nicknamed “The Maid of Orléans” (French: La Pucelle d’Orléans), is a folk heroine of France and a Roman Catholic saint. She was born a peasant girl in what is now eastern France. Claiming divine guidance, she led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years’ War, which paved the way for the coronation of Charles VII of France. She was captured by the Burgundians, transferred to the English in exchange for money, put on trial by the pro-English Bishop of Beauvais Pierre Cauchon for charges of “insubordination and heterodoxy”, and was burned at the stake for heresy when she was 19 years old.
Twenty-five years after her execution, an inquisitorial court authorized by Pope Callixtus III examined the trial, pronounced her innocent, and declared her a martyr. Joan of Arc was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920. She is – along with St. Denis, St. Martin of Tours, St. Louis IX, and St. Theresa of Lisieux – one of thepatron saints of France. Joan said she had received visions from God instructing her to support Charles VII and recover France from English domination late in the Hundred Years’ War. The uncrowned King Charles VII sent her to the siege of Orléans as part of a relief mission. She gained prominence when she overcame the dismissive attitude of veteran commanders and caused the lifting of the siege in only nine days. Several additional swift victories led to Charles VII’s coronation at Reims.
1. Joan’s real name was Jehanne d’Arc, Jehanne Tarc, Jehanne Romée or possibly Jehanne de Vouthon—but she didn’t go by any of these.
In the 1400s, people didn’t use family names as we do now. Her fathers name was d’Arc, but she called herself Jeanne the Maiden or by her mother’s last name.
2. In modern times, some doctors and scholars have “diagnosed” Joan of Arc with disorders ranging from epilepsy to schizophrenia.
Joan heard voices and bright lights, so clearly, she was crazy. How she managed to motivate soldiers to follow her battle plans, as a 17-year-old peasant may be due to the influence Queen Yolanda, whose story is found here.
3. While commander of the French army, Joan of Arc didn’t participate in active combat.
She did wear men’s clothing ( a mortal sin!) but carried the banner, rather than fighting. She was wounded, twice, however.
4. Joan of Arc had a famously volatile temper.
She told a hecker that her voices spoke better Frence than he did, and she slapped a Scots ally for eating stolen meat.
5. Contrary to popular belief, Joan of Arc wasn’t burned at the stake for witchcraft—at least not technically.
She signed a confession, which was to have saved her from execution, but for unclear reasons, possibly the treatment of her by the prison guards, she returned to wearing men’s clothing and was convicted of heresy. She was later aquited by the court of Rome and made a saint.
6. From 1434 to 1440, Joan’s brothers passed an imposter off as their sister, claiming she’d escaped execution.
They did also petition the Pope to retry the case once their fraud was detected.
7. Joan of Arc inspired the ever-popular bob haircut, which originated in Paris in 1909.
The bob was the popular style of the knights joan knew, so she woreher hair cut that way as well, another thing the church didn’t like. When a movie was made about her, a new hairstyle arose in Paris.