Joan had to react. She needed to
Joan of ArcA French saint and a heroine in the Hundred Years’ war was Joan of Arc.This farm girl helped save the French from English command and was often calledthe Maid Orleans and the Maid of France. Her inspiration led the French to manyvictories.Joan Of Arc (In French Jeanne d’Arc) was born around 1412, in thevillage of Domremy, France.
She was a peasant girl who, like many girls of thattime, could not read or write. Her father, Jacques, was a wealthy tenant farmerand her mother, Isabelle Romee, taught her how to sow, spin, and cook which shewas proud of. She also spent much of her time praying to and serving God. Shelived like most children did at that time, until when she was about thirteen.According to Wagenknecht: “The Vision first came when she was firstthirteen..
..” 1The vision was Saint Michael who said she should be a goodgirl and go to church.
When more and more Visions had come it started comingclearer to her and when she saw Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret her duty wasclear, she was the chosen one to crown Charles the VII. 2Since France had been fighting with England in what was called theHundred Years’ War, much of Northern France was captured by the English,including Reims where the coronation for kings had been held for over centuriesbefore him. Since Reims was captured, Charles the VII, who had not yet beencrowned; was still called the Dauphin. When Joan had these visions of SaintCatherine and Saint Margaret, she told her family and friends. When she toldher father, he would not let her go.
After when these Visions told her thatEngland and Burgundy, England’s ally, were going to capture Orleans, one ofFrance’s last strong forces, she knew she had to react. She needed to go to thegovernor of Vaucouleurs, an agent of the Dauphin, and convince him to give heran army to escort her to the Dauphin.She first needed an escort to come with her to see the governor so sheasked her cousin, Durand Laxart. He, at first, was skeptical about it, but thenhe soon came to Joan’s side.
When she told the governor, Robert de Baudricourt,he said she was a fool and she should go home. But after some time of waiting,Baudri-court let her go, under his protection, to the Dauphin with maleclothing, a sword, 3 a safe conduct pass, and a small escort. They departedFebruary 23. They safely traveled at night on byroads for eleven days fromVacouleurs to Chinon. They slept in the open air and disguised Joan, so theEnglish would not notice her when she attended Mass in the towns they wentthrough.
After some time arriving in Chinon, she was escorted to where theDauphin was. The Dauphin was among his courtiers and she carefully picked himout, while he was among his courtiers. She went there.Jean Benedetti described it:Joan made her entrance and according to Jean Cartier, Charles VII’sofficial historian, curtsied as though she had been doing it her whole life.She was a striking woman who dressed, and in many ways behaved, like a man andyet had feminine qualities of compassion and tenderness. Everyone who met wasimpressed the force of her personality.
She had ‘charisma’. Moreover sheprovided a minor wonder by recognizing the king who was hiding among hiscourtiers, trying to look inconspicuous, and doubtless succeeding. When sheaddressed him he de denied that he was the king, pointing to one of hiscourtiers with the words, ‘You are mistaken, there is the king.’ But Joanpersisted, calling him ‘Gentle Dauphin’. 2Joan and the Dauphin spent some time together talking together and she told him4 that God has sent her there to tell him that God has said that he will beanointed and crowned king in Reims.
The decision was to be postponed for a few months. There was acommission to inspect Joan’s history; to make sure that she was really sent byGod and not the devil. And Joan herself was questioned and tested at theUniversity of Poitiers and she also had to have a verification by matron toprove that she was a virgin. After three weeks the court claimed that she wasacceptable. Even though there were myths said about the situation, they wantedher story to be true.
If it was not true, than who would save them?As PierreGoubert stated, “She won the confidence and respect of rough soldiers andchiefs, who knew the legend that a maiden would save the kingdom that had beenlost by a woman- Isabeau. To these people, what we regard as extraordinary, themarvelous or divine appeared normal.” 3The appointed rendezvous for the troops was Blois. Joan made sure thatall the men in the army obeyed the Ten Commandments and kicked out all the loose5 women. They had to confess their sins to a priest and receive Eucharist.
Wagennecht pointed out that “And LaHire himself, that good-hearted roughneck,whose every word was an oath, was forbidden to swear except by his baton!” 4Even though the army was living by religious rule, they did have fun. TheDauphin furnished her with armor, attendants, and horses before they left.Compton’s Living Encyclopedia states that, “A special banner was made for Joanto carry in battle. On one side were the words ‘Jesus Maria’ and a figure ofGod, seated on clouds holding a glove. The other side had a figure of theVirgin and a shield, with two angels supporting the arms of France” 5When Joan and her army arrived in Orleans on April 29th, she was not incommand but her being there fired the army with confidence. Joan did not findthe plans on how they were going to enter the enclosed city of Orleansacceptable so they used the plans she made up. Joan had helped save theenclosed town of Orleans from the English.
The Voices still guided Joan andthey told her very precise information on what to do but she often lost hersanity in battle. But for the fact 6 that these Voices guided her, and how sheoften got pulled away from certain death or pulled away from being captured madethe English think that they were dealing with the supernatural. As JeanBenedetti said:Certainly the sight of a woman dressed in white armour, carrying a whitebanner and leading troops into battle, must have been impressive, whatever abusethey might throw at her. Besides her frequent trips to the fortifications, hersummons to the English to surrender must have taken an magic aura, as though shehad been trying to put a spell on them, or conjure them to surrender. 6On May 4th, Joan took command with the attack at the Bastille of SaintLoup, and they conquered it easily because the English had not enough time toget equipped; this attack cleared the eastside of Orleans. They planned anattack to take the fortress of Les Tourelles, the key point in the dispositionof the English.
If they could take back Les Tourelles, the French could controlthe river again. In doing this, Joan was injured by an arrow that made a deepwound in her shoulder. They treated it with a dressing of lard and olive oiland Joan went back into battle. On an attack at Dunois, they had startedattacking in the morning and by sunset they had made no progress and were aboutto retire when something miraculous 7 happened.
Joan had went into a vineyardand prayed, then the fort opened and the army entered and they captured the fort.On May 8th, 1429, the English left their fortress and the siege ofOrleans was over. That night victory was celebrated, the army went from churchto church and was cheered by the town. But still the Dauphin had not beencrowned yet.
Joan was excluded from the meetings but she always ended upfiguring what was happening, and there was a delay. Joan wanted him to becrowned right away and not after Paris was liberated, which was what Charleswanted. So Charles agreed to go to Reims for the coronation but during theplanning time, he would campaign in Loire valley which was consolidated.On July 16, the army, Joan, and Charles entered Reims.
And on July 17,1429, the Dauphin was crowned king of France, with Joan stood by by the kingholding her banner. This was her golden hour; she achieved her miraculous taskher Visions set her out to do, and she was recognized for it.They French decided to attack Paris, but the king’s procrastinationwarded 8 Joan and her army from accorded attack. But Compiegne, Senilus, andBeauvais were all captured. On August 28, an armistice was signed betweenFrance and Burgundy, which Joan did not favor. On September 8th, Joan attackedthe Porte Saint Honore, Paris and failed. Here Joan, once again, was wounded,but this time in her thigh.
Joan was taken away from Paris and Charles VIIdisbanded his army, from autumn of 1429 until the end of the following May. Sheparticipated in taking Saint Pierre le Moutier in autumn. And on May 23, 1430Joan went out to Compiegne, which was then sieged by the Duke of Burgundy. Whenshe entered the Burgundian lines, she was taken away from her soldiers and wascaught.
While being a prisoner at Beaurevoir, she tried to escape twice.Onceshe locked her jailer in but they found her out and sent her back. The secondtime she wanted to go back to Compiegne, and since she was scared she would fallinto the English’s hands, she jumped sixty feet from her tower at Beaurevoir,without listening to her Voices. A leap from that height would have ended anyother human life but she survived with no broken bones and only minor injuries.When found she 9 was taken to Crotoy on the Somme, and there she was sold to theEnglish to be tried as a witch under an ecclesiastical court.
She was handed over to Pierre Cauchon, bishop of Beauvais, on January3rd, 1431. The sittings had begun on February 21 and continued over a period ofmonths. She was held in chains, harassed by countless questions, and threatenedwith torture over this period of months; Saint Catherine and Saint Margaretstill gave her advice through all this. On May 24, 1431, Joan was taken to thecemetery where she she was to been burned at the stake unless she recanted,which she did. This is not really to clear to historians why she did that, butmany believe that she did not understand what the recant meant.
Wagenknechtstated that “Her own view, after she was herself again, or perhaps one shouldsay her report and interpretation of the view of her Voices in that matter, wasthat she had imperiled her soul to save her life: ‘It was the fear of the firewhich made me say what I did.” 7 After her recanting she was sentenced fromdeath to life of imprisonment. Of her being treated so softly, the English werefurious. Joan had thought she was going 10 to be sent free but instead Cauchonsentenced her to perpetual imprisonmentBiographies