Those judgements of Joan.Her trial and execution were only the beginning. In the centuries since,the Maid has continued to provoke both anger and adoration, skepticism and awe. There have been many fluctuations in Joan’s fame…
In 1429, when Joan so suddenly moved to the forefront of the historical stage, France was in a state of utter devastation; the Hundred Years’ War with England had been in progress, with intervals of quiet for almost a century, and it had been conducted entirely on French soil. It was, in reality, the most destrictive and terrible form of war, a civil war. England, the smaller, less wealthy and populous of the two countries, was able to wage aggressive war against France only because of that country’s internal divisions, and in particular because of the power and self-assertiveness, vis a vis the Crown, of the feudal princes.
By 1429 the national cause centered on the dauphin Charles, who was supported by the interest of the Duke of Orleans and who held most of france south of the Loire; his followers were called Armagnacs, after the county of Armagnac in the south of France. Leading the opposition to him was the powerful Duke of Burgundy, Philip the Good, who controlled most of the north and east of France, including the rich cloth towns and trading centers of the Low Countries, and who was yoked in a somewhat uneasy alliance with the English foeman of his soi-disant liege lord. the dauphin Charles, who claimed the style and title of king.
All gaul then,was divided into the two parts, Armagnac and Burgundian; and the reaction of Joan of Arc’s meteoric career was divided strictly upon these party lines. To Armagnacs generally, she was a saint of God, sent to bring about the coronation of the lawful to the throne in the cathedral at reims. Burgundians were equally sure that she was the child of the Devil- a witch, or at best a brazen imposter, doing the Devil’s work by aiding the vicious and cruel Armagnacs. As for Charles, they looked upon him as a worthless fellow, bastard son of an infamous mother, Isabella of Bavaria, conceived during one of the worst fits of insanity of his mad “father,” King Charles VI, and having, therefore, no true hereditary title to the throne he sought to seize. ( to be continued)…..