The Life of Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc's name has been part of Western culture for the past
550 years, and her exploits are celebrated across the planet.
However, this icon of human history got her start in small French
village. Joan of Arc's father was Jacques d'Arc and Joan of Arc's
mother was Isabelle Romee in Domremy, France. Joan of Arc's life
story starts when she was born in 1412. With Joan of Arc born,
France would never be the same. Until her visions, much of Joan
of Arc's early life is not know. It was not until 1424 that Joan
of Arc experienced her first vision,
which occurred while she was out in a field, alone.. However she
did recount that Saint Michael, Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret
told her to drive the English out of France. Four years later, she
asked a kinsman of hers to take her to Vaucouleurs, where she petitioned
the garrison commander to permit her to visit the French royal court.
She was refused initially, but a few months later returned and made
a prediction about a military reversal near Orleans. After news
from the front confirmed her prediction, she made her way to the
royal court where she greatly impressed Charles VII, whose mother-in-law
was financing a relief expedition to Orleans. Joan joined the army
and received donated items for her journey.
Through several battles during the Siege of Orleans, Joan showed
herself to have incredible leadership, something that would resonate
throughout Joan of Arc's life, and a way of thinking that countered
with what the war leaders had thought was the best course of action.
With Joan, the French were able to capture the outlying fortresses
of Saint Loup and Saint Jean le Blanc. Then, after the war council
chose not to do another assault on the enemy, she rode with one
captain and captured the fortress of Saint Augustins. Again, the
war council decided to wait for reinforcements despite Joan's
belief that a full attack on Les Tourelles would cripple the English.
Over the subsequent weeks, Joan helped to capture Jargeu, Meung-sur-Loire
and Beugency. During her battles, she took an arrow to the neck
but kept leading, as well as a cannonball to her helmet while
scaling a ladder. From June to September, the French army pushed
towards Paris, where an assault on the city began on September
8. Joan took a crossbow bolt to the leg but kept fighting. The
next morning she received royal orders to withdraw.
Sadly, when Joan of Arc went to a siege in April, a minor skirmish
on May 23, 1430, would lead to her capture. She ordered a retreat,
and stood her ground until she was the last to leave the field.
She was captured as a result, and since her family could not pay
the ransom, and because of King Charles VII not intervening, she
was put on trial. The trial began on January 9, 1431 where she
was found guilty of heresy and burned at the stake. It was not
until 1456 that she was found innocent of heresy charges by Pop
While this is where the Joan of Arc story ends, it was only the
beginning of her legend.
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