Joan of Arc
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) is a patron saint of France, honored as a defender of the French nation for her role in the siege of Orléans and her insistence on the coronation of Charles VII of France during the Hundred Years' War. Stating that she was acting under divine guidance, she became a military leader who transcended gender roles and gained recognition as the savior of France.
Joan was born to a propertied peasant family at Domrémy in northeast France. In 1428, she requested to be taken to Charles, later testifying that she was guided by visions from the archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine to help him save France from English domination.
Convinced of her devotion and purity, Charles sent Joan, who was about seventeen years old, to the siege of Orléans as part of a relief army. She arrived at the city in April 1429, wielding her banner and bringing hope to the demoralized French army. Nine days after her arrival, the English abandoned the siege. Joan encouraged the French to aggressively pursue the English during the Loire Campaign, which culminated in another decisive victory at Patay, opening the way for the French army to advance on Reims unopposed, where Charles was crowned as the King of France with Joan at his side. These victories boosted French morale and paved the way for their final triumph in the Hundred Years' War several decades later.
After Charles's coronation, Joan participated in the unsuccessful siege of Paris in September 1429 and the failed siege of La Charité in November. Her role in these defeats reduced the court's faith in her calling. In early 1430, Joan organized a company of volunteers to relieve Compiègne, which had been besieged by the Burgundians—French allies of the English. She was captured by Burgundian troops on 23 May. After several attempts to escape, she was exchanged in November to the English. She was put on trial by Bishop Pierre Cauchon on accusations of heresy, which included blaspheming by wearing men's clothes, acting upon visions that were demonic, and refusing to submit her words and deeds to the judgement of the Church. She was declared guilty and burned at the stake on 30 May 1431, dying at about nineteen years of age.
In 1456, an inquisitorial court reinvestigated Joan's trial. The court overturned the verdict, declaring that it was tainted by deceit and procedural errors. Joan has been revered as a martyr and viewed as an obedient daughter of the Roman Catholic Church, an early feminist, and a symbol of freedom and independence. After the French Revolution she became a national symbol of France. She was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church in 1920, and declared one of the patron saints of France in 1922. Joan of Arc is portrayed in modern literature, painting, sculpture, music, and numerous other cultural works.
Joan of Arc's name was written in a variety of ways. Before the sixteenth century, there was no standard spelling of her name. Her last name was usually spelled "Darc" without an apostrophe, but included variants like "Tarc", "Dart" or "Day". At Joan's trial, her father's name was written as "Tart". In Charles VII's letter granting her a coat of arms in 1491, she was called "Jeanne d'Ay de Domrémy" (Joan of Arc of Domrémy). Joan may never have heard herself called "Jeanne D'Arc". The first written record of her being called by this name is in 1455, 24 years after her death.
Joan was not taught to read and write in her childhood, and it is believed that she dictated her letters to scribes. Some of these letters were signed; scribes may have helped Joan with her signature, or Joan may have eventually learned to sign her name. She may have even learned how to read. In her letters, Joan referred to herself as "Jeanne la Pucelle" (Joan the Maiden) or simply as "la Pucelle" (the Maiden), emphasizing her virginity, and she signed her name "Jehanne". In the sixteenth century, she became known as the "Maid of Orleans".
Around 1412, Joan of Arc was born in Domrémy, a small village in the Meuse valley, which is now in the Vosges department within the historical region of Lorraine, France. Her date of birth is unknown, and Joan's statements about her age were vague.[a] 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 he supplemented the family income as a village official, collecting taxes and heading the local watch.
Joan was born during the Hundred Years' War, a conflict between the kingdoms of England and France that had begun in 1337 over English claims to the French throne. Nearly all the fighting had taken place in France, devastating its economy. At the time of Joan's birth, France was divided politically. The French king Charles VI had recurring bouts of mental illness and was often unable to rule; his brother Louis, Duke of Orléans, and his cousin John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, quarreled over the regency of France. In 1407 the Duke of Burgundy ordered the assassination of the Duke of Orléans, beginning a civil war. Charles of Orléans succeeded his father as duke and was placed in the custody of Bernard, Count of Armagnac; his supporters became known as "Armagnacs" while supporters of the Duke of Burgundy became known as "Burgundians". The future French king Charles VII had assumed the title of Dauphin (heir to the throne) after the deaths of his four older brothers, and was associated with the Armagnacs.
Henry V of England made use of France's internal divisions when he invaded the kingdom in 1415. The Burgundians took Paris in 1418. In 1419, the Dauphin offered a truce to begin peace negotiations with the Duke of Burgundy, but the duke was assassinated by Charles's Armagnac partisans during those negotiations. The new duke of Burgundy, Philip the Good, entered into an alliance with the English. Charles VI accused his son Dauphin Charles VII, of murdering the Duke of Burgundy and declared him unfit to inherit the French throne. During a period of illness, Charles VI's wife Isabeau of Bavaria, stood in for him and signed the Treaty of Troyes, which gave their daughter Catherine of Valois in marriage to Henry V, granted the succession of the French throne to their heirs, and effectively disinherited the Dauphin. This gave rise to rumors the Dauphin was not King Charles VI's son, but the offspring of an adulterous affair between Isabeau and the murdered duke of Orléans. In 1422, Henry V and Charles VI died within two months of each other; the infant, Henry VI of England, was the nominal heir of the Anglo-French dual monarchy as agreed in the treaty, but the Dauphin also claimed his right to the French throne.
In her youth, Joan did household chores, learned to spin wool, helped her father in the fields and looked after their animals. Her mother provided Joan's religious education. Much of their village Domrémy lay in the Duchy of Bar; its precise feudal status was unclear. Though surrounded by pro-Burgundian lands, its people were loyal to the Armagnac cause. By 1419, the war had affected the area; in 1425, Domrémy was attacked and the village's cattle were stolen. This led to a sentiment among villagers that the English must be expelled from France to achieve peace; Joan had her first vision during this time.
Joan later testified that when she was thirteen, around 1425, a figure she identified as Saint Michael surrounded by angels appeared to her in the garden. After the vision, she reported weeping because she wanted them to take her with them. Throughout her life, she had visions of Saint Michael  a patron saint of the Domrémy area who was seen as a defender of France. She stated that she had these visions frequently, and she often had them when the church bells were rung.
During Joan's youth, there were two prophecies circulating around the French countryside. One promised that a maid from the borderlands of Lorraine would come forth to work miracles. The other was that France had been lost by a woman (Isabeau of Bavaria, who was blamed for agreeing to the Treaty of Troyes) but would be restored by a virgin. Her visions included St. Margaret and St. Catherine; although Joan never specified, they were probably Margaret of Antioch and Catherine of Alexandria—those most known in the area. Both were known as virgin saints, who strove against powerful enemies, were tortured and martyred for their beliefs, and preserved their virtue to the end of their lives. Joan testified that she swore a vow of virginity to these voices. When a young man from her village alleged that she had broken a promise of marriage, Joan stated she had made him no promises; his case before an ecclesiastical court was dismissed.
Henry V's brothers, John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford and Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester had continued the English conquest of France. Most of northern France, Paris, and parts of southwestern France were under Anglo-Burgundian control. The Burgundians controlled Reims, the traditional site for the coronation of French kings; Charles had not yet been crowned, and doing so at Reims would help legitimize his claim to the throne. At the beginning of 1428, the English had been besieging Orléans and had nearly isolated it from the rest of Charles's territory by capturing many of the smaller bridge towns on the Loire River. Orléans was strategically critical as the last obstacle to an assault on the remainder of Charles's territory. According to Joan's later testimony, it was around this period that her visions told her that she must leave Domrémy to help the Dauphin Charles.
In 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 Armagnac court at Chinon. Baudricourt's sarcastic refused her request and sent her home. In July, Domrémy was raided by Burgundian forces; they set fire to the town, destroyed its crops, and forced Joan, her family and the townspeople to flee. She returned to Vaucouleurs in January 1429. Her petition was refused again, but she gained the support of two of Baudricourt's soldiers: Jean de Metz and Bertrand de Poulengy. Meanwhile, she was summoned to Nancy under safe conduct by Charles II, Duke of Lorraine, who had heard about Joan during her stay at Vaucouleurs. The duke was ill and thought Joan may have supernatural powers that could cure him. She offered no cures, but reprimanded the duke for living with his mistress.
Baudricourt agreed to a third meeting with Joan in February, around the time the English captured an Armagnac relief convoy for Orléans at the Battle of the Herrings. Their conversations, along with Metz and Poulengy's enthusiastic support, convinced Baudricourt to allow her to go to Chinon for an audience with the Dauphin. Joan traveled with a small escort of six soldiers. She chose to wear men's clothes, which were provided by her escorts and the people of Vaucouleurs.
The initial meeting between Charles VII and Joan took place at the Royal Court in Chinon in late February or early March 1429, when she was seventeen and he was twenty-six. Later witnesses gave secondhand evidence that Charles had hidden himself in the crowd among members of the court, but Joan quickly identified and approached him.)) She told him that she had come to raise the siege of Orléans and to lead him to Reims for his coronation. They had a private exchange that made a strong impression on Charles; Jean Pasquerel, Joan's confessor, later testified that Joan told him she had reassured Charles of his legitimacy as king. Nonetheless, 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 person and a good Catholic. These theologians did not render a decision on the source of Joan's inspiration, but agreed that sending her to Orléans could be useful to the king and would test if her inspiration was of divine origin.
Joan was sent to Tours to be physically examined by women directed by Charles's mother-in-law Yolande of Aragon, who verified her virginity. The examination was to establish if she was indeed the prophesied virgin who would save France, to show the purity of her devotion, and to ensure she had not consorted with the Devil. Thereafter, the dauphin commissioned plate armor for her. She created 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. Around this time she began calling herself "Joan the Maiden", emphasizing her virginity as a sign of her mission.
Before Joan's arrival at Chinon, the Armagnac strategic situation was bad but not hopeless. The Armagnac forces were prepared to survive a prolonged siege at Orléans. But the Burgundians had recently withdrawn from the siege due to disagreements about territory, and the English debated whether to continue. Nonetheless, having endured almost a century of war, the Armagnacs were demoralized. Once Joan joined the Armagnac forces, her personality began to raise their spirits; she inspired devotion and the hope of divine assistance. Her belief in the divine origin of her mission turned the longstanding Anglo-French conflict over inheritance into a religious war. Before beginning the journey to Orléans, Joan dictated a letter to the Duke of Bedford warning him that she was sent by God to drive him out of France.
In the last week of April 1429, Joan set out from Blois as part of an army laden with supplies for the relief of Orléans. She arrived at Orléans on 29 April and met the commander Jean de Dunois. Orléans was not completely cut off, and Dunois got her into the city, where she was greeted with great enthusiasm. Joan was initially treated as a figurehead to raise morale, flying her banner on the battlefield. She was not given any formal command and was excluded from military councils. But she quickly gained the support of the Armagnac troops. She always seemed to be present where the fighting was most intense, she frequently stayed with the front ranks, and she gave them a sense she was fighting for their salvation. Over time, some of the Armagnac commanders would sometimes accept the advice she gave them, such as deciding what position to attack, when to continue an assault, and how to place artillery.
On 4 May, the Armagnacs went on the offensive, attacking the outlying bastille de Saint-Loup (fortress of Saint Loup). Joan was not informed of the attack. Once she learned of it, she rode out with her banner to the site of the battle a mile east of Orléans. She arrived as the Armagnac soldiers were retreating after a failed assault. Her appearance rallied the soldiers, who launched another assault and took the fortress. On 5 May, no combat occurred since it was Ascension Thursday, a feast day. She dictated another letter to the English warning them to leave France, and had it tied to an arrow that was shot by a crossbowman.
The Armagnacs resumed their offensive on 6 May, capturing Saint-Jean-le-Blanc, which the English had deserted. Though the Armagnac commanders wanted to stop, Joan encouraged them to launch an assault on les Augustins, an English fortress built around a monastery. After its capture, the Armagnac commanders wanted to consolidate their gains, but Joan again argued for immediate offensive action. On the morning of 7 May, the Armagnacs attacked the main English stronghold, les Tourelles. 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 the final assault that took the fortress. The English retreated from Orléans on 8 May, ending the siege.
At Chinon, Joan had declared that she was sent by God. At Poitiers, when she was asked to show a sign demonstrating this claim, she replied that would be given if she were brought to Orléans. The lifting of the siege was interpreted by many people to be that sign. Prominent clergy such as Jacques Gélu, 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.
Joan of Arc
|Allegiance||Kingdom of France|
|Conflict||Hundred Years' War|
Major battles and journeys
After the victory at Orléans, Joan insisted that the Armagnac forces should advance without delay toward Reims to crown the Dauphin. Charles was persuaded and allowed her to accompany the army under the command of John II, Duke of Alençon, who collaboratively worked with Joan and regularly heeded her advice. Before advancing toward Reims, the Armagnacs needed to recapture the bridge-towns along the Loire: Jargeau, Meung-sur-Loire, and Beaugency. This would clear the way for Charles, whose entourage would have to cross the Loire near Orléans to make his way from Chinon to Reims.
The campaign to clear the Loire towns began on 11 June when the Armagnac forces led by Alençon and Joan arrived at Jargeau, and forced the English to withdraw into the town's walls. Joan sent a message to the English to surrender; they refused and she advocated for a direct assault on the city walls the next day. By the end of the day, the town was taken. The Armagnac took few prisoners and many of the English who did surrender were executed. During this campaign, Joan continued to serve in the thick of the battle. Joan began scaling a siege ladder with her banner in hand; before she could mount the city walls, she was struck by a stone which split her helmet.
Alençon and Joan's army advanced on Meung-sur-Loire. On 15 June, they took control of the town's bridge, and the English garrison withdrew to a castle on the Loire's north bank. Most of the army continued on the south bank of the Loire to besiege the castle at Beaugency.
Meanwhile, the English army from Paris under the command of Sir John Fastolf had linked up with the garrison in Meung and traveled along the north bank of the Loire to relieve Beaugency. Unaware of the approach of Fastolf's army, the English garrison at Beaugency surrendered on 18 June. The main English army retreated toward Paris. Joan urged the Armagnacs to pursue, and the two armies clashed at the Battle of Patay later that day. The English had prepared their forces to ambush an Armagnac attack with hidden archers; the Armagnac vanguard detected the archers and scattered them. A rout ensued that decimated the English army. Fastolf escaped with a small band of soldiers, but many of the English leaders were captured. Joan arrived at the battlefield too late to participate in the decisive action, but her encouragement to pursue the English had made the victory possible.
After the destruction of the English army at Patay, some Armagnac leaders argued for an invasion of English-held Normandy. But Joan remained insistent that Charles must be crowned. The Dauphin agreed, and the army left Gien on 29 June to march on Reims. The advance was nearly unopposed. The Burgundian-held city of Auxerre 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 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.
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 at the ceremony, announcing that God's will had been fulfilled.
After the consecration, the royal court negotiated a truce of fifteen days with the Duke of Burgundy, who promised he would try to arrange the transfer of Paris to the Armagnacs while continuing negotiations for a definitive peace. At the end of the truce, the Duke of Burgundy reneged on his promise. Joan and the Duke of Alençon favored a quick march on Paris, but the divisions in Charles's court and continued peace negotiations with Burgundy led to a slow advance.
As the Armagnac army approached Paris, many of the towns along the way surrendered without a fight. On 15 August, the English forces under the Duke of Bedford confronted them near Montépilloy in a fortified position that the Armagnac commanders thought was too strong to assault. Joan personally rode out in front of the English positions in an attempt to provoke them to attack. 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 fighting, Joan was wounded in the leg by a crossbow bolt. She remained in a trench beneath Paris's walls until she was rescued after nightfall. The Armagnacs had suffered 1,500 casualties. The following morning, Charles ordered an end to the assault. Joan was displeased. She argued that the attack should be continued. She and Alençon had made fresh plans to attack Paris, but Charles dismantled a bridge approaching Paris that was necessary for the attack. The Armagnac army was required to retreat.
After the defeat at Paris, Joan's role in the French court diminished. Joan's aggressive independence did not agree with the court's emphasis on finding a diplomatic solution with Burgundy, and her role in the defeat at Paris reduced the court's faith in her. After her defeat, scholars at the University of Paris argued that she failed to take Paris because her inspiration was not divine. In September, Charles disbanded the army, and Joan was not allowed to work with the Duke of Alençon again.
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 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. The forces had to abandon their artillery during the retreat. After the defeat, Joan's reputation was further diminished.
Joan returned to court at the end of December, where she learned that she and her family had been ennobled by Charles as a reward for her services to him and the kingdom. Before the September attack on Paris, Charles had negotiated a four-month truce with the Burgundians, which was extended until Easter 1430. During this truce, the French court had no need for Joan.
The Duke of Burgundy began to reclaim towns that had been ceded to him by treaty but had not submitted to him. Compiègne was one such town of many in areas which the Armagnacs had recaptured over the previous few months. Joan set out with a company of volunteers at the end of March 1430 to relieve the town without the explicit permission of Charles, who was still observing the truce. Some writers suggest that Joan's expedition to Compiègne without documented permission from the court was a desperate and treasonable action, but others have argued that she could not have launched the expedition without the financial support of the court.
In April, Joan arrived at the town of Melun, which had expelled its Burgundian garrison. As Joan advanced, her modest force became larger as other commanders joined her. Joan's troops advanced to Lagny-sur-Marne and won a battle against an Anglo-Burgundian force commanded by the mercenary Franquet d'Arras. He was captured. Typically, he would have been ransomed or exchanged by the capturing force, but Joan consented to allow the townspeople to execute him after a trial.
Joan finally reached Compiègne on 14 May. After a number of defensive forays against the Burgundian besiegers, Joan was forced to disband the majority of the army because it had become too difficult for the surrounding countryside to support. Joan and about 400 of her remaining soldiers entered the city.
On 23 May 1430, Joan accompanied an Armagnac force which sortied from Compiègne to attack the Burgundian camp at Margny, northeast of the city. It was defeated and Joan was captured; the details of her capture vary between at least three different accounts. She agreed to surrender to a pro-Burgundian nobleman named Lyonnel de Wandomme, a member of Jean de Luxembourg's contingent. 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 and landing in a dry moat; she was injured but survived. 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, a partisan supporter of the Duke of Burgundy and the English crown, played a prominent part in these negotiations, which were not completed until November. The final agreement called for the English to pay 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. There is no direct evidence that Charles tried to save Joan once she was transferred to the English.
Main article: Trial of Joan of Arc
Joan was put on trial for heresy. The proceedings began in Rouen on 9 January 1431. Joan's captors downplayed the secular aspects of her trial by submitting her judgment to an ecclesiastical court, but the trial was politically motivated. Both the English and Burgundians rejoiced that Joan had been removed as a threat. In addition, she posed a political threat. Joan testified that her visions 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, which supported the dual monarchy ruled by an English king.
The verdict was a foregone conclusion. Joan's guilt could 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. The English subsidized the trial's cost, including payment to Cauchon and Jean Le Maître, who represented the Inquisitor of France. Over two thirds of the clergy involved with the trial were associated with University of Paris, and most were pro-Burgundian and pro-English. All but 8 of the 131 clergy who participated in the trial were French.
Cauchon attempted to follow correct inquisitorial procedure, but the trial had many irregularities. Joan should have been in the hands of the church during the trial and guarded by women. Instead, she was imprisoned by the English and guarded by ordinary soldiers under the service of the Duke of Bedford. Contrary to canon law, Cauchon had not established Joan's infamy before proceeding with the trial process. Joan was not read the charges against her until well after her interrogations began. The procedures were below inquisitorial standards, subjecting Joan to lengthy interrogations without legal counsel. One of the trial clerics stepped down because he felt the testimony was coerced and its intention was to entrap Joan. Another challenged Cauchon's right to judge the trial and was jailed. There is evidence that the trial records were falsified.
During the trial, Joan showed remarkable control. She induced 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 questions. 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. 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. One of the court notaries at her trial later testified that the interrogators were stunned by her answer. To convince her to submit, Joan was shown the instruments of torture. When Joan refused to be intimidated, Cauchon met with about a dozen assessors (clerical jurors) to vote whether she should be tortured. The majority decided against it.
In early May, Cauchon asked the University of Paris to deliberate on twelve articles summarizing the accusation of heresy. These included the charges that Joan blasphemed by wearing men's clothes, that she acted upon visions that were demonic, and that she refused to submit her words and deeds to the church because she claimed she would be judged by God alone. The university approved the charges. On 23 May, Joan was formally admonished by the court. The next day, Joan was taken out to the churchyard of the abbey of Saint-Ouen for public condemnation. As Cauchon began to read Joan's sentence, she agreed to submit and signed an abjuration.[b]
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, Joan could not be put to death as an unrepentant heretic, but she could be put to death if she was convicted of relapsing into heresy again.
As part of her abjuration, Joan was required to renounce wearing men's clothes. She exchanged her clothes for a woman's dress and allowed her head to be shaved. But she was kept in English custody instead of being transferred to an ecclesiastical prison. She was returned to her cell and kept in chains. Witnesses at the rehabilitation trial stated that Joan was subjected to mistreatment and rape attempts, including one by an English noble, and that guards placed men's clothes in her cell, forcing her to wear them. Cauchon was notified that Joan had resumed wearing male clothing. He sent clerics to admonish her to remain in submission, but the English prevented them from visiting her.
On 28 May, Cauchon personally went to Joan's cell, along with a number of other clerics. According to the trial record, Joan said that she had gone back to wearing men's clothes 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, she would be obedient. When Cauchon asked about her visions, Joan stated that they had blamed her for abjuring out of fear, but she would not deny them again. As Joan's abjuration had required her to deny her visions, this was sufficient to convict her of relapsing into heresy and to condemn 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. In the end, all voted unanimously that Joan was a relapsed heretic, 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 and tied to a tall plastered pillar for execution by burning. She requested to view a cross as she died. She was given one 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 it was held before her eyes during her execution. After her death, her remains were cast into the Seine River.
Main article: Rehabilitation trial of Joan of Arc
The military situation was not changed by Joan's execution. Her triumphs had raised Armagnac morale, and the English were not able to regain their momentum. Charles retained legitimacy as the king of France, despite a rival coronation held for the ten-year-old Henry VI of England at Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris in 1431. In 1435, the Burgundians signed the Treaty of Arras, abandoning their alliance with England. Twenty-two years after Joan's death, the war ended with a French victory at the Battle of Castillon in 1453; the English were expelled from all of France except for Calais.
Joan's execution had created a political liability for Charles, implying 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 relative of Charles, and Jean Bréhal, who had recently been appointed Inquisitor of France. Bréhal interviewed around 20 witnesses. The inquest was guided by 27 articles describing how Joan's trial had been biased. Immediately after the inquest, Guillaume d'Estouteville went to Orléans on 9 June and granted an indulgence to those who participated in 8 May ceremonies in Joan's honor that commemorated the lifting of the siege.
The inquest lacked the authority to change the judgement of Joan's trial, but for the next two years d'Estouteville and Bréhal worked 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 submitted a summary of his findings to theologians and lawyers in France and Italy, as well as a professor at the University of Vienna, most of whom gave opinions favorable to Joan. Callixtus III became pope after Pope Nicholas V died in early 1455. He granted permission for a rehabilitation trial 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 trial began on 7 November 1455 at Notre Dame Cathedral when Joan's mother publicly delivered a formal request for her daughter's rehabilitation. During the course of the rehabilitation trial, the depositions of about 115 witnesses were processed. The trial came to an end on 7 July 1456 at Rouen Cathedral. The court declared that the original trial was unjust and deceitful; Joan's abjuration, execution and their consequences were declared nullified. In his summary of the trial, Bréhal suggested that Cauchon and the assessors who supported him may be guilty of malice and heresy. To emphasize the court's decision, one of the copies of the Articles of Accusation was formally torn up. The court decreed that a cross should be erected on the site of where Joan was burned.
Joan is one of the most studied people of the Middle Ages, in part because her two trials provided a wealth of documents. Her image, changing over time, has included the savior of France, an obedient daughter of the Roman Catholic Church, an early feminist, and a symbol of freedom and independence.
Joan's legacy as a military leader who helped drive the English from France began to form before her death. Just after Charles's coronation, the poet Christine de Pizan wrote the poem, Ditié de Jehanne D'Arc, celebrating Joan as a supporter of Charles sent by Divine Providence; the poem captured the "surge of optimism" and "sense of wonder and gratitude" that "swept through the whole of the French" after the triumph at Orléans, according to Kennedy and Varty (1977). As early as 1429, Orléans began holding a celebration in honor of the raising of the siege on 8 May.
After Joan's execution, her role in the Orléans victory encouraged popular support for her rehabilition. Eventually, Joan became a central part of the annual 8 May celebration, and by 1435 a play, Mistère du siège d'Orléans (Mystery of the Siege of Orléans), featured her as the vehicle of the divine will that liberated Orléans. The Orléans festival celebrating Joan continues in modern times.
Less than a decade after her rehabilitation trial, Pope Pius II wrote a brief biography describing her as the maid who saved the kingdom of France. Louis XII commissioned a full-length biography of her around 1500. In 1630, Edmond Richer wrote a biography calling her la Pucelle d'Orléans (The Maid of Orléans).
Joan's early legacy was closely associated with the divine right of the monarchy to rule France. During the French Revolution, her reputation came into question because of her association with the monarchy and religion, and the festival in her honor held at Orléans was suspended in 1793. In 1803, Napoleon Bonaparte authorized the renewal of the festival and the creation of a new statue of Joan at Orléans, stating: "The illustrious Joan ... proved that there is no miracle which French genius cannot accomplish when national independence is threatened."
Since then, she has become a prominent symbol as the defender of the French nation. 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. The Third Republic held a patriotic civic holiday in her honor, held on May 8 to celebrate her victory at Orléans. A series series of French warships have been named for her. In World War I, her image was used to inspire victory. During World War II, all sides of the French cause appealed to her legacy: she was a symbol for Philippe Pétain in Vichy France, a model for Charles de Gaulle's leadership of the Free French, and an example for the Communist resistance. More recently, her association with the monarchy and national liberation has made her a symbol for the French far right, including the monarchist movement Action Française and the National Front Party. Joan's image has been used by the entire spectrum of French politics, and she is an important reference in political dialogue regarding French identity and unity.
Joan is a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. She was viewed as a religious figure in Orléans after the siege was lifted and an annual panegyric was pronounced on her behalf in the city until the 1800s. In 1849, the Bishop of Orlėans Félix Dupanloup delivered an oration that attracted international attention; in 1869, he petitioned Rome to begin beatification proceedings. She was beatified by Pope Pius X in 1909, and canonized on 16 May 1920 by Pope Benedict XV. Her feast day is 30 May, the anniversary of her execution. In an apostolic letter delivered on 2 March 1922, Pope Pius XI declared Joan one of the patron saints of France. Beyond the Catholic Church, Joan is remembered as a visionary in the Church of England with a commemoration on 30 May. She is revered in the pantheon of the Cao Dai religion.
Joan was canonized as a Virgin of the Church, not as a Martyr. She is not a Martyr of the Church because she had been put to death by a canonically-constituted court, which did not execute for her faith in Christ, but for her private revelation. Despite not be officially recognized as one by the church, she has been popularly revered as a martyr since her death: one who suffered for her modesty and purity, her country, and her faith.
While Joan was alive, she was already being compared to biblical women heroes, such as Esther, Judith, and Deborah. Her claim of virginity, which signified her virtue and sincerity, was upheld by women of status from both the Armagnac and Burgundian-English sides of the Hundred Years' War: Yolande of Aragon, Charles's mother-in-law, and Anne of Burgundy, Duchess of Bedford.
Joan has been described as a model of an autonomous woman who challenged traditions of masculinity and feminity to be heard as an individual in a patriarchal culture—setting her own course by heeding the voices of her visions. Thus, she fulfilled the traditionally male role of a military leader, while maintaining her status as a valiant woman. Merging qualities associated with both genders, she fought for the truth as she saw it, and brought hope to others.
Joan has inspired numerous artistic and cultural works for many centuries. In the nineteenth century, hundreds of work of art about her—including biographies, plays, and musical scores—were created in France, and her story became popular as an artistic subject in Europe and North America. By the 1960s, she was the topic of thousands of books. Her legacy has become global, as her story inspires novels, plays, poems, operas, films, paintings, children's books, advertising, computer games, comics and popular culture across the world.
Theologians of the era assumed that visions could have a supernatural source. The assessors at her trial focused on determining the specific source of Joan's visions, using an ecclesiastical form of discretio spirituum (discernment of spirits). Because she was accused of heresy, they sought to show that her visions were false. The rehabilitation trial did not clarify the issue; though it nullified Joan's sentence, it did not declare her visions authentic. In 1894 Pope Leo XIII pronounced that Joan's mission was divinely inspired, and by the end of her canonization trial in 1903, her visions were seen as part of that mission.
Contemporary scholars have suggested neurological and psychiatric causes as the source of her visions. Her visions have been conjectured to be hallucinations arising from epilepsy or a temporal lobe tuberculoma. Others have implicated ergot poisoning, schizophrenia, and delusional disorder. Other sources of her visions have also been suggested. One of the Promotors of the Faith at her 1903 canonization trial suggested her visions may have been manifestations of hysteria. It has been argued that Joan's visions were a product of creative psychopathy induced by her early childhood rearing or that they were partly an artifact produced by her interrogation during her trial. However, trial records biased to show Joan's guilt are unlikely to provide descriptions of symptoms needed to support a medical diagnosis.[d]
Joan's firm belief in the divinity of her visions strengthened her confidence, enabled her to trust herself, and provided hope during her capture and trial.
From the time of her journey to Chinon to her abjuration, Joan usually wore men's clothes. She cropped her hair in a male fashion. When she left Vaucouleurs to see the Dauphin in Chinon, Joan was said to have worn a black doublet, a black tunic, and a short black cap. By the time she was captured, she had acquired more elaborate outfits. At her trial, she was accused of wearing breeches, a mantle, a coat of mail, a doublet, hose joined to the doublet with twenty laces, tight boots, spurs, a breastplate, buskins, a sword, a dagger and a lance. She was also accused of wearing a golden surcoat over her armor, as well as of wearing furs, and sumptuous habits made of precious cloth.
During the trial proceedings, Joan is not recorded as giving a practical reason why she cross-dressed. She stated that it was her own choice to wear men's clothes, and that she did so not at the request of men but by the command of God and his angels. She stated she would return to wearing women's clothes when she fulfilled her calling.
Joan's cross-dressing became one of the principal articles in her accusation at trial. In the view of the assessors, it was the emblem of her heresy. Joan's final condemnation began when she was found to have resumed wearing men's clothes, which was taken as an overt sign that she had relapsed by obeying her visions again.
Although Joan's cross-dressing was used to justify her execution, the Church's position on it was not clear. In general, it was seen as a sin, but there was not agreement about its severity. Exceptions were allowed too. Thomas Aquinas stated that a woman may wear a man's clothes to hide herself from enemies or if no other clothes were available. Joan did both, wearing them through enemy territory to get to Chinon, and in her prison cell after her abjuration when her dress was taken from her. Soon after the siege of Orléans had been lifted, Jean Gerson claimed that Joan's male clothes and haircut were appropriate for her calling, as she exposed herself as a warrior and men's clothes were more practical.
Other reasons for Joan's cross-dressing have been suggested. It may have helped her maintain her virginity by deterring rape and signalling her unavailability as a sexual object, although scholars have stated that when Joan was imprisoned, wearing men's clothes would have only been a minor deterrent to rape as she was shackled most of the time. For most of her active life, Joan did not cross-dress to hide her gender. Rather, it may have functioned to emphasize her unique identity as La Pucelle, a model of virtue that transcends gender roles and inspires people.