FR: Jeanne d'Arc
First Name: Jehanne, Jehanette
Last Name: d’Arc, Tarc, Romée or possibly de Vouthon
Nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans", Joan of Arc (Jeanne d'Arc) is considered a heroine of France and a Roman Catholic saint.
Born about 1412 in Domrémy, a isolated village in Eastern France, Joan was the daughter of Jacques d'Arc and Isabelle Romée. Jacques and Romée owned about 50 acres of land there. Jacques, to supplement his farming, also held a position as a village official, where he collected taxes and led the village watch. During Joan's childhood there were several raids on the village and on one occasion it was even burned.
During the trial, she testified that her first vision occurred at age twelve (c. 1424). While she was in her father's garden, she saw visions of figures she identified as Saint Michael, Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret. They told her to support the uncrowned Charles VII, drive the English out of France and bring the Dauphin to Reims for his coronation. Joan went on to say that as they left she cried due to their beauty.
At age 16, Joan asked a relative to take her to the nearby town of Vaucouleurs, where she petitioned the garrison commander Robert de Baudricourt, to visit the French royal court. At first, he sent her away with a sarcastic reply. She returned the following January, gained support of two of Baudricourt's soldiers and managed a second meeting where she made a remarkable prediction about a military reversal that would happen.
Baudricourt granted her an escort and Joan made the journey through hostile territory dressed as a male. She then met with Charles VII who was impressed with her. Joan asked to travel with the army and wear protective armor, a request which was granted.
Historian Stephen W. Richey wrote: "After years of one humiliating defeat after another, both the military and civil leadership of France were demoralized and discredited. When the Dauphin Charles granted Joan’s urgent request to be equipped for war and placed at the head of his army, his decision must have been based in large part on the knowledge that every orthodox, every rational option had been tried and had failed. Only a regime in the final straits of desperation would pay any heed to an illiterate farm girl who claimed that the voice of God was instructing her to take charge of her country’s army and lead it to victory."
Charles VII sent Joan to the siege of Orléans as part of a relief mission. When the siege was lifted after nine days, Joan gained prominence, and several additional quick victories led to the Charles' coronation.
Joan of Arc was captured 23 May 1430 and handed over to the English. She was put on trial for several charges, including heresy. On 30 May 1431, Joan was found guilty, convicted and sentenced to death. She was burned at the stake when she was about 19 years old.
Twenty-five tears after her death, Pope Callixtus III reviewed the trial, proclaimed her innocence and declared her a martyr. On 16 May 1920 Joan of Arc was canonized by Pope Benedict XV.
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Categories: Profiles Lacking Inline Citations | Saints | Hundred Years' War | This Day In History May 30 | Famous Heroines of France of the 15th Century | Famous Military Leaders of the 15th Century | Famous Martyrs of the 15th Century | This Day in History May 23 | Notables