Joan of Arc
|Martyr and Holy Virgin|
Domrémy, Duchy of Bar, Kingdom of France
|Died||30 May 1431 (probably aged 19)|
|Beatified||18 April 1909, Saint Peter's Basilica, Rome by Pope Pius X|
|Canonized||16 May 1920, Saint Peter's Basilica, Rome by Pope Benedict XV|
|Patronage||France; martyrs; captives; military personnel; people ridiculed for their piety; prisoners; soldiers, women who have served in the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service); and Women's Army Corps
Joan of Arc (French: Jeanne d'Arc pronounced [ʒan daʁk]; c. 1412 – 30 May 1431), nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans" (French: La Pucelle d'Orléans), is considered a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years' War, and was canonized as a saint. She was born to Jacques d'Arc and Isabelle Romée, a peasant family, at Domrémy in the Vosges of northeast France. Joan said that she received visions of the archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine of Alexandria instructing her to support Charles VII and recover France from English domination late in the Hundred Years' War. The as-yet-unanointed King Charles VII sent Joan to the siege of Orléans as part of a relief army. She gained prominence after the siege was lifted only nine days later. Several additional swift victories led to Charles VII's consecration at Reims. This long-awaited event boosted French morale and paved the way for the final French victory at Castillon in 1453.
On 23 May 1430, she was captured at Compiègne by the Burgundian faction, a group of French nobles allied with the English. She was later handed over to the English and put on trial by the pro-English bishop, Pierre Cauchon, on a variety of charges. After Cauchon declared her guilty, she was burned at the stake on 30 May 1431, dying at about 19 years of age.
In 1456, an inquisitorial court authorized by Pope Callixtus III examined the trial, debunked the charges against her, pronounced her innocent, and declared her a martyr. In the 16th century she became a symbol of the Catholic League, and in 1803 she was declared a national symbol of France by the decision of Napoleon Bonaparte. She was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920. Joan of Arc is one of the nine secondary patron saints of France.
Joan of Arc has remained a popular figure in literature, painting, sculpture, and other cultural works since the time of her death, and many famous writers, playwrights, filmmakers, artists, and composers have created, and continue to create cultural depictions of her.
Joan of Arc[b] was born sometime around 1412[c] in Domrémy, a small village in the Meuse valley, which is now located in the Vosges department within the historical region of Lorraine, France.[d] Her parents were Jacques d'Arc and Isabelle Romée. Joan had at least three brothers and a sister; all but one of the brothers was older. Her father was a peasant farmer of some means. The family had about 50 acres (20 ha) of land, and her father supplemented the family income with a minor position as a village official, collecting taxes and heading the local watch.
Joan was born during the Hundred Years' War, a conflict—punctuated by numerous truces— between the kingdoms of England and France that had begun in 1337. The cause of the war was an inheritance dispute over the French throne. Nearly all the fighting had taken place in France, and the English army's use of chevauchée tactics (destructive "scorched earth" raids) had devastated the economy. The French population had not regained its former size since the Black Death of the mid-14th century, and its merchants were isolated from foreign markets. Before the appearance of Joan of Arc, the English had nearly achieved their goal of a dual monarchy under English control and the French army had not achieved any major victories for a generation. The kingdom of France was a shadow of what it was in the thirteenth century.
At the time of Joan's birth, the French king Charles VI suffered from bouts of mental illness and was often unable to rule. The king's brother Louis, Duke of Orléans, and the king's cousin John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, quarreled over the regency of France and the guardianship of the royal children. This dispute included accusations that Louis was having an extramarital affair with the queen, Isabeau of Bavaria, and allegations that John the Fearless kidnapped the royal children. The conflict climaxed with the assassination of the Duke of Orléans in 1407 on the orders of the Duke of Burgundy. This assassination openly divided France into two factions, beginning a civil war that made the French more vulnerable to the English. The young Charles of Orléans succeeded his father as duke and was placed in the custody of his father-in-law, the Count of Armagnac. Their faction became known as the "Armagnac" faction, and the opposing party led by the Duke of Burgundy was called the "Burgundian faction".
Henry V of England took advantage of these internal divisions when he invaded the kingdom in 1415, winning a dramatic victory at the Battle of Agincourt on 25 October and subsequently capturing many northern French towns during a later campaign in 1417. In 1418 Paris was taken by the Burgundians, who massacred the Count of Armagnac and about 2,500 of his followers. The future French king, Charles VII, assumed the title of Dauphin—the heir to the throne—at the age of fourteen, after all four of his older brothers had died in succession. His first significant official act was to conclude a peace treaty with the Duke of Burgundy in 1419. This ended in disaster when Armagnac partisans assassinated John the Fearless during a meeting under Charles's guarantee of protection. The new duke of Burgundy, Philip the Good, blamed Charles for the murder and entered into an alliance with the English. The forces of the Anglo-Burgundian alliance conquered large sections of France.
In 1420 the queen of France, Isabeau of Bavaria, signed the Treaty of Troyes, which granted the succession of the French throne to Henry V and his heirs instead of her son Charles. This agreement revived suspicions that the Dauphin was the illegitimate product of Isabeau's rumored affair with the late duke of Orléans rather than the son of King Charles VI. Henry V and Charles VI died within two months of each other in 1422, leaving an infant, Henry VI of England, the nominal monarch of both kingdoms. Henry V's brothers, John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford and Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester continued to lead the English army in the war.
By the time Joan of Arc began to influence events in 1429, nearly all of northern France and some parts of the southwest were under Anglo-Burgundian control. The English controlled Paris and Rouen while the Burgundian faction controlled Reims, which had served as the traditional site for the coronation of French kings. This was an important consideration since neither claimant to the throne of France had been anointed or crowned yet. Since 1428 the English had been conducting a siege at Orléans, one of the few remaining cities still loyal to Charles VII and an important objective since it held a strategic position along the Loire River, which made it the last obstacle to an assault on the remainder of Charles VII's territory. The fate of Orléans was critical to the survival of the French kingdom, and by the end of the year, it was completely surrounded. During this time, there were two prophecies circulating around the country during these difficult times. One promised that a maid from the borderlands of Lorraine would come forth to work miracles and the other was that France has been lost by a woman[e] but would be restored by a virgin.
During Joan's youth, Domrémy was a border village in eastern France whose precise feudal relation was unclear. Much of it lay in Duchy of Bar, which owed fealty to France. Although the region was surrounded by pro-Burgundian lands, the loyalty of its people lay with the French crown. By 1419, the war had begun to affect the area. In 1425, the cattle belonging to the people of the town was stolen by an unaligned brigand named Henri D'Orly. In 1428, the region was raided by a Burgundian army under Antoine de Vergy, who set fire to the town and destroyed its crops.
It was during the time that the war began to encroach on Domrémy that Joan had her first vision. Joan testifies that when she was at the age of 13, around 1425, figures she identified as Saint Michael surrounded by angels appeared to her in her father's garden.[f] After the vision, she reported weeping because she wanted them to take her with them. Throughout her life, she continued to have visions of Saint Michael, as well as Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret. By early 1428, around the same time the English began the campaign resulting in the Siege of Orléans, Joan's visions told her she must leave Domrémy and "go to France" (i.e. the core of the kingdom still controlled by Charles' faction) to help the Dauphin.[g]
Around May 1428, Joan asked a relative named Durand Laxart to take her to the nearby town of Vaucouleurs, where she petitioned the garrison commander, Robert de Baudricourt, for an armed escort to take her to the French Royal Court at Chinon. Baudricourt's sarcastic response did not deter her.[h] She returned the following January, requested an audience and was once more refused. But in the meantime, she gained support from two of Baudricourt's soldiers: Jean de Metz and Bertrand de Poulengy.[i] In February, around the time the French were defeated at Battle of the Herrings when they tried to intercept a convoy providing supplies to English troops for the siege of Orléans,[j] Metz and Poulengy were able to get Joan a third interview with Baudricourt. Their enthusiastic support for her as well as her personal conversations with him, convinced Baudricourt to give her permission to travel for an audience with the Dauphin. Joan traveled to Chinon with a small escort of six soldiers. Before heading out, Metz asked her if she was going to travel through hostile Burgundian territory in her dress, but she agreed to switch to a soldier's outfit,[k] which her escort viewed as a necessary expedient. Her escorts and the people of Vaucouleurs provided her with the clothing. This choice would later be used to support charges of "cross-dressing" against her.
Joan's first meeting with Charles VII took place at the Royal Court in the town of Chinon in late February or early March 1429.[l] She was aged seventeen and he twenty-six. Charles had hidden himself in the crowd among members of the court, but Joan quickly identified him and approached him. Joan told him that she had come to raise the siege of Orléans and to lead him to Reims for his coronation.They also had a private exchange that made a strong impression on Charles,[m] but Charles and his council needed more assurance. They sent her to Poitiers to be examined by a council of theologians to verify her morality and ensure her orthodoxy. The council declared her a good Catholic and a good person. The theologians at Poitiers did not render a decision on the source of Joan's inspiration. But they agreed that sending her to Orléans could be useful to the king and would test if her inspiration had a divine origin. Afterwards, she was sent on to Tours, where she was physically examined by women directed by Charles' mother-in-law Yolande of Aragon, who verified her virginity.[n] After her examinations, the dauphin commissioned plate armor for her, she received a banner of her own design, and had a sword brought for her from underneath the altar in the church at Sainte-Catherine-de-Fierbois.
Joan effectively turned the longstanding Anglo-French conflict into a religious war. While at Poitiers, for example, Joan had dictated a letter to the Duke of Bedford that began "Jhesus, Maria" ("Jesus, Mary") and then warned Bedford that she was sent by God to drive him out of France.[p] Before Joan's arrival, the French strategic situation was bad but not hopeless. The French forces in Orléans were prepared to survive a prolonged siege, the Burgundians had recently withdrawn from participating in the siege due to disagreements about territory, and the English felt unsure about continuing it. But the French leadership had a "loser's mentality". The French court's acceptance of Joan's role may have been taken out of desperation, but her effect on morale was immediate. Even before she joined the army, her presence created devotion and the hope of divine assistance, and even news of her coming may have encouraged the people of Orléans to continue their resistance.
When Joan and the forces with her set off to Orléans, she was initially treated as a figurehead to raise morale. Throughout her military career Joan would fulfill this role. She said she carried her banner on the battlefield rather than fighting and had never killed anyone.[q] She gained the faith of the Armagnac troops, who believed she was capable of bringing them victory. Though the army was commanded by noblemen, eventually many of them often accepted the advice she gave them,[r] particularly her emphasis on rapid offensive action. Some of the commanders said that she had an uncanny ability for performing tasks such as assembling the army and arranging the disposition of troops and artillery.
Joan of Arc
|Allegiance||Kingdom of France|
|Conflict||Hundred Years' War|
Major battles and notable locations
Joan arrived at the besieged city of Orléans on 29 April 1429, meeting the commander Jean d'Orléans,[s] acting head of the ducal family of Orléans on behalf of his captive half-brother. At this point, Orléans was not completely cut off, and Dunois was able to get her into the city, where her arrival was greeted with great enthusiasm. But Joan was not given any formal command, was excluded from military councils, and was kept unaware of the Armagnac strategic plans for relieving Orléans.
The appearance of Joan of Arc at Orléans coincided with a change in the pattern of the siege. The last attempt that had been made by the defenders to lift the siege had been during the previous January, and this attempt had ended in defeat. Within days of her arrival, the Armagnacs returned to the offensive. On 4 May, the Armagnacs attacked the outlying fortress of Saint Loup (bastille de Saint-Loup). Joan had not initially been informed of the attack, but once she learned of it, she quickly mounted a horse and rode out with her banner to the site of the battle a mile east of Orléans. She arrived just as the Armagnac soldiers were retreating after a failed attempt. Her sudden appearance caused the soldiers to give out a cheer and engage in another assault, which took the fortress. On 5 May, no combat occurred since it was Ascension Thursday, a day Joan determined to be too holy for fighting. Instead, she told a scribe to record a letter to the English warning them to leave France. She had it tied to an arrow and delivered by a crossbowman.
On the next day, 6 May, the Armagnac forces captured Saint-Jean-le-Blanc, which the English had deserted. The Armagnac commanders had decided not to attack further that day, but Joan encouraged them to launch an assault against an English fortress built around a monastery called les Augustins. which was successfully captured by the Armagnacs.
Armagnac troops maintained positions on the south bank on the night of 6 May. Once again, Armagnac commanders suggested returning to the defensive, but Joan argued for immediate offensive action. The commanders attacked the main English stronghold, called les Tourelles, on the morning of 7 May. Joan was wounded by an arrow between the neck and shoulder while holding her banner in the trench outside the wall on the south bank of the river, but later returned to encourage a final assault that succeeded in taking the fortress. The following day (8 May), the English retreated from Orléans, ending the siege.
At Chinon, Joan had declared that she was sent by God. At Poitiors, when she was asked to show a sign demonstrating this claim, she was recorded as replying that it would be given if she were brought to Orleans.[t] The lifting of the siege was interpreted by many people to be that sign, and prominent clergy such as Jacques Gelu, Archbishop of Embrun, and the theologian Jean Gerson wrote treatises in support of Joan immediately following this event. In contrast, the English saw the ability of this peasant girl to defeat their armies as proof she was possessed by the Devil.
The sudden victory at Orléans opened up a number of strategic possibilities, and many Armagnac leaders favored an invasion of Normandy. But Joan advocated that the Armagnac forces should advance without delay toward Reims so the Dauphin could be crowned. Charles was persuaded and allowed her to accompany the army, which was under the command of Duke John II of Alençon. Alençon would collaboratively work with Joan, regularly heeding her advice. Before they could advance toward Reims, Joan and Alençon were first required to clear the way between Chinon and Orleans by recapturing the bridge-towns along the Loire: Jargeau, Meung-sur-Loire, and Beaugency.[u]
The political debates about strategy, as well as the need to recruit additional soldiers, delayed the start of Joan and Alençon's campaign to clear the Loire towns until June. The Armagnac forces arrived at Jargeau on 11 June, and forced the English to withdraw into the town's walls. Joan sent a message to the English to surrender, but they refused.[v] Joan then advocated that the Armagnac forces should directly storm the city walls, which was done the next day. During the assault, Alençon credited her with saving his life when she warned him that a cannon on the walls was about to fire at him. Joan was struck by a stone, which was deflected by her helmet, as she stood beneath the town wall. By the end of the day, the town was taken and the English were utterly defeated. The French took few prisoners and many of the English who did surrender were executed. The Armagnac army then advanced on Meung-sur-Loire. On 15 June, they took control of the town's bridge across the Loire, and the English garrison withdrew to a castle in the town on the north bank of the Loire. The majority of the army continued on the south bank of the Loire to Beaugency and besieged the castle there.
In the meantime, the English army from Paris, under the command of Sir John Fastolf, had linked up with the garrison in Meung and was heading on the north bank of the Loire to relieve Beaugency. But the English garrison in Beaugency, who were unaware of the presence of Fastolf's army, agreed to surrender the castle and evacuate the garrison on 18 June. The English army then withdrew from the Loire Valley and began retreating north toward Paris the same day. Joan urged the Armagnacs to pursue, and the two armies clashed southwest of the village of Patay.
The Battle of Patay was fought on 18 June. Talbot, the overall English commander, had prepared his forces to receive a charge like the one launched by over-confident French at Agincourt and ambush them with hidden archers. Instead, the Armagnac vanguard detected the archers and scattered them. A rout ensued that decimated the main body of the English army. Fastolf escaped with a small band of soldiers, but many of the English leaders were captured. Although Joan did not directly participate in the decisive action of this battle, it was her encouragement to pursue the English that made the victory possible.
After the Battle of Patay, the Armagnac leadership was divided on how to exploit the destruction of the English army. Some argued against advancing on Reims, which seemed like a strategic absurdity. They once more argued for an invasion of Normandy or further action to clear other crossings on the Loire held by the Burgundians. But Joan insisted that Charles must be crowned, and on 29 June, the army left Gien to march on Reims. The advance was nearly unopposed. The Burgundian-held city of Auxerre conditionally surrendered on 3 July after three days of negotiations. Other towns in the army's path returned to Armagnac allegiance without resistance. Troyes, which had a small garrison of English and Burgundian troops, was the only one to put up even brief opposition. After four days of negotiation, Joan directed the placement of artillery at points around the city and ordered the soldiers to fill the town's moat with wood. Fearing an assault, Troyes negotiated terms of surrender, which allowed the English and Burgundian troops to freely leave the city. Reims opened its gates on 16 July 1429. Charles, Joan and the army entered in the evening, and Charles's consecration took place the following morning. Joan was accorded a place of honor, and during the ceremony she announced that God's will had been fulfilled.
After the coronation, the royal court negotiated a truce of fifteen days with Duke Philip of Burgundy, who promised he would try to arrange the transfer of Paris to the Armagnacs while continuing negotiations for a more definitive peace. At the end of the truce, Philip, who had also been fêted in Paris by the Duke of Bedford around this time, reneged on his promises. Joan and the Duke of Alençon favored a quick march on Paris, but the divisions in Charles VII's court,[w] which was also negotiating with Burgundy, led to a slow and erratic advance. Nevertheless, as the Armagnac army advanced, many of the towns in its path surrendered without a fight.
As the Armagnac army approached Paris, the English forces under the Duke of Bedford confronted them near Montépilloy on 15 August. Bedford dug in and created a fortified position that the Armagnac commanders thought were too strong to assault. Joan personally rode out in front of the English positions in an attempt to provoke them to attack, but they refused, resulting in a standoff. The English retreated the following day. The Armagnacs continued their advance and launched an assault on Paris on 8 September. During the assault, Joan was wounded in the leg from a crossbow bolt. She remained in the inner trench beneath Paris's walls until she was rescued after nightfall. The following morning the assault on Paris was broken off. The Armagnacs had suffered 1,500 casualties. In September, Charles disbanded the army, and Joan was permanently prevented from working with the Duke of Alençon.
In October, Joan was sent as part of a force to attack the territory of Perrinet Gressart, a mercenary who had served the Burgundians and English. The army then besieged Saint-Pierre-le-Moûtier, which fell after Joan encouraged a direct assault on 4 November. The army then made an unsuccessful attempt to take La-Charité-sur-Loire in November and December. At the end of December Joan returned to court, where she learned that she and her family had been ennobled by Charles as a reward for her services to him and the kingdom.[x]
Before the attack on Paris, Charles had negotiated a four-month truce with the Burgundians and it had been extended until Easter 1430. Because of this truce, there was little for Joan to do between January and March, 1430. During this time, a letter recorded for Joan by her scribe was sent to the Hussites, a heterodox group in the Kingdom of Bohemia that had broken with the Roman Catholic Church and had defeated several previous crusades sent against them. In the letter, Joan threatened to break off her war with the English and attack the Hussites if they did not return to orthodox Catholicism.[y]
In March, Duke Philip of Burgundy began to reclaim towns that had been ceded to him by treaty but had not submitted to his control. Many of these towns were in areas which the Armagnacs had recaptured over the previous few months. Compiègne was one of these. It refused to submit to Philip and prepared for a siege. In the same month, Joan set out with a company of volunteers to relieve Compiègne.[z]
Joan arrived at the town of Melun, which expelled its Burgundian garrison and received Joan's forces. As Joan advanced, her modest force became larger with the additions of commanders such as the Count of Vendôme with his troops, and a group of 200 mercenaries led by Bartholomew Baretta. The group then went to Lagny and won a battle against an Anglo-Burgundian force commanded by the mercenary Franquet d'Arras. Joan's forces finally arrived at Compiègne on 14 May. After a number of defensive forays against the Burgundian besiegers, Joan was forced to disband the majority of her force because it had become too difficult for the surrounding countryside to support it. Joan and about 400 of her remaining soldiers then entered Compiègne.
On 23 May 1430, Joan accompanied an Armagnac force which sortied from the city in an attempt to attack the Burgundian camp at Margny, northeast of Compiègne. The force was defeated and Joan was captured.[aa] She agreed to surrender to a pro-Burgundian nobleman named Lyonnel de Wandomme, a member of Jean de Luxembourg's contingent.[ab]
After Joan was captured, Luxembourg quickly moved her to his castle at Beaulieu-les-Fontaines near Noyes. After her first attempt to escape, she was transferred to Beaurevoir Castle. She made another attempt to escape while there, jumping from a window of a 70-foot (21 m) tower, landing on the soft earth of a dry moat. In November, she was moved to the Burgundian town of Arras.
The English negotiated with their Burgundian allies to pay Joan's ransom and transfer her to their custody. Bishop Pierre Cauchon of Beauvais, an English partisan, assumed a prominent role in these negotiations and her later trial. The final agreement called for the English to pay the sum of 10,000 livres tournois to obtain her from Luxembourg. After the English paid the ransom, they moved Joan to Rouen, which served as their main headquarters in France.[ac]
Joan was put on trial for heresy on 9 January 1431 at Rouen. Although Joan's captors aimed to downplay the secular aspects of her trial by submitting her judgment to an ecclesiastical court, the trial was politically motivated. Both the English and Burgundians rejoiced that Joan had been removed as a military threat, fearing her because she appeared to have supernatural powers that undermined morale. She also posed a political threat. Joan testified that her voices had instructed her to defeat the English and crown Charles, and her success was argued to be evidence Joan was acting on behalf of God. If unchallenged, her testimony would invalidate the English claim to the rule of France and undermine the University of Paris's support for dual Anglo-France monarchy. Her guilt could also be used to compromise Charles's claims to legitimacy by showing that he had been consecrated by the act of a heretic. Cauchon served as the ordinary judge of the trial, and Jean La Maître was the Vice-Inquisitor who represented the Inquisitor of France, Jean Graverent[ad]
The verdict was a foregone conclusion. Cauchon was a partisan supporter of Philip of Burgundy and the English crown. The English Crown subsidized the cost of the trial, and paid both Cachon and La Maître for their participation in the trial. The clergy who participated in the trial were pro-Burgundian and pro-English,[ae] and over two-thirds were associated with the University of Paris, which had been filled with pro-English clergy since the English took over the city in 1419.
Cauchon wanted the trial to appear to follow correct procedure, but it had many procedural irregularities. Although Joan should have been in the hands of the church during the trial and watched by women, she was imprisoned by the English and she was guarded by ordinary soldiers under the service of the duke of Bedford. She was periodically subjected to attempted rape; according to eyewitnesses, she felt she needed to continue wearing her soldier's outfit, which allowed her to attach the various sections of the clothing together in order to impede her guards from pulling her clothing off. Contrary to canon law, Cauchon had not established Joan's infamy (i.e., charges) before proceeding with the trial process. Joan was not read the charges against her until well after her interrogations began. The interrogation procedures were below inquisitorial standards, subjecting Joan to lengthy interrogations without legal council. There is also evidence that the trial records were falsified.[af]
During the trial, Joan showed remarkable control. Some of her requests, such as having her fetters removed, allowing a more balanced tribunal by adding clerics from the pro-Armaganac side, and her appeal to the pope, were denied by the judge. But she was able to induce her interrogators to ask questions sequentially rather than simultaneously, refer back to their records when appropriate, and end the sessions when she requested. Witnesses at the trial were impressed by her prudence when answering the questions posed to her. For example, in one exchange she was asked if she knew she was in God's grace. The question was meant as a scholarly trap, as church doctrine held that nobody could be certain of being in God's grace. Thus, if she answered positively, she would have been charged with heresy; if negatively, she would have confessed her own guilt. Joan avoided the trap by stating that if she was not in God's grace, she hoped God would put her there, and if she were in God's grace then she hoped she would remain so.[ag]
On 23 May, Joan was given the formal admonition of the court using the twelve articles of accusation that summarized the court's allegation that Joan was guilty of heresy. The next day, Joan was taken out to the churchyard of the abbey of Saint-Ouen for public condemnation. As Cauchon began to read the sentence of condemnation, Joan agreed to abjure.[ah] Joan signed the abjuration document she was given, which she was not able to understand as she was illiterate and most of it was written in Latin.[ai]
Public heresy was a capital crime, in which an unrepentant or relapsed heretic could be given over to the judgment of the secular courts and punished by death. Having signed the abjuration statement, Joan could not be put to death as an unrepentant heretic. But Joan could be put to death if she was convicted of a relapse, returning to the same heresy she abjured. As part of her abjuration, Joan was required to renounce wearing soldier's clothing. She exchanged her clothes for a woman's dress and allowed her head to be shaved by the court, the standard procedure in the case of repentant heretics.
After Joan signed the abjuration, the English had no intention of letting her out of their custody. They were confident she would soon be condemned. She was returned to the English prison instead of being taken to an ecclesiastical one, and remained chained in her cell. Witnesses at the rehabilitation trial stated that during this time Joan was subjected to mistreatment and rape attempts, including one by an English noble. The guards also placed the soldier's clothing back in her cell and forced her to wear it against her objections. Cauchon was notified that Joan was once again wearing male clothing, and he sent clerics to admonish her to remain in submission, but the English prevented them from visiting her.
On May 28, Cauchon personally went to Joan's cell, along with a number of other clerics. According to the trial record, Joan allegedly said that she had gone back to a soldier's outfit because it was more fitting that she dress like a man while being held with male guards, and the judges had broken their promise to let her go to mass and to release her from her chains. She stated that if they fulfilled their promises and placed her in a decent prison (i.e. without English soldiers who were attempting to rape her), she would be obedient.[aj] When Cauchon asked about her visions, Joan stated that her visions had blamed her for adjuring out of fear, but she would not deny her visions again. As Joan's abjuration had also required her to deny her voices, this was sufficient to convict her of relapsing into heresy and condemning her to death. The next day, forty-two assessors were summoned to decide Joan's fate. Two recommended that she be abandoned to the secular courts immediately. The remaining recommended that the abjuration be read to her again and explained. But all voted unanimously that Joan was a relapsed heretic,[ak] and she was to be abandoned to the secular power, the English, for punishment.
On 30 May 1431, Joan was executed at the age of about nineteen years old. In the morning, she was allowed to receive the sacraments despite having been excommunicated. Afterwards, she was directly taken to Rouen's Vieux-Marché (Old Marketplace), where she was publicly read her sentence of condemnation. At this point, she should have been turned over to the appropriate authority, the bailiff of Rouen, for secular sentencing but she was not. Instead, she was delivered directly to the English[al] and tied to a tall plastered pillar for execution by burning. She requested to view a cross as she died. She was given a cross fashioned from a stick by an English soldier, which she kissed and placed next to her chest. A processional crucifix was fetched from the church of Saint-Saveur. She embraced it before her hands were bound, and Friar Isambart de la Pierre held it before her eyes during her execution. After she died, the English raked back the coals to expose her charred body so that no one could claim she had escaped alive. They then cast her remains into the Seine River.[am]
Joan's execution did not help the English in the long run, as they never regained their previous momentum nor recovered the losses they sustained in 1429. This was a turning point in the Hundred Years' War, marking a permanent decline in English fortunes.[an] Charles VII retained legitimacy as the king of France, despite a rival coronation held for Henry VI of England at Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris on 16 December 1431, ten days after his tenth birthday. In 1435, the Burgundians agreed to abandon their alliance with England by signing the Treaty of Arras one week after the death of the English regent, the duke of Bedford. The war did not end until after the Battle of Castillon in 1453, twenty-two years after Joan's execution, when the English were removed from all of France except for Calais.
Joan's execution had created a political liability for Charles, as it implied that his consecration as the king of France had been achieved through the actions of a heretic. On 15 February 1450, a few months after he regained Rouen, Charles had ordered Guillaume Bouillé, a theologian and former rector of the University of Paris, to open an inquest. In a brief investigation, Bouillé interviewed seven witnesses of Joan's trial and concluded that the judgment of Joan as a heretic was arbitrary. She had been a prisoner of war treated as a political prisoner, and was put to death without basis. Bouillé's report could not officially overturn the verdict but it opened the way for the later retrial.
In 1452 a second inquest into Joan's trial was opened by Cardinal Guillaume d'Estouteville, papal legate, and Jean Bréhal, who had recently been appointed Inquisitor of France. Around twenty witnesses were interviewed by Bréhal, and the inquest was guided by twenty-seven articles describing how Joan's trial had been biased.[ao] Immediately after the inquest was completed, Guillaume d'Estouteville went to Orléans on 9 June and granted an indulgence (remission of temporal punishment for sin) to those who participated in the May 8th procession and ceremonies in Joan's honor that commemorated the lifting of the siege.
The inquest still lacked the authority to change the judgement of Joan's trial, but for the next two years d'Estouteville and Bréhal continued to work on the case. Bréhal forwarded a petition from Joan's mother, Isabelle, and Joan's two brothers Jean and Pierre to Pope Nicholas V in 1454. Bréhal also submitted a summary of his findings to theologians and lawyers in France and Italy, as well as one to a professor at the University of Vienna, most of whom gave opinions favorable to Joan. In early 1455, Pope Nicholas V died, and Callixtus III became pope. Callixtus granted permission for a retrial and appointed three commissioners to oversee the affair: Jean Juvénal des Ursins, archbishop of Reims; Guillaume Chartier, bishop of Paris; and Richard Olivier de Longueil, bishop of Coutances. In turn, they chose Bréhal to serve as Inquisitor.
The retrial began on 7 November 1455 at Notre Dame Cathedral. Joan's mother opened the trial by publicly delivering a formal request for her daughter's rehabilitation.[ap] During the course of the retrial, the depositions of about 115 witnesses were processed. The retrial came to an end on 7 July 1456 at Rouen Cathedral. The court declared that the original trial was unjust, malicious, slanderous, fraudulent and deceitful; Joan's trial, abjuration, execution and their consequences were declared nullified. The stain on Joan's name was ceremoniously erased when one of the copies of the Articles of Accusation was formally torn up. It was also decreed that a cross should be erected on the site of where Joan was burned.[aq]
Joan of Arc became a semi-legendary figure during the four centuries following her death and is one of the most-studied people in Middle Ages, in part because her two trials have provided a wealth of primary source material about her. Throughout the centuries she has been variously described as a mystic, fanatic, a pawn of the powerful, an icon of nationalism, a hero, and a saint.
Joan's legacy began to form before her death. Just after Charles's consecration at Reims in 1429, the poet Christine de Pizan wrote her last known poem, Ditié de Jehanne D'Arc,[ar] celebrating Joan as a supporter of Charles VII sent by Divine Providence. As early as 1429, Orléans began holding a celebration in honor of the raising of the siege.. After Joan's execution, her important role in the victory helped encourage popular support for her rehabilition. Eventually, Joan's role became a central part of the celebration, and a play was written, Mistère du siège d'Orléans [Mystery of the Siege of Orléans],[as] which features Joan as the vehicle of the divine will that liberated Orléans. Her celebration by the city continues to this day. Around 1500, she was already the subject of a biography, which had been commissioned by Louis XII.[at]
By the time of Joan's retrial, she had already become a symbol of France. She was a young woman from humble origins who transformed a dynastic feud between two related royal families in England and France into a religious war. She was also a warrior, whose leadership helped restored the kingdom of France.[au] Her early legacy was closely associated with the divine right of the monarchy to rule France. In the twentieth century, her association with the monarchy, as well as her perception as national liberator, has been used to make her a symbol for the French far-right, including the monarchist movement Action Française and the National Front Party. However, Joan's symbolism has been used across the entire spectrum of French politics, and during the Third Republic, there was a patriotic civic holiday held in her honor. To the present day, Joan remains an important reference in political dialogue regarding French identity and unity.
During the French Revolution, Joan's reputation was questioned because of her association with the monarchy and religion, and the festival in her honor held at Orléans was suspended in 1793. But in 1803, Napoleon Bonaparte authorized the renewal of the festival and the creation of a new statue of her at Orléans, extolling Joan as representing the genius of the French people in the face of a threat to their national independence. Since that time, she has played a prominent role as the symbolic defender of France. After the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, Joan became a rallying point for a new crusade to reclaim Lorraine, the province of her birth, and her image was used to inspire victory in World War I. During World War II, she became the personification of all sides of the French cause: a symbol for Philippe Pétain in Vichy France, a model for Charles DeGaulle's leadership of the Free French, and an example for the communist resistance. A series of French warships have been named for her.[av].
Joan is a virgin saint in the Roman Catholic Church. Until the 1800s, Joan's role as a religious figure was acknowledged by the people of Orléans, whose clerics annually pronounced a panegyric on her behalf. Félix Dupanloup initiated Joan's beatification. When he became bishop of Orléans in 1849, he delivered a panegyric on Joan that attracted international attention. In 1869, he had petition for Joan's beatification sent to Rome. She was beatified in 1909, and canonized on 16 May 1920 by Pope Benedict XV. Her feast day is May 30, the anniversary of her execution.
By the time of her death, Joan was already being recognized as a martyr. As Bréhal, the Inquisitor in her retrial, approvingly acknowledges,[aw] Joan had stated that her visions told her she would undergo martyrdom. Though she was not canonized as a one,[ax] she continues to be venerated as a popular martyr who suffered for her modesty and purity her country, and her faith.
Joan's legacy as a religious figure extends beyond the Catholic Church. She is remembered as a visionary in the Church of England with a commemoration on 30 May. She is also revered in the pantheon of the Cao Dai religion.
From Christine de Pizan to the present, women have looked to Joan as a positive example of a brave and active woman. She operated within a religious tradition that believed an exceptional person from any level of society might receive a divine calling. Some of her most significant aid came from women. King Charles VII's mother-in-law, Yolande of Aragon, confirmed Joan's virginity and financed her departure to Orléans. Joan of Luxembourg, aunt to the count of Luxembourg who held custody of her after Compiègne, alleviated her conditions of captivity and may have delayed her sale to the English. Finally, Anne of Burgundy, the duchess of Bedford and wife to the regent of England, declared Joan a virgin during pretrial inquiries.
Joan of Arc described religious visions which she said served as the central basis of her public "mission" to support Charles VII's claim to the throne. She identified Saint Michael the Archangel, Saint Margaret, Saint Catherine and (on at least one occasion) the Archangel Gabriel as the sources of her revelations.
During the 15th century and many other eras, religious visionaries and mystics were widely accepted and often sparked substantial public interest. The medieval Catholic Church required that such people should be analyzed by theologians for the stated purpose of preventing false mysticism from leading people astray, but the accepted theological books concerning this process of analysis ("discretio spirituum" or "the discernment of spirits") often stated that the clergy should be cautious since their human limitations meant that they ultimately could not determine such matters.
Analysis of her visions is problematic since the main source of information on this topic is the condemnation trial transcript in which she defied customary courtroom procedure about a witness oath and specifically refused to answer every question about her visions. She complained that a standard witness oath would conflict with an oath she had previously sworn to maintain confidentiality about meetings with her king. It remains unknown to what extent the surviving record may represent the fabrications of corrupt court officials or her own possible fabrications to protect state secrets. Some historians sidestep speculation about the visions by asserting that her belief in her calling is more relevant than questions about the visions' ultimate origin.
A number of more recent scholars attempted to explain her visions in psychiatric or neurological terms. Potential diagnoses have included epilepsy, migraine, tuberculosis, and schizophrenia. None of the putative diagnoses have gained consensus support, and many scholars have argued that she did not display any of the objective symptoms that can accompany the mental illnesses which have been suggested, such as schizophrenia. Dr. Philip Mackowiak dismissed the possibility of schizophrenia and several other disorders (Temporal Lobe Epilepsy and ergot poisoning) in a chapter on Joan of Arc in his book Post-Mortem in 2007.
John Hughes rejected the idea that Joan of Arc suffered from epilepsy in an article in the academic journal Epilepsy & Behavior.
Two experts who analyzed the hypothesis of temporal lobe tuberculoma in the medical journal Neuropsychobiology expressed their misgivings about this in the following statement:
It is difficult to draw final conclusions, but it would seem unlikely that widespread tuberculosis, a serious disease, was present in this "patient" whose life-style and activities would surely have been impossible had such a serious disease been present.
In response to another such theory alleging that her visions were caused by bovine tuberculosis as a result of drinking unpasteurized milk, historian Régine Pernoud wrote that if drinking unpasteurized milk could produce such potential benefits for the nation, then the French government should stop mandating the pasteurization of milk.
Joan of Arc gained favor in the court of King Charles VII, who accepted her as sane. He would have been familiar with the signs of madness because his own father, Charles VI, had suffered from it. Charles VI was popularly known as "Charles the Mad", and much of France's political and military decline during his reign could be attributed to the power vacuum that his episodes of insanity had produced. The previous king had believed he was made of glass, a delusion no courtier had mistaken for a religious awakening. Fears that King Charles VII would manifest the same insanity may have factored into the attempt to disinherit him at Troyes. This stigma was so persistent that contemporaries of the next generation would attribute to inherited madness the breakdown that King Henry VI of England was to suffer in 1453: Henry VI was nephew to Charles VII and grandson to Charles VI. The court of Charles VII was shrewd and skeptical on the subject of mental health. Upon Joan's arrival at Chinon the royal counselor Jacques Gélu cautioned,
One should not lightly alter any policy because of conversation with a girl, a peasant ... so susceptible to illusions; one should not make oneself ridiculous in the sight of foreign nations.
Joan remained astute to the end of her life and the rehabilitation trial testimony frequently marvels at her astuteness:
Often they [the judges] turned from one question to another, changing about, but, notwithstanding this, she answered prudently, and evinced a wonderful memory.
Her subtle replies under interrogation even forced the court to stop holding public sessions.
From the time of her journey to Chinon to her abjuration, Joan usually wore a soldier's outfit for several different practical reasons. Two of the soldiers who escorted her to Chinon, Jean de Metz and Bertrand de Poulengy, clarified that Jean de Metz had brought up the subject of dressing her in a soldier's riding outfit as a necessary practical measure, then the two of them and the citizens of Vaucouleurs provided the clothing. She continued using such clothing and also armor provided by the Royal government during the military campaigns, and was said to have gone back to wearing a dress whenever possible. While encamped with the army during the campaigns and also later in prison, her riding outfit additionally enabled her to fasten her trousers, hip-boots, and doublet together which deterred rape by making it difficult for anyone to pull her clothing off - either rogue soldiers in her own army or (especially) the enemy guards in her cell while she was held in prison. During the latter period, she was evidently afraid to give up this clothing even temporarily because it was likely to be confiscated by the judge and she would thereby be left without protection. A woman's dress offered no such protection.
After Joan's abjuration, her resumption of military clothing was labeled a relapse into heresy for cross-dressing, although this would later be disputed by the inquisitor who presided over the appeals court that examined the case after the war. Several eyewitnesses during the appeal had testified that she was forced by circumstances into resuming this clothing against her will.
Medieval Catholic doctrine held that cross-dressing should be evaluated based on context, as stated in the Summa Theologica by St. Thomas Aquinas, which says that necessity would be a permissible reason for cross-dressing. This would include the various practical reasons which the eyewitnesses described throughout her travels, campaigns and imprisonment.
Joan referred the court to the Poitiers inquiry when questioned on the matter. The Poitiers record no longer survives, but circumstances indicate the Poitiers clerics had approved her practice. She also kept her hair cut short through her military campaigns and while in prison. Her supporters, such as the theologian Jean Gerson, defended her hairstyle for practical reasons, as did Inquisitor Brehal later during the appellate trial.
In 1867, a jar was found in a Paris pharmacy with the inscription "Remains found under the stake of Joan of Arc, virgin of Orleans." They consisted of a charred human rib, carbonized wood, a piece of linen and a cat femur—explained as the practice of throwing black cats onto the pyre of witches. Beginning in 2006, A forensic study using a variety of tests, including Carbon-14 dating and spectroscopic analyses were performed. The researchers determined that the remains come from the balm of an Egyptian mummy from the sixth to the third century BC.
In March 2016, a ring believed to have been worn by Joan, which had passed through the hands of several prominent people including a cardinal, a king, an aristocrat and the daughter of a British physician, was sold at auction to the Puy du Fou, a historical theme park, for £300,000. There is no conclusive proof that she owned the ring, but its unusual design closely matches Joan's own words about her ring at her trial. The Arts Council later determined the ring should not have left the United Kingdom. The purchasers appealed, including to Queen Elizabeth II, and the ring was allowed to remain in France. The ring was reportedly first passed to Cardinal Henry Beaufort, who attended Joan's trial and execution in 1431.
The standard accounts of the life of Joan of Arc have been challenged by revisionist authors. Claims include: that Joan of Arc was not actually burned at the stake; that she was secretly the half sister of King Charles VII; that she was not a true Christian but a member of a pagan cult; and that most of the story of Joan of Arc is actually a myth.