Joan Of Arc – A Significant Figure In The Middle Ages

Joan of Arc was a significant figure in the Middle Ages. She was influential at the time of her death and in the centuries after. Her most well-known feats were helping the French Dauphin Charles VII crown himself king of France, helping France win the 100-year war and her trial, in which she was found guilty for some 70 acts. She has been made a saint and one of the patron saints of France in recent times, and her trial has been reviewed several times after her death, meaning that people think she is significant from the things they have done since her death.

Joan of Arc has been significant in both recent times and the past. In her time, she helped the French with the 100-year war. She began receiving ‘visions’ from around 14 years of age and travelled to meet with the king in hiding. She helped him get to Reims where he was crowned king. She went to- but never fought at- a few battles, before she was ultimately sent to Compiegne where she was stranded outside the city gates and captured by the English allied Burgundians. She was put on trial at Rouen where she was tried and found guilty for some 70 acts, including witchcraft, heresy and dressing like a man. She was found guilty and was burned at the stake in the town square. After the war ended, Pope Callixtus iii called for the trial to be redone and Joan was found innocent and made a martyr. Joan’s actions were significant because if she had not travelled to see the French Dauphin, he may have never been king and France could have lost the battle. England and France would have been different today if England had won, and many events in history may have never happened. The short-term effects of her actions were that the French were able to beat the English, and that saved many people who could have been killed if the war was continuing. With the English gone, France was now able to recover its economy and land and the people of France couldn’t have been happier. People returned to their homes and France recovered from a situation once thought highly unlikely, because of what Joan did. The long-term effects are that without Joan, France could still be ruled by the English and France would not be an individual country. She helped to structure women’s rights. Because of her actions, Joan is seen as a French heroine who symbolises France.

Joan of Arc was unique in the middle ages, as one of the few women to have been in battles. She wasn’t afraid to do so. Joan was surrounded by men who thought she was not worthy to be there, and she had a fiery temper because of that. Her beliefs where in Christianity, and her main purpose in going to Charles VII was to fulfil her visions from god. However, Doctors today say that Joan probably had a mental illness like schizophrenia, causing her to hear voices and see things. Joan acted more as a manager, organising strategies and providing support. She rode as a bannerman, was injured twice but never actually fought. She led the French military in the Battle of Orleans, which they won. She remained a virgin her entire life, rebelling against the fact she would have to be married, and she put her religion above everything else. Joan went against most actions a female was meant to do at that time. She wore ‘men’s’ clothes, led battles, refused marriage and she did what she wanted to, in her case, achieve her goals.

Joan has been remembered in many ways. In Rouen, where she was burned, there is the Church of St Joan of Arc, on the second Sunday of May there is the national Joan of Arc holiday and on May 30th is her feast day. In 1920, Joan was canonized and made a saint, becoming one of the 9 patron saints of France. Joan has been featured in a lot of mythic artwork and literature over the centuries. She inspired the bob haircut which became popular around the time of her canonization. France could still be occupied by the English if not for Joan, and France and England could have been very different from what they are today. Joan is a symbol for the French because of what she did, and that she did everything she could to achieve her goals. It took a great amount of courage and perseverance for her to achieve her goals. She left her legacy and inspired others to make a difference by supporting the community for what they feel is morally correct. She once said, 'One life is all we have, and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.” 

16 December 2021
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