Joan of Arc

Jeanne d'Arc (also known as Johanna of Orleans or the Virgin of Orléans) was a warrior who fought against the English on the French side during the Hundred Years War and is now revered in France as a national heroine, martyr and saint.

Origin and youth:

Jeanne was probably born on January 6, 1412 in Domrémy, but no exact records or documents about her birth are available. Her parents Jacques Darc and Isabelle Romée were wealthy farmers at the time. Her youth she experienced during the Hundred Years War, in which England and France had started a war because of throne disputes.

The special thing about Jeanne was, according to her own statement, occurring visions that began at the age of thirteen. In these visions, St. Catherine, later also the Archangel Michael and St. Margaret, spoke to her. She was told that she was called to defeat the English and to help Charles VII to the French crown. For several years she received these visions until she left her home on December 25, 1428 to implement the instructions.




Your fight against the English:

After her departure Jeanne reached on January 1, 1429 the fortress Vaucouleurs, where she could audition after three attempts with the city commander Robert de Baudricourt and could bring their concerns.
Robert de Baudricourt was persuaded and Jeanne provided an escort consisting of Jean de Metz and Bertrand de Poulengey, they should accompany on their onward journey to Charles VII to Chinon.



Jeanne d’Arc

Joan of Arc


In Chinon she arrived after 11 days on March 5, 1429, where, according to a letter of recommendation from Baudricourts, she was also received by the heir to the throne. She also shared her visions and convinced Karl to support her fight. To convince others, Jeanne was tested in Poitiers for three weeks by clerics and eminent personalities for their credibility, as well as court ladies for their virginity. After these tests were over, the Privy Council decided to have her armor crafted and to provide some soldiers.

Her first assignment was to bring provisions to the enclosed Orléans. This mission was completed on April 29, 1429 with the arrival in the city. Incited by the success, those still in the city could be persuaded to carry out a failure attack. On 7 May, the attack was carried out, with Jeanne continued to fight despite being injured by an arrow on the front line. This attitude motivated the French troops immensely, because shortly thereafter the British cleared the siege and left. Until June 1429, the English succeeded, under the leadership of Jeanne, from the castles south of the river Loire.

As predicted in their visions, the coronation of Charles VII took place on 17 July 1429 in Reims Cathedral. Jeanne was able to follow the celebrations at the altar. After the coronation, she asked Karl again and again for permission to liberate Paris from the English. However, this was granted to her only in September 1429, after Karl himself had made some wrong decisions.



Jeanne d’Arc bei der Krönung Karls VII.

Jeanne d'Arc at the coronation of Charles VII


The attack on Paris then took place on 8 September 1429, but failed and Karl began to distance himself from Jeanne.




The arrest and the process:

After the unsuccessful attempt to conquer Paris, Jeanne's position waned with King Charles, his followers and also in the French army. Since the English put a lot of effort into having Jeanne as a prisoner or killing her, in the end it was only a matter of time before she was betrayed.

So it happened that she was arrested on May 23, 1430 at Compiègne by John of Luxembourg, after news reached him about the presence of Jeanne in the area. It was then handed over to the Burgundians, who sold them after 7 months of captivity on to John of Lancaster, the Duke of Bedford.

It was brought to Burg Bouvreuil, the seat of English power in French territory at the time, and placed under the jurisdiction of the Catholic court in Rouen, which also brought the case against them. For three months, she was charged with, among other things, her superstitions, heresies and other crimes against the Divine Majesty. On May 19, 1431, she was eventually convicted and sentenced to death in 12 of 67 counts.




Your politically motivated death:

After the trial and being sentenced to death by the stake, Jeanne was given the choice to abjure her mistake and thus convert the sentence into life imprisonment. Presumably for fear of burning, she consented to this trade and she was excommunicated on 24 May 1431 in the cemetery of St-Ouen by being found guilty on all charges.

The English royal house, however, did not like this trade at all. If she was worried that Jeanne might be released from her prison and go to war again, and especially for the exposure of Charles, who wanted to make a pact with a heretic, the royal family kept up the pressure until a new trial was instituted.

In the new trial, she was accused of being an incorrigible heretic. Under the supervision of John of Lancaster, Jeanne was found guilty after just four days and re-sentenced to a funeral pyre. The execution was then carried out the very next day on May 30, 1431 in the market square of Rouen. Subsequently, their ashes were scattered in the Seine to make no room for a place of pilgrimage of their followers.



Jeanne d’Arcs Tod auf dem Scheiterhaufen

Jeanne d'Arc's death at the stake





Twenty-four years after her death, Jeanne's mother was able to persuade French King Charles VII to reopen the process due to the new political situation after the end of the Hundred Years War. On November 7, 1455 Karl opened a rehabilitation process in the cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris, which confirmed the innocence Jeanne's in the end, but did not hold their judges responsible.

On 18 April 1909 Jeanne d'Arc was blessed by Pius X and on 16 May 1920 by Benedict XV. canonised.
She is also the patron saint of France, Rouen and Orléans, for the telegraphy and the radio.



Statue von Jeanne d'Arc in Paris

Statue of Joan of Arc in Paris






You can find the right literature here:


Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc Paperback – February 5, 2002

Against the fascinating tapestry of Frances history during the Hundred Years' War, Diane Stanley unfolds the story of the simple thirteen-year-old village girl who in Just a few years would lead France to independence from English rule, and thus become a symbol of France's national pride. It is a story of vision and bravery, fierce determination, and tragic martyrdom. Diane Stanley's extraordinary gift to present historical information in an accessible and child-friendly format has never been more impressive, nor her skillful, beautifully realized illustrations (here imitating medieval illuminated manuscripts) more exquisite.

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Joan of Arc: A History

Joan of Arc: A History (Cut Edge) Hardcover – May 19, 2015

From the author of the acclaimed She-Wolves, the complex, surprising, and engaging story of one of the most remarkable women of the medieval world—as never told before.

Helen Castor tells afresh the gripping story of the peasant girl from Domremy who hears voices from God, leads the French army to victory, is burned at the stake for heresy, and eventually becomes a saint. But unlike the traditional narrative, a story already shaped by the knowledge of what Joan would become and told in hindsight, Castor’s Joan of Arc: A History takes us back to fifteenth century France and tells the story forwards. Instead of an icon, she gives us a living, breathing woman confronting the challenges of faith and doubt, a roaring girl who, in fighting the English, was also taking sides in a bloody civil war. We meet this extraordinary girl amid the tumultuous events of her extraordinary world where no one—not Joan herself, nor the people around her—princes, bishops, soldiers, or peasants—knew what would happen next.

Adding complexity, depth, and fresh insight into Joan’s life, and placing her actions in the context of the larger political and religious conflicts of fifteenth century France, Joan of Arc: A History is history at its finest and a surprising new portrait of this remarkable woman.

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Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc (DVD)

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