1412 was the time of civil war and military unrest between France and England. And 1412 was the year Jeanne d' Arc was born. When she was 17 she commanded a battle against the English domination and made efforts to unite France in the Hundred Years War, but her fate at the age 19 put her on a trial for heresy and witchcraft by a church court. She had an Inquisition from the church and was burned at stake.
During the 15th century France and England, the personality of Jeanne or Maid of Orleans had an exceptional impact upon the political as well as the military situation wherein she turned the war in to the favor of Charles VII and this she accomplished as just a peasant girl. What her trial and conviction represents is the unacceptability of the medieval era of the deviation from the role of the women and opinions and belief on spirituality brief history of her life and trial
The situation in France at that time was such that it had not witnessed a crowned king
Joan of Arc was accredited in 1920 as a saint of the catholic church and she remained after her death a french national heroine. During her time the nothern area of the France was under the dominion of the English who had joined hands earlier with the Burgundians in the Hundered Years War.
The situation in France at that time was such that it had not witnessed a crowned king from the time when Charles VI died in the year 1422. Charles VI did left Dauphin Charles as an heir, but the crown was passed to Henry VI of England who was an infant at that time. This passing over of the crown was due to an accord signed by the King of France Charles VI and King of England Henry V according to the terms of which Catherine, the daughter of Charles VI would marry Henry V and after the death of Charles VI the crown of France would pass on to that of the offspring of the two which would then eventually bring unity between the two dominions. The accord, Treaty of Troyes, was signed in an effort to bring an end to the bloodshed and the Hundred Years of War that had taken many lives. The most prominent and lesson learning of which took place at the Battle of Agincourt. This treaty in effect rejected the true right of the prince Dauphin to become a king and also the right of succession that was passed on to the crown prince of England, Henry VI that in fact angered and infuriated the French nobles as well as the French masses.
This was the situation in France and England when we see Jeanne come in to the picture. She in fact claimed that he heard the voices of Archangel St. Michael, St. Margaret and St. Catherine who have come to her so that she could find a way to free France from English domination and help Dauphin win back his rightful crown. This set the beginning of her spirituality that directed her to get herself in the Dauphin forces dressed like a man so that no one could recognize her as a girl. At that time the church did not permit admission of girls in army. Once recruited in the army, she traveled to Chinon where she met Dauphin Charles and told him her sole task. However, this was not easy for her as she was questioned by the authorities of the church and after approving her plan to free Orleans from the siege of English, the church gave her a go ahead.
She was then set with weapons and shield in addition to a white flag that has fleur-de-lis written on it. Jeanne's faithfulness, poise as well as great fervor she motivated the French army and with this fervor and spirited army she forced the English in the year 1429 to lift the siege of Orleans. Another winning battle was fought with the English after which she convinced Dauphin to regain Reims where he was crowned as the King of France. After this accomplishment, Jeanne tried to convince the King to march on Paris and take it back from the Burgundian army. However, at this time, the King was not very convinced and was reluctant in battling over Paris. However, Jeanne did an effort to try winning back Paris, but her attack was not victorious and she had to retreat and abandon the attack. Then, she led an attack to free the town of Compiegne in the year 1430, but the Burgundian army captured her. In siege, she made two attempts to escape but failed. The Burgundian then sold he to the Bishop of Beauvias, Pierre Cauchon. The Bishop of Beauvias was an English ally. In England, she was put on charges for heresy and sorcery. Jeanne was trailed at the Inquisition of church court on the 21st February 1431 in Rouen. The main charges on her were her false claim of spirituality and that she heard voices and communicated with God. These claims were taken as defiance to church and its authority. Another major offense was of dressing like a male and her third offense was her attempt of suicide. For cross-dressing, she was compelled to give word for never to dress like a man. However, instead of being put in to a church prison that ought to be guarded by church guards, she was put in to normal prison guarded by English soldiers. This was against the normal standards of the court. This noncompliance led Jeanne also to relapse on her words that she would not dress like a man. This act was considered as breaking of the promise and was conjectured a sin against the church. Jeanne evaded the torture cell as the judges decided against it and subsequent to the consultation from the University of Paris; she was sentenced and was put on a death row. However, in her last effort to save her life, she signed a contract where she retracted on her claims that she hears the voices, but just after two days she again relapsed on her agreement. Then in the year 1432, she was executed by being put at stake at Rouen. Her half burned body was shown to the masses so that everyone would know that she was a woman in fact, not a saint otherwise. Then she was burned and her remains were cast off in to the River Seine.
Twenty-four years after her decree, the court ruling was nullified in the year 1456 in a second trail ordered by Pope Callixtus III in response to a petition filed by her family. And nearly five hundred years after her death, the Roman Catholic Church canonized Jeanne as a saint in the year 1920.
The Trial of Joan of Arc in the light of veracity, evidences and proofs
Jeanne was sold to the English for ten thousand livres. The task was assigned to Pierre and he had a history of performing such tasks before too as is clear from the letter of Duke John of Burgundy that authorized Pierre to suborn the church authorities at the Council of Constance so that a ruling in which the Duke was at task of a murder could be turned in to his favor. In fact, historians point out that the trial of inquisition was in fact a murder mask. There were huge payments made for the trial and big rewards for the jury in case Jeanne was convicted. The appendix at the end shows the financials of the trial.
The trial was in itself revenge rather than an attempt to serve the justice. Participants, clergymen and other have later endorsed that the motive of the trial was revenge, fear and biasness. From the testimony of Guillaume Manchon, the chief notary at the trial, we come to know that many participants in the trial were against the very move to convict Jeanne. He wrote:
was compelled to serve as notary in this matter, and I did so against my will, because I would not have dared to oppose an order given by the lords of the Royal Council. And the English conducted this trial, and by their expense. I believe however that the Bishop of Beauvais [the pro-English Pierre Cauchon] was not forced to prosecute Joan, nor was the Promoter [Jean d'Estivet]; on the contrary they did it voluntarily. Concerning the assessors and other advisors, I believe they would not have dared to put up any opposition, and there wasn't a single one who was not afraid." Another clergy Richard de Grouchet who was the Canon of Church of Le Saussaye and was an evaluator in Jeanne's trial testified that in his view half of the participants in the trial were voluntary who were biased from the very beginning while the other half were forced…