Legends in Films
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Joan d'Arc, Maid of Lorraine
FIRST A HERETIC, THAN A HEROINE
The movie starts in 1412 with the birth of Joan, her mother can hartly persuade her father not to kill this daughter. Next scene is about 10 years later, showing Joan in the church, hearing Saint Catherine for the first time. Meanwhile the Hunderd Years War goes on and on: villages are riaded bij Burgundy soldiers. At the age of 16 she finally accepts that she was chosen by God, although she has no clue what she is supposed to do. Bit by bit she understands that she has to go to the dauphin, prince Charles to help him claim the throne, chase away the English invaders and to make France whole again.
After she manages to convince one of the Dauphin Charles' representatives to send her, with escorts and a letter of endorsement, she takes on a perilous journey through the Loire Valley in order to gain an audience with Charles. By this time she dresses like a man.
She is escorded by Jean De Metz, who does not believe in her calling. She succeeds in persuading Charles to take her lead. Though he gives the teenager her requested sanction to lead a siege on Orleans, it is not without a condition of his own.
Charles' wish is for Joan to present herself to the French by assuming the mantel of the "The Maid of Lorraine". According to am ancient myth, Merlin predicted that a maid would save France from its enemy. Donning a new suit of armor and joined by Jean De Metz, who starts to see her with different eyes; La Hire, a war-scarred mercenary who holds great hate against the English, and a small army of soldiers devoted to "The Maid", Joan perseveres.
During the battle she gets an arrow through her shoulder and she goes down. When she realises that the soldiers have stopped fighting as soon as her banner went down, she turns to Saint Catherine for help and finds the strength to get back on her horse, holds up her banner and get the soldiers starting to fight again. Believing she truly is the Maid, Joan leads her enamored troops to victory, liberating Orleans from the English - and ultimately attends Charles' coronation in Reims as an honored guest.
At the age of 17, Joan's fortune begins to take a different turn. Still completely devoted to God, Charles and the cause to unite France under him, she is not aware that the cunning Charles had different plans. Incensed to learn that Charles has made a treaty with Philip, the Duke of Burgundy, which puts France's loyal subjects and Joan's faithful followers at the mercy of the Burgundians, she pressures him to let her lead her army of Frenchmen to defend Paris. Fearing the approaching Maid, the Burgundians flee Paris, but the ever increasingly arrogant Joan, against the urging of La Hire and others, vows to attack the city's citizens when they choose not to embrace Charles as their king.
The battle's results are worse than Joan could have imagined. Her troops suffer a devastating defeat, leaving Joan fearful of being forever unable to serve her God, King and countrymen properly. Eventually she loses the battle to take Paris and she drowns in her own arrogance. Finally she lets the Burgundy take her prisoner and she gets sold to the English. They trial her for heresy with the help of the bishop who was once Charles' appointed religious adviser, who is terrified of Joan. Although he tries, he can not forbid that she gets convicted for witchcraft and heresy. She burns at the stake on the age of 19 while Saint Catherine is with her.
The Legend or even perhaps The True Story
oan of Arc (Jeanne d'Arc or Jehanne Darc) is a French saint and national heroine, called the Maid of Orléans or the Maid of Lorraine. A farm girl, she began at a young age to hear the voices of St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret. When she was about 16, the voices exhorted her to bear aid to the dauphin, later Charles VII of France, then kept from the throne by the English in the 100 years war. Joan journeyed in male attire to meet the dauphin and conquered his skepticism as to her divine mission. She was furnished with troops, but her leadership provided spirit and morale more than military prowes.
In May 1429 she raised the siege of Orléans, and in June she defeated the English at Patay. After considerable persuasion the dauphin agreed to be crowned at Rheims, and Joan was at the pinnacle of her fortunes. In Sept. 1429 she unsuccessfully besieged Paris. The following spring she went to relieve Compiègne but was captured by the Burgundians and sold to the English, who were eager for her death.
To escape responsibility, the English turned her over to the ecclesiastical court at Rouen, where she was tried for heresy and witchcraft by French clerics who supported the English. Probably her most serious crime was the claim of direct inspiration from God; in the eyes of the court this refusal to accept the church hierarchy constituted heresy. Only at the end of the lengthy trial did she recant. She was condemned to life imprisonment, but shortly afterward she retracted her abjuration. She was then turned over to the secular court as a relapsed heretic and was burned at the stake (May 30, 1431) in Rouen. The proceedings of the original trial were annulled in 1456.
Her career lent itself to numerous legends, and she has been represented in much art and literature. In 1450 the process of retrying Joan of Arc's case began under the direction of Guillaume Bouillé and on November 7, 1455 the opening session of the retrial ("Trial of Rehabilitation"), took place at the Notre Dame in Paris.
On July 2nd 1456 the plaintiffs formally asked the judges to annul the original verdict and to declare Joan innocent. At last at July 7th, 1456 there was a public announcement of the judgement of the Court, in which the original verdict is thrown out and Joan d'Arc is declared innocent.
In the movie there's talk about an old prophecy. I've looked around what I could find about that: "Louis De Conte remarks about the national prophecies:
"... a prophecy of Merlin’s more than 800 years old, was called to mind, which said that in a far future time France would be lost by a woman and restored by a woman. France was now, for the first time, lost - and by a woman, Isabel of Bavaria, her base Queen; doubtless this fair and pure young girl was commissioned of Heaven to complete the prophecy."
"The opening captions of "Joan of Arc" dealing with the 'prophecy by Merlyn' did nothing to enhance the film's historicity. Yes, there was a prophecy which said that "France will be lost by a woman and saved by a virgin from the oak forests of Lorraine", and yes, this was brought up during the trial and by numerous people who met Jehanne during her military campaigns; but the prophecy is more credibly attributed to an English monk and historian named Baeda (the Venerable Bede), rather than the fictional Merlyn."
If anyone can provide me the text of one of these two prophecies I would be very grateful. Please, e-mail me.