There are two notable allusions in the first forty lines of the General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales. The first is a reference to Zephyrus, the Greek and Roman god of the West Wind. There were four wind gods in classical mythology, and Zephyrus is generally depicted as a handsome youth carrying a basket of fruit as he brings with him the warm breezes of spring.
The second allusion is to Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury who was murdered on the orders of King Henry II in 1170. Three years after his death, Becket was canonized by Pope Alexander III and became Saint Thomas of Canterbury. Chaucer describes him as the "hooly blisful martir," and it is his sacred relics that the pilgrims are going to see.
There is an obvious conflict between these two allusions, a dichotomy which runs through English literature, becoming particularly marked in the poetry of Milton. Classical allusions to Greek and Roman gods are mixed with Christian allusions to God, Christ, saints, and martyrs. Chaucer clearly believes in Christianity (for all his criticism of the church as an institution), and does not believe in the Greek and Roman gods. However, they offer an opportunity for vivid imagery and personification where no Christian equivalents exist.