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Joan of Arc

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Joan of Arc (Jeanne d'Arc)
Tn fihs 203crop
Born circa 1412 (Domrémy, France)
Died 30 May 1431 (Rouen, France; burned at the stake)
Family Jacques d'Arc (father)
Isabelle Romée (mother)
Jacquemin, Jean, Pierre and Catherine (siblings)
Portrayed By Christina Cox


Joan of Arc (or Jeanne d'Arc, as she is known in her native tongue) appeared only in the episode "For I Have Sinned". The character was played by Christina Cox.

Joan was born to a well-off peasant family in Domrémy around 1412. Claiming to be guided by the voices of saints, she was granted the leadership of the French army in 1429 to assist their ongoing war with the English (part of the Hundred Years' War). She led them to several victories but was captured by the enemy on 23 May 1430 and tried by an ecclesiastical court on charges of heresy. On 30 May 1431, she was executed via burning at the stake in Rouen. The brief flashback scenes in "For I Have Sinned" cover key portions of her story: on the road before her capture, in prison on trial, and at her execution.

As a knight as well as a vampire, Nicolas de Brabant (later to be known as Nick Knight) was deeply impressed by Joan's courage and faith. He offered to bring her across, but she was staunch in her refusal even in the face of her impending execution. Before she died, Joan gave Nick a simple wooden cross. He has carried it with him down the centuries, even though he is unable to touch it himself. In "For I Have Sinned", he showed the cross to Natalie Lambert; and, in "I Will Repay", she used it to protect herself and her sister-in-law Sara when they were attacked by her brother Richard, who had been turned into a vampire by Nick.

Joan of Arc's HistoryEdit

Joan was the daughter of Jacques d'Arc and Isabelle Romée in Domrémy, a village which was then in the duchy of Bar, later annexed to the province of Lorraine. Her parents owned about fifty acres of land; and her father supplemented his farming work with a minor position as a village official, collecting taxes and heading the local watch. Joan said she was about nineteen at her trial, so she was born about 1412; she later testified that she experienced her first vision around 1424 at the age of twelve.

Military CareerEdit

At sixteen, she asked a kinsman, Durand Lassois, to bring her to nearby Vaucouleurs where she petitioned the garrison commander, Count Robert de Baudricourt, for permission to visit the royal French court at Chinon. Baudricourt's sarcastic response did not deter her. She returned the following January and gained support from two men of standing: Jean de Metz and Bertrand de Poulengy. Under their auspices, she gained a second interview where she predicted a military reversal near Orléans. After news from the front confirmed this, Baudricourt granted her an escort to visit Chinon. She made the journey through hostile Burgundian territory in male disguise.

Upon arriving at the royal court, Joan impressed Charles VII during a private conference. He then ordered background inquiries and a theological examination at Poitiers to verify her morality. During this time Charles's mother-in-law Yolande of Aragon was financing a relief expedition to Orléans. Joan petitioned for permission to travel with the army and wear the equipment of a knight. She depended on donated items for her armor, horse, sword, banner, and entourage. Her armor is said to have been white.

She arrived at the siege of Orléans on 29 April 1429. During the five months of siege before her arrival, the defenders of Orléans had attempted only one aggressive move and that had ended in disaster. Jean d'Orléans, the acting head of the Orléans ducal family, initially excluded Joan from war councils and failed to inform her when the army engaged the enemy. Nevertheless, when the French attacked and captured the outlying fortress of Saint Loup on 4 May, she followed up immediately with a march to a second fortress called Saint Jean le Blanc, which was found to be deserted. The next day, Joan opposed Jean d'Orleans at a war council, demanding another assault on the enemy.

Chateau Beaugency ballon

The inner keep at Beaugency is one of the few surviving fortifications from Joan's battles. English defenders retreated to the tower at upper right after the French breached the town wall.

D'Orleans ordered the city gates locked; but Joan summoned the townsmen and common soldiers, and forced the mayor to unlock a gate. With the aid of only one captain she rode out and captured the fortress of Saint Augustins. That evening she insisted on assaulting the main English stronghold, "les Tourelles", on 7 May. Contemporaries acknowledged her as the heroine of the engagement after she sustained an arrow wound to her neck but returned wounded to lead the final charge

In the aftermath of the unexpected victory, she persuaded Charles VII to grant her co-command of the army with Duke John II of Alençon, and gained royal permission for her plan to recapture nearby bridges along the Loire as a prelude to an advance on Reims and a coronation. Her plan was bold: Reims was roughly twice as far away as Paris and deep in enemy territory. Nevertheless, the French enjoyed full success throughout the next month, retaking three towns, and roundly defeating the English forces at the battle of Patay.

Notre Dame de Reims - detail haut

The cathedral at Reims was the traditional site of French coronations.

The French army arrived in Reims on 16 July. The coronation took place the following morning. Although Joan and the duke of Alençon urged a prompt march on Paris, the royal court instead pursued a negotiated truce with the duke of Burgundy. In the interim, the French army marched through towns near Paris accepting peaceful surrenders. Finally, the French assault on Paris commenced on 8 September. Despite a crossbow bolt wound to the leg, Joan continued directing the troops until the day's fighting ended. The following morning she received a royal order to withdraw.

450px-Tour Jeanne DArc

The tower in Rouen where Joan was imprisoned during her trial.

Joan went to Compiègne the following April to defend against an English and Burgundian siege. A skirmish on 23 May 1430 led to her capture. When she ordered a retreat, she assumed the place of honor as the last to leave the field. Burgundians surrounded the rear guard, and she was captured. Unfortunately, Joan and her family lacked the financial resources for a ransom. Many historians condemn King Charles VII for failing to intervene.

Joan attempted several escapes, on one occasion jumping from her 70 foot tower in Vermandois to the soft earth of a dry moat. After that, she was moved to the Burgundian town of Arras. Evntually, the English government purchased her from Duke Philip of Burgundy.

Trial for HeresyEdit

There were major procedural problems with the trial. The judge, Bishop Cauchon, owed his appointment to his partisan support of the English government, which financed the entire trial. The court actually lacked legal grounds to initiate a trial, since the clerical notary, Nicolas Bailly, who was commissioned to collect testimony against Joan, could find no adverse evidence. When the trial began anyway, the court violated ecclesiastical law in denying Joan's right to a legal advisor. Under Inquisitorial guidelines, Joan should have been confined to an ecclesiastical prison under the supervision of female guards (i.e., nuns). Instead, the English kept her in a secular prison guarded by their own soldiers. Furthermore, Bishop Cauchon denied Joan's appeals to the Council of Basel and the pope, which should have stopped his proceeding.

Despite the heresy charges, it was really a kangaroo court whose real motivation was political—a fact not lost upon Joan herself. Upon the opening of the first public examination, she complained that those present were all partisan against her.

ExecutionEdit

Joan of Arc was executed on 30 May 1431. Eyewitnesses described the scene. Tied to a tall pillar in the Vieux-Marche in Rouen, she asked two of the clergy, Fr Martin Ladvenu and Fr Isambart de la Pierre, to hold a crucifix before her. A peasant also constructed a small cross which she put in the front of her dress.

After she expired, the English raked back the coals to expose her charred body so that no one could claim she had escaped alive, then burned the body twice more to reduce it to ashes and prevent any collection of relics. They cast her remains into the Seine. After her death, Joan was declared a martyr.

Joan of Arc's NameEdit

Surnames were not universal in the fifteenth century and surname inheritance did not necessarily follow modern patterns. Joan of Arc testified at her trial that the local custom in her
Jehanne signature

Joan's signature, Jehanne.

native region was for girls to use their mother's surname. Joan's mother was known both as Isabelle Romée and Isabelle de Vouthon. No surviving record from Joan's lifetime shows that she used either her mother's or her father's surname, but she often referred to herself as la Pucelle, which roughly translates as "the Maiden". As for her personal name, her surviving signatures are all spelled Jehanne (without a surname).

It should perhaps be added that the surname "of Arc" is a modern transliteration of d'Arc, which itself is only a nineteenth-century French approximation of her father's name. Apostrophes were never used in fifteenth-century French surnames, which sometimes leads to confusion between place names and other names that begin with the letter D. Based on Latin records, which do reflect a difference, her father's name was more likely Darc.

Episodes of SignificanceEdit

Tn fihs 219

Nick shows Joan of Arc's cross to Natalie.

  • For I Have Sinned: This is the only episode in which Joan actually appeared.
  • I Will Repay: The cross that Joan gave Nick serves Natalie as a defence when she and her sister-in-law are attacked by her vampire brother.
  • Last Knight: Natalie's insistent talk about "faith" prompts Nick to recollect Joan of Arc. Stock footage is used from For I Have Sinned.

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