The Weather-Vane & the Hippocampus
The weather-vane of the 17th century bell tower of the church of San Tomasso di Canterbury takes the form of a hippocampus (or hippocamp), a mythological creature that has the upper body of a horse (with wings) and the lower body of a fish. One of the powers ascribed to the hippocampus is atmokinesis: the ability to control the weather.
The 19th century church, which belongs to the Venerable English College, is dedicated to St Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, who was killed in Canterbury Cathedral on December 29th, 1170.
Little over three years later, on February 21st 1173, Becket was canonised by Pope Alexander III (r. 1159-81).
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My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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