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Thomas á Becket and the Catholic Context

            Early British Hitory .
             Thomas á Becket and the Catholic Context.
             The tragedy of Thomas á Becket and his relationship with Henry II was symptomatic throughout the Europe of the day. The Church/State power struggle that plagued a back and forth match between the two institutions, finding harmony only in mere glimpses, was one of the largest sources of divine and royal troubles. If the emperor had too much power, the Pope would attempt to assert dominance. If a Pope had too much power, then the emperors would seek to depose and replace him. Central to this dilemma is the case of the English king and the Archbishop of Canterbury, but playing in the backdrop, on a much larger scale is the case of the German Emperor and the Pope. Overwhelmingly similar are the cases of Henry II and Becket compared to Barbarossa and Alexander III. .
             Early Life through Chancellorship.
             Thomas á Becket was born circa 1118 (some sources claim 1120) in London to a wealthy merchant, Gilbert Becket and Roesa or Matilda of Caen, of Norman roots. Becket, with this wealthy background of a father who was even sheriff for some time, was well educated at Merton Priory, and Paris. Becket became proficient in hunting and hawking, two sports in which he would later indulge consistently with Henry II, under the wing of Richer of Laigle who facilitated Becket's education at his castle of Pevensey. Upon his return to England, Becket was employed under sheriffs and learned first hand about English politics. .
             When the knowledge of this young, outstanding gentleman reached the Archbishop Theobald of Canterbury, he was immediately taken into his service and household in 1142 as a clerk. He was sent to Bologna, and Auxerre to study civil and canon law and, upon returning yet again, was made Archdeacon of the See and Provost of Beverley. Becket was very loyal to the church and displayed his political tact by solving the problem of Henry's succession in such a way to satisfy the Church and the State interests simultaneously.

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