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French heroine Joan of Arc

French heroine Joan of Arc

French heroine Joan of Arc (born 1412, died May 30, 1431, Rouen; canonized May 16, 1920; feast day May 30)

From the time when this legendary woman stepped on the ground, it has been more than half a millennium, but to this day her life, death, and even her image are shrouded in mystery. There are many theories about what was her origin, role in the history and intentions, but now, after not one hundred years, we can confidently judge that all the mysteries still surround the figure of Joan of Arc. And unlikely to ever be revealed … May 30, 1431 in Rouen, was burned at the stake as a heretic one of the main commanders of the French army in the Hundred Years War Joan of Arc, who later became a national heroine of France. But whoever Joan of Arc was – a saint, a martyr, a blessed witch, heroine, a criminal or a pawn in the hands of those in power – she will always remain one of the most mysterious women of history, worthy of memory and realization in art.

George William Joy, 1895

French heroine Joan of Arc. Painting by George William Joy, 1895

There have been consistent attempts, both fictional and otherwise, to associate the historical figure of Joan d’Arc with residual Celtic beliefs in the French countryside from which she came. Joan was born ca. 1412 C.E. in the northern region of Lorraine, in a rural area where ancient beliefs remained as superstitions despite Christianity.

Joan of Arc Vision

Joan of Arc Vision (Jules Bastien-Lepage, 1879)

Early in her life Joan began to hear voices — two female, one male (Sts. Michael, Catherine, and Margaret), that she understood to be saints revealing her destiny. Joan of Arc, a peasant 15-year-old girl, dressed in male garb, traveled to meet crown prince Dauphin, the heir to the French throne, and announced herself as his general. Aware of the propaganda value of the girl’s oddly charismatic quest, Dauphin and his advisers agreed and were surprised by Joan’s quick and accurate grasp of military strategy. At the head of her army, Joan fought against the English at Orleans, driving through their ranks to lift the city’s siege, thus she earned the title “Maid of Orleans.”

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, 1854. Jeanne of Arc at coronation of Charles VII

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, 1854. Jeanne of Arc at coronation of Charles VII

Within a year, she had won the throne for the Dauphin, crowned as Charles VII with Joan at his side. Despite her prowess, Joan was captured by French allies of the British, who sold her to the enemy. A trial for WITCHCRAFT followed in which Joan refused to deny her “voices,” the sources of her inspiration. She was burned at the stake in 1431, apparently before she had turned 20. Only 25 years later she was granted a posthumous “trial” and declared innocent; in 1920 she was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.

In addition to coming from an historically Celtic part of France, Joan responded to Otherworldly powers and embodied an ancient Celtic image of the woman as warrior that had been submerged for centuries. Joan herself had no doubts that her inspiration was Christian; she answered, in all cases, that she was responding to the voices of saints, not those of fairies.

With her inspiring conviction, she rallied the French troops and raised the English siege of Orléans in 1429. She soon defeated the English again at Patay. The Dauphin was crowned king at Reims as Charles VII, with Joan beside him. Her siege of Paris was unsuccessful, and in 1430 she was captured by the Burgundians and sold to the English.

Abandoned by Charles, she was turned over to the ecclesiastical court at Rouen, controlled by French clerics who supported the English, and tried for witchcraft and heresy (1431). She fiercely defended herself but finally recanted and was sentenced to life imprisonment; when she again asserted that she had been divinely inspired, she was burned at the stake. She was not canonized until 1920.

Meanwhile, belonged to Joan of Arc ring of the XV century (photo in the gallery), appeared in London auction house Timeline Auctions. Placed in an oak casket and accompanied by a solid stack of documents that confirm its authenticity. Besides, on the ring carved Latin letters of names of Jesus and Maria, as well as the three crosses. These characters give the product a special significance. The auction house informed that have survived the interrogation records of Maid of Orleans during the trial. Joan of Arc admitted that the ring was a gift from her father and mother.

French heroine Joan of Arc

The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore, 2004
Britannica Concise Encyclopedia