Monday, August 10, 2020

Interesting. . .

When the conflict between St. Thomas a Becket and his once-close friend King Henry II culminated into burning anger, King Henry II uttered the famous phrase – 'Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?'   That led directly to Becket's murder at the hands of the king's own knights  -- right in Becket's cathedral in 1170.  

Now, some 800 years since Thomas Becket's body was moved from a tomb in the crypt of the cathedral into a glittering shrine – July 7,
1220, that shrine has been digitally recreated.  It had been destroyed in 1538 when Henry VIII's dispute with the papacy caused the destruction and looting of many churches and monasteries.  This digital reconstruction is the first to be based upon surviving fragments of the shrine discovered in and around Canterbury Cathedral since the 19th century.  It combines information from eye-witness accounts, theories from past historians, date of construction, materials used, details on accessibility, and its location to recreate how the shrine would have looked.

The team's model is based upon how the shrine would have looked in 1408, a time when Canterbury was visited by up to 100,000 pilgrims a year.  The scientists behind the reconstruction argue that the shrine was created much earlier, between 1180 and 1220, and would have likely taken more than 30 years to build and ornament.
The model includes a sturdy marble base and iron grilles, not featured in previous reconstructions, that enclosed the shrine.  The grilles 'would serve to enhance a sense of mystery' for visitors to the candle-lit shrine during its heyday.

For students of history, this is fascinating.  For those who enjoy a good story, it is a great plot with many sub-plots.  For those who don't know what I am talking about, try watching the famous Richard Burton adaptation of the history in the movie Becket. 

In October, the British Museum has planned (who knows if the pandemic will allow) to host a n exhibition devoted to the life, martyrdom, and legacy of Thomas Becket.  Some 800 years of popular mythologizing (much of it apocryphal) has only increased the interest in and the image of Thomas  a Becke among Anglicans, Catholics, Hollywood and even New Age faith types. “His story has all the hallmarks of a Game of Thrones plot,” says Naomi Speakman, co-curator of the exhibition. “There’s drama, fame, royalty, power, envy, retribution, and ultimately a brutal murder that shocked Europe. These events has repercussions that have echoed throughout time.”

1 comment:

Joanne said...

A Lutheran comparison of a Reformation handling of the body of a patron saint:,_Nuremberg