Joan of Arc

"Jeanne d'Arc" redirects here. For other uses, see Jeanne d'Arc (disambiguation) and Joan of Arc (disambiguation).
Saint Joan of Arc
Joan of arc miniature graded.jpg
Miniature (15th century) [1]
Saint
Born 6 January c. 1412 [2]
Domrémy, Duchy of Bar, France [3]
Died 30 May 1431 (aged approx. 19)
Rouen, Normandy
(then under English rule)
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Anglican Communion [4]
Beatified 18 April 1909, Notre Dame de Paris by Pope Pius X
Canonized 16 May 1920, St. Peter's Basilica, Rome by Pope Benedict XV
Feast 30 May
Attributes armor, banner, sword
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
Native name Jeanne d'Arc
Nickname(s) La Pucelle
The Maid of Orléans
(French: La Pucelle d'Orléans)
Allegiance   Kingdom of France
Years of service 1428–1430
Battles/wars

Hundred Years War

Signature Jehanne signature.jpg

Joan of Arc (French: Jeanne d'Arc, [5] IPA:  [ʒan daʁk]; 6 January c. 1412 [6] – 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 Roman Catholic saint. Joan of Arc was born to Jacques d'Arc and Isabelle Romée, a peasant family, at Domrémy in north-east France. Joan said 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 uncrowned King Charles VII sent Joan to the siege of Orléans as part of a relief mission. She gained prominence after the siege was lifted only nine days later. Several additional swift victories led to Charles VII's coronation at Reims. This long-awaited event boosted French morale and paved the way for the final French victory.

On 23 May 1430, she was captured at Compiègne by the Burgundian faction, which was allied with the English. She was later handed over to the English [7] and put on trial by the pro-English Bishop of Beauvais Pierre Cauchon on a variety of charges. [8] After Cauchon declared her guilty she was burned at the stake on 30 May 1431, dying at about nineteen years of age. [9]

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. [9] 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. [10] She was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920. Joan of Arc is one of the nine secondary patron saints of France, along with St. Denis, St. Martin of Tours, St. Louis, St. Michael, St. Rémi, St. Petronilla, St. Radegund and Ste. Thérèse of Lisieux.

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, filmmakers and composers have created works about her. Cultural depictions of her have continued in films, theater, television, video games, music, and performances to this day.

Background

1415–1429
  Territories controlled by Henry VI of England
  Territories controlled by Philip III of Burgundy
  Territories controlled by Charles VII of France
  Main battles
  English raid of 1415
  Joan's journey from Domrémy to Chinon
  Raid of Jeanne d'Arc to Reims in 1429

The Hundred Years' War had begun in 1337 as an inheritance dispute over the French throne, interspersed with occasional periods of relative peace. 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. [11] The French population had not recovered to its size previous to the Black Death of the mid-14th century, and its merchants were isolated from foreign markets. Prior to 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. In the words of DeVries, "The kingdom of France was not even a shadow of its thirteenth-century prototype." [12]

The French king at the time of Joan's birth, Charles VI, suffered from bouts of insanity [13] 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. [14] The conflict climaxed with the assassination of the Duke of Orléans in 1407 on the orders of the Duke of Burgundy. [15] [16]

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 Agincourt on 25 October and subsequently capturing many northern French towns. [17] In 1418 Paris was taken by the Burgundians, who massacred the Count of Armagnac and about 2,500 of his followers. [18] 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. [19] 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 allied forces conquered large sections of France. [20]

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 may have been the illegitimate product of Isabeau's rumored affair with the late duke of Orléans rather than the son of King Charles VI. [21] 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 brother, John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford, acted as regent. [22]

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 coronation site for French kings since 816. This was an important consideration since neither claimant to the throne of France had been officially crowned yet. In 1428 the English had begun the siege of 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 the French heartland. In the words of one modern historian, "On the fate of Orléans hung that of the entire kingdom." [23] No one was optimistic that the city could long withstand the siege. [24] For generations, there had been prophecies in France which promised France would be saved by a virgin from the "borders of Lorraine" "who would work miracles" and "that France will be lost by a woman and shall thereafter be restored by a virgin". [25] The second prophecy predicating France would be "lost" by a woman was taken to refer to Isabeau's role in signing the Treaty of Troyes. [26]