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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Thomas Becket: Murder and the Making of a Saint

British Museum / London / Art

“Better are the blows of a friend than the false kisses of an enemy.” These words were uttered by Thomas Becket and the irony is palpable: in 1170 Becket was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral, where he served as archbishop, by four knights who had been sent by King Henry II, formerly Becket’s bosom friend. The murder had major political and cultural ramifications throughout Europe, where Becket, through the centuries, has been viewed as a venerable saint and, as Henry VIII would call him, an obstinate traitor. 850 years later, visitors have the opportunity to go deeper into the dynamic life of this saint, canonized shortly after his death by Pope Alexander III. The show includes rare illuminated manuscripts, sacred reliquaries, and even a Medieval stained-glass window from Canterbury Cathedral. —Sabina Vitale

British Museum Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3DG, UK
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