Nine Things You Did Not Know About Joan of Arc
Nine Things You Did Not Know About Joan of Arc

Nine Things You Did Not Know About Joan of Arc

Ed - August 2, 2016

Nine Things You Did Not Know About Joan of Arc
Joan at her trial

Capture of Joan of Arc

In 1430, King Charles VII ordered Joan of Arc to Compiegne, where the English and their Burgundians allies were besieging the town. During the fighting to break the siege, she was thrown off her horse and was taken captive by the Burgundians. The English entered into negotiations with the Burgundians for Joan. They had recognized that she had inspired the French army and they saw her as a clear threat to their position in France. The Burgundians did not know what to do with the young girl- who was considered divinely inspired by the common people in France. They wanted to get rid of the girl they did not want to imprison her as this could have meant that they would have angered the peasants. Negotiations between the Burgundians and the English began. The leader of the English in France was particularly keen to have the young woman who had done so much damage to their cause in their dungeons. After a period of negotiations, the Burgundians gave Joan to the English for the sum of 10,000 francs. This was a really big sum of money at the time.


Nine Things You Did Not Know About Joan of Arc
Joan meeting the French King

She was abandoned by the Dauphin and the French Court

Despite all she had done for the Crown of France, they did nothing to save her. They could have entered into negotiations to ransom her from the Burgundians. They could have exchanged her for some Burgundian prisoners. The new King had quickly forgotten how much he had owed the young girl from the country. Ultimately, Joan despite her undoubted gifts was only a peasant girl and was, therefore disposable. It is highly unlikely that the English would have returned her to the French but the king could have tried. After Joan had been captured she was soon forgotten by the Frenc Court and she was by all accounts never mentions. Her role in the wars and her contributions to the revival of French power was also forgotten and downplayed.

Nine Things You Did Not Know About Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc’s birthplace and now a museum

Joan’s Trial and Execution

The English put Joan on trial on the capital charge of heresy and witchcraft. During the trial, the ordinary country girl amazed the court with her articulate defence of her actions and her great knowledge of theology. During her imprisonment, she was ill-treated and threatened with torture. Many times she was threatened with rape. In May 1431, the tribunal announced that Joan of Arc was guilty of heresy. It claimed that the voices that she heard were demonic and that she was in reality, a witch. On the morning of May 30, she was taken to Rouen public square and burned at the stake. She was placed on a huge pile of wood and died to a stake. She was offered the chance of an easy death, by strangling, if she admitted that she was a witch. Joan refused she genuinely believed that she has received visions from God to save France.

The English set fire to the wood and Joan was burned alive. It was a horrible death. However, the young girl still only a teenager did not cry out or beg for her life.

Joan was only nineteen years old. She died bravely, protesting her innocence.

“My Voices did come from God and everything that I have done was by God’s order”.

Nine Things You Did Not Know About Joan of Arc
Statue of Joan of Arc in Philadelphia

Joan’s Reputation and Legacy

It was only after her death that the French King showed any interest in Joan. The new French King, who had done nothing to save declared Joan innocent. He also designated her a martyr. Some twenty years after her death the Pope declared her innocent of all charges.

Joan was never forgotten. The French Church was somewhat suspicious of her claims to be having visions sent from God. However, by the nineteenth century, the French Church saw her as an exemplary Catholic and a true Catholic. She was canonized as a saint by the Catholic Church in 1920. Today Catholics all over the world pray to St Joan.

The One Hundred Years War was decisive in the history of France. Joan changed the history of France when she went to the French prince with her visions. She helped to turn the tide for France and helped to save her country from annexation by the English. St Joan helped the French to win the Hundred Years War and end any English claims to the throne of French. also led to major changes in France. The kingdom had been a loose network of semi-independent territories was now a nation, with a bureaucracy and a central government. The powers of the nobility were limited and came increasingly under the control of the king. The King was now the main figure in political life and he ruled a formidable state. The French established a standing army and moved away from employing mercenaries and knights in battle. This were profound changes and they were widely emulated by kingdoms elsewhere in Europe, in the late medieval period.