynst them what tyme they had tooke them prisoners: that is, if they had vsed the lawe of the sword against them, and chopped off the heads of one or two, according to their trayterous rebellion: they had broken the necke of much disturbaunce, whiche long tyme after did trouble the Churche. But for lacke of that, because Emperours hauing the sword, and the trueth on their side, woulde not vse their sworde: but standing in awe of the Popes vayne curse, and reuerencing his seat for Saint Peters sake, durst not lay hand vppon hym: though he were neuer so abhominable and trayterous a malefactour. The Popes perceauing that, tooke so much vpon them (not as the scripture would geue) but as much as the superstitious feare of Emperors and kings woulde suffer them to take: which was so much, that it past all order, rule, and measure. And all because the superior powers (eyther would not, or durst not) practise the authoritie geuen to them of the Lord, vpon those inferiours, but suffered them to be their maisters.

[Back to Top]

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

Go To Modern Page No:  
Click on this link to switch between the Modern pagination for this edition and Foxe's original pagination when searching for a page number. Note that the pagination displayed in the transcription is the modern pagination with Foxe's original pagination in square brackets.
Type a keyword and then restrict it to a particular edition using the dropdown menu. You can search for single words or phrases. When searching for single words, the search engine automatically imposes a wildcard at the end of the keyword in order to retrieve both whole and part words. For example, a search for "queen" will retrieve "queen", "queene" and "queenes" etc.
Humanities Research Institute  *  HRI Online  *  Feedback
Version 2.0 © 2011 The University of Sheffield