Joan of Arc: God’s Messenger
"As to whether victory was my banners or mine, it was all our Lord's," Joan of Arc, 1431. Joan of Arc, also known as the Maid of Orleans, was a ferocious figure in history. Fiery in spirit, and possessing a devotion to God that rivaled even the most pious in nature, she was truly a stronghold in the history of France. The change she caused was due to many factors, chiefly to her religious devotion, claimed messages from God, military success, crowing of the Dauphin, and eventual execution, trial, and martyrdom. Seen as a messenger of God, Joan of Arc animated French popular support, thus enabling her to be successful. By the middle of the fifteenth century, France was hardly a nation. The country was not unified by a common language, and each province within the country differed based upon who held power. In some provinces it may have been a Duke, in another a great feudal lord. Also, in this time period the English had control of some of these provinces, and there was conflict in order to acquire more French land. “France, a country many times as populous and as rich as England, was overrun by English armies. Then, as in later times, the insular position of England counted for much in the wars it carried on, but it had an advantage quite as great in its fuller national development,” (Francis 58). Born to a peasant family, Joan lived in a small French village named Domremy, between Champagne and Lorraine. It is estimated that she was born around 1412. Her father was Jacques of Arc, and her mother was Isabelle Romee. Joan had three brothers: Jacquemin, Pierre, and Jean. She also had a sister, Catherine, who died before Joan left on her mission to help the Dauphin in 1429. Joan's family, and most of Domremy, supported the Dauphin. However, they lived very near a pro-Burgundy area. Conflict between villagers from the two regions often erupted in violence, which Joan witnessed throughout her childhood (SparkNote Editors). At this time in history, females did not typically attend school, and Joan was no exception. Any schooling she did receive had to have come from her mother, Isabelle. Joan’s mother was extremely religious, and she taught Joan all of her prayers. Her devotion, excessive to some, was her main attribute, along with her good, amiable personality. Joan “became cross if the Churchwarden was ever late ringing the church bells, and would scold the man harshly,” (SparkNote Editors). Even as pious as she was, Joan was different from other peasant girls. She was accredited to have heard voices; specifically, among others, the voice of God himself. Around 1425, when Joan was 13, English and Burgundian forces drove off all of Domremy's cattle, and she started to hear these voices. “Joan claimed that the voices were angels and saints, through whom God was addressing her. She identified the saints as Saint Michael, Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret, all crucial French saints of whom Joan had learned through statuary in the church she attended and through her mother's careful religious instruction,” (SparkNote Editors). In 1428, Joan's "voices" commanded her to travel to Vaucouleurs, a nearby fortress still loyal to the Dauphin (SparkNote Editors). After having her request to travel to Chinon to meet with the Dauphin rejected the first time, by the commander of the fortress, she was granted the chance. With a small military entourage, she arrived and was put to test by the Dauphin, who hid among his court, and had another pretend to be him. She easily saw through this farce, Joan proves her validity by also speaking to the Dauphin in private (Gower 129). She supposedly gave him proof that she had indeed been sent by God to seat him upon the throne of France, at Reims. Suspicious of her claims to have root in witchcraft or heresy, Charles sent Joan to be interrogated by...
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LLC. 2005. Web. 20 May 2013.
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