Joan of Arc Joan was born to a peasant family in Domremy (now Domremy-la-Pucelle). When she was 13 years old, she believed she heard celestial voices. As they continued, sometimes accompanied by visions, she became convinced that they belonged to St. Michael and to the early martyrs St. Catherine of Alexandria and St. Margaret. Early in 1429, during the Hundred Years War, when the English were about to capture Orleans, the voices told her to help the Dauphin, later Charles Vll, king of France. Charles, because of both internal conflict and the English claim to the throne of France, had not yet been crowned king. Joan succeeds in convincing him that she had a divine mission to save France. A board of theologians approved her claims, and she was given troops to command. Dressed in armor and carrying a white banner that represented God blessing the French royal emblem, the fleur-de-lis, she led the French to a victory over the English. Joan was soon given the place of honor beside the king. Joan had united the French behind Charles and had put an end to English dreams of conquering over France; Charles opposed any further campaigns against the English. Therefore, it was without royal support that Joan conducted (1430) a military operation against the English at Compiegne, near Paris. Bourguignon soldiers, who sold her to their English allies, captured her. The English then turned her over to an ecclesiastical court at Rouen to be tried for heresy and sorcery. After 14 months of examination, she was accused of wrongdoing in wearing masculine dress and of heresy for believing she was directly responsible to god rather than to the Roman Catholic Church. The court condemned her to death, but she confessed to her errors, and the sentence was changed to life imprisonment. Since she resumed masculine dress after returning to jail, she was condemned again-this time by a secular court-and on May 30, 1431; Joan was burned at t…
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