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by Emily Rose Hennings
France was fighting with England in a war that would later be called "The Hundred Years War." Queen Isabella of France had sided with, Duke Philip of Burgundy, to persuade the mad King Charles VI to sign a treaty with England. This treaty promised English military support to Philip against the French loyalists as well as an agreement that Henry V of England would marry the French Princess Catherine and become King of France and England. This treaty was signed in 1415 and is known as the Treaty of Troyes.
France was divided between Burgundians who followed the English and faithful followers of the French Dauphin or heir apparent, Charles VII. These were the turbulent times Joan of Arc was born into.
Joan as a peasant
Joan was born in 1412 in the Valley of the Meuse in the small farming Village of Domremy. Domremy was located in Burgundian territory right on the border of France, although some said it was, in fact, in the neighboring country of Lorraine. None of this mattered to the citizens of Domremy. However, they believed themselves to be
French and were loyal to their Dauphine. The Hundred Year War had gone on for so long that no one alive could remember a time of peace. There were many raids that caused the entire population of her village, livestock as well as people, to flee to the nearby castle for protection.
One day, when Joan was about twelve years old, she was working in her father's garden. When the church bells rang she later claimed that a bright light appeared coming from the direction of the church. A voice spoke from the light telling her "Be a good girl, Joan, and pious. Great things are expected of you." Joan said it was not until the third time she saw the light and heard the voice that she recognized whom it was. She believed it was the Archangel Michael, Captain of the Armies of Heaven and Defender of France. He
had great wings and was covered with a golden light, and the Hosts of Heaven stood behind him. Joan wept when she saw Saint Michael with
fear and elation. This vision became more and more frequent, up to three times a week, she later recalled.
Joan seeing her vision
The voices continued to speak to her for more than four years. Until one day Saint Michael came and told her of her mission. He said she must raise the siege of Orleans, crown the King at Reims and drive the English from the kingdom of France. Joan wept for she could not understand how she, a peasant girl who knew nothing of horses or warfare, could lead the army of France.
Brooks, Polly Schoyer. Beyond the Myth the Story of Joan of Arc. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1990
Dana, Barbara. Young Joan. New York: Harper Collins, 1991
Shaw, Bernard. Saint Joan. New York: Penguin Books, 1924
Twain, Mark. Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc. New York: Random House Value Publishing, Inc.1995
Williams, Jay. Joan of Arc. New York: American Heritage Publishing Co., Inc, 1963
Picture #1 - "Charles VII the Dauphin" from: Joan of Arc
Picture #2 - "Philip Duke of Burgundy" from: Joan of Arc
Picture #3 - "Map of Joan's France" from: Joan of Arc
Picture #4 - "Joan of Arc as a peasant" from: Joan of Arc
Picture #5 - "Joan's house" from: Beyond the Myth The Story of Joan of Arc
Picture #6 - "the River Meuse and Oak forest" from: Beyond the Myth The Story of Joan of Arc
Picture #7- "Joan seeing her vision" from: Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc
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